04 August 2011

Ten Tips I'd Give my "New Blogger" Self

For Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writers Workshop. Writing Prompt #5.) If you were to go back to the moment you decided to start a blog, what ten blogging tips would you share with yourself?

I am actually a mere five days away from my three-year blogiversary.
Three years isn't really that long in the greater scheme of things. But somehow it seems as if three years blogging is forever.
Three years recording every wonderful and terrible moment. Three years snapping everything that moves - and plenty that doesn't. Three years falling in love with writing. Three years pouring out my soul in cyberspace. 

I have 598 posts on my dashboard, which averages out to about 200 posts per year. Seems reasonable, right?
There's nothing in that figure to suggest a blogging addiction.
But ask my husband. Ask my kids.

My three-year-old has been blogged about his entire life.
I've been The Press with camera clicking at every party, playdate and pancake breakfast.
There's not much that has escaped unblogged.
Even my dirty dishes and unmade beds have been photographed in the interest of "keeping it real".

And after three years I have a blog I am proud of.
598 stories written about all the insignificant and earthshaking moments that have made up the past three years of my life. Somehow I never seem to run out of things to write about.

Three years ago I barely knew what a blog was.
Some weird hybrid between a diary and a website.
I certainly never knew how important blogging would become to me or what a wonderful community of women I would discover.
So what advice would I give my blog-novice self, if I could?

Ten Tips I Would Give My new-Blogger Self About Blogging

1. Blogging is addictive. 
You have been warned. You will find yourself hunched over the computer with icy fingers when you could be curled up on the couch by the fire. You will find yourself endlessly clicking onto your blog to see if you have any new followers/comments/pageviews. This can become quite irritating to the people you live with. You will need to watch that and put in some boundaries. Keep it all in perspective. There's no point having an amazing blog about motherhood if your kids are stuck in front of TV all the time so you can blog about them.  

2. Your kids will get sick of being photographed. 
They will call you a Japanese tourist and moan when you pull out the camera. Photograph them anyway. One day they will thank you.

3. Your mother-in-law will read your blog.
She will see the unmade beds and unwashed dishes you photographed in an effort to keep things real. Don't worry. She has to love you. You gave her three beautiful grandchildren. When she sees the photos of your ironed tea towels she may fall off her swivel chair. You might want to post some kind of health warning.

4. It would help if you thought up good nicknames for your kids before you start blogging. 
It will be a real pain to go back and change every single name on every single post when you've already been blogging for six months and then decide you want to protect their privacy (so future employers can't read about their tantrums in the Mall and weirdos can't stalk them).

5. Blogging is a conversation. 
If no-one is reading you're just talking to yourself. Its not like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams - "If you blog it they will come..."
No. If you want readers (and even better, commenters) for a two-way conversation, you'd better get out there and read/comment on some other blogs, make yourself known. If you want a blog friend, be a blog friend. Trust me. Its as simple as that.

6. Nobody likes a know-it-all blogger. 
If you make out you are an expert who has it all together, you will turn people off, so you might as well just go ahead and admit your faults and flaws from the beginning. You know you're not a perfect mother/housekeeper/wife. Your kids know it, your husband knows it, your friends know it. You'll be a whole lot less anxious when the rest of the world knows it and you won't have to worry that someone will blog-recognise you when you're in the middle of dragging a screaming toddler out of the mall. Admitting your faults (and laughing about them) is what helps people love you and relate to you. I mean, we've all dragged screaming toddlers from the mall, haven't we?

7. Find your voice and be yourself. 
You will not be everybody's cup of tea. But if you discover who you are as a writer, a person and a blogger then your blog will have a uniqueness that attracts readers who like you for you. The more you write the better you'll become. Practise makes perfect. So keep practising.

8. There's a cool fun blog thing called Linky Parties. Or "Memes". 
Linkies are lovely. They give you ideas for material and help you put your blog out there. But don't feel like you have to jump on every meme-wagon. If you're not a cook/crafter/DIYer forget about writing posts for Tasty Tuesday/Creative Space/DIY Club. Find what fits you and your blog's focus; You can find linkies for pretty much anything if you take time to google. Develop relationships and connections around your strengths and interests (maybe even start your own linky - how about a Book Club...?) 

9. Don't worry about trying to be a super-blogger. 
Don't compare your follower numbers to others. If you get obsessed with numbers and stats it will steal your blogging-joy. You will become discouraged when other bloggers seem to be more successful than you. Remember why you started your blog. You love to write, create, share fun ideas, encourage other women - do what you do and do it well. The numbers will take care of themselves. 

10. The best part of blogging is the relationships you form with other bloggers. 
Yours is not the only great blog out there. Other bloggers are awesome too. Go looking for them and actually read them. Don't expect "big" bloggers to connect with you. They might. But you are more likely to get a response from those who don't get 143 comments per post. So find some bloggers around your level and befriend them. Comment regularly. Make your comments meaningful - show you have actually read what they have written. 

