Today is the end of the BBAW. It was so much fun. I met some new bloggers and learned a lot from their posts. So I decided to make my last post for the BBAW practical and easy by making a list of ten things of practical tips and tools for blogging.
Tried and True Practices and Blogging Tools :
- Comment on other blogs ~ As I said before in my other post (How Do You Find Community), be reciprocal and leave a comment when you visit a blog. I read on some other blogs that comments should be thoughtful, meaningful and blah, blah, blah. But really just say, "hi, I am new to your blog and was lurking around and decided to comment" or whatever you feel like saying. I prefer a brief comment over no comment. And sometimes people just don't know what to say. If they say nothing, I don't know they exist and I can't reciprocate in commenting.
- Be Consistent ~ Try to be consistent in all your blogging and posting. Blog as often as you can. And set a minimum and maximum number of posts you will do each week. And then let your readers know that's how often you will be posting. I for instance blog 3-5 days a week. Generally 3 if I'm not participating in a hop.
- Be Present ~ Even on the days you don't make a new post on your own blog. Use some of that time to visit other blogs instead. You may not have anything new for them to come back to and comment on but they will remember that even on your off days, you made the effort to come by their blog and visit; that's how you nurture relationships.
- Following and Gaining Followers ~ Don't feel obligated to follow blogs if you aren't truly interested in them. If you join a blog you likely won't go back to, all you really did was make your list longer in your feed or add to the amount of email you'll get. Secondly, don't get swept into the hype of needing large amounts of followers. If you comment and participate, they will come. But don't feel like you aren't productive if you don't have a lot of followers. For instance, have you ever visited a blog that had over 1,000 followers but not a single person commented on any of their post that week or the week before? It's usually because the blog owner dropped the ball somewhere and didn't nurture the followers they received. When I say drop the ball, I mean they didn't reciprocate. They didn't follow the people that followed them. They didn't comment on other blogs, they didn't reply to comments on their own blog or they weren't consistent in posting. Now I have been to blogs with 50 or 60 followers and they have a healthy 10 comments or so on each posts. That's a healthy blog. The owner is nurturing her blog in some form or fashion and her followers are receptive of that attention or he/she has something really important to say in their posts. As I said before I'd take a quick comment over no comment at all.
- Ask a question ~ If you want comments, ask a question at the end of each post. Some people don't comment because they don't know what to say because you said everything already, you didn't pose a question or you didn't challenge them to come up with something different than what you already stated.
- Great tools to use ~ Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, Goodreads, Shelfari, Book Blogs, Google Reader and StumbleUpon. I use each of these. But I consistently use Facebook, Twitter, my Google Reader and StumbleUpon. Now I don't actually use the Twitter site often, I use Hootsuite instead. It allows me to access my Twitter account and view it in an easier format. It also lets me schedule my tweets weeks in advance. So if I know I'm running a giveaway for a week then I will schedule my tweets for that entire week in advance. How to: After I make my posts, I'll schedule my tweet to post every hour on the hour for the entire week (you can also schedule every fifteen minutes). It lets my Twitter feed look up to date and I can concentrate on just replying to tweets instead of plugging my links. I admit it takes a little time, about an hour to schedule all of them for the week. But once it's done I can concentrate on other things. StumbleUpon lets you find other interesting articles or blogs as well. It also allows you to upload your own post from your blog so others can "stumbleupon" them. I would like to utilize technorati and digg. I haven't gotten the hang of them yet, but I'm trying to use these more consistently. But I also know I can't spend all my time visiting social sites. So it hasn't been a priority yet.
- Give blog love ~ Whenever possible, spread the blog love around. Tell your followers about other great blogs you visit. This can come back to you in ten fold. Linking to another blog increases the chances of that blog returning the favor in the future. It also increases traffic to your blog. Also update your blog roll or blog feed. We like to see which blogs you like, but don't list blogs that haven't posted in 3 months or so.
- Participate in hops, memes and giveaways ~ I find that I have garnered most of my followers through events like the (Armchair BEA), hops (such as the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop) and my own personal giveaways and other blog giveaways. I don't usually gain many followers through memes when I have participated. But some say it works for them. Some good memes would be In My Mailbox Monday, Feature and Follow and Waiting on Wednesday. I normally stick to hops and giveaways. You can find giveaways and hops by visiting other blogs by looking in their sidebar for buttons and announcements. Go to some of the blogs in their blog roll and see what's going on there. You have to search out other blogs to get info.
- Be you ~ Be yourself. Don't try to imitate another blogger. Just let people know the authentic you and if they like that person they'll stick around. But if you try to copy other bloggers in design, concept, etc, eventually you will burn out. It's always easier and better to be you even on a bad day, then it is to be someone else on a good day.
- Guest posting/ blogging: Try asking other bloggers if you can guest post on their blog and vice versa. It's a great way to gain new followers, get a new perspective on your blog for a change and it's nice way to get a break from posting even if only for a day.
- Bonus Tip: * Balance* ~ When it comes to blogging there is no such thing as balance for me. It's all about prioritizing. To say balance would mean making all things equal or giving each thing equal time. And that doesn't work for me because that's not how I live. I have a list of what's important and what goes at the top of my list. Blogging is not at the top of my list. At the top of my list is God, my family and my writing career. So I make decisions based on that and I fit blogging in where it needs to go. If I can't do something related to blogging, I just don't do it. I've found if you take a break and let your followers know your going on hiatus, they'll respect that and most will jump right back in where you left off once you return. So don't stress about it. And don't forget to enjoy yourself. Blogging should be fun.
Do you have any practical advice, tools or tips to share for blogging?