My top 11 blogging tips

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Alright, so I’m taking a slightly different direction today. I was going through some emails this weekend, poring through questions from the best readers on the Internet (this would be you). I have quite the back log of fantastic reader questions and post suggestions, and I hope to tackle a number of them this fall.

Quite a few repeated themselves about the same subject — blogging. Apparently, some of you think I know how to blog daily while keeping a dust-free home and perfectly groomed children who love each other and never fight.

I have absolutely no idea how one does that. I’ll keep my eye out for the answer, but in the meantime, I I’ll compromise and answer the overarching blogging question, which basically asks, “How do I blog well?”

I don’t know everything about blogging. But I do know some things. Here are my best tips about blogging while still miraculously getting dinner on the table.

1. Decide your reasons.

Think through your purpose in blogging. Blogging for fun looks a bit different than blogging to promote your Etsy site, which also looks different than blogging to practice your writing skills and maybe land a book contract, which – guess what?, looks different than blogging to make a little side income with ad revenue.

You can have more than one reason, of course, so long as they don’t conflict. But if you’re blogging simply to share photos for the grandparents (a great reason, by the way), don’t be disappointed when the ad networks don’t come flooding your email inbox.

Likewise, if you’re blogging to earn revenue (and you therefore want to build an audience), don’t be frustrated when your readers move on when they haven’t heard from you in six weeks.

Blog consistently with your main purpose in doing so.

2. Flow with the seasons.

There are some seasons in life that are more conducive to more in-depth blogging. Enjoy those, and reap their benefits by reading and writing all you can about the topic. For me, I started Simple Mom when my second was a newborn. I nursed all day long, so during those long periods of sitting, I read and read and read some more about blogging.

I started with ProBlogger and went from there, in case you’re wondering.

It wasn’t long before Reed was walking all over the place and scooting the step stool up to the kitchen counter holding the knife block, so needless to say, I was up on my toes much more then. I didn’t read much on the subject of blogging any more.

Go with the season you’re in. Don’t fight it. Another season is probably just around the corner.

3. Marry and keep an amazing man.

Joking. Well, sort of. Honestly, one of the reasons I started Simple Mom — and why I can continue to keep it up — is because my husband Kyle is my most loyal reader and fan. He is a big reason I can write regularly throughout the week, and he sees himself just as much a part of the blog because he helps with the laundry and dishes and carpooling.

I am blessed in that we both work from home. We tag-team our approach to work and parenting, and every Sunday evening we dig up the weekly calendar to decide who works when.

I know not everyone can do this. But I add this to the list because I want you to know that he helps an enormous amount, so I definitely don’t “do it all.” Not by a long stretch.

4. Be you…

Don’t try to be Heather Armstrong, or Ree Drummond, or Ann Voskamp, or Amanda Soule, or Alli Worthington. Be you. Write like you. It’s way more fun. You’ll definitely stick with it longer, and people will enjoy reading you more.

5. …But keep your readers in mind.

This is particularly true if you’re writing with the purpose of generating a community or earning revenue in some form. Yes, in some way you’ll still write for you, but if you’ve created a place where people feel like they belong, like they’re in a community — it’s almost like they have part ownership.

That doesn’t mean you worry yourself to sleep making sure everyone likes you. You still write for you, and the things that interest you. But keep the readers in mind who are blessing you with their time and their eyes.

If they’ve expressed an interest in a topic, go with it.

And also — you can’t say thank you enough. Thank your readers all the time. I slacked off showing my gratitude the first half of this year, and it showed in my writing. Plus, I missed saying thank you, and it made blogging less fun.

Thank you, by the way.

6. Get to know people, and ask good questions.

I’ve rarely met an unfriendly blogger. I’ve met extremely busy bloggers, but I can’t imagine any blogger I’ve met who knows a thing or two honestly wants to withhold major blogging secrets or not reach out and say hello.

Don’t think of bloggers with big audiences as anyone different than you. If you have a good question, just ask. Get to the point, and don’t expect an answer right away, but don’t let intimidation or cynicism stop you from initiating a conversation.

Also, make friends. Blogging is much more fun when you make blogging friends. Email or tweet a blogger, and see if you hit it off.

A hint on this last tip: Reach out to a blogger that seems to have about the same size audience, or who writes about the same topic as you. That way, you can share ideas and experiences as you journey together.  (But you never know, really — Alli and I are fantastic friends, yet our blogs could not be more different.)

7. Drink water, get exercise, and sleep.

Blogging is a sedentary activity, and if you’re not careful, you’ll spend hours and hours of your day not moving much. Move a little every day. Drink water constantly, and keep a cupful right by your laptop. And go to sleep. Shut off that computer and enjoy the three-dimensional world before hitting the pillow.

8. Organize yourself.

If you want to create a blog that posts regularly, has a specific niche, and fosters a community, then you’ve got to plan a bit in advance. Pencil in regular writing, editing, and networking times throughout your week.

