Twelve Tips for New Bloggers

I have been blogging for six years this July. Almost daily. And my readers grow by  at least five new followers a day. So I have learnt some things and it is time to pass a few of those things on.

Here are ten tips for you. These are only tips mind you. I am not the director, I am a player just like you.

  1. Testimonial. Write down what your blog is about. Your objective. Your job description. The challenges you have given yourself.  Be very clear. My blog is developed around three major promises. (a)The blog is about the farm and all the photos are from my own farm. (b)I will tell the truth. (c)It will always be about yesterday so is absolutely current. I do not promise to blog every day – that happened all by itself and i will not accept that as a presssure. My blog sometimes turns into a travel blog but I give you warning.  But the basic premise has continued for these five and a half years. The farm and the food from the farm.

2. Photographs.  Always have an image. Mine are all taken on the farm and are often pretty random. They don’t have to be professional quality. Just follow these few rules. (a) Check your corners. (b)Straighten horizons. (c)Lower or raise yourself to check you have the best Point of View. (d) Give your eye a way out. (e) Make them big. (f)Look for focus. (g) A single simple well presented image has as much power as multiple images. (h) High contrast for small screens.

gate

3. With words Less is Best.  I seldom write more than a thousand words. Don’t say musings or ponderings – get to the point. Cut out extraneous words. Read your words out loud before you publish – your voice is your best editor.

Tane Tane

4. Engage your Audience.Talk to your readers  as though they are sitting across the table from you. Then answer them when they talk back.  When I leave a comment on a page and the writer cannot be bothered answering me within a few days, especially when they only have a few comments there – I don’t go back. I conclude that they have no interest in discussion.  I choose to visit the blog writers who will talk to me. (Many blogs are too big with too many comments to answer and I am not talking about those blogs.  They are in a different realm. I also need to say here that in the summer when I am flat out I don’t get to answer all my own comments myself, I read them all and try to answer fast if the internet is co-operating but often fail. So I also understand if you cannot answer my comment every time.  Winter is my favourite blog time because I get to talk to my all my readers then).

cows

5. Go to other blogs and leave comments. Especially when you join that blog. This is the best, and simplest way to find people to have your morning chats with. We are here because we love the community that develops around a blog.
cows and pig

6. Write your words down when they come to you. My blog is daily so everything depends on what happened yesterday but if a sentence comes to me  when I am knee deep in mud at ten in the morning, I jot it down in the notes folder of my phone which I keep in my pocket.  It is shocking how many good ideas fly out the windows of my brain if I don’t write them down.

7. Use social media as a tool. Social media used correctly is an excellent way to get your posts to a wider audience.  But be careful, it can also grab you by the left leg and suck you down. Set a limit on the amount of time you spend on blogging.

8. Honesty is your best policy. Unless you are writing as someone else: Be honest. We can smell stirrers and mongers. Be honest and true and the best you can be.  Using your own voice. This is very attractive in a blog.
hereford

9. Relax. Most bloggers are like me – they use their blogs for record keeping and sharing. This is a perfect way to keep track of your recipes, or your farm, or your children’s cute sayings or your art or your travels. But it is not the be-all and end-all of your life. Blogging is like instagram it works WITH your life. So relax, have a good time with it. Blog when YOU want to.  If it is important to you to build a big number of readers then it is a good idea to stay current – maybe once or twice a week. The first thing I check on a blog is the last publication date.  Set yourself doable targets.
dsc_0180

10. Develop a rhythm in your postings. I post every morning, early. It gives your readers a handle. I am like my cows – I love a routine. I would encourage you to post on the same day at the same time each week. Use your publication settings. Though many bloggers post whenever they feel like it and we love them.

11. Devices. not everyone reads on a huge screen anymore. Many people will read your blog on a small phone with the tiniest of screens. Keep this in mind when writing titles, choosing the size of your images, paragraph settings and writing your comments.

