My First 3 Months as a Bloggerina: 9 Lessons and 3 Reflections
After reading "Happy Anniversary to Me" on Megan's Minute, I've decided to share what I've learned during my first three months as a bloggerina. I've learned mostly through trial and error—as all bloggers do—but I've also learned a lot from others in the blogosphere. For lessons and reflections from my first three months as a bloggerina, please read the rest.
Reflection: Why did I start blogging?- If you count Myspace and Facebook, I've been blogging since 2005. My friends used to read what I wrote and ask me to start a real blog, but I was afraid to because I didn't want people to pick on me. What if I really sucked and my friends were just partial to me? What if I started and then gave up and looked like a fool? Right before the beginning of 2010, I watched Julie & Julia. Color me inspired.
- Lesson: Branding- Branding is very important. You don't want people to confuse your blog with anyone else's because you use the same theme. I made my own header and backgrounds for Moments with Megan and have customized the HTML of the template to my liking. It was pretty easy and you should do it, too.
- Lesson: Make it easy to share/subscribe- Readers won't look all over for share/subscribe links. I have links all over the site so that whenever they get the urge, they can subscribe and/or share. Don't forget to put a Google Followers widget and a subscribe by email box on your page.
- Lesson: Build a network- You have to be on Facebook and Twitter and maybe a few other social networking sites. Make it easy for people to find you on them. I suggest you leave your Twitter open. Don't forget to join blogging networks, especially the ones that screen potential members. I love BlogHer and Lady Bloggers Society! Your blog is only as strong as your network.
- Lesson: Be a friend- If someone comments on your blog, go check theirs out and see if there's anything you want to comment on. Try to make at least one comment. Make sure you subscribe to their blog, too.
- Lesson: Make it easy to comment- I've tried a few different ways to comment and have found the most success with the one I'm using now. Since I know a lot of people use non-Blogger.com commenting systems, I'll tell you the most important part of a comment form: Make sure the reader doesn't have to click away from the comment form to read the post or other comments on it. And only delete a comment if it's spam or if it will offend others. I've seen people who delete each comment after they see them.
- Lesson: Some people are jerks by nature- Some folks sit at home in their dollar store sweat suits and tell innocent bloggers all kinds of things that they would never say in person. Try to ignore them. [I left Reddit.com because it's plagued with trolls.] I like to correct them, though. You'll find that they will shut up after you respond. It's like when roaches run when you put the light on.
- Lesson: Every widget must have a purpose- As cute as they all are, you don't need a bajillion widgets on your page. Go to your page and ask yourself, "If I were a reader, would I use this?" Also, check Google analytics to see what people click. If they don't use a widget, remove it.
- Lesson: There's a new post around every corner- Two of my most visited posts, "Fresh Society New Orleans: D*mn Crooks!" and "Today's Mail: St. Matthew's Prayer Rug Scam" were products of my daily frustrations. Just keep your mind open…and a jot pad handy!
- Lesson: SEO is important- People must be able to find your site. Make sure you use meta tags and make sure your site is listed with various directories. Check Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools often. And unless you are writing a personal journal, don't make your blog private. To learn more about SEO, check out About.com Blogging and SEOMOZ.
Reflection: What I've accomplished- I've got friends of my blog on Facebook, loyal readers and subscribers, people mentioning me in their blogs, kind emails, a loving Twitter family and more. I've held two contests and my Alexa ranking is steadily increasing (although I've read Alexa rankings don't even matter.) I'm really blessed and so thankful. I didn't mess up! I actually did pretty well! YIPEE!
Reflection: What I want to achieve- I want to one day have my blog be a household name—in a good way, of course. I'd like to have many more subscribers and friends and mentions on other sites. I'd like to have sponsors and I'd love to be able to hold better contests. I'd love for people to consider my blog to be an authority on something.
Thanks for everything thus far,