Write an editorial calendar. Right now my posts for Simple Mom are more-or-less planned for the next two months, and I keep track of them on a separate calendar within my Google calendars.

Oh, and don’t leave your email client, Facebook, or Twitter open while you write and edit. You’ll never stay focused.

9. Use “use” instead of “utilize.”

Edit, edit, and then edit some more. For every hour I spend writing, I spend about three editing. Choose your words carefully. Spell correctly. Use adverbs where there should be adverbs; adjectives where there should be adjectives.

Get to the point — I’m regularly surprised how much deleting I do before I publish a post. I’ve already deleted paragraphs from this post, in fact.

Don’t use too many exclamation points, and don’t use emoticons — unless you’re blogging for yourself, or for fun. Or if this is your genuine style of writing (see point number four). Then go nuts.

And almost every time, “use” is more appropriate and more pleasant to the ears and eyes than “utilize.” I’m just saying.

10. Don’t forget about the kids.

Remember your priorities. What good is an enormously successful blog if your family is left in the dust? It’s a blessing if you can contribute to your family’s income through your blog, but not to the detriment of your relationships, well-being, and unity.

Close the laptop regularly, and give your kids quality face time. Go on dates with your spouse. Continually kindle your three-dimensional friends.

11. Keep it fun.

This last point is definitely not the least important. Because at the end of the day, if you don’t have a ball running your blog, then you’ll fizzle out, and it’ll show in your writing.

If you’ve noticed you’re no longer having fun, change it up. Take a little break (if your blog is more than just a hobby, re-run posts at least a year old, or find some guest posters). Try vlogging, or taking more photos.

Listen to music while you blog. I do. It makes it a lot more fun.

I could say a bit more about blogging, but I’ll stop for now. There’s already so much out there about the subject — if you’d like to learn more, I’d start with ProBlogger, Blog Coach, and Blogging Basics 101.

Really, at the end of the day, you’ve just got to be you. Your blog, your family, and your self will be all the better because of it.

Alright, fellow bloggers, now it’s your turn. What’s your best blogging tip?

All images in this post are from Mike Licht

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Comments

  1. Read widely; Link and quote them in your posts. People bring brilliant ideas to the table and collectively we all need community. We don’t know everything.! ( There I said it!) Readers and listeners really bring a depth & breadth to your work.

    Thanks for you tips……No.10 is so true and I totally agree with No.3. This wouldn’t work either with though mine.

  2. I enjoyed your recommendations. I would like to suggest that you view your blog on a mac. Perhaps it looks different on your computer. There are no borders and the type is extremely small and difficult to read. Please disregard my comment if you like it this way.

    • Hmm… Well, it was designed on a MacBook. I didn’t take away any borders (not 100% sure what you mean, though), and yes, the font is different, so if I get more comments that it’s difficult to read, I’ll take that into consideration.

      If you’re up for it, feel free to send me a screenshot from your computer, and I’ll take a look (use the contact form found in the navbar).

      Thanks! :)

  3. I love the images in this post. Fun! Thank you for sharing these tips, especially the ones about the importance of finding balance between real life and online time.

  4. I really appreciated reading those tips. I think that blogging can be fun and enriching.

  5. I especially agree with #3! My husband is a huge supporter of my writing and my blog and will often ask me “did you write a post today” because he truly enjoys reading them. He helps get me going on the days that I struggle with it. :)

  6. Thank you for these tips! Great timing as I recently started a blog. I started one a couple of years ago aimed at promoting a business but it never felt natural to me. Writing my new one I feel more like myself, and your post reassures me that I’m on the right track.

    And I love your pictures!

  7. You did it here naturally …share the linky love. When I first started blogging I thought that if I linked to someone too often, then all my readers might leave and fall in love with their blog. I would link to my IRL friends, but just other blogs or articles I admired? No.
    How off base and selfish that was…now I love to mention others that have inspired me and tag team, like you mentioned, with those who help sharpen my “iron.” Creating that community is better for you, your blog and your readers.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing these simple yet useful tips, Tsh! I love #3, #8, and #10 more than the rest. My favorite is connecting with other bloggers, helping out with guest posts (gets me new readers and gives many busy bloggers a good break) and scheduling my posts so that busy days don’t mean no blog posts.

  9. All of these are awesome! Fabulous job!

  10. Thank you so much for this post! LOVE IT! The pictures are so witty, and the advice so practical. I am really enjoying the tone that you’ve had recently with your blog–seems like it is going back to the stuff you wrote 2 years ago, when I first starting reading.

    And I also love Jen’s comment…I am new to the blogging world, and I have been afraid to link to other sites for fear they would never come back to mine! Never again.

    Thanks Tsh!

    • Thanks, Sarah. That’s most definitely what I’m talking about in this post… Getting back to my first love of blogging, and sticking with my true voice. I appreciate your feedback here.

