Advice for Other Bloggers

Catchy title, no? 😉

I’ve gone back and forth on posting this many times because I don’t want to come across like I know it all, because clearly, I don’t. I hardly feel qualified to be dishing advice about how to make a blog “good” because mine is very much a work in progress (just like me!), but I get lots of emails and comments asking for my best tips for growing and maintaining a blog. Ask and I shall deliver. Please do keep in mind, these are just MY ideas and are in no way  the be all and end all. They are just things I have learned along the way through my own experiences and through attending blogging conferences.

Here goes!

1.) Be Authentic.

The most important part about having a “good” blog is to be yourself, hands down. Develop your own voice and stick with it, and while it’s natural for your voice and style to evolve over time, always be true to who you are and don’t try to be like anyone else. I try to be very “real” here and instead of portraying myself as perfect, I talk about it when I struggle so people can relate and I’m being true to myself rather than portraying an idealistic image that isn’t me! If you’re not being genuine, it will come through very clearly in your writing.

2.) Figure out what makes you unique and capitalize on it.

There are TONS of healthy living blogs out there, so in order to make your blog stand out and not be just another one in the mix, figure out what makes you unique and make the most of it. I think the top things that make my blog unique are:

  1. I’ve truly been a foodie all my life and have learned to transfer this love towards healthier food.
  2. I am not naturally athletic at all and have had to overcome lots of hurdles to complete two half marathons and many other races.
  3. I’ve dropped almost 90 pounds through Weight Watchers and have taken a whole foods approach to the program.
  4. I learned that I have a knack for being creative in the kitchen on a whim, and have gotten pretty good at documenting my recipes step by step.
  5. I live with a chef from the south and have figured out how to keep losing weight despite the obvious issue there.

3.) Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

When I first started blogging, I was posting 3x a day and they were very boring and not very substantive. I saw a lot of other big bloggers doing it, so I thought I should too. (See Tip #1). The trouble was, I didn’t have much to say besides showing pictures of my food, and the posts felt very forced. I wasn’t really ENJOYING blogging, and that’s what this is about after all.

After last year’s Healthy Living Summit, I realized I needed to make my blog my own and that 3x a day wasn’t right for me, so I went down to 2, and that was still too much. Over the last several months, I’ve been doing 1 post a day Monday – Friday that I usually pre-write the night before to post at 8:30am the next day. This means my readers know what to expect from me and when, and I’ve seen a big increase in readership since I’ve taken this new approach, even though it’s not what “everyone” is doing. This doesn’t mean you have to even post every day or at the same time every day, but be relatively consistent so your readers know what to expect. That said, I probably wouldn’t post too much less than once a week because you do want to have new and fresh content pretty regularly.

4.) Read and reread your blog posts before publishing.

Is it interesting? Would YOU want to read it if someone else was writing it? Sure, you should be your #1 fan, but let’s be real. If the answer is no, don’t post it. Also, use spell check, grammar check, and see what text you can cut down. Less is more. You don’t want someone coming to your blog and getting turned off from a typo in the first sentence when you’re actually a good writer. Little mistakes like that can make a big difference in your readership!

5.) Plan ahead

If you truly want to have a successful blog, it takes a bit more work than you might think at the beginning. Even my blog, which is quite small in comparison to a lot of the larger ones, requires a LOT of time. Not just with writing the posts, but in responding to emails (which I’m working on getting better at!), responding to comments, taking and editing photos, reading and commenting on other blogs, thinking about topics, etc. It adds up! I’d say I end up spending anywhere between 20 and 40 hours a week on my blog, so planning ahead is necessary so it can fit in with all my other obligations. I have a draft in my email inbox where I keep a list of blog post ideas (this one has been lingering on that list for quite a while!) in case I am having trouble thinking of a topic.

6.) Shift Your Focus.

When I first started blogging, I would load and reload the stats page constantly to see how many hits I could get a day. I would let the number of hits have a much larger impact on my day and mood than it should have. Then one day I realized – I was focusing on the complete wrong thing. Instead of using my time to pick through my stats with a fine tooth comb, I shifted that time towards planning posts, thinking of good topics to cover, refining my writing style, and developing my voice as a blogger. Once I made this shift and stopped caring so much about the numbers, I saw a substantial increase in the numbers. Go figure.

Another big reward that came when I started focusing on the content of my blog rather than the stats I was getting was when I noticed a big jump in participation on my blog in the comments section from readers who are NOT bloggers. Creating a sense of community has always been my ultimate goal here, so having people come here because they can relate to my writing and care enough to leave a note, send an email, or just be here to check out what I’m rambling about today is so fulfilling and reminds me WHY I started Beth’s Journey in the first place.

What am I missing? What keeps you coming back to some of your favorite blogs?

35 Comments on Advice for Other Bloggers

  1. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    June 17, 2011 at 8:47 am (9 years ago)

    It all goes back to #1 — you can tell when someone writes about what they want to write about. I took a 2 month break because I was bored with my own blog and writing each day was a chore. Now I write what I want to write and it is fun for me. Obviously I like having readers and feedback, but if I don’t like what I’m doing, then why bother?

