Blogging Habits



I am not a professional blogger. I'm not even a truly experienced blogger. I don't use affiliates, I don't have any ads, and I use the easiest platform know to man. But one thing I am? Consistent. I thought I'd share some of the things that have worked for me over the past three and a half years and fess up to a few things I need to get better at.

Scheduling Posts
To be honest, I didn't really start utilizing this until the last year or year and a half. Considering my content isn't really time-sensitive, for the most part, I can sit down once or twice a week and prepare some posts. Then, if the mood strikes, I'll sit down again and post "live." Time-wise this helps me stay on top of things, and mentally it's easier to spend one large chunk of time in the blogging zone, rather than a few snippets here or there. Whether scheduling or not, I am for three or four posts a week. And I refuse to blog if I don't have anything to say- "I have writer's block" posts are lame.

Obsess Not
I know some people obsess about their spelling, grammar, and content. I do not, which is probably bizarre for an English teacher. That's not to say I don't give my posts a few reads before hitting publish, because I do, but I don't kill myself trying to make sure everything is completely perfect. What I do do, though, is go back a few hours after posting, or even then next day, and give things another glance. Just like with papers in college, I need a little distance to catch mistakes. This isn't my dissertation, and I'm not trying to land a new job with my blog- if I accidentally leave a typo or forget to italicize a title no one is going to die.

Notes
I'm constantly jotting down ideas for posts on the notepad app on my phone. A lot of times these are just entries for Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts, but often I'll get post ideas as well that I know I'll forget later. A few months ago I was in total over-achiever mode and was sitting down at the beginning of each month and making a list of 15-20 different posts ideas and approximately when they'd show up. Why I stopped, I'm not sure, because it made things a ton easier. 

Memes
First of all, I hate the word "memes." I consider the Dos Equis man with all the "I don't always..." sayings a meme. But, the blogging world uses it for weekly, routine posts that others join in on, so that's that. Anyway, I only allow myself to do a maximum of two a week; my own and then sometimes Top Ten Tuesday through The Broke and Bookish, if I can work with their topic. Doing more allows me to get lazy with my own ideas! I do like participating, though, because it's a great way to interact with bloggers and generate a little traffic (you know for all that ad revenue I don't care about).

Open Options
When I started off blogging I felt a little pigeon-holed by the name of my blog- I was worried I had limited myself. Over time I felt more comfortable introducing non-book related topics in and gave myself permission to do so, as long as the blog didn't become something totally different. I'd say my book-to-other ratio is probably, over the course of the year, 85% books and 15% other, which works. 

Design
I have no clue how to do anything web-related, mostly because I have never tried. Last year I decided to pay $50 and have Designer Blogs give me a facelift. I was extremely pleased with the results- as much as it may suck, the look of your blog matters. Load time matters as well; sites that have huge headers, tons of pictures, lots of buttons, and other add ons end up getting exited out of before I can even start reading because I simply don't have time to wait. 

Getting Personal
Over the last year or two I think I've gotten slightly more personal, always being very cautious of the line that exists between my actual life and the Internet. I post links occasionally to Facebook, meaning my friends, family, and a few coworkers I trust can come see what I'm writing. I also have to assume that one day a student might run across what I write, so that's a whole other issue. I'm careful to not name friends specifically and I don't usually post pictures of other people- respecting privacy is important. I do think that allowing some of yourself to show through on your blog is critical- it helps people connect to you and makes you as a writer more invested in your content.

Copyright Laws
It took my about three of four months to get really picky about sourcing my pictures in posts- I've become (for the most part) a huge stickler about giving credit for pictures. In fact, it drives me crazy when big-name bloggers don't! I don't worry about book covers or movie posters, but otherwise I try extremely hard to find the original source (i.e. not another blog, not Pinterest, not Google images) and link back. 

Persona
It's always been my goal to write authentically. I'm not in the business of pretending to be someone I'm not. I drop four-letter words, I make jokes about sex, I'm long-winded at times. I use asides. I like to use humor to balance you the offensive, controversial, or depressing side of life. I refuse to use smileys. I'd be caught dead saying "lol," "totes," or "amazeballs." It's fine to wear a different hat while blogging, but it just isn't for me. 

Intent
It was never my intent to start a blog to make money, get free stuff, or land a new gig. I don't even really like talking about it with people! I have been lucky to get offers for free books to review, but I'm pretty picky about what I'll accept, since I have my own, huge, collection of unread books (and I don't do NetGalley or any of those things). But if you are aiming to do something more with your blog that's great! I think you should just be upfront with yourself and audience about what that is, though, which I think a lot of book bloggers are. 

Room to Improve
- Use of social media to increase readership
- Interacting more with the blogging community (responding to comments, commenting on other blogs, actively searching out new blogs, etc...)
- Use my own photos when I can, along with various photo Apps and Picasa
- Become more consistent with the balance of my post lengths
- Write some more critical, analytical, English-degree using type posts 

What are your blogging habits? What works for you? What doesn't? 

 

6 comments:

  1. Ugh, I'm so bad at writing several posts at a time. I'm happy if I get one blog post written and then I don't want to think about it again until it's time for another. I think it would be less of a burden though if I could get a couple written on one day and then schedule them throughout the week.

    Great advice! Thanks! :)

    Katie
    Freckled Latte

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  3. I am guilty of using smileys and lol, but I absolutely cannot stand "totes" and "amazeballs" -- those make me crazy!

    I like the idea of scheduling ahead, but it doesn't happen too often for me. I've taken the "obsess not" idea to also include not obsessing about how often I post -- when I feel like I *have to* it sucks all the fun out of it for me. I also like to tell myself most of my readers are bloggers with bursting feed readers themselves, so they really won't miss me if I only post once a week sometimes....quality over quantity for sure.

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  4. I'm surprised your blog design only cost $50. I don't know what I was expecting but more than that. My blog needs a facelift big time. I tried to convince my friend Julie to do it for me, but she has got her hands full at her real job now. Maybe I should just fork over the money, and let the experts work their magic. I've been putting off paying for it since (a) I'm cheap, and (b) I have a hard time justifying spending money on a hobby. That's kind of a copy out though since I clearly spend a lot more money than that on running!

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  5. I realize it makes me obnoxious, but I'm super picky about blog aesthetics (both mine and others). If I hate the look of your site, I'm not going to read it. I like yours (obviously). My biggest pet peeve "team "insert whoever"" badges. No, no, no.

    I do use smiley faces if I feel like what I'm saying could be misconstrued. I have a rather caustic sense of humor and I know that it doesn't always carry through online. I'm not sure I've ever actually typed lol - except for right now. I'm incredibly private about my personal life on my blog (though not always in comments on other blogs), despite openly joking about sex, money, beauty, etc. I don't know where the right balance is, but until I figure it out I'd rather be careful.

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  6. This post is awesome. Scheduling posts is the best thing ever, and to not stress. It drives me crazy when blogger friends are like omg I don't have a post for tomorrow! Its YOUR blog, skip it. It's okay to not always post. Although I do believe it is important to be consistent and to post consistently for the most part.

    I also think a clean and easy to read layout is important so that people will want to return to your blog.

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