Top Ten Tuesday (23)

17 Apr

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!

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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?

Be yourself

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.

These two clowns know a thing or two about blogging, apparently.

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25 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday (23)”

  1. Elodie April 17, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    I LOVED your monologue 😀 Just like you I haven’t been blogging for long and like you I believe that being yourself is very important. It also enables me to have more fun doing it. Commenting on other people’s blogs and replying to comment is quite a nice way to get the discussion going and to get to know other people on this very welcoming blogosphere 😀
    Thanks for sharing!

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      Right? I feel like not trying to fit a mold or whatever makes my blog easier and more fun for me! Thanks so much for stopping by and being so awesome 🙂

  2. DeniseF April 17, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    I love this list! I completely agree with ‘try not to have eyes bigger than your reading time’. I really struggle with this and then wind up super stressed out. Thanks for the tips!

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      Holy crap, this is my biggest issue. I can’t stop requesting things. EEK!

  3. Kat (No Page Left Behind) April 17, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Great tips!! I’ve got a few of these on my list too 🙂

    I especially love your last tip – there’s ALWAYS something more to learn! Like good ol’ Bill Shakespeare said, “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool”

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

      Great quote! I totally agree. I’d try to take my point further, but it’s really already been said. By SHAKESPEARE, no less 😉

  4. beckireads April 17, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    LOL loved the picture at the end!!!

    Those were some great thoughts actually. I haven’t been brave enough to put my thoughts down, having just celebrated my one year blog birthday, so it was really nice and interesting to read yours 🙂

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      Ha! I couldn’t find anything like that online SO I MADE IT. Because honestly, “You do you” was in my head the entire time I wrote this post, lol. It seemed too perfect to ignore!

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      Also! Happy Blog Birthday (belated, I’m sure)!!

  5. Candice April 17, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I feel like (okay, I know this happened) I discovered your blog right as you were starting yours and I was starting mine, so out of all the blogs I follow I feel like I’ve gotten to share growing pains alongside you (yeah… looking back at this sentence, I feel like it’s a little creepy 🙂 ). It’s been great seeing other “new” bloggers and how their blogs have developed over the past few months as my own blog has developed. Not to fan girl out too much, but you’ve really been a great inspiration to me as a new blogger because seriously… YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT! I get a total sense of who YOU are whenever I read anything that you post and I think that’s probably one of the best lessons any blogger, new or old, could learn! Great tips, Amy! 🙂

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Candice! Oh my God! I love you. Thank you so much for being so much better at stopping by than I am, and for being so friendly and wonderful. I love what YOU are doing. SO MUCH. And I’m so glad that we are growing up together! ❤

  6. Patricia (@bookxhibitionsm) April 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Be Yourself is so important! Very good list and I absolutely agree!

    Patricia // My Post

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      Thanks dear! Being yourself is major, I think. Thanks for dropping by today!

  7. aboutthestory April 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Awesome post! Do you have any SEO advice for wordpress.com users? So much of the info that I can find is about plug ins for wordpress self hosted blogs which doesn’t work well for my blog 😦

    Also, when you say the memes help readers find you etc, do you mean the actual posting of the meme or the adding it to the host’s mr. linky? I always feel like there are so many posts on the host pages that no one would be able to find my blog among them anyway ya know?

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      I know 😦 WordPress.com is a little harder to manipulate in terms of SEO stuff. BUT! You should TOTALLY check out these posts (especially the 2nd one): http://www.goodbooksandgoodwine.com/2012/03/seo-for-book-bloggers-a-guide.html
      http://www.goodbooksandgoodwine.com/2012/03/bloggiesta-mini-challenge-seo.html
      There are some things on there that we can’t do, but I always try to use the book title and author name a few times in each of my reviews, and in my post title. And I use alternate text for my book cover images. I don’t know how much it helps, but I am slowly, SLOWLY getting more people here through web searches.
      In terms of the memes, I think that it’s definitely likely that, especially in the huge memes like this one, the number of people who will find your blog from the link-ups is not so big unless you are near the top of the list. But people DO find you, and little by little, people will come by and maybe subscribe and keep returning. Memeing does pay off, I think. Not overnight, but it does help 🙂

  8. Elizabeth April 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Oh gosh, it is so hard for me to not have eyes bigger than my available reading time… I believe I will take that as permission to NOT read some of the books I impulsively put on hold at the library and now that I got them they look uninteresting.

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      OH! I do that all the time with library books! hahah…I just returned a few that I took out but didn’t get to read because I actually felt like a hog. I totally give you permission to NOT read some of those books, lol.

  9. megtao April 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Honesty is like the biggest thing for me. If someone just talks up every book, I’m going to stop reading that blog because I want to hear honest reviews because that’s how I partly judge what I read next.

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Me too. Totally. In both extremes, I think. If someone never says anything even just a teensy bit negative, I get a little curious. Same if the person ONLY says bad things about everything. I’m doubtful of that as well.

  10. elena April 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    LOVE this post! I love scheduling posts too, it made blogging so much easier once I figured it out. Our schedules are quite similar, I was thinking of starting to do this meme but didn’t want to overload our blog with memes since we also do Waiting On Wednesdays. I’m with you on being awkward and quiet in real life, I’m still getting the knack of blogging and finding my own voice. I’ve blogged before but not about YA and it’s weird to me that my voices are kind of different. I seriously admire how much of your personality shines through your blog!

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

      Thank you so much! My scheduling is pretty loose. Like, I usually just designate days for certain things and then figure out the specifics as I go. But even that little bit helps me so much.
      I don’t think doing TTT and Waiting on Wednesday is a meme overload (obviously, lol) as long as I always take the content seriously.
      I hope you’re not too afraid to be yourself on your blog! I’m positive that it would be awesome 🙂

  11. tinalinatime April 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    I definitely bite off more than I can chew with books to read! Also I read a lot of books but not as many as so and so blogger over there! Oh well, I constantly have to remind myself that I’m blogging for fun and no one cares that I don’t read 50 books a month or not! 🙂 thanks for the reminders!

    • trippingbooks April 17, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

      That’s great advice! I should probably remind myself of that exact thing more often, lol!

  12. Melanie @thedailyprohecy April 18, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    I actually agree on every point you made here! Especially that the blog is YOUR blog, so you decide what you post. And everything you post, makes the blog unique, because you have to remember to be yourself 🙂

    http://thedailyprophecy.blogspot.com/2012/04/top-10-tuesday-6.html

  13. April C (@booksandwine) April 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    JERSEY SHORE! bahahaha I love it.

    And okay, I love love love all of these tips. Like I want to print them out of something, because you are preachin and this choir kid LOVES IT. Like all of these things are things that I truly believe deep down.

    ALSO I LOVE THAT YOU LET YOUR NERD FLAG FLYYYY! Holla!

    And I am also glad you don’t half ass memes, because I would never have known how fantastic you are if you did half ass them, because okay your personality filled top ten tuesday MADE me want to go look at your other comment and then subscribe.

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