      • I so agree with using your true voice! I have written about struggles with depression and anxiety, and it is not easy, but I do try to be real without exposing everything!
        Another tip I believe in is this: Your best blog content comes from living life, so make sure you are doing plenty of living so you have plenty of content! In other words, step away from the computer sometimes!

      • Another one I have heard is to make sure you are living life so you have content for your blog. A great reminder for all bloggers to step away from the laptop at times.
        Thanks for the tips!

  11. Hooray for the proper use of “use” and “utilize.”

  12. Vary post length – not everything has to be a magnum opus – and mix it up with list posts, interviews, reviews, quick tips and vlogs.

    Tsh – thanks for sharing these tips! I hope you’ll consider a follow-up with real techie information, like what plugins you use and simple formatting tips. :D

    Heather

  13. I’m just starting a blogging journey and this post was super helpful! Thanks! I second Heather above, I hope you’ll share at some point some “techie” info! Thanks for what you’ve done with this blog. I’ve been a follower long before you gained so many subscribers! THANK YOU!

  14. Oh I just love this post… There is so much more to blogging than sitting at a computer… you need to really take care of your whole self in order to be a fabulous blogger… When I look at some of the awesome bloggers I follow their posts are often short and sweet – they can say it in a nutshell (!) and there lives seem so balanced with creativity and fun… really for them they seem to spend minimum time at the keyboard… I still have a LOT to learn!!!

  15. I’m not dad, not a mom, but I can pick up a lot good tips from this great list. Perhaps if my wife would read this, she’d be encouraged more to start a blog of her own.

  16. I love these pictures! Up until May of this year, I felt I was headed towards doing quite well with my blog. I had several advertisers lined up and was guest posting somewhere new every week. However, I felt that I absolutely had to step back and blog differently, and less often. I am so glad I obeyed what I felt God was calling me to do. That is the biggest thing for me, to stay close to God and discern what He wants me to do. I wrote a post about it here:

    http://homegrownmom.com/following-jesus/to-those-of-you-whove-asked/2162

    I totally admire women who can keep everything up, but for me, my priorities were getting out of whack. I’m glad you mentioned that! And my husband, too, is a huge part of my blogging and my biggest fan. Such a blessing!

    And thank YOU, you’re one of my all time favorites!

    • Angela, Thanks for offering these words of honesty…God made each of us SO uniquely and with differing abilities to handle stress, work, home, raising kids, etc. I am in a place in which I’d like to take my freelance writing to a more consistent level, but every time I add too many assignments to the daily life “stuff” I get crazy!! Trying to discern what God wants me to do with these passions to write/communicate while also trying to be a good mom!!! We’re all in this together!!

    • You will be able to do all things because you were created to do what no one else can. Be well

  17. I, too, despise “utilize.”

  18. Tsh, thanks for showing us what has obviously worked so well for you.

    I don’t have much to add, except, be bold! If you have something awesome to share, a series, an ebook, a handy printable, then let people know! Email a friendly word to fellow bloggers who would be interested in what you have to offer and let them know what you’ve been working on.
    PS. Don’t forget ‘old media’. They like tips, too!

  19. BLESS YOU for the comment on use vs. utilize. :)

    I’m going to pop a link to this great list of tips into an article on blogging I have scheduled to post on 10/18 (before you all judge, I’m due to have a baby in the next week, so I’ve definitely scheduled some posts in advance!)

    Keep up the great posts, Tsh.

  20. Be discerning about which opportunities you say yes to. It’s exciting and flattering to start getting pitched & invited to participate in projects, but there will always be opportunities (I hope!). Don’t over commit, neglect your growing community, or accept opportunities that don’t align with your vision for blogging- no matter how enticing they are! Choose what works for you. :) (Yep, I use emoticons!)

    Tsh, thanks for the encouragement! I’ve been blogging since February and Simple Mom was a big part of my journey into blogging. I’ve been reading since ’08, and though I don’t comment often, I do feel part of this community. I’m blessed that my husband is my biggest supporter, too. Couldn’t do it without him!

    • Well said, Michelle. It was exciting to get pitched by PR reps in the beginning. Not so much anymore. Only say yes to something you truly would promote and use in your real life — you won’t regret it later.

      And thanks for being such a loyal reader. It means a lot. :) <– (I use emoticons in my comments)

  21. Great article! I love #10 as I’m still struggling to juggle my family and my love for writing and reading other blogs. Great idea for pictures!

  22. What a great list!! Thank you SO much!

    I’d also add…

    ~ Learn how to “schedule posts” ahead of time!
    I often sit down and write 2 or 3 blog posts on the weekend and then dole them out slowly throughout the week. Keeps my blog content fresh while I’m tending to the rest of my life!

