Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!
So this topic is an interesting one for me. I haven’t been blogging for a year yet and I certainly have feelings about what I’ve learned so far from other bloggers and my limited experience. But to presume that I am in any position to actually be giving TIPS is a little hilarious, so I’m just going to go ahead and do the “things that I’ve learned so far about blogging” thing and see where that goes, k? These aren’t going to be in any real order, either, and of course, these are things that I think are helpful to me and things that I’ve noticed about my blog, so…well…look at me, getting all ahead of myself! TO THE LIST!
Talk about what you want to talk about
This is super-important, I think, and you might hear me say something to this affect a few more times in this list: It’s YOUR blog. If you want to only post reviews, do that. If you want to do some memes, throw those in there, too. If you want to only talk about your favorite TV show, review some books, and talk about your dog, do those things. While I think that the variety of things you choose to post will only help you improve your stats and followers and such, your content is ALWAYS your call. There is the boss of the blog (that would be you) and then there is everyone else. Guess which one of those people makes the rules?
This is kind of a corollary to the first item, but with some extras. Certainly you should figure out what kinds of material you want on your blog, and that will often be (should be, I think, in order for things to be genuine) topics and things that you personally find interesting and are reflective of you. But I feel like it’s not as hard as people might think for others to see through BS online, and I can PROMISE you that keeping your blog up and running will be easier and more enjoyable to you if you just do YOUR thing.
Don’t stress about stats
So, stats. I feel like asking people how important stats are will get you totally different answers depending on if the day you ask the question ends in the letter “y.” I’ve heard from pubs that stats don’t have much bearing on whether or not they send ARCs or anything else. I’ve also heard that you have to have a minimum number of unique visitors and followers and have been posting regularly for a certain amount of time for people to pay you much attention. I tend to think that the latter is more the truth, but seriously, DON’T FREAK OUT about it. Because having over *100* unique visitors a day doesn’t happen overnight (I still don’t really get that many, and I’m going on 7 months of blogging), forget 1,000 or more, and the only thing you can do to help your numbers, I’ve found, is, well, just keep plugging. Because you LOVE THE BOOKS! Obligatory baseball reference: IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME.
Try and get on a schedule for yourself/Be as regular as possible
These two things go hand in hand for me, and I think that not only does the schedule help me keep myself straight, it helps me from going crazy trying to figure out what to post last minute. And posting regularly and consistently is important for lots of things, not the least of which is helping attract more eyeballs to your site with new content, if that’s your goal. For sure, posting helps pubs understand that you blog about books because you LOVE THEM LIKE ICE CREAM, not because you want freebies. Posting every day helps from what I gather, but if you can’t/don’t want to, that’s totally cool. You know, YOUR BLOG and all. Do what works for you. What works for me: I always post an IMM on Sunday, a review/fangirl post on Monday, THIS MEME on Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday and maybe something else small on Wednesday, reviews on Thursday and Friday, and Saturday is a flex day but usually my day off. BOOM. It’s like a well-oiled machine over here.
Put yourself out there
For me, in person, I’m kind of awkward and quiet, and don’t have too many REAL HUMAN people to talk about books with without feeling silly and judged (you’re HOW old? And you read books for…kids? Oh. Ok….) So I try to let my nerd/freak flag fly over here on my blog and on my Twitter feed because I get a totally clean slate there, and I’m surrounded by other like-minded people who don’t judge me. After taking advantage of social media and getting over my initial fear of tweeting and posting, I was able to pimp my blog a little bit in a way that was not uncomfortable to me. And I’ve made fantastic friends, gotten involved in fun things, and gotten more people to nerd out with me. It’s the MOST awesome.
Comment! Comment on all the things!
Admittedly, I’m not always good at this. LIFE, you know. It cramps my style. But visiting lots of blogs–especially if you participate in link-ups, like TTT–is really one of the best ways to meet new people, talk about lots of different stuff, and get new people to visit your blog, and maybe come back a few more times if they like what they see. WORD.
Try not to have eyes bigger than your available reading time
I have a hard time with this. One of my biggest struggles is feeling like I can’t read books fast enough to, one, post a review every day, and two, to read and review all the books I’m obligated to review in the time I’m allotted, particularly from NetGalley. Because I am incapable of doing this, I ENTREAT you all to try to resist ALL THE BOOKS for me. I don’t ever want reading to be a CHORE, but blogging has sometimes briefly made it feel that way. BUMMERRRR! That’s when I know I need to ease up. Hopefully you guys don’t have this issue.
Don’t be afraid of being honest
Yo, being honest and thoughtful in your reviews and opinions is so important. I think the key is “thoughtful,” though. And maybe also respectful. I don’t like giving opinions, good or bad, in my reviews unless I can back them up because I don’t want to kiss anyone’s ass or take a crap on some aspect of someone’s work without reason. That’s just me. But once I give that opinion, well, it’s MINE, and it’s the truth for me, and I wasn’t nasty when I gave it, so I’m sticking to it. I try not to hesitate to be frank. I’ve found that there’s lots of room to be honest without being a tool, and people will respect you more for finding a happy medium between the two.
Figure out a couple of memes you like and do it up
Real talk: I wouldn’t get to meet half of the cool people I meet if it wasn’t for memes. And honestly, my stats would be in the toilet still if I didn’t participate in any. Top Ten Tuesday to this day gets me more views in one day than almost any other content I post for the rest of the week. But I LOVE the memes I do, and that makes them awesome and fun, which in turn makes it easier for me to type them up and more enjoyable for people to read (except when they are EPIC LENGTH, like this one). Over-memeing or half-assing memes is easy, though, and people will know right away that you aren’t in it for the content, just the numbers, and that’s no fun.
Don’t ever think that there is nothing else for you to learn
There’s ALWAYS stuff to learn, friends! For me right now, this means SEO and other behind-the-scenes internet bloggy stuff, like tagging things properly, using key words in my posts, and basically figuring out how to tailor my material to be both ME and internet-savvy at the same time. I think a good secondary item here is not being afraid to ask questions. People will be nice, I promise.
So basically this was my monologue on blogging. I feel vaguely self-important now that I wrote all of this stuff. Because, like I said, this is what works FOR ME, and I think one of the MOST important things about putting together a good blog is to figure out what works for you and then do it.