Thank you for joining the first installment of our Blogging Basics series! When Anne approached me about this, I was a bit intimidated. What do I know? But she’s my blog mentor and working with her is a pleasure. I couldn’t say no.
As you might know, I’m not a fan of being told what to write. This is my space and I’ll share what’s in my heart (and what’s in my makeup bag). I think every blogger has the right to discuss what they wish, and there’s an audience for everything. I also believe in a functional site and realize mine is not 100% right now. You may have noticed my home page isn’t currently working, so make sure to head to my “Blog” page to see new posts!
That being said, I do believe there are some things every blog should have:
A gracious host.
That’s the number one thing for me. You can have a gorgeous design and intriguing and helpful content, but if you’re not kind, I’m not interested. You are not doing us a favor by writing your blog- we’re doing you a favor by reading it. Be grateful and engage. Authenticity and a simple “thank you” go a long way. Even if I can’t identify with your content, I can appreciate and support humbleness and thoughtfulness.
About Me page.
I never realized the importance of this until I started offering sponsorships. I occasionally work with bloggers I haven’t yet had a chance to get to know, and it makes it much easier to do a little research if they have an updated “About Me” page. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive- tell me what you think I should know about you. It’s your space and you’re encouraged to talk about yourself!
Attention to spelling and grammar.
Not everyone has an English degree or works as a professional writer. I get it. I am a trained writer and spend 10 hours a day writing and editing hundreds of pages of documentation. I’m sensitive to grammar mistakes and misspellings and find them distracting. I’m never perfect on my own space and don’t expect anyone else to be… however, it doesn’t hurt to run a quick spell check. If I were a business, I’d personally rather work with a blog with a clear, concise style. I generally won’t work with companies who send nonsensical pitch emails, and would expect many companies to feel the same regarding bloggers. Google is (mostly) your friend and I’m always here for a quick refresher. 😉
Simple commenting system.
Want to build engagement with your readers? Create a simple commenting system. I prefer Disqus most of the time, though I find it difficult to comment from my phone if I’ve logged out of my account. I like both the default WordPress and Blogger commenting systems, but please turn off the CAPTCHA. I do a lot of blog commenting from my phone and can never get it right. I’d love to comment on your blog, but, after my fifth incorrect answer, I give up. A quick Google search provided this helpful article on removing it from your site. Comments make my day!
Sense of community and mentors.
When I first started blogging, I thought I’d do it on my own. Can it be done? Yes. But it’s a heck of a lot more fun if you engage with others and build a community. When I find a blogger I adore, I want to get to know you better! Have easy to locate social media links, search bar, and archives. Have readable font. Reply to my comments. Collaborate! It’s exhilarating to work with and bounce ideas off of others. Reach out to some of your blogging friends, and if you haven’t made any yet, reach out to a blogger you admire. Put yourself out there. You need the community so you have someone to send you detailed screenshots when you migrate from Blogger to WordPress and feel overwhelmed (thanks, Anne!). Or someone who you can ask an HTML question when you’ve broken your site. And you need the support. Blogging is wonderful but it can be stressful at times. Who better to understand than another blogger?
My list is probably a bit unconventional, but I’m definitely more about the person behind the blog. And proper spelling. Do you agree with my picks? What would you add?
Don’t forget to join us next week; we’re discussing link ups!