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Monday, June 10, 2013

My Thoughts on How to Write a Blog.

I received an email from someone last week asking me if I had any tips about blog writing.  I have thought about this, and at first thought I was not the right person to ask - but, then again, I had to take that big, first, scary step as well.  I had no idea what to do, but in that situation, I tend to just jump in and start.  Experience is a good teacher - and I am still learning.

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*Okay, so you have decided to do it.  You have decided to write a blog.  But how - you are not particularly technical, you are not sure how or what to write, and are not really sure how to manage the thing.

*For the technical how to's of blogging on Blogger, I would have a good look around Blogger - and also Google my specific enquiry.  That is how I learn to do a lot of blogging related stuff.

Play around with your blog before you publish -play with the different templates,  get familiar with how to write a post, preview it and so on.  Also work out how to upload pictures and how to add a link. Look in setting and see what sort of comments you allow - I won't allow anonymous comments.  Work out your privacy settings - most of us want search engines to find us. Have a good look at everything. 


*Having had a play with your blog, choose your template.  Then explore widgets ( go to page layout).    Add the widgets you want.  


Write your profile so that viewers can find out what you and your blog are about.

Organise your design and keywords, and if you want to, link to other social media.

*All of this techno talk though, does not really help those of us who can't design and are not sure what to say or do.  

*This is the field of creativity, and that is not easy to teach.  It's a bit like swimming - someone can tell you the strokes, but you have to get in the water and do it yourself.  That is the same with blogging.

*So, I recommend you just start - if you want to write a blog, that's all you do.  If you want to think about writing a blog, then that is what you will do.

*So, the best tip I can think of is to just do it.  And connect with other bloggers. Regularly write about a topic of interest to your community of bloggers - I write about sewing because that is what I like to do.

*Visit other blogs and see how that blog is designed and written - you will find some that are very professional and some, like mine, that are a little more amateur (although I prefer to think of it as blog cinema verite, to complement the rather handmade look of my sewing attempts at present).

* Blogs can be about anything - so choose something you want to do - it might be diary, or a photo-journal, or scholarly thoughts - or it can be a mixture.  It could be a photo collage of events of your daily life.  Or about dreams, or about anything, really.

* It's just a matter of starting it - that's what blogging is.  Visit other blogs and comment.  They will also visit you.

*Over time, you will have a blog.  You will learn about blogging.  And then you can work out how to blog.

*I'd love to know how everyone else started blogging - I'll bet most of us hadn't really got a clue what to do - yet we are doing it. 

* Do you have any blog hints and tips for new bloggers?

Sarah Liz :)

 






 

23 comments:

  1. Starting the blog was the easy thing for me. It is keeping it up, and generating interest that always gets to me. I am not a natural talker in real life, and it carries over to my blog. Ah well, it is what it is. :)

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  2. I found it difficult to start, but easy to generate ideas. I am not a natural talker either - I think quite a few bloggers are probably introverts who would rather blog. I think that to generate interest, it is a matter of visiting others and commenting on their blogs, and developing a relationship - just like a chat in real life, really.

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    1. And that is my problem - chatting in real life LOL

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    2. Blogging might be quite good for you then - you can quietly comment and get involved without saying too much. My husband is quiet too - but a lot goes on in his head. Same with my sister.

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  3. I agree, keeping it up is the hard aspect.

    Originally I envisaged my blog as a way of keeping track of what I'd sewn ..... ie pattern no., fabric used start date, finish date etc (I still do this the old way, exercise book and pen ha,ha,ha), hence, I've never worried about generating traffic.

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    1. I still resort to old fashioned techniques too, Janine :). I am not quite sure what I envisaged other than "sewing and style" and see what happens. I don't worry about traffic either - I would rather have a circle of people I get to know than hundreds of followers that I don't really relate to.

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  4. Keeping going is definitely the hard part. Sometimes I seem to be overflowing with ideas, other times I can't think of anything to write about.

    I'd like to get into the habit of not posting an idea as soon as I have it, rather to store a few up to use when maybe I'm not feeling so creative.

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    1. That is a good idea Sam - keep a notebook (or draft posts) on your blog for ideas - they do tend to come in rushes. No-one is creative all the time.

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  5. I don't think you have to blog on a very frequent basis. I didn't blog for nearly a year and most of my followers are still there. Granted I don't have many followers and I definitely don't recommend only blogging once or twice a year - but in the end it is your blog and you do what you want with it. If you want contact with other bloggers do visit and make comments. It is a great way to find cyber friends and maybe you will arrange to meet in person one day!