12. Have fun with it. I know I am repeating myself but there is enough pressure in other areas of your life. Enough hate speech in other corners of the social media world. Enough hammers on our heads. Give yourself permission to relax and have fun with blogging. Engage. Chat. Smile. Be positive. The right word in the right corner of your screen can change someones day. ust like a good waitress can change you dinner to an Occassion. Writing with a smile ensures that you are involved in changes for good.

I bet you have a few other tips to add in the comments! Our Longe of Comments being one of my favourite places to learn.

It is still dark this morning so there must be a good cover of cloud out there. Rain is coming they say.

I hope you have a lovely day.

celi

148 Comments on “Twelve Tips for New Bloggers

  1. Great tips. I have recently had a lot of new people sign up for my blog for no apparent reason. I rarely hear anything from new people and wonder why they bother to sign up at all. The number of followers goes up, but the number of hits does not. Just as well this is not my motivation. I find my blog and excellent way for me to record me travels and I love sharing my experiences.

    • What I love about your blog Mad is all the links you use to explain what you are writing. This enables us readers to quickly research a recipe or method or restaurant. I always come away well informed and inspired (usually inspired to travel!) c

      • Thanks Cecilia – it takes time to find and add the links, but it makes it encyclopedic and helpful.
        I just thought of another good bit of advice. Keep the pictures small, in terms of kilobyte size. If they are huge the page will take ages to load and people get fed up with waiting. These days, this is particularly important for phones and tablets. WordPress will dynamically make the images and text fit all formats, but it won’t reduce the size. I recommend 150 KB per picture. All picture editing apps will perform this task. In Photoshop choose “Save For Web” 😉

  2. Look at Mr Flowers tail train already … beautiful. Enjoy your day too C. Laura

  3. Wonderful tips! And sadly I’m catching up from Sat & Sun – so here are my comments from the weekend – Siblings will always bring the child out in you – snarky comments fly when my husband is with his sisters. Being an only child, my snarky comments fly around in my head. 🙂 As for the barn – I find it beautiful in that rustic and historic sense. And I bet it looks great in black & white! I have made it a side mission when we travel to make sure and take pictures of the oldest wood structures we find just so I can play with pushing black & white filters. I so miss working in a dark room!

    Happy Monday! We are covered in fog with visibility less than .01 miles! I expect to see the headless horseman any moment carrying his lantern!

    • Yes, black and white is a wonderful medium for old structures. I miss the dark room too – particularly the smell – I loved the smell of those chemicals!! c

  4. Good tips, especially #3 , #4 and #9. I’m trying blogging again after a lapse but going at it with a different mindset this time, as more of a journal of progress for our new farm and not feeling pressured about it. Thanks for the tips.

  5. I also have been blogging for ages but my blog is about God's Creatures in one form or another. I used to feel that I HAD to write everyday but then realised that it was not so. Now I write when I have something relevant to say. My blog is always honest, never a false word and hopefully this comes through in what I write. I do not have many followers nowadays but that no longer bothers me..I like to put my feeling, good, bad or ugly down on 'paper' that way I feel I ma communicating….

    Have always loved your writings…long may you continue

     

    Sent: Monday, January 16, 2017 at 3:13 PM

  6. Excellent suggestions. I must say, that I need to improve in replying to comments. I have posted everyday since February of 2007 and find that I end up commenting more when I visit my friend’s blogs and answer some of my questions there. Several of us are in the same circle, and that has been fun. I seem to be long on photography and short on words, recording whatever has been done on that day. You are an inspiration.

  7. And this is exactly why we all love you! You are authentic and real. Perfect combination for a wonderful blog. Great tips!!!

  8. What a wonderful list! I love how smart and genuine you are. I am struggling these days and it occurs to me your list could also be a guide to day to day living! Anyway I intend to read your list daily. Or more iften. There seems to be strength there. Love you Celi!

  9. I love this advice. It is casual and as easy going as your blog presents itself. I’ve had to pull myself back this past couple of months from mounting pressure about my blog. Then, I throw my hands in the air, have a good laugh at myself, and wonder why we all put so much pressure on ourselves. I often hear comments like…don’t you want a cookbook? don’t you want to work for top magazines? If I hesitate and give some sort of answer like, “Well, not really. I enjoy blogging but I don’t know if writing, food editing, etc. is the career path I would choose.” I get the most disappointed looks. I feel like I’ve let people down with my answer.

