5 blogging tips you might have missed – I did!

It’s nearly four months since I started this blog, so I’ve been taking stock. Fortunately, I’ve just found a brilliant pair of posts on Anne R Allen’s blog on how to, and how not to blog, specially aimed at authors who’ve started or are planning to start blogging. You can read it yourself here: http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-blog-beginners-guide-for-authors.html

I’ll be changing my ways from now on, based on five of Anne’s top blogging tips that I missed.

  1. I’ll be posting more regularly. I’m going for once-a-week, on Wednesdays. I find it hard to keep up with blogs that have new posts every other day, but I go cold on the ones that seem to have gone cold on me. Once a week suits me as a follower, so I hope it will please my blog-followers too. This is my first Wednesday post!
  2. I’ll be doing more linking (you’ll notice I started this post as I mean to go on!) What’s social networking, without sharing the good stuff? I’ll also put my link in Anne’s comments, and make more comments on the other blogs I read, so that their followers might click through to the House of Dreams.
  3. My blog titles might involve numbers (yep – starting as I mean to go on again) There might also be a sprinkling of bullet points within my posts, if I remember to put them in.
  4. I might make my posts a bit longer. They’ve been coming in around the 300 word mark, which is well under half the average for blog posts. But then again, I might not. I like to write lean – possibly in part because I’m not a patient reader myself.
  5. While taking on board all the great advice out there, I’ll go on ploughing my own path. Blogging is creative writing, and half the fun is finding out what it’s got in mind, and watching how it evolves. (Yes, I am one of those authors who DETEST writing synopses)

Doh – that’s all I’ve got to say and guess what? It’s 300 words. I rest my case!

Now, because finishing with a question is another tip I kind of missed, or rather got in a quite haphazard way, I’m going to close with a question for you, O welcome visitor to the House of Dreams – What are your top tips for successful blogging? 

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24 thoughts on “5 blogging tips you might have missed – I did!

  1. Abi Burlingham

    Hi Jenny. I’m so glad you’re going to be blogging once a week! They are very good tips aren’t they? Definitely useful as a guide. As you say though, creativity is what it’s all about. For me, as a reader, and fellow writer and blogger, I like to see a bit of variety in a person’s blogs. They also need to be well written, and have touches of humour at times and be thought provoking at others. I also like to see photos, to break up the text, and, like you Jenny, I don’t like them to drag on and on. But I think what’s most important, for me, is to gain a sense of who the writer is. A lovely post, Jenny.

    Reply
    1. Jenny Alexander Post author

      Hi Abi – what a lovely comment! I hadn’t put it into words for myself, but getting a sense of who the writer is, and liking their voice, is probably the deciding factor for me in which blogs I follow. That, and interesting ideas, and some nice discussion in the comments. I’m really enjoying being part of the blogging community now.

      Reply
  2. GillJames (@GillJames)

    I note you say you are going to make your blogs a little longer. Not sure about that. I tend to get impatient with anything over 250 words. There is so much to read these days. A SEO expert confirmed 300 is about right. A screenful? However, serious longer posts are okay if
    1. They say somehting useful
    2. They are broken up.

    Reply
  3. Jenny Alexander Post author

    That’s very affirming, Gill. My instinct is to keep it short, but Anne’s article suggested 600-1200 words for an average post. I think I’ll probably stick around the 300. Years of writing for children is a great discipline in saying what you want to say simply and briefly.

    Reply
  4. alisonstaples

    IGreat post – I think within reason use as many words as you need to tell the story and mixing it up – some a bit longer than others. Some funny, some thoughtful, some ranty etc. Tricky business this blogging lark :-)

    Reply
    1. Jenny Alexander Post author

      Mixing it up – yes! I’m getting so much from my comments this morning. I’ve never tried ranty before… Thank you!

      Reply
  5. disseminatedthought

    I never bother counting the words in my posts, I just write until it’s complete. If I can offer any advice at all, it would be not to count. For me, the right number of words is the number it takes to convey my idea to my readers in a concise, amusing and engaging manner.

    Reply
  6. Jenny Alexander Post author

    One of the great things about posting about blogging – I now discover – is that it’s giving me some great new sites to look at. The varied lengths of post on yours give it a great dynamic feel. I also feel inspired to include more pics of people in ridiculous outfits!

