The Art of Blogging: What I’ve Learned in Two Years

art of blogging

I’ve been asked numerous times by bloggers, new and old, how they can improve their blog and draw in more readers. I decided to share some of the tricks I’ve learned in my (almost) two years of blogging.

Photography

Photos are an important part of your blog — perhaps even the most important part. I don’t know about you, but a blog that has bad quality photos or hardly any photos at all isn’t going to attract my attention. I want to see your dolls, see the craft that I’m going to be making.

If you’re serious about blogging, get a nice camera. iPad/iPhone photography just isn’t that impressive (But if that’s all you have to take photos with, go ask Madison or Jaclynn for some tips on iPhone photography — they’re both fairly amazing with it).

Don’t expect to pick up a camera and instantly get terrific photos. Photography is a skill that can only be improved by practice. So take pictures often, and experiment with lighting and settings.

ByeLanie

Above is one of the first photos I ever posted on my blog. It’s blurry, the lighting is bad, and it’s not focused on the dolls as much as it could be.

1-DSC_1936

This is one of the photos I posted on my blog recently. It’s sharp, and the lighting is even. But it’s taken me a long time to progress from photo #1 to photo #2.

If you’re going to take photos inside, try to make sure you take them near a window. Somewhere where there is natural light. Also, I’ve found that it’s best to take photos without flash. Although, if it’s dark or you can’t manage to get a sharp image, it’s OK to use flash. Or you could just try again at a different time of day.

DSC_0253

Try to avoid taking pictures of you doll in harsh sunlight. If you do, it’ll end up looking something like this picture of Isabelle.

Grammar

I cannot tell you how much bad grammar annoys me. Bad grammar will drive me as far as to unfollow the culprit’s blog.

Grammar 101

original image via

I made a post about grammar awhile back, and I highly recommend that you check it out HERE.

Don’t know what to post?

Quality over quantity is something you should remember when you don’t know what to post. Brainstorm ideas instead of typing up a quick “I don’t know what to post — please comment with suggestions!” post.

Here are some post ideas:

  • Do a review. Surely there is something in your collection that you haven’t reviewed already.
  • Do a game. Caption That Picture, Name That Doll, Who Wore it Best — readers love games.
  • Create an award. New bloggers love getting awards and answering the questions.
  • Link to several recent posts you enjoyed reading, like Picks of the Week on Doll Diaries.
  • Do a photography challenge. We doll bloggers love showing off our photography skills. There doesn’t even have to be prizes.
  • Do a shout-out!
  • Take inspiration from your own life. Going to the park? Bring a doll and take some pictures.

About apology posts

We’ve all read them, and probably written some of our own: the post where you say sorry again and again and give us a bunch of reasons as to why you haven’t been posting. I didn’t know what to post, I was busy with school, I was out of town, etc.

Wouldn’t you rather look at some new (or even old!) pictures instead of reading that apology? I know I would. Instead of dedicating a whole post to your drawn out, heartfelt apology, just include a quick “sorry I haven’t been posting” at the beginning of post.

There are times, of course, when an apology to your readers is necessary. If you’ve been gone for a month without an explanation, an apology may be in order.

How do I get people to notice my blog?

Honestly, it just takes time.

It took me months and months to really get noticed. I know you don’t want to wait as long as I did, so I put together a list of a few tried and true ways to speed up the process.

  • Comment on other blogs. Leave a link to your blog after your signature, or ask nicely for the blogger to take a look at your blog. But make sure you say something nice about their post before making a request. It can be a bit annoying for someone to comment on a post you worked hard on with a simple, “Can you please check out my blog, leave a comment, and follow?” So make sure you ask them politely. 
  • Send in pictures for the Sunday Showcase (on Doll Diaries) or From a Friend Friday (on American Girl Fan). They let you link to your blog, and I often discover new blogs through things like the Sunday Showcase.
  • Make friends with other bloggers. This may be one of the most effective ways to get people to notice your blog. Find bloggers with common interests and talk to them in the comments. Friends (even online ones) are willing to do favors for each other, like giving you a shout-out, doing a guest post, or a collab.
  • Trade blog buttons.

Social media

At the moment, the only social media site I have an account on is Pinterest (my account), but you can really reach new readers by using social media. Since I started my Pinterest account awhile back, I’ve already gotten more then 350 refers from it!

If you already have a Pinterest account, I suggest that you make a board for your blog. Pin images from your posts with relevant hashtags. Like, if you’re pinning photos of your American Girl dolls, include hashtags like #dolls, #AmericanGirl, #AG — stuff like that.

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That’s all I have for now! I hope that my experience with blogging will help you grow your own blog.

Do you have any blogging tips that you’d like to share?

 –Loren

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43 thoughts on “The Art of Blogging: What I’ve Learned in Two Years

  1. While looking back through your old posts, I found this! Thanks so much for mentioning me – a new person visited my blog because of it and I was able to give them some (hopefully helpful ;) ) tips on iPhone photography! :) As much as I’ve learned on how to get nice-looking photos out of an iPhone, I sure am glad that I’ve switched to an actual camera. XD

    Your tips are so very true and helpful both for those just starting out and those who have been blogging for a while! I loved re-reading this post. I don’t know why I liked it before but didn’t comment… I must’ve forgot. XD :P

    A tip I’ve definitely learned is to keep up the relationship with other bloggers who follow you. Don’t just grow your audience – maintain it. It’s not enough to only comment around to become popular and then stop when you’re satisfied with your follower count. Even when you grow to become mega popular and have so many blogs you’re following that you just aren’t able to comment on every single post, make sure you comment on at least one post a week for each blog or something like that. (It’s also a very nice gesture to follow your followers’ blogs, as long as you’re interested in the blog, of course. And even if it’s not the greatest blog ever, be encouraging!) Set aside time to let your followers and commenters know that they matter and are appreciated – that they aren’t ignored. Their blogs rock, too. That’s very important for maintaining your audience – not just growing it, but keeping it. People are way more likely to keep commenting and reading your blog if you show your support for theirs – even if it’s not on every post. When you’re mega popular and super busy, people understand if you tell them. Be open and honest; “Because of my schedule and how many incredible blogs I follow, I may not be able to comment on every single post of yours. But your blogs are the ones I look forward to reading every week, and I comment whenever I can!” Something as simple as continually commenting on your followers’ blogs, even if it’s not on every single post ever, can mean the world for those who follow and look up to you!

    Well, that was my very long tip on what I’ve learned over these past four years on maintaining your audience and supporting your followers. :P If anyone actually read all that, you rock!! XD Loren, once again, your tips are absolutely amazing! You’re so very inspiring not only to me but to countless other bloggers as well. Never stop being the phenomenal person you are, Loren!

    •Madison•

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