    • You might tell them gently that you have already written the cookbook – it is all there on the blog. Call it digital. And your photos are just so beautiful. Your relationship with light is a real talent. And your styling is spot on. Maybe working for those top mags or trying to edit and jam it all within two covers would mitigate some of that gloriousness you have now. This is a new world we are designing – we don’t have to ground ourselves onto paper anymore. Have a great day. c

    • Sarah – you give people joy, you teach them about the beauties of your homeland, you tell them about places they would otherwise never know, you show them what photography can be all about, you write a blog I feel I have been hugely privileged to follow for years even being a cuckoo in the nest . . . you are a teacher . . . now if you want to add to your ‘repertoire’ we ARE her but that is not really necessary: we so love you as you are . . .

  10. Congrats on your blogging anniversary! I too am heading into my 6th year….acquiring followers is challenging – I try not to let it get the best of me when I don’t see any new subscribers. You are a wonderful writer and I’ve been enjoying your blog since the beginning!

    • And your new site is so beautiful! Did you lose people in the move? I seldom actually sign up for any blogs. I just follow my commentors back to their places to see what they have been up to. Wish you were down the road – you could bring some of your bees here – you are a great bee keeper. c

  11. Great photo of Sheila eating with the cows. 🙂 Also the cow watching the chickens. Good tips. I try to follow most of them. I’m getting lots of follows that have never read my blog, they are just trying to get traffic to theirs. My life is not as interesting so i’ve stopped writing as often. Thought about stopping but I can’t give up the friends I’ve made blogging. You know what I mean. I hope you have another wonderfilled day.

  12. I love the tips and the photos are terrific. I need to be better about interacting with other bloggers; I’ll read and ‘like’ and move on but I know how much I appreciate comments so I’m going to work on that.

  13. Beautiful photos today! I have such a soft spot for Tima and Tane, and he is delightful in that shot with his great tusks jutting out. I can still remember when they both were tiny and new to the farm. I hope that you always have a KuneKune or two wandering around the Farmy.

    • sad that they never bred though – I think about this sometimes – kunekune babies are the sweetest in the world. Maybe I should buy another breeding pair. Just thinking out loud.

  14. Love this part you wrote today Celi,
    “The right word in the right corner of your screen can change someones day. ust like a good waitress can change you dinner to an Occassion. Writing with a smile ensures that you are involved in changes for good.”
    I always feel good and have a smile each morning after reading and you wishing us all a lovely day!!! 🙂

    • I am. I have my sewing machine out but I am too scared to plug it in yet. I have decided to try an internet sewing course. I just know that I can sew. It is a skill that is just waiting for me. But I have not signed up for anything yet. not quite brave enough.. c

      • There are some really good ones on Craftsy and they often do special offers. I’ve got some good books too that cover the basics. Happy to send you one…I just know that once you put your mind to something you’ll make a success of it!

      • Let me know if you need help. I have some knowledge of sewing. I’ve made everything from Halloween costumes to jackets……just not for a few years but I’d still be willing to run up and help. Between the 2 of us we could figure it out.

        • Thank you Connie – I want to start simple – and need some supplies first.. mostly I need to sew household things. Napkins and tea towels and work skirts – aprons – that kind of thing

  15. Excellent tips my friend! One of the great things about blogging is finding such wonderful new friends. ; o )

    • I did realise that this post is not useful to those who do not blog – and there are more non bloggers than bloggers in my readership list. However some may be useful for other areas of ones life? Have a good one, Kathe. c

  16. Good advice, Miss C, and not just for new bloggers. I’ve only been going for 4 years, so there are still things for me to learn in your list. One thing I’ve learned from the Farmy is that blog conversations are important, they’re fun and they help to engage other people with what you’re doing. Comment. Reply to comments, and start a conversation. Don’t follow if you’re not going to bother reading a blog and engaging with its writer. Build community, don’t just write and ignore those who want to talk about what you’ve written. The Fellowship are great role models for this, and we have you to thank for creating an environment in which we can flourish.

