5 pieces of crucial advice for new bloggers

source: utrippy

Follow the ebb and flow of writing.

I don’t think the term writer’s block is accurate, because for me, the desire to write comes in waves, in high tides and low tides. So ride the waves! Don’t ignore your instincts.

There are days when I have no motivation to write. During those low tides, I don’t push myself very hard to produce too much because I know the end result will probably be half-hearted and strained.

On high tide days, I carry a pen and notebook around with me wherever I go. I spend train rides and waits in grocery lines scribbling. It seems that my fingers can’t get the ideas down on paper fast enough before more pop into my head. Sometime I spend hours a day on a computer just fleshing out my thoughts.

I embrace these writings, because I know that I’ll have enough content to space out posts for a few days/weeks. Why push enlightening ideas away?

The great thing about blogging is that it strengthens your ability to plan ahead, rearrange concepts and take a look at the bigger picture. What you draft tonight doesn’t have to be tomorrow’s fodder. It can be words of reflection for three weeks from now, or whatever you want it to be.

Be patient about your Stats page.

I’ve realized that it’s impossible to advise new bloggers to completely disregard their Stats page and focus on improving their blogging because I can’t even do that myself. We can’t help it. We’re drawn to our Stats pages, curious to see who has been reading what, and from where. My realistic approach focuses instead on telling you that you MUST be patient about your stats. You can’t expect satisfactory results days, weeks or even months after you begin blogging. There is no quick method to get views/readers/followship, the same way there isn’t really a way to get rich quick.

There are three different types of blog readers.

One. Followers through WordPress. They’ll check out your blog and follow if you blog consistently, and put out quality content that’s relevant to their lives. It takes time to establish such a record.

Two. People in your life who find your blog through your social media sharing settings. What matters most is their initial impression of your blog/blog post. What, if any, photos did you choose? What title did you write? The thing to realize about personal readers is that just because they click once does not mean that they are guaranteed to click the next time. In fact, I feel like there’s an unspoken rule that the more you share your blog on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), the less likely your friends are to click on it, because of declining interest and novelty.

Three. People who happen upon your blog through search engines. The more you write and the more attention your blog has, the higher up your blog will appear in search engines. It’s a positive feedback loop. Of course, all of this is assuming that you don’t pay for views. That’s a completely different story. Speaking of which…

Don’t pay for views.

Or rather, don’t come to depend on them. It’s not worth it! I paid for views for a week through the glorious system of Facebook Ads. Perhaps the heading of “Don’t pay for views” is a bit misleading. Definitely try it out if you’re curious. We’re all different bloggers after all, writing about different subjects to different audiences, so inevitably everyone’s experiences will be different.

A general trend I discovered, however, is that even though I felt a small surge of confidence that week as likes trickled in every few minutes and my stats experienced a minor spike, I knew deep down that I hadn’t done my own part in helping my blog reach the appropriate people, through tagging, sharing and whatnot. Instead, I just threw money at the problem and hoped that it would improve itself.

But lack of views is not a problem. Gathering artificial views for a blog, however, is, because it can lead to a dangerous habit of coming to rely on paid views. It’s fine to get your blog out there in different ways and experiment, but that dependence will eventually guarantee that your blog viewers won’t visit your blog for your writing, but rather because they were drawn by a single ad on a website.

Use other bloggers’ writing as inspiration, but don’t mimic.

New bloggers often feel tempted to adopt another writer’s style before considering find their own, which requires lots of writing and experimentation.

You have to hit and strike out a lot before you make that perfect home run. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll continue to make them once you’ve made your first.

Whether it be following the writing style or taking article ideas from another blogger, it’s always better to credit your sources if you’re at all aware of their influence on your own work and to take the time to find your own voice.

Don’t go back and edit your posts.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that once you put an idea out there, it should be left as it is, abiding by the inevitable nature of the internet. Contributors to print newspapers have to deal with their words being set in stone as soon as the publisher gives the okay to print, and I think this should be reinforced in the realm of blogging as well.

It means pushing yourself to revise your articles multiple times before you it that Publish button, or expecting a higher standard of writing and editing from yourself, or holding off from publishing all together for a while to let the ideas mingle and sit in your head.

There’s nothing you can do about having a different opinion about something you published a year ago, but you can do something about careless grammar errors and spelling mistakes.

Blogging is built on the concept of constant and steady improvement. No one will criticize you if your first post is less than perfect, as it most certainly will be. Embrace mistakes, appreciate initial flaws and work on the general progress on your blog. You’ll soon come to realize that you are miles ahead of your first blog post.


14 comments

  1. Pingback: Sophomore Spotlight #6: Taking a break from blogging | Catherine Zhang
  2. housewifeish

    Thanks for the tips — I’ve been trying to use the stats page as more of a way to see trends: when do I get the most views, how many days does the “new post frenzy” last, what are the new things I’m doing that are having an effect on consistent views, etc. Although, I do get a little giddy when my views go up ;)

    Like

    • catdiggedydog

      I’m glad you found some use of these! Yeah, the stats page can be a confidence booster definitely, but as long as you have a healthy relationship with it, all is good. Thanks for reading! Sorry for the late response, I just got back in town!

      Like

  3. fromthestickstothebricksandbackagain

    Reblogged this on from the sticks to the bricks and back again and commented:
    My guest blogger for today went missing. I turned to my WordPress reader and typed in Blogging and Blogging Tips. Catherine Zhang’s Never Stationary was one of the blogs that populated my reader. In lieu of a guest blog, I am re-blogging her post, 5 pieces of crucial advice for new bloggers. She offers valuable advice for both new and more experienced bloggers alike.

    Liked by 1 person

    • catdiggedydog

      Hello! So glad you enjoyed this, and yes, you absolutely don’t have to use your own personal facebook to showcase your blog. There are other ways to build readership, if that’s what you’re interested in! If blogging is just a hobby, then just carry on!

      Liked by 1 person

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