    ~ Don’t be afraid to take a break.
    All of my favorite bloggers have at one time or another taken time off from blogging (to welcome a baby, to tend to illness, to re-prioritize etc.). I’ve taken a couple of 1-2 week blog breaks myself and it has been a very positive experience for me.

    ~ Be conscious about photos / privacy.
    It’s so easy when we’re blogging to think we are speaking to a group of 25 of our closest friends and sometimes “overshare” about our lives and our children’s lives. When we hit publish it’s “out there” for all to see. So I always like to encourage new bloggers (especially mom-bloggers) to be careful about what photos and details they are sharing about their children.

    I may be back with more…LOVE this topic and your list really got my wheels turning! Thank you!

    ~erin

  23. Great tips Tsh! My blog is more of a hobby and for friends and family. For me I would say just keep it simple and have fun.

  24. I would have to agree with most of those tips. The one I don’t stick with regularly is to schedule all of my posts on a calendar. I am guess you are a type A person who works better when you are organized and well planned. I seem to write better from the hip. So I usually plan weekly or even day to day instead of long term.

    I also think that it sometimes takes a while to figure out why and how you are blogging. I have finally figured out that my blog is about sharing my journey in the hopes that I can encourage others in a more sustainable lifestyle. And as far as the “business” of blogging I have found that it is helping our goals to have a little more home income as my husband and I prepare to start our homestead.

  25. thanks so much for the tips! very helpful!

  26. Ooh I like the new look! I have read simple mom since almost the beginning. The editing? It PAYS OFF. What an inspirational challenge to hear the amount of editing that goes into a post.
    Consider poets. Poets want to find the RIGHT word to express something carefully. They want to show that they know the best word.

  27. Loved your post! What can I say, I love ‘em all!

    I started blogging to chronicle our family life about 5 years ago and after our 2nd son was born I started another as just a place for me to collect my thoughts and organize ideas that I had either collected or considered on my own relating to marriage and family life. I wanted a virtual file stystem of sorts that I could refer to as well as share with friends. I literally had NO idea this was not a novel concept!

    A few months after I started my blog and I shared with a friend that I had done so, she directed me to a few others that she followed. I was in awe! I started reading several ‘home’ blogs (The Nesting Place, A Soft Place to Land, The Lettered Cottage) and sooner or later found “Simple Mom”. You’ve built such an amazing place. I usually come away from reading one of your posts inspired and encouraged. That’s what I had hoped to accomplish as mine as well – though origionally with a much smaller audience in mind. ;)

    While I don’t expect I’ll ever become a blogging starlet, I’m enjoying the journey!

    I’d love the opportunity to contribute a guest post for Simple Mom sometime. I’m currently editing a post listing 101 activites to do with a preschooler, highlighting the importance and benefits of setting aside special time. Let me know if you’d like to review it if you think it’s something your readers may value.

  28. Thanks so much for sharing this info with us. I especially appreciate #8 and I am excited to draft an planning calendar. Another shout out to you for #10. As a new blogger I can see how addicting it can become so it is very helpful to be reminded about my priorities!

    P.S. I really like the changes you made to the site!

  29. Gratitude is huge! In fact, I need to extend a sincere thank you to you for your example as a blogger. You are one of my unofficial mentors. I often study your site to learn from your genius.

    I saw you at Blissdom last year but hesitated to introduce myself. If I see you again, I promise I will come shake your hand and thank you in person.

  30. Thank you so much for these tips! I have just recently started a blog and at times feel so overwhelmed by it all. These tips are very helpful to keep me focused as I start out.

  31. Thanks for the advice . . . I just blog as a way of journaling. It is therapeutic for me. The more I do it, the more I want to do it. :) I feel like it is a way for me to put my life into a “neat little box”. I love going back and reading my older posts.
    Thanks again for the tips.
    cheryl

  32. I love these blogging tips! You hit on some very important topics. Get up and move around and get some sleep were two of my favorites. How many hours do we stay on the computer? It’s so easy to get caught up in what we are doing that time stands still!!

  33. Each one of these is right on target, Tsh. Some have come very naturally for me while I have to be more conscious of others. Amen to the supportive husband tip! Mine doesn’t work from home but he’s always listening, promoting me when I won’t promote myself, and is supportive even when I’m not doing well with #10.

    My tip (similar to the mention of PR reps above) is to stay open to interesting ideas but strong in your blog’s mission and purpose (your reason). I have had to become very clear about what I do and do not cover as the pitches have come in and my blog could have easily become something else, something I wasn’t as passionate about, had I not gotten better at saying “No thank you.”

    Tsh, I’ve been a fan of your blog for some time and have watched your progression as I’ve been blogging about dance over the past 2+ years. Therefore my other tip is to watch bloggers you respect and admire and use what you can to build something that is uniquely you!

  34. I think I would add to this great list – write what you know about & what you are passionate about. It will come through in your style & what you write about.

    Funny that you had a list of 11 – my latest post was my top 11 meals of all time and what they mean to me. I wonder if, like me, it started as a top 10 and then couldn’t be edited down?!