  2. happywhennothungry
    June 17, 2011 at 9:02 am (9 years ago)

    Great blog post Beth!!! I think the thing that keeps me coming back to my favorite blogs is that I can relate to the bloggers and almost feel like we’re friends even though I’ve never met any of them before. Their voice definitely makes me feel like I know them personally. Love all these tips!!!

  3. Lisa @ lisalettinggo
    June 17, 2011 at 9:12 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks for these great tips! I love blogs that are REAL (like yours!) and have lots of pictures. Too much text turns me off because it seems overwhelming (and boring) to read!

  4. Leah: The Kind Weight Watcher
    June 17, 2011 at 9:28 am (9 years ago)

    Great tips! I hate when I find typos in my posts, and it seems to always happen, even when I re-read them before posting. Sigh.

    I love your blog for all of the reasons that you mentioned!

    I think that my blog is unique because I’ve explored three different “diets” and have lost over 76 pounds with Weight Watchers, The Kind Diet, and Intuitive Eating. Also, I’m NOT a real cook or foodie, and have had to be very creative to learn how to make healthy vegan meals without too much work in the kitchen.

  5. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    June 17, 2011 at 9:35 am (9 years ago)

    #1 is huge. I can’t tell you how many blogs I have unfollowed because it sounds like chewed up, regurgitated posts from other blogs.

    I think #1.5 is “your blog subject/focus should be a passion of yours.” Because otherwise, you won’t want to write about it. It ties in with #1 because if you aren’t passionate about the subject, you will not sound real. And you’ll be boring.

    That is why I write about chocolate instead of swimming/running/vegetables/weightlifting, even though I love them too

  6. Liz
    June 17, 2011 at 9:52 am (9 years ago)

    LOVE, love this post! I’m a boring blogger, I know it, but I’m OK with it 🙂 I think I really use my blog more for a recap of training and little things, what started out as a tool to track races and other mundane things, got me a few readers, but more than that has kept me accountable to myself, which was my first goal. And if a few people read, I consider myself lucky! The other amazing thing about blogging is that it has introduced me to to so many wonderful blogs that I would have otherwise never known about 🙂

  7. Beyond Bananas
    June 17, 2011 at 9:59 am (9 years ago)

    I like you last tip the best. I am in the area where I am constantly looking at the stats. I am SO concerned with how many hits I get.. wanted more every week to my percentages go up. Um. Who cares? That isn’t why I am blogging.. to see the numbers. (Once again.. yet another obsession I have with numbers.)

  8. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    June 17, 2011 at 10:07 am (9 years ago)

    I definitely think it’s a good idea to look over the finished post once or twice. I still miss errors on occasion (which is shameful considering what my job is!), but luckily, just a skim of a post can save me more often than not!

  9. Nina
    June 17, 2011 at 10:22 am (9 years ago)

    Beth, what I like about your blog is that you write about different subjects everyday. It can be about weight loss, receipts, exercise, Will and his daughters, your nephew Harper ( he’s so cute!), job, travel, the food market, I can go on and on. To sum it up, you keep your blog interesting! Thanks.

  10. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
    June 17, 2011 at 10:44 am (9 years ago)

    I think it’s awesome that our blogging processes are so similar! I also pre-write all of my posts the night before and have them scheduled to post the next morning. Great insight, it’s always so valuable to hear the tips that each blogger has!

  11. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    June 17, 2011 at 10:57 am (9 years ago)

    Great blogging tips! I like the idea of finding what schedule works for you. This is still something I struggle with!

  12. sam
    June 17, 2011 at 11:03 am (9 years ago)

    Great advice! I def need to work on being consistent. Do you post your blog on your computer or mobile?

  13. Shannon
    June 17, 2011 at 11:12 am (9 years ago)

    Coming from a non-blogger, I love when bloggers take the time to respond to comments. I know it’s not always possible to respond to all of them but when people make the time to do, I just really like it.

  14. Lisa
    June 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm (9 years ago)

    Good post. Lately I’ve been growing bored of the blog world. A lot of them are the same: the same “Green Monsters”, running races every single weekend. My advice would be to do something different than what everyone else is doing, and mix it up! Keep it interesting and fresh!

  15. Jamie
    June 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm (9 years ago)

    I have thought about starting a blog of my own, but it seems like there is such a crazy amount of blogs, I don’t know if I would add anything unique. I love reading blogs that have a sense of humor and go beyond telling me what they had for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and each snack. Looking at bowls of oatmeal doesn’t really do it for me I guess, but there must be a ton of people who love that based on the number of pictures I have seen!

    • Lisa
      June 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm (9 years ago)

      GOOD COMMENT!!! I am so sick of reading blogs that show 20 photos of the same bowl of oatmeal! UGH! 🙂

      • Ang
        June 17, 2011 at 4:35 pm (9 years ago)

        I know photography is important to most bloggers but honestly seeing the same bowl from every possible angle is so boring! Also seeing the same bowl of oatmeal with slightly different toppings every single day gets old fast. I don’t even like oatmeal very much!