    • Yes, i love it when people comment and then I love it even more when I am busy (like in the summer) and you all answer questions for me in the comments section. Then when I pop in later I see whole conversations happening while I have been working. I love that feeling of community. c

  17. Can only say this: once again you have made me smile. You are, perhaps, the only person I know who can advise without seeming preachy. Just good, solid friendly advice coming from your heart and experience. I love that. And on every point, you are right on. I have all but given up blogging, yet you make me feel that I might take it back up again. x

    • I would not worry about writing on your blog at the moment – when the time is right it will be right again – for now that pot is just simmering slowly on the back of the stove. Let it simmer. You are doing fine! c

  18. Sheila and her cows. Queenie’s bobby is more in proportion to her than the younger cows. I wonder if he complies to her bossy ways like they do. It rained in the night and tornado warnings were in the area…in January? Odd weather. Have a wonderful day C.

  19. I’ve been following you along time…just about in the beginning of your blog. Although, mine does NOT get the followers yours does, I do follow the same set of rules you have. I love putting down my thoughts and the perfect photo to offset my thoughts.
    We are dreary still here…I’m looking forward to sunshine again…I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.

    Linda

  20. Sage words of advice. The most important has to be “have fun” and if it gets too much just leave it for a while or go through your objectives and remember why you’re doing it. Just going to cut up my soap, which I’ve been meaning to make for weeks and finally got around to it after reading about your soapmaking. The power of blogging 🙂

  21. My daily life in suburban Philadelphia is about a million miles away from a farm in the midwest — which is why I’m so glad to have stumbled across your blog and become a regular reader. But this post really made me smile — I’m still pretty new to blogging myself, and struggling a little with finding my voice. Your warm and gentle encouragement was just what I needed today — thank you!

    • Hullo! and welcome. I went to look at your blog and you already have your voice – like me you are an immigrant and if you write while speaking out loud (in your head so as not to scare the neighbours) you will realise that your voice is already there. We have accents and we cannot help but see things a little differently. Sometimes we can even entertain! You have some great stories, you weave them well – keep telling them. And comment – when you comment we follow you home to see what you are up to! And give my love to the pushy American! c

  22. You provide lots of smiles, Miss C, lots of fun inside information about animals that I so love, and plenty of wisdom. Tears too.
    And I enjoy reading your fellowship’s comments. Our feelings about you are so sympatico.

  23. Love LOVE your advice! I have let my blog lapse, and have thought about why A LOT! Biggest reason for me is my own singular lack of focus! I flitt from one thing/project/idea to another, I have been that way a long time and it works for me, maybe not for a blog. Something for me to think more about! or maybe not think about. another excellent post today. Keeps me coming back for more!

    • Yes! Maybe not think about – sometimes, I think, there does not have to be a reason for everything. And I can feel that you love who and how you are and that is the most important thing of all. c

  24. Good tips Miss C. thank you. I’ve been blogging a long time but have lost my focus in the last year or so, and am still trying to figure out why.
    The thing I enjoy most about blogging is the inter-action with my readers; I feel that if they can take the time to read my posts and leave a comment, I comment back and talk with them as if they were sitting right across from me. Very important because it puts worth to their comment as well as my post.
    Your blog is always interesting whether it’s about the farmy or your travels and I love it and the pictures you post. You have a way with words that endears us to come back for more!