    I am a new subscriber but really like your style. Thanks for sharing.

  35. I totally agree with your tips, especially #10. Remember your priorities. Have the most successful blog in all the world is meaningless if you don’t have good relationships with your kiddos and your spouse.

    Can I be so bold as to add a 12th tip? If you can’t find the right balance between online-life and real-life, choose real-life. The world won’t come to an end if you walk away from your blog for a season. It’s so easy to get caught up in the addictive nature of social media and let it rule your real life. Sometimes you have to do less so that you can be more.

    • Very true, Kimba. I have to remind myself this regularly, especially when I find myself getting needlessly stressed about a post not being ready according to my silly timetable. I mean, it’s shocking, really, when you don’t post and somehow the world keeps spinning, eh? ;)

      And your last sentence – amen to that. Thanks for the reminder.

  36. Being true to yourself and the purpose of the blog is great advise…thank you. To edit more is something I need to do. Connecting with other bloggers is the time-consuming part, but I love when that happens. As my life changes, the content changes and I think that can ‘confuse’ an audience. Do I stick with what feels real now or stay with what the audience identifies with my blog?

  37. This is a great post. All of these tips are good reminders. I’m a relatively new blogger (7 mos), but blog regularly with a schedule and in a particular niche. It’s easy to get caught up in the blog and everything related to the blog and forget everything else. It’s all about balance. And I’m not very good at balancing. It’s something I’m always working on.

    One of the most amazing and surprising parts of blogging has been meeting so many wonderful bloggers, both locally and across the country.

    Thanks, Anna form Motherly Law

  38. Tsh–these were great tips:) I especially like being yourself as a writer & staying connected with my children & husband–couldn’t agree more.

  39. Hi there! I’m new to your blog and I love that this is the first post I’ve read of yours!

    Wonderful tips! Especially the one about the family :)

  40. Thanks so much for the tips. I am new to blogging and I am trying to soak up all the help I can find.

  41. Wonderful tips, I think it’s easy to lose focus of why you are doing something & these help to refocus on why. I love the idea of seasons with blogging. AND I’m giggling insanely over the pictures. I really needed a good giggle today, thank you :)

  42. Great tips! Thanks for all the advice. Perfect timing since I just lunched my new blog. AND since a big goal of my blog is to feature business-owner/parents – any bit of information about how to meet people is important to me. Thank you! (Plus the images in this post are absolutely wonderful! How fun!)

  43. Great tips – especially the ones about multidimensional life and turning it off! I find that’s the hardest thing to do when I’m trying to be serious about editing and putting worthwhile content together. Thanks!

  44. What’s an “explanation point”?

    There’s some really good advice here… I’m forwarding this post on to my sister, who has begun blogging.

    Thanks!

  45. I’m not sure anyone could be Ann Voskamp for sure. LOL

    This was an excellent post – as usual, Tsh! ;) Super advice and I am going to try the music thing. I used to listen to music a lot more before I had the Viking (now 18 months old). Somehow I forgot to do it… :)

  46. I think I may be guilty of what you’ve pointed out in number nine. I pride myself in my vocabulary. Combine that with my IT (nerdy technical) background and I can be rather vaniloquent… See! I did it again. :D

    Oops, I used an emoticon too. I clearly have some work to do but I’ll say one thing – I’m pretty good at number four – being myself.

    Great post. It’s a very good reminder of the fact that how we blog should be dictated by why we blog.

    Cheers!
    Matt Kay

  47. Great post! I’m a new blogger and I appreciate when experienced bloggers are willing to share what they’ve learned. Thanks! :)

  48. Glad to see #9 on the list. A well-written blog should, by definition, be well-written. That’s often lost, and people might not consider that they can lose readers because of bad writing and editing.

    “Utilize” makes me cringe, but I’d rather a hundred utilizes than a single “make use of.” Rrrgh!

  49. How timely Tsh. I just have done some blog re-evaluation in my life. Basically I answered a bunch of (stream of consciousness type) questions for myself about why I’m blogging, my mission, my purpose, who and what inspires me etc… This was a very good time of reflection for me and since doing that I feel so much more peace about the the blogging path I’m choosing to walk (one which does not earn advert. income or bring monetary benefits).

    I couldn’t agree more with some of the commenters who have mentioned that living a good life is better than having a good blog (or something like that). That is the heart of the matter for me. Most everyone who reads my blog (other than my mom and close friends) will never see and experience my life as it really is but that’s where I really need to shine because that’s where the people who matter most in my life actually live, breathe, eat etc..

    Thanks for the great post. I really enjoyed it.

