6/22/12

Top Five Blogging Tips I Learned at Haven Yesterday

If you've been following me you will know that I am attending an amazing conference in Atlanta Georgia this week for DIYer's who also happen to be bloggers. The conference was conceptualized and implemented by an amazing team of blogger's who felt that a conference in this genre of blogging would be a wonderful place for like-minded and passionate DIYer's to come together and celebrate the spirit of DIYing.

While at the conference I learned some amazing and incredibly valuable information from the various workshops I attended. So I decided to put together a list of what I came away from the conference learning.


So without further ado...


MY Top 5 Tips on DIY Blogging


1. The number one thing I came away from the conference with is that photography is HUGE in attracting and keeping readers. Why...because we as bloggers, and well let's be honest here, our species like it or not, are visually driven beings and we enjoy looking at interesting and pretty pictures. Many times a new visitor to a blog will simply skim the photos before reading any of the content. If the photos are colorful, appealing, nicely presented, but most of all easy to see (not being small and unclear), then prospective readers (followers) will stay around to read the blog post. So if you have a good camera, but have no real background in photography, it is incredibly helpful to take an Intro to Photography Class and learn how to use your camera as well as the basic of photography. Even the smallest bit of information with regard to taking photos will reap you much in the way of increased viewership. 

I once read that home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to go back to.

2.  The second point that was drilled into our heads was the importance of content. Your blog content needs to be interesting, informational and engaging. So how do you achieve these goals? First off you need to be engaged yourself...you need to be passionate about what you are writing about, but mostly you need to be blogging because it is something you do for you! I know you have heard this time and time again, and the reason why is because it is true. This is because if you are not portraying your authentic self, people will sense this and not feel drawn to read you. So don't hide who you are but embrace it...write about things that not only expresses the love for you have for DIYing, but make sure to expose your true personality in the process. Most of all write in the voice you know best...your own.



Also "keeping it real" will let your readers and prospective followers know that you are not perfect...just like they are not perfect. And not every last thing you do will go down exactly as planned. Let your readers know what problems or pitfalls you've run into, how you were able to troubleshoot, and what you would do different the next time around. This makes you and your blog relatable as well as approachable to your readers, and your honesty will provide far more valuable information than any straight forward tutorial could.


Finally...try from time to time, to leave the end of your post with a question for your readers to respond to. Readers like to give their opinions, and the invite for their input opens the door for your readers to not only feel engaged, but the invite is there for them to leave the comments we all love to read.




3. Limit the linky parties you join. Only select the parties that give you good numbers in the way of being referring sites and try to only link up the posts that you think are worthy of a feature. Now I will admit, it  is sometimes very hard to know what is going to be a hit and what will be a dud. I've had things that I've linked up on a whim like asking folks to help me choose 5 photos out of a selection of twenty, to submit as a project for my photography class. Out of the blue the next week when I went to link up to the same party, I was in shock to see my frantic last minute request for help had ended up as a featured link from the previous week's party. But what happens when you link up to too many parties is that this cuts into your page ranking. Your page rank indicates the importance of your page to search engines. I am no expert here on how all of this works, but apparently when you link out, in effect you are actually reducing the importance of the page you are trying to promote. In addition (and I've been guilty of this) if you have a bunch of links hanging on to your page, your post could actually end up looking like a SPAM to search engines. Now with that being said, linky parties are a great way for newbies to get themselves some great exposure. I personally had this experience when I linked up to my second or third party, I received my first feature which drove my pageviews through the roof, along with my readership. So I did link up a lot in the beginning and I continued to link up, and as I linked up I continued to get featured on various blogs. But little did I know as my blog grew in pageviews and followers, I was in fact relinquishing some of the importance of my blog's pages to search engines, thus lowering the probability of them being found during a prospective reader's Google search.


4. Since we are on the topic of search engines, do your best to title your blog post to reflect exactly what your post is about. For example...if you are posting a recipe for a healthier carbonated beverage, you should title your post something like this..."Healthy Carbonated Drink Recipe" or "Low Calorie Soda Recipe".  This is a phrase that would be used by someone trying to find out how to make a healthy carbonated drink. The search engine's Ro(bots) will pick up on the key words in the search and then launch their search to find related topics. If this seems to generic for your style, you can go ahead and come up with something more colorful and kitshy like  "Fizz Ed" and then add in brackets {Carbonated Drink Recipe}. This way the search engine's "bots" will still key in on what your post content talks about.
Also when writing posts for your blog, use hyperlinks to other posts in your own blog. This keep readers at your blog as they click here and there to read previous related posts. You can either refer to other posts in the content like I mentioned, or simply add at the end of your post something like...
"If you like this recipe you may also want to check out my vitamin packed Shrimp and Strawberry Salad."

One other thing you can do is to re-name your photos with the simple title of your blog post. So instead of  "img 2345.jpeg" being the name of your photo...it will be "Healthy Carbonated Drink Recipe". This is extremely important now that we are in the era of "Pinterest" and Google images so that your photos can be easily tracked back to your blog for the credit.

5. And the final tip...HAVE FUN!!! Like I stated earlier...blog for your own reasons and don't be afraid to not be 100% perfect or to let your real self shine. Make sure you maintain your integrity by staying true to who you are and to be honest. Don't copy the blogging styles others because it will NEVER come across the same on your blog, it will only come through as not being very authentic. Also it will not help you to establish your own voice. Give your readers credit, if they are smart enough to follow you then what else can I say?

Have a great day!!!

5 comments:

  1. Great tips my friend!
    So often as I read new blogs I often want to send them a note asking them to increase the size of their photos!
    dee dee

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  2. Thanks - very helpful to new bloggers.


    Rosemary

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  3. Thank you so much for the tips Barbara! I am fairly new to this "world" but am having fun learning new ways to improve my blog. The mechanics of it keep me entertained. lol

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  4. I just found your blog yesterday and I am reading backward!! I LOVE what you have to say!!
    However...since you are listing "blog tips"...... the truncated blogs are impossible for some of us to read. When you have a slow upload system, having to jump back and forth to read the blog is too much trouble. Also, when you "click to read more", and then try to go back to the original page, it most often goes to the top of the page and then you have to wait for the remainder of the page to load.
    I am in NO way trying to cause trouble....I'm just stating how it is for me and why I can't read truncated blogs. I understand that the theory is make it harder for the spammers, but it also makes it a problem for the ones of us who have older systems that are already slow. It would be nice if this comment could reach a LOT of bloggers instead of you having to take the brunt of my complaints, but no-one else ever asks....
    Many thanks and blessings to you and your lovely family,
    J

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    Replies
    1. J...Thank you so much for your input in stating your concerns about truncated blogs. I never knew that some folks may have difficulty loading the page. I started to truncate my posts but then quickly abandoned the idea when I got some feedback that most of my readers preferred the original format.

      Hopefully your comment will reach more bloggers. In the meantime I hope you continue reading the blogs which you enjoy and wishing you a wonderful week!
      XO Barbara

      Delete

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