First of all, let me say I am no expert. I have been blogging since 2008 – I have been writing since 1958!
My friend, Barbara, and I had a neighborhood newspaper called The Manor Times. We gathered newsworthy stories, we typeset every word with a one-letter-at-a-time stamp set, and we distributed it for ten-cents a copy. I loved every aspect of doing the paper that hot, South Florida summer! When we weren’t playing publisher, we were down at the canal collecting minnows for our recycled restaurant-sized jar aquariums! I wonder whatever happened to Barb – perhaps she is a marine biologist having a big career! I hope so.
There is something about planting words and having others read them. It’s like word-gardening. Make rows and rows of words and wait to see what pops up!
If truth be told, my heart’s desire was to be the editor of a faith-based Better Homes & Gardens magazine. There is a standing joke between my co-worker and I — when I get bored, I instant message him and say, “Do you want to start a magazine?” He knows what that means and usually avoids me for a day or two!
Blogging has been an incredibly rewarding outlet for me. I have my magazine – it’s my blog and I can share ideas, my faith, a recipe or remedy, all within the “pages” of this little on-line space. I love it!
A lot of people, women, men, kids love their blogging outlet – blogs are like opinions, everyone has one!
Today, I want to share a few self-imposed blogging rules. These are my guidelines to having a successful blog. These have nothing to do with statistics or readership because I honestly don’t pay too much attention to either. (You can read about that here.)
Blogging Rules from an 8-year old (in blogging years):
- Know your reader. This doesn’t mean you must please all people all the time, it simply means get to know your reader and relate to them.
- Have a clear vision for your blog. If it’s to share family photos with your family – then showcase photos and family stories. If it’s to share your adoption story, then stay on topic. I knew I would have to change it up to keep myself from being bored but everything I post has to contain Hope, Heart, or Home. (It’s that magazine thing.)
- Find a theme or design that you like and keep it for at least a year; after a year, you can always say “I’m changing things around a bit and adding a few new pieces of furniture!” But, you don’t want to do that weekly or monthly – your readers will get confused. You want your readers to be comfortable around your place – you want them to familiarize themselves with a few clicks to your rooms and find their niche and favorite chair!
- Post on a regular basis. Have a schedule and stick to it. If I go to a blog and the last entry was a month ago, or heavens, two months ago? It is a definite turn-away. BE CONSISTENT.
- Keep your posts to a quick, three to five-minute read. One of the first things I do when entering a blog? I scroll the post to see how long it is. Too many words turn me off and away.
- Break up your post with lots of paragraphs – lots of white space. I call it ‘clean reading.’
- Please spell check. Pretty please with glitter on top.
- Images please, but not so many that it takes ten-minutes to load the page.
- Have a linkup schedule. If you are going to take the time to create a beautiful post, you surely want someone to read it! Find good linkups, which match your genre. Because I am a faith blogger, I find like-minded bloggers offering linkups.
- Linkup Protocol. Yes, there is such a thing and it is as follows:
a. Read your host’s post. Share your host’s post on social media. Hit “tweet” quotes. Comment on your host’s post. Thank your host for the linkup.
b. Visit the blog before and after you in the linkup. If you are parked in the number five spot? Then visit number four and number six. Read, comment, and share. This is the right thing to do!
c. Have the badge or linkup address in the blog post you are linking up. Linkup’s are a blogger’s friend – take advantage of them and practice good linkup protocol!
11. Comments. If someone takes the time to comment on your post? Reply. I have learned readers return to the post to see if you replied to their comment. It is disheartening to see your comment just dangling there all alone in space! But, let the reader see a response such as, “Thanks Susan for visiting today and I am very glad you were encouraged.” They feel the love. You get my drift!
12. On comments, if the person who commented has a URL with their name, by all means, return the visit.
13. Get over your fear of self-promotion. Share your own posts. Pin. Tweet. Share. IG. All of the above. Just Do It.
14. And, after all of the above is done? Be ready to come up with some new material for your next post!
P.S. I have a blogging pet-peeve. Blogs with music. The kind that chases you around each time you try to navigate to another page or section. Oh my word, silence the music, PLEASE!
Here’s a printable of these invaluable blogging rules!
Nancy Gladwin says
The consistency you model each week is really inspiring. I appreciate your tips and shout-outs each week. I may not always respond but I do appreciate you. Shared on Facebook, thanks for asking!
Thanks so much, Nancy!
I always said I was going to start my own publishing company which I would call “Majestic Saviour Publishing.” Maybe I could publish your magazine! 😛 Great tips. I too have realized how important it is to reply to individuals comments on my blog. I love the reciprocity I get back when I comment so I want that for my readers too. My first blog post was in 2000 but I only wrote two entries that year. So really I say started blogging in 2005, so I am 11 years old in blogging years!
Tara, I already have a Publishing Company!!! The Vine Publications!!!
As a baby ten month old blogger these tips are really helpful! I agree that things like link-up protocol and responding to comments is so important. I had no idea when I started how great it would be to connect with other bloggers. Now I need to work on a clearer vision.
Carly, so glad you came over to read this today! Vision? Start with your passion!
MaryLou Caskey says
Well done Susan, thanks for this! Do you host any linkups?
MaryLou, I do not know how!!! LOL
Sue Tell says
I’m with you. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and really enjoy it.
I’m still behind on technology though.
Could you explain link ups to me? Thanks.
Sue, linkup’s are bloggers who “host” a party, sort of. You link your post to them. Wednesdays are linkup rich. Go to my post “Confessions from an empty nest” and you will see linkup’s referenced at the very end of the post, click on them and go check them out. xo
You are one of the most consistent bloggers I know. We’ve both been blogging 8 years and while I appear to have run out of steam, you are doing great. I break #3 all the time as I try to find the exact theme I really love. I hope to get my MOJO back soon. It’s been too long.
I sent you an email, Barbie. THANK YOU.