  50. Wow, great tips, fortunately , I’ve got tip #3 (Marry and keep an amazing man) but I really need to work on tip #8 (Organize yourself), I just notice an email coming in and lost my focus…
    Ok, sorry, I’m back. I blog about butterflies, it’s not for everyone, and my “Flutter-Blog” attracts more spam comments than not, but I really enjoy my ” butterfly obsession” so I’ll hang in there. Thank you for sharing your blog tips, I’m going to put them to good use! Enjoyed this post, thanks.

  51. Great tips. Love the art work! And, the comments have added to this great list of tips.

  52. Along with your editing tip, I try to write my posts a few days in advance. My writing always looks a little different the next day after I have slept on it. I also read my posts out-loud, this helps to catch mistakes too.

  53. My #1 blogging tip? Be helpful.

    • Funny. I stumbled on this post again (7 months later), found my comment and realized I forgot something. My #1 blogging tip is to be helpful…just as you have done here Tsh. Excellent post — both then and now. I’m glad to have found it again!

  54. The reminder to have some three-dimensional time is good. I often find myself glued to the computer, but when my baby is born in a month, I am sure that will change. ~_^

  55. Thanks for the info and love the pictures too. Agree with Heather and would love some techie info.

  56. Great post today and very timely. I’ve always blogged to share creative ideas with a book in mind. That being said, I would love to build a community as well. The longer I blog the more focused I am on my reasons for doing it and the more fun it is! I still have much to learn.

    Just this week I decided I need ONE journal/NOTEBOOK to keep all of my ” future post prompts”. They come at me quick and I find myself jotting them down in small note pads, and loose papers while waiting for children in music lessons etc. Does anyone else do this?
    I love love love using photo’s quotes, stories and how too’s to share my creative ideas while trying to keep the ” text” portion of each post short and sweet… Now that homeschooling is back in session, my time for blogging is set in the evenings, and weekends. We’ll see how that goes!
    Thank you for all the great tips.

    Debbie

  57. That was really interesting. I better get clear about why I started doing this.

  58. Along the lines of something that you said, I think one thing that has really helped my blogging is when I formed a networking group with around 12 other bloggers that had similar blog sizes (not exactly the same size, but not a huge amount of difference either). We have a private forum online and can discuss problems, share ideas, guest post for each other, etc. It’s so nice to have a group of people who get where you are coming from and can help each other out.

  59. So much good advice here. I can totally relate to the seasons one. I work like that — bursts of creativity (and time to express it) followed by times of no productivity (at least in the blogging/writing aspect of life).
    Cracked me up about three-dimensional friends/world. :-)
    Agreed on emoticons and exclamation marks. (Broke that rule right here in my comment, but… this isn’t a blog POST.) That is a huge pet peeve of mine. Why can’t people see that those things make their blogs seem so juvenile?
    And your images for this post! AWESOME! You must’ve spent as much time on them as on the writing. Wonderful job! I couldn’t wait to scroll down to the next one and see what you’d come up with.
    Oh — one last thing. I am terribly wordy, and when I edit like I should, I delete a huge fraction of my work! Glad to know I’m not alone.

    • Oh Jimmie… Thanks for thinking I did these images. I didn’t, though… They’re from Mike Licht (see the “top image credit” at the bottom of the post. :)

  60. Commenting again to agree that the font is hard to read. It seems too skinny or not whole, like those fonts you use to save ink when you print. I thought it was just me, but when I saw someone else’s comment, I thought I should add my 2 cents.

  61. Wonderful ideas ~ I really appreciate the reminder of truly understanding why I blog?? It been great fun so far and I am fascinated by this once hidden community I’ve recently joined. I look forward to finding others with similar intentions.

    Also, I love the suggestion from a comment of reading out loud and sleeping on it before posting.

    Thanks so much,
    ~ christine

  62. These tips are awesome, and real. We need real when we first start a blog. Thanks, Tsh!
    Bernice

  63. I have been blogging for just over a year and am a professional organizer & designer and I still need to remind myself many of these things. Great post! Great blog!

    xo,
    cristin

  64. I’ve read a lot of blogging advice in the past year and a half, and I’d say this is up there in the top 5 sets. Thank you very much. Everyone should know these things when they start. I certainly wish I had. Another resource for learning is Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch’s A-List Blogging Club. But still, this list would top my, um, list:).

  65. I just want to say how much I enjoy your blog. I am a fairly new reader and have only been following a few months. I found the site when a friend told me to Google “going poo-free” (and I have for about 3 months now – love it and the compliments on how healthy my hair looks!)
    I’ve been reading several blogs over the last weeks and been playing around with the idea that this is something I could do. I’ve researched the how-to’s and really been debating, so this list and the additional comments have been a great help to me. My problem is narrowing down what my niche would be. I’m slightly ADD and usually have several projects going at once.
    Thank you for these helpful ideas.
    Darlene

  66. I want my blog to be like your blog when it grows up! Seriously though, I could not have stumbled upon your blog at a better time in my life! I am a blogging newbie and want to write read worthy posts, not blither-blather.
    Thanks for all the wonderful tips.
    Linda

  67. Thanks for sharing the tips, and yeah people who work on the internet do need to make special time to move a little every day, and drink more water…

  68. Really enjoyed this article. I have so many different irons in the fire, I often bounce from item to item(blog,coupon site,shop site,and affiliate marketing). I appreciate you helping me to refocus!

