Okay, here are the last of my “dos and don’ts” I promise.
When writing a post take your time. If you’re like me and you don’t have a lot of time at one sitting become friends with that “Save Draft” button. It’s not a race. In taking your time you’ll be able to choose the right words, proof read, edit, edit, and edit some more. I hate my own typos. Drives me nuts. And what I’ve found to be the number one preventer of typing and grammatical errors is editing and taking my time. I use Google as a spellcheck constantly. If you’re not sure how to spell a word or what the correct usage is, stop for a second, go to a new tab, and check it out before proceeding. It’s just a good habit to get into. Also, you should know, if you hit publish and you didn’t mean to, either you didn’t proof read it first or you just happened to catch a typo after hitting publish, you can always come back in and change it. However, in people’s readers, where they’re subscribed to you and read it there instead of clicking over to your site? It will forever be in the reader. You can’t take that back. So, be sure.
Also the all-star bloggers tell you to post something everyday. That’s a lot, people. Especially if you have a life outside of this little screen. I don’t manage that most of the time. But I will say, when I have done that or come close I have seen my visitor statistics rise. People come to visit to see your new content. Then they come back the next day and love what you’ve written. You’ve now trained them to come back daily for fresh entertaining content. Or you’ve just made friends and they want to see what’s going on today in your life. If you don’t keep them waiting you’ll see more and more response. Even if all you can muster on a particular day is a picture and a one line caption. People feel like they’re getting a drop-in visit and it makes ‘em smile.
Once you start blogging start looking around at other’s blogs. And leave a comment. Even if you don’t know them, they will want to know you read. They love to see your comment! I know I do, and I know you will, so be the commenter! Don’t feel like you have to respond to every comment, but know that if you click through to their blog and leave them a comment, they will feel loved and they will make it a point to come back. It’s the whole “treat others the way you would want to be treated” deal. Yes, it even counts here.
And here’s a “just me” suggestion. Be real. Show your pretty edited pictures, your happy faces, and scrubbed up kids – we like pretty. But show us your crumbs, your down times, your spilled milk too. Because we don’t want to feel like we’re the only ones out here having these kinds of days. And the biggest bonus to this, is that you’ll find comfort, camaraderie and encouragement in return. People feel closer to you and want to get to know you more if they feel like they have something in common with you. And if your life is always roses (or sunflowers as the case may be), not very many people, when they’re being completely honest, identify with that.
Do you have to have Twitter and Facebook if you have a blog? No. But I’ve discovered if you want to grow your blog, your audience, your friends here, you might want to consider those things. And it’s not just for the money that you may desire to grow your blog. If you have a sphere of influence (and we all do) then you’ll want to reach out to those readers. Do you have a special needs child? Are you fostering/adopting? Are you moving into mission work? Starting homeschooling for the first time? You’ll want to connect with like-minded folks. Twitter and Facebook are 2 great places to do just that. You don’t have to use your own name, you don’t have to connect with long lost loves from high school. Just start a page, use your blog name, and go from there.
As I told you in the first post in this series I had no 5 year blogging plan I was just bebopping along minding my own little business when I noticed that friends were running ads on their blogs. I discovered you can make money from blogging. Okay, so I probably will never be the mega blogging sensation like The Pioneer Woman, but anything is good right? I had friends who were running ads on their sidebars. Like Blogher. I went to those friends and asked questions, researched Blogher and got on their waiting list. Then one day they contacted me that they had a spot open and told me exactly what I needed to do to work with them. The more traffic (or people who come to my blog) I get, the more money I receive. Just like ads on the tv. No click-throughs on the ads required, just show up, read my content, and I get credit for it. They cut me a (very small, right now!) check every couple of months. At first it was barely worth the drive to the bank to deposit it, but as time went on I saw more traffic and was able to afford my own haircuts every couple of months. I then learned they offered a review program. Companies go to BlogHer, ask for bloggers who fit the profile of people they are trying to reach, offer a product for review in return for a product giveaway to my readers and a compensation fee for my writing. I was in. And I was thrilled. There are a lot of bloggers in the network so you don’t get every campaign that comes through, but I like that opportunity when it arises. It is more difficult because you have rules, regulations, and deadlines. It’s work. But it’s work I love and very much worth it for me.
I’m just now starting to branch out as well. I’m running a VistaPrint ad over there on my sidebar. I asked them for a sample of their product so that I can blog with integrity and tell you what I think about it. As soon as I order something, you can be assured I will review it for you! I’ll be adding more ad space on my sidebar soon (think: billboards of the blog world) and am praying in the direction of making more money at this.
One of the first things I would tell you to do when you set up your blog and desire to make money is go to StatCounter (they pay me nothing for this promotion, by the way, I just use them for free and like them) and set up a code on your blog. It will begin tracking your traffic. You’ll need to know this once you begin to pursue making money. One of the first things advertisers want to know is how many page loads per month you have. And how long you’ve been blogging. So, start blogging, start making friends, and be patient. The content is the most important thing: your integrity and friendship are the keys, and the money and fame will follow (or so I hear!).
Even with 5 humongous posts on getting started blogging I still didn’t scratch the surface of all there is to know. My suggestion is jump in, ask questions, and make Google researching your constant companion. You can learn anything you want to know, you just have to have the desire. And by the way, when you get all set up please come back and share with me your new home in the blogasphere. I’d love to come visit!
If you haven’t been following this series, be sure to catch Part 1 (How I Got Where I Am), Part 2 (Decide Who You Are), and Part 3 (The Technical Side of Getting Set Up), and Part 4 (What To Do and What Not To Do).