If you’ve been reading my blog, first of all, let me say how much I appreciate you. I am very blessed that I’ve gotten so many comments, and learned so much from all of you, out there reading these words. Because I’d heard all kinds of horror stories about people blogging for YEARS and never getting one. Single. Comment. I’ve been lucky enough to have extremely engaged readers and comments on nearly every post.
Now that I’ve written 100 posts, here’s some stuff I’ve learned. By the way, thanks for the inspiration to Randy Clark and his What We’ve Learned From 300 Posts.
Use Beautiful Images
Images are one of the most important aspects of a blog. Some people, I’m convinced, don’t read at all, but skim the headings and look at the pretty pictures. So I make an effort to use Flickr’s Creative Commons or my own photos whenever possible. Maybe in the future, blogs won’t even have words, just images. When I began, I stuck to the formula of two photos per post, but now sometimes use more.
Mistakes Were Made
I once made the mistake of using someone’s photo and got a “takedown notice.” Since then, I make sure to check in Creative Commons by using the Advanced Search and only using those available for commercial use so that doesn’t happen again! Wow. That was embarrassing.
Secret Killer Aliens from Outer Space!
Headlines matter. A lot. And stacking the important (read: SEO-centric) words towards the beginning of the headline is important. For instance, rather than saying “Most Important Hashtags on Twitter,” say “Twitter: Important Hashtags.” And shorter is better on headlines, too, for ranking. Not that every headline has to follow a formula, but it’s something I’m more aware of now. I learned about the SEO-centric headlines from friend Pam Aungst Marketing.
Going to WordCamp provides inspiration and inspiration is the juice that keeps your blogging engine fueled. So I highly recommend finding a WordCamp and attending. I’ve gone to both WordCamp Orange County and WordCamp San Francisco (the mother ship!). And each time have made numerous new friends, as well as meeting online friends like Peter Woolvett and Ruby Rusine!
My Secret Weapon
Yes, I have an editor friend. See? There she is behind that tree. She promised me I could take her picture–and she didn’t really lie. She is a real person, and she has helped me when I’ve painted myself into a grammatical corner many times. She doesn’t help me with every single post, but you can definitely tell when she does help. Because those posts make a whole lot more sense (and also contain more references to clowns)! Also: subject-verb agreement For The Win!
Don’t Worry That You Won’t Have Topics
I’m convinced that writing has helped me with my listening skills. Now I’m always listening for the question that someone might have. Many posts are inspired by my followers or fans. And I’ve been surprised at how many friends I’ve made among other bloggers, too. It’s a little community.
Blogging has helped me to go to cool places in my own imagination. I very often start writing and don’t know where a post is going. Some of my favorite posts have come out of times when I really didn’t feel like writing, but forced myself. What do you get out of blogging? Do you have a secret friend who encourages you to write about clowns?