  69. Add photos. Photos really help to make your blog posts appealing to the reader. Whether it is your own photos, iStock or other photos you pay for or from free sites (they do exist) – use at least one photo per blog post.

  70. I also LOVED the pictures in this post– they brought every bit as much of a smile as the great tips did!

    A question…I often am not sure where to find good, interesting and fun images for my blog…where do you get your pictures? Do you simply find them online? Have a subscription to one of those image sites? Would love to know!

  71. Hello…This is my first visit to your blog. I followed a link from Beauty That Moves.

    Thank you for these helpful tips.

    I look forward to reading through your archives now.

  72. Oh thank you for this super helpful post. I have been combing the web for more ideas…..it feels so good to write a post and see that it is being read! I am very much enjoying your simple mom blog….thanks again!!

  73. Of all the tips that you have listed, I found “be you” the most important. Lot of people look to copy (or for a more charitable term – model) another successful person’s blog hoping that some of that success would rub on to them.

    The thing is all people who have succeeded in blogging had a unique voice – their own. They let flow into their blog their essential self. Most successful people had used blog as a form of self expression.

  74. Well said Cindy! I commented on this thread way back when my blog was so very new, I honestly followed lots of advice from blogs I perceived as well established and in the know. Some, like this blog is packed with great tips, others, not so much. I quickly learned due to the level of contridictory advice available, that if I followed it all I’d be in a non-stop editing cycle!
    I’m glad I did and continue to write with my own style, even if I sometimes feel I’m howling at a disinterested moon!

  75. Tsh,
    Super helpful comments here. Thanks. My wife and I are learning loads from your blog (and the wonderful eBook we bought). Great content, great writing. Feels like you’re mentoring us from a distance as we get ready to launch our blog.

    Question…you referenced “editorial calendars” you set up in Google. I’m intrigued. Do you have a post or thoughts on this. I’d love to learn more?

    Thanks,

    Mark

  76. Thank you for these great tips.
    I really enjoy your site.
    I just started my new blog and am excited to meet other bloggers who have similar interests (no. 6 hit the stop!).

  77. Tsh, great tips. Having been blogging myself for 4 years now, I echo your mention of the editorial calendar – it really helps keep post ideas organized. There also is a wp plugin that I use that helps with the process as well…

  78. Hi Tsh,
    I so loved listening to your inspiring and wise advice at Relevant 11, in both your keynote and the sessions I attended. I am so thankful for your heart for encouraging me to pursue this passion He has given — and how to do it well! I love your blog — and I so appreciate this post I just discovered, from last year. Thank you.

  79. Love the images that go with this post :)

    And I LOVE your tips…they are for real women, real moms with a real life. Mahalo!

  80. Thank you for the great tips. I heard someone say once, “Look around and write it down.” When I think in this way, I’m never at a loss for something to write about.

  81. Really concerned!!! I use way too many exclamations marks when I blog! Is there a way of having the key removed from the board?;-) oops and there’s a emoticon (which I had to google to get a definition)!
    Perhaps my one and only new years resolution should have been to back off on these instead of not taking sugar in my coffee?
    Seriously – thanks so much for this post, fantastic advice and a delight to read (((those hours of editing really pay off ((she types whilst desperately restraining herself from hitting the ! key (I too don’t like referring to myself in the third person but sometimes it has to be done)))

  82. Thank you for these helpful tips. I love your blog andwish there had been blogs when I was a young mom. The community would have helped me very much. Anyway, I’m now retired and want to start blogging, but want to learn more before I just dive in. A google search landed me at your site and I am glad because you have many useful tips that even I can use now. Thank you for you.

  83. Hi Tsh, thanks for sharing your tips. One of my favorite times to draft a blog post is while I’m walking my two dogs, at the trotting track across the road from our home. I use my Iphone and write my draft using Evernote. I find this a good time as it’s peaceful and thoughts seem to come quickly and easily. I ask the lord for guidance in what I’m about to write, and the fresh air and beautiful countryside that surrounds me, makes writing an even greater joy. A little hazardous at times. Might stumble on a fallen gum tree branch or get swooped on by plovers or magpies. Also need to keep an eye open for brown snakes, and red belly black snakes, but so far so good. Thanking you again, http://routinehabit.com Qld Australia
    A quick edit for your post, funny when you write it yourself, but when your reading someone else’s work any mistake rings out like a bell. Third paragraph, second line reads, I I’ll compromise raka raka

  84. You said in this post to treat other bloggers (even big one!) as “normal” people and just ASK! So… would you, as an existing Pinterest user- be willing to “invite” me? From what I’ve read- it is much faster to be invited by an existing user than if you just click “Request an Invite”. YOU are where I heard of pinterest and I now love it! : ) Thanks for considering it… your site is ALWAYS an inspiration to me as “simple” is something I ALWAYS need more of. Thanks! ~Katherine

  85. Thanks for sharing with me some of your experiences blogging. This is my first time to your blogspot and I enjoyed reading all of the other bloggers input as well.