  25. I really enjoy coming to visit your blog every day possible, although I don’t leave comments too often unless I feel I have something worth contributing. I work a full-time-plus job so usually get very to no little time to read blogs until I’m off work. (Today I have a tiny slice of time to read you mid-day.) I am on my sixth year of blogging too. I used to post every day, then cut it back to a few times a week, and now I am only once a week on either Saturday and Sunday because that is what I find is a good work/life balance for me. I started it as a way to record my recipes for my daughter for when she goes to college, which will be this September! Where on earth has the time gone??? And you are so correct, your blog should be something you enjoy! I enjoy having mine very much. Thank you for posting all these great tips! P.S. I am so with you on bloggers who never respond to your own questions or comments on theirs. I usually stop following them after the third attempt at communication with them. Keep up the good work, both on the farmy and blog Celi! xoxo

    • That is the other most important thing when you are part of a Fellowship like ours – and you have got it – never feel that you have to comment. I abhor pressure in this arena. Blogging should be a choice and be fun. You do wonderfully to work full time, run a home and ALSO read and comment only when you have a moment. That is a wonderful balanced life. c

  26. Boy, this was a mind blower today! Looking at your photos and the phrase you used, “leave a way out for the eye”, made me realize why I’ve been so grumpy and wanting to travel lately – I’ve got Mountain Fever! Surrounded by mountains all around, there’s no place to ‘stretch’ my eyes. Heading for the beach soonest! Also, Ceci, don’t be leery of sewing – it’s so creative and leaves the machine with your signature on it. I’ve been sewing for years from toddlers’ clothes to prom dresses, Nehru shirts to suits…..it’s wonderful! Go for it!

      • Lovely – an apron. Very good idea to start with in any case. I had some phases in my life where sewing was a nice and a somehow important part of it. Especially when I was young. I loved it and got a quite well skill and experience. Planning, watching magazines for pattern and consulting them for ideas and later looking for the fabrics was always fun. Good luck, Celi and – most of all – beautiful results! – With love, Irmi

  27. So annoying when someone likes and follows and never says a word to me. I always go and have a gawk at their site – and most of the time they have thousands of followers they never talk to. No thanks! I stopped tagging anything photography because so many artists are just looking for followers. I don’t do this to shout into a void! I want to meet people. People who are smart, and funny, and educational.

  28. Good advice. I would add that sentences should be real sentences, use the spell checker too and at least try with the punctuation. I ran across a blog and wasn’t sure at first what I was looking at. I won’t quote, but it went something like this – I m wrtg abt m day u’ve no idea how boring m life is Their is kids M tire of kids. No photos there.
    As to your sewing, get some gingham, follow the lines, that makes figuring out straight lines easy. I was given a piece of blue gingham, a piece of old towel and shown how to thread the needle. The gingham was cut in two, one piece trimmed to the same size ad the towel piece, the other a bit larger. then sewed down the lines of the gingham skipping several to quilt the piece, then shown how to fold over the edge and sew that. I still use the hot pad it turned into. Never had any other sewing lessons, just got a pattern, fabric, notions and made stuff. The directions on patterns are fairly straight forward and easy to follow. By all means, check out Craftsy’s lessons. They just finished a buy one get one offer, but there will be another special soon. Wish I could chug down the road and show you. Sewing is actually fun and useful.
    Tane looks so cute with his nose in the air.
    Stay dry.

      • It’s only a machine. Just take some old rags and sew with them. Make seams, try and keep things straight, pin then sew. Do things like that till you feel comfortable using the machine (DO NOT mess with the tension knob). Use old garments, resew the seams, when a hem starts coming apart, see how it’s done, sew it back together. Just five or ten minutes a day and it’ll stop feeling intimidating. My sewing machine is in the blasted storage unit behind all the big heavy stuff (I was not able to direct the filling of the storage units) and I miss it. I could be sewing things to sell otherwise as well as getting some very necessary mending done. It’s fun to see how fast a real wearable garment can be made.

  29. I love that you write every day – there are also those that write several times a day, and I find those too tedious to read. I took a break from my blog once – and almost felt like I had let everybody down. When I got back to it again, I was surprised at how many people were so happy to hear from me again, and much encouragement to write when I had time, no matter the time between blogs. 😊

  30. Wonderful tips sweet friend. And have fun with your blog. When it becomes a ‘chore’, step back and reevaluate why you are blogging. Hogs and snout kisses sweets! XOXO – Bacon

  31. Well, a cuckoo in the nest like me, who cannot even manage to write her own blog I daresay should not have a word . . . 🙂 ! But somewhere, somehow there are seven years of ‘experience’ there from the sidelines . . . Numbers 4 and 8 resonate the most -. Of course both have led me to quite a few problems sitting across that kitchen table from you and others perchance being too honest: trying to have a ‘dinner conversation’ of ‘what do you really think’ the way we would were we there . . . . and only realizing later that the whole cyberspace was looking on . . . knowing that perchance one had puzzled or even hurt another totally against wishes . . . . seems I better go on reading more and learning thereby . . . 🙂 !

