Top Ten Tips For New (Book) Bloggers
Learn more and check out the TTT schedule.
Learn more and check out the TTT schedule.
It's intimidating to step into the world of book blogging. I remember just trying to observe what other blogs did and figure out what I was "supposed" to do. The truth is..there aren't any set rules. It's your blog. Sure, there are obvious etiquette types of things that have been developed and "suggested practices" but really..there are no black and white rules or formulas to blogging. I've learned that for sure. So here are my tips, which are similar to what I covered in my Letter To My Young Blogging Self.
1. Be Yourself. Ok that sounds like a no-brainer but the happiest I've been in my blogging life is when I stopped trying early on to replicate what I saw popular blogs doing and just DO ME. And I have to say that the thing I get most about my blog is not about writing the best reviews, or having the most followers -- it's that people get a clear sense of who I AM as a person and see my passion flow through everything. Just be yourself and your blog will be a lot more fun for YOU to keep on doing.
2. Give yourself a chance to get ahead: The one thing I wish I would have done is read and reviewed a few books and drafted up some other posts so I had a month or so worth of content before I officially started. THAT way, I could have some in reserve for when I am reading slower and I can just get a head. Also, it's nice to not start out trying to furiously read and review. I'm STILL playing the catch up game 2 years later.
3. Choose a blogging platform carefully: Before you start your blog, create accounts on the two major platforms -- Wordpress and Blogger. There are pros and cons to each and you'll want to figure out which one you like to work with. Each platform is not for every person. But let yourself experiment and find that out before you have 1.5 years worth of content and comments and followers and decide that another platform would have suited you better. I speak this out of experience after using WP for work for a year and realizing how much better I liked it than Blogger. BUT I do love aspects of Blogger. Best to test it yourself.
4. Create your own blogging manifesto: Whether you do this on your blog like I did or write it down in a journal or just think it in your head, do it. It will help you keep focus always on what you want your blog to be. Your blog will change and grow along the way but having a blogging manifesto helps you keep perspective.
5. Find one really great blogging friend (or two or threeee or four) that you can trust: I don't know what I'd do without my very best blogging friends. It's nice to have people remind you that you rock, let you rant, support you and encourage you. I would have quit LONG ago without people I trust and that support me.
Just a few of my ladies <3 Photo credit goes to ANNA!!
6. Don't get caught up in the numbers game: Easier said than done, I know. But honestly, the minute I stopped obsessing...I became happier. It's easier to look at other people's numbers and feel discouraged but it's not going to help you. Don't get me wrong, I do track my stats, but I don't let any number tell me the worth of my blog. I let the sweet comments, emails from readers who read books I recommended and thanks from others remind me of my blog's worth.
7. Comment, comment, comment: I have been a slacker with commenting lately due to wedding planning stress but I cannot tell you how important this is. I met so many bloggers this way leaving GENUINE comments without saying HEY COME FOLLOW ME. They appreciated my comment and came back to check out my blog on their own. It create community, it helps you meet others with similar taste and it just keeps the blogging community going. I'll say it again...comments are a book blogger's daily dose of affirmation!
8. Let yourself take breaks: I am not ashamed of the breaks I let myself take. Sometimes I just don't feel like stressing about a post so I don't for a day OR sometimes I take a few weeks off (ughh oops yes that was recently) and I don't let myself feel bad. My life gets in the way and my blog will still be here. It took me a LONG time to let my "blogging hair down" and not get so uppity about not posting. Now everyone is different with how long they are ok with NOT posting so that's up to you..but if you need a break..dooooo it. I promise you you'll get burnt out if you keep fighting it.
9. Venture out from your blog: GO to book events, meet authors, hang out with other bloggers, find/start a book club! THOSE are the moments that make you realize that this community is about more than you sitting behind your computer and writing reviews. I can't even tell you how many book events I've been to and how many times I've hung out with bloggers and each time it just makes me love this all the more!
10. Get a Twitter and use it: THAT is how I became a part of this community! It keeps me connected, I have amazing conversations, I meet new people, I get traffic from tweeting posts (not spamming...there's a difference!). It can be a time suck but you'll eventually learn how to balance your time...and sometimes you still won't after 2 years :P
For more advice, check out my Lessons My Mom Taught Me That Help Me With My Blog.