Friday, August 5, 2011

Keep it Simple

I am linking up with Kelly's Korner today and sharing my best blogging tips.

I have been blogging on and off for years and consistently for about 18 months.  Blogging satisfied my need to write and provides a sort of dynamic virtual scrapbook for my entire family to view!

If you are reading this, you probably already know to update your blog at least once a week, preferably several times a week.

1.  Quantity does not necessarily equal Quality.
I learned this the hard way.  You may be tempted to do these blog hops and things.  People may offer to follow you back if you follow them.  If all you are after is followers, that is great.  If you want to create a community, with people who comment on your blog, however, you should only follow blogs that you are REALLY interested in.

2.  Make a List and Check it Twice (a Day).
I used to keep my Blog Roll on my blog and then it got out of hand.  Now I follow many blogs in either reader or from a separate blog (if you can comment from Reader, I have not figured it out!  But if you know how, please let me know! Please!).  I have a blog with blog rolls separated by category.  Mom Blogs, Creative Blogs, Homeschool Blogs, etc.  I check these first thing when I wake up in the morning (while I drink my coffee & before the kids get up) and at night, usually before bed.  I try to comment on at least the 10 most recent posts, more if I have time.  I hope I get to almost everyone most of the time.

3.  Comment, Comment, Comment!
If you want people to comment on your blog, you need to comment on theirs.  Do it often.  If you like another blogger's style or relate well to them, comment often.  Eventually they will be interested to see who you are and stop by your blog to leave a comment.

4.  Don't Sweat the Stats.
In the beginning I had installed Statcounter, which is a great site.  But I found myself checking how many hits I had every day, who stopped by...then I stressed about why other bloggers were stopping by and NOT commenting...then I stressed about where they came from.... Finally, I just deleted the Statcounter code.  It was too stressful.  I like to write.  I want my blog to be a record for our family of this time in our lives.  If people want to read it--FABULOUS!  If not, that is fine too.  If they want to comment, I would love it and would comment on their blog in return.  But I don't need to spend my time stressing over the stats. It felt like I was invading my readers' privacy, so I got rid of statcounter.

5.  Don't be afraid of Html.
This is really up to your own personal preferences, but I find playing with Html to be really rewarding.  I like how my blog looks.  I like how it has evolved.  I like that I did it.  I am still learning.  I am nowhere near a pro.  But playing with code is part of the fun of it for me.

6.  Photoshop or Picasa?
I have Photoshop on my latptop.  I like it.  I especially like the way they edit brightness and color.  I like all of the effects.  But it's complicated sometimes.  Sometimes I don't have time for it.  We have been very busy this summer and I have really not had time to edit photos and watermark, so I downloaded photo editing software from far--I think it may be the best thing since sliced bread!  It is SUPER easy to use and I have been very pleased with the results.

7.  Watermarks.
Watermarks are simple and they prevent people from stealing your images.  Since I post pics of my kids, I try to do this.

8.  Simple.
Again, this is personal preference, but I think that simple is best.  I think white is the easiest background to read, darker backgrounds are harder on the eyes.  I think a medium font in a standard style is best - save the brush script for a greeting card or poster--it's hard to read line after line of curlique type.  But those are just my opinions.  I am also not a fan of music on a blog, but I can turn the volume off on my computer and happily read your blog.  Unless you are my friend who plays Jersey shore songs on her blog, then I listen...because I love the shore!

9.  Play with Photobucket.  Photo collages add interest to your blog and are easy to make.  This link shows you how: How to Make Photo Collages.  You can make collages in Picasa too.  I have not tried this yet.

10.  Make a Blog Button.

11.  Research and educate yourself on SEO (Search Engine Optimization).