July 5th, 2013

Blogging 101


Remember when Sara du Jour looked like this?

I frequently get asked for tips on how to go about writing a personal blog. Now, I’m no expert on the matter but here are a few things I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Create original content. On the internet, content is king. The blogging world is vastly over-saturated and fiercely competitive. So create something cool, and put it out there. Use whatever talents you have, be it writing, photography, fashion, design, makeup, shopping, gaming, humor, whatever, and share it with the world. You cannot run a successful blog unless you are contributing something, anything, new.

2. Blog for you. Don’t create a blog because you want to get noticed. Blog because you love it. Imagine if no one would ever see or follow your blog. Would you still do it? If the answer is yes, then go for it! Here’s why: if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it’ll show. And at the beginning, (and sometimes for a long while) no one will see your blog, so it really is a labour of love. Blog about what you like, not what you think others will. (Spoiler: you will never make everyone happy, so make yourself happy!)

3. Show + tell. Great blogs are a combination of words and pictures. Get snap happy and include photos wherever possible. It’ll save you from having to write big chunky paragraphs. Remember, a picture speaks a thousand words! Besides, huge hunks of text on blogs scare people. (Wait a minute…) Speaking of pictures, get a good camera, and take beautiful photos. I use the Panasonic Lumix GF5 with a pancake lens, and it’s the bees knees. But even an iPhone can take great shots – just try to frame the photo well and utilize good lighting.

4. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). There’s nothing more aggravating than stumbling across a blog with a seizure-inducing design. Keep your layout clean and easy to navigate. Nobody wants to be bombarded with dubstep upon landing on your blog, or have to play hide-n-seek with the “next page” button.

5. Let your personality shine through. People follow personal blogs only if they are interested in the person, so don’t be afraid to share a little about yourself & your world! As for the written element, try to write as you’d speak. Keep it conversational, and don’t be afraid to get a bit silly sometimes.

6. Be honest. Whether it’s talking about your life or just reviewing a product, tell the truth. It’s the internet: people will eventually find out if you’ve lied to them. You really don’t want an angry mob at your proverbial doorstep, trust me. Once lost, credibility is something you can never buy back. Respect your audience enough to be honest with them. If there’s something you’d rather not share about yourself, don’t! But never lie.

7. Have manners. People don’t like meanies. Don’t be one. Be grateful that anyone at all takes the time to read your blog, and treat them well. If you’re having a bad day/week/month and can’t find it in yourself to be nice, better to stay off the internet for a while until you’re feeling better.

8. Engage with your audience. A personal blog is a great way to share your life, and your talents, with others. Allow people to comment on your posts, and reply to comments whenever possible – nicely! (See previous tip.) Talk to your followers, and let them have a say in what they’d like to see next, (so long as it’s something you’d want to blog about, of course). I use Disqus to enable comments on my posts. It’s pretty swell!

9. Get Social! Social buttons are a great way to get more exposure to your blog. It allows people to share posts they enjoy through their social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I like AddThis, it’s easy & totally free!

10. Practice Safe Blogging. The internet is both awesome and terrifying. (Much like a dragon.) Sharing your life online comes with risks. Remember to put online only what you’re comfortable with the whole world seeing: because eventually they will! Friends, family, teachers, bosses, lovers, exes, etc. While the majority of your blog’s viewers will be probably be lovely people, beware the odd creeper or perv. This may seem obvious, but don’t give out personal details like your address, SIN number, or credit card info. To anyone.

11. Have fun! I didn’t want to leave this post on such a scary note, so remember to just enjoy the process. Blog about what you love, and if it stops being fun, stop doing it. It’s a hobby, not a job! (Unless it’s actually your job, in which case, I’m jealous.)

If you have a personal blog, leave it in the comments and we can all check it out.

Happy blogging! xx

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