Life & Happenings

6 Tips and Tricks for Starting a Blog

Over the past couple of months I’ve gotten emails asking me advice about blogging. You want advice? Okay, sure. I’ll do my best to deliver. I’ll be the first to admit it though – I’m no blogging guru. I may seem to “have it together” but blogging is hit and miss ninety-nine percent of the time (for me at least).

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It can be slightly overwhelming when you’re new to blogging. So many people are blogging all the time and it feels like you have to keep up with them. Well, don’t be insane. I tried doing it and I failed. I wrote every day (win!) but the quality of my writing went downhill. A lot. There were lots of posts that talked about nothing in particular. I look back and I question why I even bothered hitting the ‘publish’ button. Oh, that’s right..because all the other cool kids were 😉 Don’t get sucked into writing all the time. If you have something to say then that’s great, but don’t force your writing. People can tell be when you’re being genuine or not.

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This links to the ‘quality’ thing I mentioned. We are human. We know that life isn’t sunshine and roses all the time. Things happen. You flunk an exam, you lose your keys, you can’t remember the pin to unlock your phone; these are things that I have done before. My point is that we don’t want to hear the ‘sugar coated’ version of your life. We are here to support you. We aren’t going to judge you or ridicule you. I’ve been in the blogosphere for over three years and some of the best advice I have ever received have been from my fellow bloggers. Seriously. There are some amazing people out there. You just have to be brave enough to let them in.

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The first things I judge a blog on is 1) layout, 2) their ‘about me’ page and then 3) the actual blog content. Don’t ask me why, I’ve always done it. I’m a blog-snob. I admit it. I bet I’m not the only one who does it, just the only one who’s brave or stupid enough to say it. Your ‘about me’ page should represent yourself and give readers information about your blog. It should be unique and something that you love. It’s okay to spend hours on your ‘about me’ page. I know I didn’t, but I should have. I have seen so many creative pages and I’m jealous. I have a lot of work to do on my own “about me” page.

The layout of blogs is always something that gets me because I know nothing about layout. I just click on a template and that’s the end of it. No messing around with colors. No messing around with blocking. No messing around with titles or headers. Just a couple of clicks and it’s good to go. Cross my fingers and hope for the best. If you’re happy with the way your blog looks and sounds then that’s enough at the end of the day. If you’re doing something to please other people then what joy are you really getting out of it? Your blog is your space and it can be whatever you want it to be.

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No one likes the ‘invisible reader’ or ‘silent viewer’. Whatever you call them; I’m sure we all know who I’m talking about. You look at your stats page and see that people are looking at your posts on the daily, but where are the comments?! Where’s the recognition that you want? …Not here, that’s for sure! If you see a post and something resonates with you or if you want to answer a question posed to the audience then do it. Bloggers don’t ask questions for nothing! We are genuinely interested in you. So, dust off the keyboard and get to commenting!

Always leave your email address or web URL so they can find you; commenting on blogs (especially popular ones) usually generates traffic and you make friends! Everybody likes making friends! 🙂 I like a lot of posts, but I can have a bit of a brain freeze when it comes to writing a comment. If you’re like me then ‘reblog’ the post or share it on a social media account. Remember the phrase “sharing is caring”? That definitely applies in the blogosphere 😉

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If you follow blogs that have link-ups then do it too! There’s nothing stopping you from joining in on the fun! You might meet some new people, learn new facts about them and gain some new followers along the way. There’s nothing to lose. It’s honestly a win-win situation. You just have to do it!

Blogging challenges are a great way to get into a blogging routine…if you need one. I often do a challenge when I’m stumped on what to write about or if I need a push to start writing again. There are all different types of challenges; short, long and photo challenges. Google is amazing. I can guarantee that you will find a worthwhile blog challenge if you just take the time to search for it.

Having a feature on your blog is a good way of getting rid of writers block, too. I have several of my own, featured herehere and here. They’re a good way of catching up or just putting information out there. If they’re on specific days of the week then you’ll never be stuck for a blog post! All you have to do is sit down and write. Win!

