Blogging, Demystified- Part 3 – Blogging 101
by Anita Menon
In this, I will be giving out tips about:
– How to promote your blog
– Blogging etiquette
How to promote your blog?
Blogging is a called a community for a reason. The blogging community is all accepting and supportive. As a new blogger, you should feel encouraged to connect with more experienced bloggers to seek advice and guidance. As a matter of fact, a lot of established bloggers time and again write posts that would help new bloggers connect the dots in the blogging world. It would be best to keep an eye out for such posts and subscribe to have some pro bloggers posts drop into your mail box. Blogging is not so much about classroom type learning ( though there are some forums that provide that too) as it is about learning through observation. When I started off, I spent a lot of time understanding the style, content type, presentation, language, blog lingo by simply browsing through some popular blogs. What I also learnt from these pro-bloggers is how to promote my blog so as to get the kind of exposure it deserves.
1)Connect with a community -Now for a new blogger on the block it is important to figure out your community- the group where you will truly belong and will grow in the process. If you are a food blogger like I am, there are groups which are geographical distributed. There are niche groups within the food blogger cult – the bread bakers, the marathon bloggers, the regional cuisine promoters, the baking enthusiasts, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian only and so on. This is simply an example. There are niches like these in other blogging communities of that of, lets say sports, nutrition, gadgets, travel etc.
Connect with these communities. Some of them will ask you to become a member. Participate in contests run by communities, leave comments on other bloggers’ posts and promote others’ posts on social media channel. Show your solidarity by doing projects together and sometimes even emailing individuals to show how much you admire their work. Subscribing to certain blogs will ensure you will never miss their posts. The opportunities to learn and grow are umpteen and connecting with blogging communities is always the surest way to announce that you and your blog exist. Once you start to appear a lot on blogging forums, people take time out to check out your blog. Some of the blogging communities are Networked blogs, Bloglovin and BlogHer that are known for maximum reach.
2)Connect on social media channels -Social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Linkedin and to some extent Instagram are fantastic platforms to promote posts and content. It is imperative, if you want to promote your content and blog, that you should have accounts with some or all of these social media channels. Not only should you have accounts, you should also be active on them by posting content, messages, pictures etc. If you are a blogger who blogs once a week, you would want to share other related content on your social media channels to keep the interaction or promotion going on. Promoting other bloggers’ content will nurture a goodwill which is sure to be reciprocated at some point.
3) Guest posts – Guest posts have become increasingly popular in recent times. I have been a guest blogger for many of my blogger friends and this mutual exchange of ideas and content for the benefit of both the parties involved, seems to me, the surest way of attracting traffic to your blog. Once you become fairly popular on the blogging scene, you will notice that you will have many emails in your inbox asking for guest posts to be done on your blog. I get them on an average of 6-7 to such emails requesting me to allow guest posts from random people. I do not entertain them as a policy because, in my opinion, one should allow guest posts from bloggers/ friends whom you trust. They are bound to provide you with the best content and both the parties are on the same page as expectations are understood about the quality of the posts, the nature of the content etc.
4)SEO – Search Engine Optimization allows for your blog to be found easily when a person from some part of world uses certain words or phrases that match with the ones that have been laid down post a SEO exercise. SEO happens naturally if you have been around for sometime and you have your blog links scattered all over the internet. But if you are a fairly new blog and are ambitious enough to grow fast, SEO might help you. Yet again, it is important to remember that SEO can only act as a catalyst. If you are not regular at updating your blog, no amount of SEO can bring about any change in your status.
Why promoting your blog is important – Promoting your blog can lead to several opportunities and sometimes it can become a source of income as well. Even if monetary benefit may not be your goal, promoting your blog will allow other like-minded readers and bloggers to enjoy the content that you create. Creating content regularly is challenging. It is even more challenging to keep it fresh and creative. When such hard work goes into creating of content both textual and /or visual, it is important that you do justice to it by promoting it well.
Blogging Etiquette – Believe it or not, there are certain rules by which one must play in order to earn the respect of your fellow bloggers and to be looked upon as a member of the community who brings value. Blogging etiquette are a set of rules that one learns along the way without anyone particularly pointing them out. Ofcourse, not all bloggers may tend to agree with what I have to share here in the name of blogging etiquette but if 5 years of disciplined blogging are anything to go by, then you must think of this as a decorum that leads to great many things. Either ways, here are a few fail – safe tips to keep in mind:
1. When a reader has taken the pains to come to your blog to read and eventually comment, it is your duty to reply to that comment. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. A simple ‘thanks for reading and commenting’ will suffice.
2. If you are a food blogger and you tried other another blogger’s recipe, you SHOULD link back to their post or blog and give credit to them.
3. If you are reblogging a post from another blog that you liked a lot, let them know in the concerned post comments that you are going to do so or ask permission.
4. Never, never steal / use someone else’s pictures without asking them. Most bloggers are lovely souls. When you ask them, they are happy to help.
5. Never enter into a comment war on your blog or someone else’s. Studies reveal that the average time that a person spends on a blog post is less than 4 minutes. People generally tend to scan posts, appreciate pictures or videos. In that short amount of time spent, it is difficult to judge what exactly a blogger is meaning to say and sometimes when the topic is controversial and against our own belief systems we may be tempted to write something nasty. It is better to move away from potential conflict for a simple reason that we don’t know what the blogger in question is going through that they ended up writing something that was disturbing to you in particular or the public in general. Such conflicts are a waste of time.
6. When people who come by your blog and leave venomous comments, the ‘moderator’ tool is your best friend. Exercise your right by not approving the comments and by even deleting them. Allowing them to be approved on your blog, suggests that you want to provoke people negatively. I have seen many bloggers who are controversial topic dabblers not using the comment moderator function at all. That is because they wish to provoke and incite. It is their prerogative and then all you should think is ‘ to each his/ her own’.
7. If a newbie asks for your help, you must.
These are some of the many rules that I have set for my sake and I live by them. The blogs I have are the extension of my personality. What I write and share with the world is a large part of who I am as a person and I would never want to project anything else ever. Being real is something that people relate to easily. Being warm and positive is a vibe that’s contagious and people who visit such blogs want more of that. Make that little space of yours on the internet, that your call your blog, that sweet spot of sunshine, hope and joy. Everyone needs more of that in their life.
With this I finish my Blogging, demystified series. I will be happy to answer queries. Just email me at dazzler29atgmaildotcom