  32. #7 – 100% agree. I have given up FB and Twitter and blogging is now the only social media i participate in and even here I’ve had to trim it back, too, and limit the time spent. But I admit I like some of my virtual friends as much as my “real” friends and I miss them when I don’t check in!

  33. “Web” had to laugh at your observation – so true.
    As always love the pictures and great advice, too.(And I’m still constantly amazed you blog so much and so well and still manage a farm…not to mention comments/responses)

  34. Absolutely love this post! I am a veteran blogger myself (of several small blogs, nothing earthshaking!) and these tips cannot be more true. I’ve been following you for your refreshing kind of blog, your beautiful photos, and your positive outlook, and this post is quite possibly one of your best!

  35. Great tips. I’m still learning how to be a great blogger. I recently started tweeting also, which I say to myself “surely I can write 140 characters right?” 🙂 It’s a very fast stream though. I like to be able to take my time and think about how my posts look on any platform. It’s a learning experience for sure.

      • I’m starting to. I thought I would start by gaining followers first so I wouldn’t just be tweeting to myself. After some effort I now have a few. I haven’t tried instagram yet. I’m working on my digital art products, wordpress and now twitter. I’m not great at multitasking, so it’s takes all my attention per task. It does keep my mind active and I feel productive at the end of the day which is important to me.

  36. I loved this, the pearl I’m going to take away to change what I do is ‘read out loud before you publish’.
    Thank you for the advice, I look forward to reading your future posts.

  37. “8. Honesty is your best policy. Unless you are writing as someone else: Be honest.”

    Ooops.

    I have a note on my About page that reads:

    Note: I have to say this because my style of writing in the first person occasionally fools readers into believing that what I write is true. None of it is. We do not have turtles who run down deer. We do not live next to the Minnesota State Mosquito Refuge, though you wouldn’t know it during the summer.

    All of my stories are fiction. They have to be. The population of my small town is 4 (counting the chickens). Since everyone knows everything about everybody, I have to write in such a way that they can say, “Hey, that’s me!” and at the same time say, “No way, that’s me!”

  38. Cecilia,
    I am so glad we found each other in the blogging world! I absolutely loved reading about your life on the farm and will surely come back to check those farm fresh recipes! Thank you for sharing your tips on blogging.

  39. great advice.. so often one sentence comes to me in the middle of the night and then the blog post just happens….. I have to get up and write at that minute or it is lost…… thanks for sharing your life with us….

  40. I loved your advice you wrote and reading all the great post from people. I have just started yesterday so i am new here.
    Love your farm pictures and the one with the pretty bird on the hood.
    Hope you have a wonderful day to, I do sew, knitting, cooking.

  41. I am new to blogging. These tips are awesome. I definitely need to take more photos (and make them big). I also need to keep better track of ideas that pop into my head. Thank you!

  42. Glad to have came across your blog seeing as I have three sons and they want a farm. We do have space but I just need them a little more grown up because my 6 and 8 year old will help but it’s hard right now with my husband working and me taking care of a teething baby. No fun.

  43. Really like your advice. It is from a real down to earth perspective. I am not worried about followers, just being myself. Too much pressure on getting numbers from others talking about the same topic.

    • Yes! And Followers is such an awful term don’t you think. I don’t knwowwhy they use it – readers is so much gentler. I hope you have a lovely day Regine – c

  44. Solid advice. I think most new bloggers are overwhelmed by all the shiny buttons and follower counts of others that they focus too much on growth rather than connection when the two go hand in hand. Though my site is a fledgling when compared to how long you’ve been running yours, I’m glad to see that you still take the time to connect and share your experience in this way. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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