        • Lisa
          June 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm (9 years ago)

          Why is that so popular???! I just don’t get it!

  16. Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic
    June 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm (9 years ago)

    I agree with everything you’ve said here. It is important to be unique and don’t be afraid to write about what interests you and don’t just copy what other bloggers are doing. I enjoy reading some (but not too many) of the 2-3 post a day with everything you eat blogs, but I would never enjoy writing those (even if I had that kind of time). It is important to blog in a way that you do enjoy. My blog is less than 2 months old, and so I’m still into checking my traffic stats fairly often. I figure I’ll start to do this less as it gets less exciting. It really only takes me about a minute to check my stats. I also think taking breaks can be really nice.

  17. Lyn @ Life Lyn Style
    June 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm (9 years ago)

    I had to laugh at your tip about stats. My husband is hooked on his stats. Often, when I come into the den, his analytics is up. It’s the only reason I remember to look at mine.

  18. Dee
    June 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm (9 years ago)

    Not a blogger, but I would say that new bloggers looking to increase readership should leave comments- interesting ones! – on other blogs. That’s how I found your blog, which I like so much! But personally, I never would have found it if I hadn’t read your comment on another blog!

  19. Kari
    June 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm (9 years ago)

    Great Post. Great Advice!!

  20. dani
    June 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm (9 years ago)

    Looks like a good set of tips! I just started blogging and don’t feel like i have to grow my blog, but I do often wonder how blogs go from the readership i have now to the readership of a much larger blog.

  21. Ang
    June 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm (9 years ago)

    Good tips. I like your blog because you are easy to relate to. Also you live in D.C. so I get to see places I am familar with and get restaurant ideas for when I’m in the area!

    I’ve pretty much quit my blog. I had to stop eating gluten right after I started it and unlike the other GF bloggers I will not buy 100 different flours and make custom mixes, I just sub Pamela’s GF baking mix for flour, so I kind of feel like my recipes aren’t “real”. As for exercise right now I’m not really able to so I’ve got nothing there. I live in a pretty boring rural area. Basically I am boring thus my blog is boring! lol

  22. Katie
    June 17, 2011 at 6:45 pm (9 years ago)

    Great tips, Beth! I definitely need to work on #3. It’s tough because my schedule varies from week to week – some nights I have an hour to write a post, some nights 10 minutes. Do you ever write/start posts ahead of time, like over the weekend? I’ve thought about doing that but then I’m afraid that come Tuesday, I won’t be in the mood to post what I wrote on Saturday! 😛

  23. Julia @ The Bosky Blog
    June 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing lovebug! I struggle with so many of those things, but still love my blog.

  24. The Teenage Taste
    June 18, 2011 at 7:40 am (9 years ago)

    Great post, Beth! I think authenticity is very important! I hate when a new blogger tries to mirror the posts of a more “advanced” blogger!

  25. Alison @ The Peacock Diaries
    June 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm (9 years ago)

    All great tips, thank you! I am stumbling through my first few months as a blogger and definitely appreciate the perspective and advice.

    Some of these I’m starting to learn on my own, but it helps to see it all in black and white. I’m finding that I’m still working on the scheduling and time management side of things, but I am going to keep at it! I’m still having fun and people are reading, which is actually more than I had really hoped for.

  26. kerrycooks
    June 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm (9 years ago)

    Fantastic post Beth – thanks for the advice! Really useful for those of us just starting out blogging

  27. pbbrittany
    June 19, 2011 at 8:45 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks for all the tips! I’m thinking of starting my own blog because it looks like A BLAST (lol). I’ve already made it, but all I have to do is make it public….yikes.

    These were great tips though! Really helpful 🙂

  28. learningwithliz
    June 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm (9 years ago)

    Great post. I love the tip on looking at stats as I have so fallen prey to this.

  29. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    June 20, 2011 at 6:59 am (9 years ago)

    GREAT post!!! I agree with every single thing you mention. Every single thing.

  30. greensandjeans
    June 20, 2011 at 8:30 am (9 years ago)

    Being authentic is really the most important thing. If you aren’t really into what you are writing, how can you expect your readers to be?

  31. Amy @ Conquering Self
    June 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm (9 years ago)

    This post came at the perfect time since I’ve been sort of getting out of blogging lately. I found it way too time consuming to post up each day as well as keeping up with reading and commenting on other’s blogs. This is reminding me that I started my blog for me…to help me through my journey. Even if I don’t get the chance to always read or comment, I need to just keep putting my thoughts out there to help me work through my own issues…remembering why I started blogging in the first place! You’re right…being authentic is the most important thing!

  32. Kathi
    June 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm (9 years ago)

    Great comments (and a great blog subject, Beth). I keep coming to your blog for the interesting recipes in addition to reading your stories of change. You do get attached in some strange way to a person’s stories.
    My only tip for bloggers (and I’m still relatively new at it) is the need for passion in the subject matter. Passion keeps you going when you would rather go to the dentist than blog. Passion keeps you looking for the next interesting post or thought. After a while, that’s all you’re thinking (that’s when it can turn evil).


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