In no time you will have a bunch of wonderful blog friends - your very own online community. Who knows? Maybe you will even meet up with some of them. Have coffee, dinner, even host them for a weekend. You might find they are there for you when you are struggling. They might send you care packages in the post, bake you cupcakes for your daughter's birthday, send you cards with hand-written verses. All these things are possible when you take the time and make the effort to be a blog friend.

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Esther Bunning said...

Thanks SImone! Great advice for a newbie...been avoiding the whole bloggie thing but i can see a day when it may have to come, so your insight is very valuable. : ) Keep up the fab work!

Alison said...

I love all your tips and advice!

3 years is a long time in the blogosphere, so congratulations for sticking it out. I just wrote a post about hoping I'll still be blogging in 6 months (I've only been doing this just over 4 months), so 3 years? Real commitment.

Here's to many more years!

PS: love the photos.

jacksta said...

great post Simone. Totally agree with all your points.

Anonymous said...

Great tips, I've saved your post so I can come back and look at all your other blogging tip posts :)

Penny said...

I loved your tips, my favourite is the one about leaving your kids watching tv while you blog about motherhood :) I also adore it when blogs "keep it real" they are the ones that I frequent the most.

Sima J said...

Great tips n tricks for new players :-) Love your blogs :-) *blog loving*

Cat said...

Awesome tips and advice - honestly a year ago when I started blogging I so wish I'd come across your blog - *sigh* I wonder how different things would have been on my blog? - however, I can but only improve . . . right?
I love that in every photo of you - there is this huge infectious loving smile ::))

Renee said...

Love your tips - I always have - I totally stalked your blog when I first started and I was so encouraged by all of your kind and positive comments. Has been so lovely to have met such an amazing person through my journey into blogging - I hope that I have the talent to last 3 years in the blogosphere - with all the effort that goes into it it would seem such a shame to ever stop right? ;-) Love the pics with you in them, one thing I don't have many pics of is me with the kids (and hubby for that matter!)

Pamela said...

Love the post! The tips are real and dead on!

count it all joy said...

Simoney, I just adore you. This post is an example of why! Such great advice and an insight into your generous nature. Meredy xo
p.s. I tried to link the book club but couldn't get it to work...will try again.

Unknown said...

Great list, Simone! I just love your willingness to lay it all out there. You are a rare find! Keep up the great blog! And happy 3rd blog anniversary!

PaisleyJade said...

This is sooo good Simone! Just love all your tips and love knowing you in real life too!! xoxo

Deb @ inner compass designs said...

fantastic tips - I am finally launching my blog next week (feel sick just thinking about taking the plunge) and just love all your posts for newbies.

Rebecca said...

Just brilliant as usual! Laughed at the mother in law bit, funny :)

Kim Lehnhoff said...

These are wonderful tips for newbies and blogging veterans. It's so easy to get caught up in the numbers - but blogging is really about the people, and the relationships you can form with others across the world. We're all neighbors, talking over the fence...or the pond.

Unknown said...

What awesome tips! I think 3 years is definitely a long time in bloggerville. I'm glad you stayed! I bet you have "lost" some blogging friends you started out with 3 years ago. I love these pictures! I agree that no one likes know-it-all bloggers or mother-in-laws making comments about dirty dishes in the pictures! :)

Leonie said...

3 years! That's commitment! (or addiction :P) I can definitely say that the only family member that reads my blog is my hubby!! No one knows I have one except for all you lovely folk who drop by! I wanted a free forum without raised familial eyebrows or questioning, etc etc. Ohh the freedom! And I love this community and all the support within it. A truly inspirational bunch of people you all are! :)

The Blonde Duck said...

9 and 10 are so inspiring! It's so hard when so many bloggers out there are all about self promotion--have any tips for intregating Twitter/ Facebook? I'm just easing into that area...

Suzanne said...

I really enjoyed this post. You never came off sounding like a know it all and that's truly refreshing!

I too have been blogging for almost 3 years, with different blogs, (wow how things have evolved in the blogosphere!) and it's my home on the web!

Anyway, found you on SITS, wanted to say hello! :)

kisatrtle said...

We both chose the same prompt...i loved your advise.

Lisa said...

Loved your tips. Wondering if my mother in law may read my blog has made me a little shy. I do agree though it's kind of like the kindergarten rules, be nice and others will be nice too. I've just started being better about commenting so I can build my cyber friend network. Thanks for the post.

Sandy and Anna said...

Hi Simoney,
I put up a link to our Earth and Stars party. Thank you so much for your kind words. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you.

Tiffany said...

FABULOUS POINTERS! I have a hard time not being a know it all. I come from a long line of them. :/ Can't wait to keep up on your blog!

Unknown said...