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  6. I haven't been blogging for long at all, but absolutely love it! It is an excellent way of meeting like minded people from all over the world and tapping into the enormous wealth of sewing knowledge out there! I don't have time to make my blog all pretty and such, as I battle to just find the time to jot down info about my sewing as it is. But the bonus side is that we all seem to be in the same 'time-poor' boat, balancing life, work and our sewing pleasure each day. My only blog hint or tip would just be to do what you can, when you can, and keep it fun. Blogging shouldn't be another chore to conquer each day, but should be an enjoyable treat ...

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  7. I've been blogging about 5 years and have several tips I can share.
    1) Focus on photos. It helps the reader to figure out if they should spend the time reading what you wrote. (I follow hundreds of sewing and quilting blogs - I don't have time to read every word everyone writes)
    2) Identify what the key focus of your blog will be. Is it about you? About sewing? If you have more than one major focus, consider having more than one blog. (If I'm following you because of sewing, but 9 out of 10 posts are about something else, I'll probably quit following)
    3) Reply. Create a relationship with your followers by replying to their comments. I prefer doing this by email since I'm not likely to go back to the original post to see what a blogger had to say in response to my comment.
    4) Citations. Always give credit to whomever it was who designed or inspired what you made. Never post a photo from someone else's page without permission. If someone else inspired what you did, send them an email with a note and a link back to your post.
    5) Routine. Set a goal of how often you will post. I find that by trying to post at least once a month, even when I'm feeling swamped, it helps me keep moving on a project so I get something done worth posting.

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    1. Marjorie, this is an excellent "post" and I think you are spot on about blogging being about the interest (or content) and the relationships. I take care to always visit my followers, and I think your advice about emails is excellent.

      You have astutely picked that my blog is about sewing - when I started the blog I decided to make it about sewing and the "other" ie. not me, but about trying to write things other sewers might be interested in, and to help to motivate them.

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  9. Thanks, very helpful, I am getting my toes wet! ;)

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    1. Fantastic, Kate :) Do let us all know when you are swimming - perhaps you can post on the www/stylethestashsewalong.blogspot.com site, so that we all know about your blog and can come and visit you. Only if you want that, of course.

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  10. Got my sewalong linked button installed on my sidebar. Thanks. Very good blogging 101 post!

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    1. Hi Faye, thank you - but I think all of the comments added a lot to the post. The button looks good on your blog. Not as colourful as yours though :)

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  11. Good ideas here from SarahLiz and readers. I love blogging, but sometimes get lost in how to reply to people. Where do you find reader emails?

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  12. I Think Im One Of Those BloggerS Who Like To Reply To Comments DiRectly Under The readers's Comment.. Lol. I KnOw Most Of The Time They Wont Come BaCk To The Particular Post To Read Them, But I Am Wishing That Automatically They Get Them In Their Email Too...;) Wishful Thinking Yeah?
    I Always Remind Myself That My Objective To Have A Blog Is To Put Down What I made, Very Much Like Janine. And Probably Also Like A Virtual Address To Meet Other Sewing BloggerS! :)
    Generating Interest Will Not Be On The Uppermost Of My Concern, Esp Since There's A Lot To Juggle Here, And The Fact That I Spend A Lotttt Of My Waking Hours Sewing Or Thinking About Sewing Already, Having To Think Abt Blog Content Will Bring Headache For Me (& More Hours On Top Of Sewing Where Im Physically Present But Mentally Not So MucH). :) But I Do Enjoy A Well Thought Out Blog Like Everybody Else.:) And Also Well, English Is Not My First Language, U See. Although I Would Still Have The Same Problem If I Have To Blog In My Native Tongue!

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  13. I always come back to read the comments Far, and I get them in my email as well. If someone takes the time to comment, I will always take the time to reply. But then I was very well brought up :).

    Like you, I did a blog for personal reasons - I don't want a full time occupation trying to attract followers - I have to look after my household, I help in my husband's practice, and I need to sew.

    I think you write well considering English is not your first language.

    It is lovely to meet other people who sew - pity we all live so far apart, be lovely to meet in real space too :)

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  14. I agree with pretty much what everyone has already said.

    I do have one other thing to add. Don't over design your blog, keep your backgrounds simple, there are some blogs out there that almost hurt the eyes because there is so much going on, they look like someone vomited graphics all over the page. Even if the content is excellent, I don't read blogs like this, too distracting to read. Plain background, easily read font, let your photos and your writing be the focus.

    If you want to see an example of what I mean, email me privately and I will send you a link. I don't want to publicly embarrass anyone.

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  15. Hi Elle, yes, the standard in webdesign now is keep it simple. However, when webdesign first started, everyone was keen to show their competence with graphics, and I guess some still do. I guess we have a choice - we can read them or not.

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