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Blogging isn’t a “serious” thing for most of us. It’s just a way we can vent or talk about our daily lives in a fun and safe way. You don’t have to put all your details online. I kept my first and second blog relatively anonymous, but I outed myself when I gave this blog address to my friends. I love being able to come to this corner of the interweb and write until my heart is content. I find it to be extremely therapeutic. Blogging is about writing for yourself, so remember that and have fun! If you are having a bad day (or ten) then say so. Write about it and you’ll feel better afterwards. We’re human, we know that everything isn’t wonderful 100% of the time. This is a chance to unleash the real you, so don’t hold back!

Hopefully you have learned something from this post and that the ‘blog world’ doesn’t seem so scary 😉 We’re nice people really, and if anyone wants to do a guest post on my blog then let me know!

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  • Reply Darrica Jackson

    Great post! No matter how long a person has been blogging its nice to look back at the “basics” because sometimes we can forget about them. I totally feel you on the part where you were saying that at first you would just post anything just to put something up. I was like that as well. So glad to have found your blog! I look forward to connecting with you!

    November 15, 2014 at 6:58 pm
    • Reply Little Misadventures

      It really is good to go and think about what the basics of blogging are. Everyone has different basics but they all boil down to communication and capturing memories 🙂 I definitely wrote about anything and everything. Now I write about stuff that resonates with me…or about my life. It took me a while to realise that my blog wasn’t going anywhere. Haha. Glad you took the time to comment petal! Thank you so much! 🙂

      November 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm
  • Reply attemptingreality

    Loved this post and your advice! The layout elements you mentioned are exactly what I notice and look for in a blog. If I find a layout confusing, or if it requires me to click pictures/articles to read the posts, it’s unlikely I’ll be keen to explore. I prefer simple formats with inviting visuals and easy-to-read posts – like yours!

    November 15, 2014 at 9:02 pm
    • Reply Little Misadventures

      Thank you petal! I 100% agree with you! If things are too hard to find or hidden in a sidebar then I get a little frustrated with the blog :/ If I like their ‘about me’ then I’ll probably look past it and click on all the things to find their actual posts haha. I’m never happy with my layout! I swear I mess with it a couple of times a week! Haha. I like the layout of your blog too 🙂

      November 16, 2014 at 3:06 pm
      • Reply attemptingreality

        Thanks 🙂 I’m so rubbish with computers though and it continues to frustrate me. It’s like, I know what I want my page to look like, but I don’t have the technical skill to get there hahah

        November 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm
        • Reply Little Misadventures

          I know what you mean! I feel like I need to rope one of my graphic designer friends into designing me a layout 😉 I might do that one day this summer. Haha.

          November 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm
          • attemptingreality

            Hahaha well if they’re looking for other work, let me know 😉

            November 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm
          • Little Misadventures

            Haha I’m 90% sure they’re always looking for work 😉 They just graduated so they’re poor students haha I’ll be in their shoes in two years >.< Ughhhh.

            November 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm
          • attemptingreality

            Fair enough haha. You better make the most of it then! 🙂

            November 16, 2014 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply ramblingsfrommemyselfandi

    Great post and some brilliant advice! Like you, when I click on a blog for the first time the layout and vision is what I look for, it’s the blog USP. Clear and simple works best. I really don’t blogs where you have to click on buttons to view things!
    Love your view on ‘comments’ and fully agree! I do wonder who is looking at my blog!
    I use my blog to unleash my feelings, thoughts and sometime just to reminisce about life! I do have a private blog for things where I don’t want to share thoughts with the world, and I find having the public and private blogs works well.

    Victoria – This really is great and very useful, it might be worth adding this as a separate page?
    This is a wonderful blog and I really do enjoy reading it! I’m glad you have mentioned the England vs All Blacks score! 🙂

    November 15, 2014 at 9:28 pm
    • Reply Little Misadventures

      Same here! If I have to click on a million tabs or search through a side bar to find information then I am going to get frustrated. Haha.