I love these photos! I hope, 3 years from now, my blog is as successful as yours is now. ♥

Jessica said...

Such great tips and advice! Three years, huh? That seems like forever in blogging, but I'd imagine the time just flew by.

I agree with everything on your list, especially the whole blogging is addictive thing. It is, if you let it. I am learning to be more balanced in my blogging v. real life, but it's tough.

I'm glad to have found your blog through Mama Kat's Workshop and look forward to reading more from you!

Good Company said...

Great tips and truth. Thanks for the links, too! I had a book blog, but didn't want a blog for every interest I had, so Georgia Girls was created with a couple of other gals. Google Reader was supposed to save me some surfin' time. It doesn't. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Cam said...

great post and good advice. i love that you added the extras at the end. i'll be checking them out. :)

Mika said...

Nicely put :)

mmm I think I would include "beware that your time management skills may fly our of the window". (she types, when she should be finishing off the lunches and getting the kids off to school - whoops!)

Cheryl Lage said...

Okay, you are officially one of my new favorite bloggers!

Was popping over to thank you for popping by my blog, and here I am excited to read yours (all the way from NZ!) voraciously! We share VERY similar perspectives, and that's ALWAYS reassuring to discover. :)

Thank you so much for popping by Twinfatuation today...I hope you will come by often! I am a happy new follower!

alicia said...

Just wow! I've been out of the loop for a while now and this is a fab inspiring post to give me a kick in the fanny.

Catching the Magic said...

Great post, as always Simone! I saw that prompt on Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop and actually thought of you! I'm glad you picked it and did it proud. Your tips and advice are fabulous.

Unknown said...

As I was popping in for your weekly grateful I noticed your top 5 posts on your side bar. And here I am.

I LOVE this post. So honest, raw and refreshing. I think that I like you from just reading this!

What a wise gal you are Simone ;) xx

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous post! Love your blog x

Jamie Swan said...

Yup, thanks to you I'm slowly building a blog I actually like and know something about. A true inspiration, you are!

Siobhan said...

Hi!! I'm a new reader. I think I am in love with you! Well, mostly just this post, but you get my drift. I blogged for years and years, before I became a mum. I've decided to come back to it, but I can see blogging has changed so much. This was a really good way to re-introduce myself to modern day blogging. Thank you! x

Nomie said...

Simoney how does blogging work..I want to be a stay home mom and do something similar.

Len A. said...

This is a wonderful post! I love your site! I'm a newbie in the blogging world so I need all the help, tips and tricks that I can get. Thanks for sharing this! :)


Unknown said...

Thanks for this post! I agree with it all! In my family, only my husband knows about my blog, 'coz I really didn't want my family and friends' 'friendly' input!! For that reason, I'm not keen on putting photos of my family on my blog. I'm wondering what are the chances of them finding out? Also, my friend already lectured me about putting pics of my sons on my facebook page coz she doesn't think anything on the internet can be safe...she thinks all those photos may be used an a child trafficking website....I'm not sure how to address this! What do you think?

Simoney said...

This is a really good question, and worth thinking about, for sure.
I am personally of the mind that as long as the photos you post of your kids don't have their full names linked to them and aren't of them without any clothes on, or in "suggestive" poses, it should be safe.
A know a friend of mine who would crop her photos before uploading them, so as to not use any full faced photos of her kids. later on she changed her mind and decided it was fine.
I use aliases for my kids' names - mainly so that future employers can't google them in years to come and read up on their childhood naughtiness.
I think as long as you set your facebook page to the highest level of privacy (i.e. only FRIENDS, and also that the only people you accept are people you actually KNOW) then I am sure they will be safe.
I think the biggest risk to children on the internet is probably from other children by way of cyber-bullying, and I think that as long as you are sensible (i.e. no naked photos, no full names) you should be FINE.

The Domesticated Princess said...

These tips are great and so true! I've only been blogging for a few months, but I wish I had read this on day one instead of learning these on my own. I especially like your nickname tip because I decided not to use my children's real names for privacy purposes, but I didn't think about how those posts might embarrass them in the future. I found your blog when searching for social media buttons, but I am going to follow because of this post!

Bonny @ thedomesticatedprincess.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

Hi! I'm a newbie blogger and really liked reading your tips - and hey I am commenting! I really need to stop checking those stats. as I'm not getting much done, but somehow it is so fascinating!? hopefully it will pass...

Fretty Anggeni said...

I just started on my blog, and when i read your post, it just keep me wanted to going on. Really love every seed and point that you said :)

Unknown said...

Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog on the 'weekend rewind' and you have a new fan. I've been blogging about 18 months now and although not quite as long as you I was nodding my head from top to bottom. I love it too xxx

My Bashful Life said...

Love these blogging tips. I think I began blogging for the sense of community. Your blog is great and I love your friend to friend style of writing. So glad I came across you.

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