True Confessions of an Amateur Blogger: What NOT to Do

Hello everyone!  Happy New Year!

As the second anniversary of my writer’s blog approaches (January 10th), I reflect back on what I have learned about blogging over the past two years.

My very first blog post was truly terrible.  At the time, I did not read blogs and had no clue what I was doing.  Everyone said that to be a writer, you needed to have an online presence, so I was going to have one.  I was going to use my blog to show people that I was reliable and professional.  Someone who was devoted to writing.  The only thing my 2016 blog posts showed was that I had no idea how to be a blogger.

Tip #1: Read extensively in your genre before starting a project.

boring 11 (4)My very first post was published on January 10, 2016.  Its title was so specific, who wouldn’t want to read it?  “First Writing Prompt for 2016.”  No visuals, no tags, no reason to click on it.  And, no one did.  My second blog post, also published on January 10, 2016, was titled “Writing Article for the New Year.”  It did as well as my first post.

Tip #2: Have an interesting title.

Tip #3: Have a featured image in the header.  It might inspire someone to click on your post.

The end of March/beginning of April 2016 was when I started making my titles more interesting.  Still, no one visited my blog.  I didn’t know what I was doing wrong or why no one wanted to read what I wrote.

In October 2016, I started regularly adding images to bodies of my blog posts, still no one outside of my family followed my blog.  And no one ever liked my posts.  It was so depressing.  I would carefully form my blog posts and then, to the best of my knowledge, no one ever read them.  I cannot begin to describe how badly I wanted to stop blogging.  But I didn’t stop.  Instead, I tried to figure out why my blog had been a graveyard for all of 2016.  And there were lots of good reasons.cricket 1From November 2016 through February 2017, I put images in the headers or bodies of my blog posts.  In March 2017, I got frustrated with how time consuming it was and stopped, only to give myself a good kick in the pants in April 2017 and start using images consistently.  In May 2017, I made it my personal goal never to publish a post without having a featured image in the header, and with the exception of “Inspiring Lines” (October 22, 2017), I have met that goal.

“Marketing Children’s Picture Books,” published on February 25, 2017, was the first blog post someone liked, and not just one, but two bloggers liked it.  I was over the moon.

What were some things that I did right in that particular blog post?

–        There was a featured image in the header.

–        The title was clear, but not boring.

–        There were multiple tags.

Tip #4: Use tags.  You have a better chance of coming up in the search engines.

url1Even though “Marketing Children’s Picture Books” got the most positive response I had ever gotten from a blog post, there was something I found visually displeasing about it: the web addresses.

That’s right.  I did not link back to the resources I wanted to share with my readers.  Instead, I stuck the web address into the blog post.  It looked bad.

You might be wondering why I did that if I didn’t like how it looked.  The truth is, I didn’t know how to insert a link, and I didn’t google how to do it.  I didn’t figure out how to insert a link until May 7, 2017 when I published “How to Create a Successful Blog.”

Tip #5: Link things.  Do not put the web address in the post.

Tip #6: Take time to learn about a medium before using it.

Tip #7: If you do not know how to do something, ask someone or search it online.

I hope this post has given you a good laugh.  If you’re new to blogging or are considering starting a blog, let my mistakes and past blog posts serve as an example of what not to do.

blog 4If you’re where I was at the start of 2017, posting without any followers, likes, or comments, don’t give up.  Getting started takes time, so use it to figure out how to make your blog better and more accessible to your target readership.  You have something worth saying.

Happy writing and happy New Year!

Katie

Tip Summary:

Tip #1: Read extensively in your genre before starting a project.

Tip #2: Have an interesting title.

Tip #3: Have a featured image in the header.

Tip #4: Use tags.

Tip #5: Link things.  Do not put the web address in the post.

Tip #6: Take time to learn about a medium before using it.

Tip #7: If you do not know how to do something, ask someone or search it online.

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