Blogging for Beginners

In April I will be speaking at a conference here in Austin. It won't be publicized for a few more days, so I'm going to be mysterious about it until then.

At the conference I will be doing a session on Online Marketing with an emphasis on blogging. Now because of the way this conference is structured, I anticipate most of my audience to be beginner or even "new to the concept of blogs" bloggers. I thought one interesting way to introduce them to the kid-lit-o-sphere would be to offer them advice from other friendly bloggers.

And that's where you come in. I would love it if everyone would post a friendly piece of general advice for novice bloggers in the comments section of this post. Then, I'll use the advice (with your blog address attached of course) during my presentation. If for some reason you do not want me quoting your advice or would prefer to remain anonymous, please let me know. And then in 10 weeks time when I invariably post my presentation, you'll be able to see what stellar advice all of you offered to the next wave of bloggers.

I think I would like to make this presentation a little more interactive then most, so I'll probably have more questions and want more advice in the future. Just so you know. :)


PJ Hoover said...

We can always talk as the time gets closer!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

My biggest piece of advice is to HAVE FUN. The best part of blogging is that outside of some etiquette (return visits and comments, for instance), there really aren't rules about what content to post. In that way, blogging is like the Wild West: the rules are being forged -- and changed -- hourly.

Don't worry about what's expected of you. Have fun. Let your blog show your passion for what you write about and you'll be successful. Best of all, you'll be HAPPY.

Kourtnie McKenzie said...

I think the biggest thing about blogs is to after you've made yours, read other blogs like yours. I had a livejournal for years, and what truly made it enjoyable was to interact with other bloggers and expand your network. :)

lishacauthen said...

Don't be afraid to let your personality shine through. There are a million places to go for dry information. Blog readers are looking for an interesting spin, a human connection. You have the one thing they can't get anywhere else--YOU!

Erica said...

I completeley agree with Kourtnie:

*Find blogs you love
*Start blogging because you can't help yourself
*Post about things that inspire you, because you want to share them
*Link to the blogs you love

The network of generous, amazing individuals that I meet through my blog continues to surprise me.

Shelli said...

find a niche and dont be afraid to show your voice

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

To build an audience, it's more important to blog regularly (every first Monday) than more frequently but in a scattered way.

Consider registering your blog at JacketFlap to connect with other youth literature bloggers.

Remember that agents and editors do Google prospective clients/authors.

Ben Esch said...

I'd say one of the best ways to build a following on your blog is to make it as interactive as possible. This is most easily accomplished by having a contest (fill in the caption, trivia, cat joke thrown down...that last one made sense in context) but even just posting questions in your entries is a really great way to increase comments and make readers feel a lot more connected with your blog.

Ben Esch
author of "Sophomore Undercover"
(2/24/09) Disney-Hyperion

Lisette Kristensen said...

I agree with Shellie, find a niche and your voice. One other thing to be successful is to blog consistently and have fun. Lastly it takes time to build a following, and it makes you a better writer.

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you blog about. It can come back to haunt you.

Jessica Burkhart said...

If you're published, don't use your blog just to say "Buy my book!! Buy it!"

Add more content than that. Don't hard sell all of the time.

beckylevine said...

Show up. I agree with what Cynthia said--it's important to establish a day (or a couple of days) that you'll be there. Even if all you do is a few sentences about what's keeping you busy doing other stuff!

If you have contact with other bloggers or writers or people in your area of theme/expertise, ask them if you can interview them or if they'll guest post. Usually, they say yes happily.

Give something away every now & then. :)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

My advice for bloggers would be to connect. Comment on blogs you like and get to know the people like you (if you blog about books, that would be authors and other similar bloggers).

Don't just do something because you might get free books or items out of it. You have to love what you're doing and be excited to spread news/reviews/interviews/etc to others, because if you don't love it, why should anyone else? Some people will always be more popular or have more readers, even if you've been doing it longer, but don't think of it as a competition. Be happy for those that DO read what you write and always write what you love.


Anita said...

If you're spending more time blogging than you are on the projects which got you blogging in the first place, that's a problem.

I avoid making political statements on my blog. Not everybody shares my beliefs and I don't want to alienate anyone.

I'm surprised by the number of people who post their travel plans. Call me paranoid, but I think that's risky behavior.

Blog regularly...otherwise, people stop checking out your blog.

Check out Kristin Nelson's blog regularly. She's really great. :)

Willow said...

The best advice I can give is to take the time to learn your blogging website thoroughly. I'm a techy geek and it took me over a month to realize that I hadn't adjusted my settings so I'd be notified when I received comments. Life is so much happier now that I get my little email notifications.

Take a day, or more, to sit down and play with your settings. Personalize a color scheme or apply a theme to your site. Make the blog an extension of yourself by styling it with something you like.

Oh, and be mindful of your font size. I also messed up one of my blogs and set the font to a tiny size 11 that hurt people's eyes to read. You don't want to lose readers because they can't make out your text.

Good Luck and Happy Blogging!

Sarah Garrigues said...

Also, keep in mind that Agents, Editors, and your readers (even the younger ones) may read your blog, so keep it clean! Show your voice and personality, while still remaining a sense of professionalism.

JennBailey said...

These are some slides directly from my "Social Media and You Business" presentation. Usually I give this to Newbies, so, here goes:

Blogs Must:
And/or Inspire
Note: 300 cable channels and yet none show only Advertisements. The blog must give value.

Blogs Should:
Create Conversations - ask questions, encourage participation
Be relevant to your audience
Drive people to your business
Create evangelists
Make it possible to share your message - RSS Feeds, Subscriber buttons, etc.

If you want to talk more I'm
Good luck,
Jenn Bailey
Biz blog -
Kidlit Blog -