      The comments things is a hard one. I don’t really mind the not commenting thing, but I would like to know exactly where people come from. A friend of mine has analytics that allows her to see which city the viewer is in, how long they stay on her blog for and what kind of device they use at the time. I think that’s pretty cool because then you could tailor some content to those viewers and the layout to the majority of devices that are being used as some themes show up better than others.

      I did have two blogs as well, but that was before I discovered that you can put passwords on posts and the like. I found that even though no one was reading my second blog (a few people being the exception) that I didn’t really have the motivation to update it. I haven’t had to do it yet, but if I have to rant about something that I don’t want the whole world knowing then I’ll just slap a password on the post before I hit publish. That is one feature that I like about WordPress that I believe isn’t associated with Blogger. I feel like we have a lot more control over who does or doesn’t see our posts.

      I might just do that! 😀 Thanks!

      November 16, 2014 at 3:20 pm
      • Reply ramblingsfrommemyselfandi

        Oohh the information geek is me is loving the idea of an analytics finding out the city, time and device, can you find out more details about it?! 🙂

        My second one is just me downloading thoughts, that I don’t want anyone to see. I like having the confidence that no one else can read it unless I let them!

        November 17, 2014 at 12:24 am
        • Reply Little Misadventures

          Haha I love it as well! My friend runs her blog through Blogger so I don’t know if it can be installed for a WordPress site. I’ll ask her what it is and see if I can find out more about it 😀

          Ah yeah, I get that. That’s what I use my draft folder for though haha. I’ve been thinking about making a second blog and having it completely anonymous or just creating a private blog 🙂

          November 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm
  • Reply Jessica Forrester

    This is great advice! Like you say, blogging is about having fun, but if you can help people out with it too, it’s an added bonus! I haven’t handed out my blog URL to any of my friends or family, so it’s nice to just escape and write for myself
    Good article 🙂

    November 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm
    • Reply Little Misadventures

      Blogging is definitely a lot of fun! I’ve been blogging for over three years so I have to love it. Haha. It is a great place to escape or just write out whatever is on your mind. I used to do that a lot before my blog went public with my full name and before my friends started reading it. I don’t regret it at all either. It was definitely time 😀 Thank you petal!

      November 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply sydsugarbabe

    Perfect advice! Loved it and needed it, thank you!

    November 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm
  • Reply Y’all want advice? – very useful! | RamblingsfromMeMyselfAndI

    […] Y’all want advice?. – great advice for those new to blogging or having that mental block. A wonderful article from Kendee, thanks!!! […]

    November 17, 2014 at 12:30 am
  • Reply Linda

    Hi Little Misadventures,
    That is a nice piece you’ve written. Ive always read blogs on the go, usually prompted by a link on FB or Twitter. A new friend of mine is into it and I have found it more and more interesting. I agree with all your thoughts on the layouts as simple and easy is better.
    I have a lot in my head to put down on paper and keep putting it off, will I be tempted to start my own blog, time will tell…

    November 17, 2014 at 1:14 am
    • Reply Little Misadventures

      Blogging gets addictive! It is greaaaat…much better than a therapist 😉 Who needs one of those when you have hundreds of people reading your blog? Haha. Start a blog! You won’t regret it! 🙂

      November 19, 2014 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply Izzy

    Great advice 🙂
    The ‘silent reader’ is the worst, especially when you ask questions!!! Though i knowm yself its not always easy to have time to comment, sometimes you just want to read what the person has to say 🙂
    Fixing pages and templates is something i should get better at – hahaha. I make a change once a year and think its enough, but sometimes variation is key!
    I love your blog how it looks and what you write 🙂 so its a win-win blog 🙂

    November 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm
    • Reply Little Misadventures

      Exactly! That’s why I love your blog though! You ALWAYS ask questions at the end each post…and sometimes I answer them and sometimes I comment something that is completely irrelevant hahaha. I try.
      I always feel like my blog could be better…especially with graphic designer friends D: Makes me nervous to show them my blog cause I know they’ll be judging the layout first and foremost hahaha.
      Thanks petal! <3 I love everything about your blog so it is pretty win-win to me as well 😀

      November 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm

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