Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Be a Great Blogger!

While blogging is a lot of fun, it is rarely easy or "off the cuff". Creating and editing content, getting just the right pictures, planning post days/times, can take literally hours.  There are professional bloggers who actually make money with blogging. Kudos to those people because it is hard work!

When you create a blog, you are inviting the world into your life and into your corner of the internet. Creating such an open door is intimidating and can garner unwanted advice and feedback and you should be prepared to deal with those situations. Not everyone will be nice and polite.

So many times people tell me they want to start a blog and I highly encourage it. The world we live in now requires that we have an online presence for either social or professional reasons. If you want to start a blog or you are at least thinking about it, please do your research. You should also ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is your reader? 
  2. What is your voice/focus? What makes your voice/focus unique and interesting?
  3. Where is your reader?/Where are you physically located?
  4. Why do you want to start a blog (this is the same as a mission statement or statement of purpose)? Why will people want to read your blog?
  5. How will you reach readers? How will you retain readers?

My first blog "The Life and Times of a Southern Newlywed" was a learning experience for me. The design and formatting was hideous. The title of the blog had an expiration date. Honestly, how long can someone still call themselves a newlywed? I started the blog about six months before I got married and kept it for two years after. So the shelf life for that title was two and a half years. Not good. 

Secondly, "The Life and Times of a Southern Newlywed", all I talked about was myself and I overused the word "perfect" in At the time, we lived in Beaufort, South Carolina and a lady I knew in real life stopped me in town one Saturday and said something to the effect of "I love your blog but the "perfectness" makes me want to barf... Ugh. I can't with your perfect life." Bless her heart, she was just being honest and very forthcoming. It wasn't long after that I shut down, "The Life and Times of a Southern Newlywed" and started fresh. The goal was never to be "perfect" or to brag about what I had/have, etc. I started blogging to share my life and to connect with other like-minded people. 

At the time, I was hurt by her comments and the fact that she said 'barf' so freely, but I needed that feedback to grow and develop into a better blogger, person and friend. 

The launch of "The House of Q's" happened once we relocated to Savannah and the engagement, response and reader retention has tripled!

If you are considering starting a blog, please consider following these guidelines: 

Do be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken. 

Do have fun! Blogging is all about making connections with others! 

Do share events in your town and community especially for non-profits. Find a cause you are passionate about and help a non-profit spread the word. 

Do promote small businesses. Running a business is expensive. Small business owners usually have small marketing/pr budgets and welcome the chance to work with a blogger. 

Do ask a question at the end of your blog post. It engages readers and increases your site traffic.
Do partner with other, more experienced bloggers. They know the way and are willing to show you the map. :)
Don't post about controversial topics. There's enough hatred and arguing on the internet. Your blog should be welcoming and peaceful. This guideline is similar to holiday gatherings; you never discuss religion and politics with friends and family. Everyone has different views and opinions and sharing your own solves nothing and changes no one else's mind. 

Don't brag.   Enough said. No one likes to feel badly about themselves and we all know that comparison is the thief of all joy. 

Don't copy content from another blogger.  First, it's tacky. Second, it's stealing.  

Don't use pictures from other people/companies without a credit. I learned this one the hard way and had to pay $$$ for copyright infringement. 

Don't paint others in a bad light. Believe me, it makes you look worse than the person you are discussing. 

What are your ideas for starting a blog? Have you tried in the past with little or no success? What could you have done differently?  What ideas and strategies do you have for a successful blog? I would love to hear from you!

With warmth and love,

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

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