  86. I love the images in this post. Fun! Thank you for sharing these tips, especially the ones about the importance of finding balance between real life and online time.

  87. No doubt very interesting blog with nice selected pictures.
    agreed with all the points but point number 8 is very rear.
    Really Appreciated your article:)

  88. Thank you so much for these helpful tips. I just started a blog about 3 months ago, and I’ve found it to be fun and rewarding. I do notice that I spend a long time editing a post and sometimes I still notice typos/etc later on. However, I’ve seen a huge improvement in my spelling and grammar since I started. I think it takes work, practice, patience, and maybe some talent to become a great blogger!

  89. avatar
    Odessa Erin says:

    I have just started looking at blogs and doing a few myself to get some practice before I get serious about it. I enjoy your blog and have just purchased your book. The one thing I would tell bloggers, besides watching their font size, which was already mentioned, is to be sure to use paragraphs to break up the information. Long, long blogs are daunting to even think about reading, and appear unorganized. Also, I agree to use exclamation points judiciously.

  90. Just wanted to say thank you for a great post! Easy to read and super informative. Thanks for sharing!

  91. Great thoughts for this brand-new blogger. I’ve only been at this gig for a couple months now and while I love it, these tips are much needed. I’m especially having trouble with the exercise part. Any tips?!

  92. My husband just sent me this link. I’m so happy. I’ve been blogging for two weeks. It has been so much fun-and a ton of work. But I love it. Your tips confirmed my relationship to my blog. Thank you….and I’m looking forward to reading more!

    Jane

  93. Thanks for the great tips, Tsh. Number 3 is the one which hits the nail on the head for me…at 47 years old I decided to dive into the deep waters of matrimony again, and my wife and I decided to share our journey with a blog. With our quirky personalities, we figured that, if nothing else, people could at least derive some small entertainment value from our nutty and wonderful life. As for exclamation points, an old supervising editor once told me, “If you use an exclamation point once a year…it’s probably once too many.”

  94. Sorry for the 2nd comment, Tsh… Just had to stop by to let you know that whenever I get a bit overwhelmed with everything involved in blogging for my own site AND others, I revisit this post and everything seems a lot simpler. Thank YOU for that!

  95. Good post. Everything you have said in this column applies to any kind of writing genre, whether it’s a blog or a book. I’m retired. I’ve chosen to follow my long-put-off goals in retirement, writing and publishing books, getting out into the bush with my camera, and painting. You made many good points: be clear and concise; get away from the desk occasionally (vey important); hang out with live people. Most important, take a break from it now and then.
    Nicely done.

  96. I’ve been blogging for three years now. I have almost no subscribers and only a hand full of “followers”. I have a facebook and Twitter presence for posting links. Mostly I’m blogging for fun as a housewife with the hope of some side income. That’s not happening. I know in Blogger and elsewhere they recommend a narrow scope of topic…you know, like blog about poodles or rocket fuel…stuff like that. My blog is super eclectic…it’s the rambling mind of a housewife, healer, mom. I do product reviews and movie and book reviews and post recipes I like and post about psychic and spiritual things…it’s VERY eclectic. The feedback I get seems positive, but it just doesn’t seem to be read much. I post daily. By and large I think I’ve followed all of your 11 tips. Something is still missing. I don’t need a billion readers, but it’s a little hard to stay motivated when it feels like I’m writing into an abyss. So I’m a bit lost on what to do next. I don’t understand the advertising bit, and so far have just monetized via AdSense (which has generated nothing in three years) and Amazon Associates which has generated maybe $50 in three years (despite having a google like to every book, movie, product I write about). Do you have a link to a post you created outlining a good “cover letter” to email to advertisers? How did you access your list of email contacts for advertisers? Does one need to have a specific number of subscribers and followers to “offer” first?

  97. Great tips! We really need to be well-rested before hitting the keyboard to deliver great articles. Ahhhh, mommy blogger’s life. :)

  98. Great advise!!! I feel like this is everything I already “knew”, but it’s really nice to see it in writing. Thank you.

  99. I am only just looking into blogging. Will take my time to study your comments. Its hard as I learn by doing. At 63 I have had many eventful periods in my life which people have told me I should write about. I tried writing a book but get bogged down, so I thought blogging may be the answer. Therefore I was so pleased to find your article. Thank you

  100. Great article, especially for those bloggers wannabee like me.. thumbs up
    Thank you for your tips, Tsh.
    Keep it up
    More power

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