Bloggiesta put a call out for contributors to write about “best blogging advice” and here’s my thoughts
- Write about what you know and enjoy. Readers will be turned off if they think you’re not sincere. It will also make it easier to keep going when it seems you’re posting into the void
- Spell check your posts before they go up
- Keep going!
- Be regular with your posts, even if it’s once a week, or once a month. People wont come back if they don’t know when you will post next, but they just might if they know there will be a post on the third Friday of each month. I post every other day, but that’s because I’ve had the opportunity of building up a decent backlog of posts and have them scheduled
- Don’t expect to quit the day job tomorrow. You will not generate enough money to be your sole income in the next 6 months. Or perhaps ever.
- Benefits come in more shapes than money. Making new friends even if it’s “only” online; Free books; free random gifts (I’ve had knitting needles and a ball of wool from a publisher before now); free beauty products for beauty bloggers. If you are talking about something you’ve received free in exchange for a review, you need to disclose the fact in your post. Mostly it’s good manners but in the US I think it’s a legal requirement that you do so.
- Keep some kind of tracking tool going. I have a basic spreadsheet that I got free off the internet, where I track which posts are scheduled when – which is really useful as I am currently scheduling posts 2 months or more in advance. Other people track how diverse their reading is (I think there is a mini-challenge out there for this very topic). I really should track which books I have to read that I have received as ARCs, from publishers, authors etc, but havent, so I’ve been caught out more times than I care to admit
- You don’t live in a vacuum. Get out and socialise in the internet community. Take part in challenges like Bloggiesta; follow other people’s blogs; Comment, without spamming (no “nice post, please follow my blog” type of comments); Tweet; use Facebook including group pages; use Google+, including communities; Pinterest, Instagram.
- Make it possible for others to share your posts. Include social media buttons on your posts so that others can tell their followers about what you’ve written.
- Include a “sign up via email” option for those who dont use the same blogging platform as you do.
- Join a bookgroup, either in person or online. I’ve been a member of Bookcrossing for more years then I care to remember, have swapped books in more countries than I care to admit, and have picked up a host of books and authors (widening my horizons in the process) that I would never have come across if I hadn’t met the people I had. I’ve been a member of other book groups in my time, not all have worked out (some are far too strict and regimented for my tastes) but if you find one that works for you, then stick with it! If all else fails – set one up yourself and make it work to your rules!
- Follow your favourite publishers and authors on what ever social media works for you. Many of them will have promotions and offers on and you can pick up more than just books – see the above.
- Remember to include publishers or authors when sending a review out. If they thank you for the review – have the decency to thank them back, at least for the book. You never know where the conversation may take you!
- If you’re looking for a source of books to read, check out sites like Netgalley, edelweiss, bookbub, Librarything (who have a monthly Early Reviewers offer, as well as plenty of communities), Goodreads (who do a regular “giveaways” on certain books as well as plenty of communities); even your local amazon (and search for “zero” price or “special offer”). Look to Project Gutenberg for free copies of the classics. Sites like Kobo will also have free books, not always classics – check their site out on a regular basis (you don’t necessarily need a Kobo ereader as ipads have kobo software).
- Unless you have a massive following (and even if you do), your voice will be very quiet in a very big room. Use software like Hootsuite, tweetdeck or Buffer to schedule your updates and promotion links at times when people are likely to see it (Follow the dawn and dusk?)
- Subscribe to sites like Problogger and DailyBlogTips. Not all tips will be appropriate to you, but once in a while you’ll find some tweak that’ll help you out.