    Reply
  7. Kendra Fowler

    Good that you realize all these and are implementing them on your blogs.I would say that restricting our content to a specific limit doesn’t work out at all times. Even though I do not prefer to read long stories on blogs, I would always want to know more when the blog is about a specific product or application. So the content is definitely based on the topic that you blog about.
    Another thing is that being socially active on networking sites and responding to comments( which you are doing so well!) really pays off. Enjoyed reading it!!

    Reply
  8. Jenny Alexander Post author

    Hi Rex – there’s so much good advice out there – it’s good to spread it around! Enjoy your blogging.

    Reply
  9. Anne R. Allen

    I’m so glad you’re using my tips! I see way too many new bloggers who don’t get it–they’re spouting off long, meandering hunks of text to nobody, or neglecting their blogs for months. Your blog should be about YOU, but in a fun, dynamic other-centered way. Looks like you’re doing just that. Many thanks for the linkage!

    Reply
  10. Jenny Alexander Post author

    Hi Anne – thankyou for commenting! I guess authors like us know the difference between writing for readers and writing for oneself, but it was so brilliant to find your posts about how to create connections and make text work in this new medium. I haven’t managed to follow all your great advice yet – such as having an email contact here for readers, and using my own name more prominently, but I’ve made a note in my to-do file! Many thanks indeed.

    Reply
  11. Liz Kessler

    Great points, and I’m sure they’ll help you build your blog. The only one I disagree with is the one about ending with a question. Lots of people seem to do this lately, and I think it can sometimes feel a bit too heavy-handed and obvious as a way of trying to get responses. I tend to think that if the blog itself is engaging and interesting, it will get responses on its own merits without having to ask for more.

    Personally, I think you and your blog are doing just fine! xx

    Reply
  12. Jenny Alexander Post author

    Thanks, Liz – but I’m glad I asked the question now, because you answered it! I didn’t know you visited my blog. Seriously, I did end a few posts with questions, then stopped for a few, wondering if it was too heavy-handed… but when I found Anne’s blog I liked the regular rhythm of always ending with a question, as a reader. I felt it kind of focused my response. So atm I’m planning to try it, but you know me – I tend to get a plan and then let things evolve in their own way :)

    Reply
  13. Liz Kessler

    Yes, I was aware of the irony of the fact that it was your asking the question that led me to comment! I didn’t mean that I’m against EVER asking a question at the end, just that sometimes on blogs that do this every time, I find it too much of an obvious device. Just my opinion – and if it works for you, do it!

    And yes, I do dip into your blog – particularly when you mention it on twitter at a time when I’m there to spot the link! xx

    Reply
  14. Jenny Alexander Post author

    Well I’m really glad you dropped by yesterday. It’s nice to see your smiley face in the House of Dreams xx

    Reply
  15. Stroppy Author

    I agree that length should be appropriate rather than a rule. One thing to look out for (picking up on the request for other tips) is to use tags intelligently so that people (a) find your posts via Google and (b) can find posts on your site about particular topics easily. And link to previous posts of your own about related topics, but *don’t* over do that!

    Lovely blog, Jenny :-)

    Reply
  16. Jenny Alexander Post author

    I’m honoured to have a visit in the HoD from the Stroppy Author – thank you so much for these great tips – and for your kind compliment! I’m feeling my way with tags – I think that may have to be my next tidy-up job. Do you have any specific tips on how to use them intelligently? I may need a steer!

    Reply
    1. Jenny Alexander Post author

      2 blogs – amazing! I love your cowboy brand. I tried to run 2 twitter accounts and found that was doing my head in, so I’m not sure I could manage 2 regular blogs. I do this one and a regular once-a-month with other children’s writers on http://girlsheartbooks.com/ and I find that’s a lot atm. But I’ve got two strings to my bow, like you, with the children’s writing and the creative dreaming-and-writing with adults, and they don’t feel compatible on one blog. They don’t seem compatible as a brand at the moment, so I’m pondering how to develop my online activities. That’s where I’m a bit stumped.

      Reply
  17. Sue Purkiss

    Absolutely agree with Liz about this thing of ending a post with a question. It feels like ‘Listen With Mother’ to me – ‘ Now children, I’m just going to check that you’ve been listening. So – what’s your favourite book/brand of cereal/ whatever?’

    Very interesting, Jenny – thanks!

    Reply
  18. Jenny Alexander Post author

    Haha! Very succinctly put! I may need to rethink it… obviously one top tip to handle with care…

    Reply

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