OK, OK, I’m sorry. I’ll act a little older than five and stop saying made-up words.
Without further ado, I present to you a short list of things I have learned in nearly three years of blogging. It’s funny how much I’ve taught myself about changing the structure of my blog during that time simply by messing around. So what follows is a description of very easy things you can do to not annoy people and hopefully gain followers. What follows is a list of stuff that makes me go, “Ooh, this is cool, this person knows what they’re doing!” and subscribe to your blog.
- Post frequently. I love some blogs that update every day. I love some blogs that post maybe once a week. I aim to post every other day but what with college classes, 4-H commitments, visiting colleges, and all the other hassles of my junior year, I may not be able to for much longer. How much time can you reasonably spend on the computer? Not everyone has the ideas or time to write a lot, so figure out what works for you. But if you’re averaging like four posts a year, that’s probably a sign that blogging is not for you.
- Vary the content of your posts. Even if your blog has a theme of sorts (which mine does not), it’s not too hard to stop from falling into a rut with all your posts about the same thing. I follow a guy who blogs mostly about books, with some posts about pop music and life in general thrown in. He keeps things interesting by not always writing about books and even when his posts are about books, he reviews novels from many different genres – I never know what I’m going to find there next. I also follow not one but two girls whose posts are almost always about reading, writing, and Doctor Who but again, those topics never get old because they know what they’re doing. If you’re clever, you’ll realize that there is so much you can do with just one topic. Praise it, criticize it, make it happy, make it sad, talk about it seriously, talk about it humorously.
- Try to post meaningful stuff. It drives me out of my mind when a person whose blog I read posts something like, “Oops, today I don’t have any ideas for a post! LOL” If you’re out of ideas/time, just don’t post! It’s OK to do fun stuff – I love fun stuff! I have a weakness for filling out book memes! – but put some effort into what you write or I will sic Gollum on you.
- Ignore the people who say, “Well, I don’t think you should write about ___.” I am not saying that you shouldn’t take suggestions. By all means, do so! However, there is probably going to be at least one person who rains on your parade and criticizes all your posts. Honestly, I think that unless you are a famous person with lots of admirers, you should be writing your blog for yourself and not your readers. Post what you enjoy writing.
- Make your blog easy on the eyes. Please, please, please. I think simple themes, background colors, fonts, and the like are the best. My background color can hardly be called nondescript, but at least it doesn’t interfere with reading the posts! Basically, if you have hot pink text on a black background, you are a truly terrible person.
- Communicate with your readers, and make it easy for them to communicate with you. LET PEOPLE COMMENT. I’m going to rant about Blogger quickly now: this is my biggest pet peeve with the site. It won’t let me comment because I’m not logged in to thirty gazillion things at once; it makes me type those stupid and practically illegible codes like L0LBUTT123 only to say that I was wrong so my comment didn’t go through; it swallows my comments for no reason at all. I’m not saying not to use Blogger but if you do – if you blog on any platform – and you want to see what people think of your posts, you have to make it possible for them to respond. And respond to what they say! I love when someone responds to my comment on their blog because I know I wasn’t ignored.
- Make your blog easy to navigate. This may be the most important thing of all. When I find an intriguing blog, sure, I look at their recent posts. But I also look at what they have done in the past. Naturally, I can’t do that if they’ve made it difficult to find things. Categories, tags, and monthly archives all exist for a reason and while you don’t have to have all three like I do, it does help to have at least one.
So long, and thanks for all the fish!