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Top Tips for Beginning Bloggers

Hi! I'm Melanie Nelson from Blogging Basics 101. I write tips and instructions for beginning bloggers. Laurie asked me to stop by and impart my knowledge about what I think the top tips for bloggers are. This subject could get out of hand fairly quickly because everyone has an opinion. Blogging tips also change depending on where you are in your blogging game. If you've been blogging for a few years, you know your way around the block and your needs are different than someone just starting out. This article is for those of you just starting out. These are my ideas of what new bloggers need to consider and learn in their first year of blogging (even in the first months!).

  1. Do not use auto-loading music. I know you love music and you have great stuff to share. We all do. Our iPods sing with the coolest, hippest tunes around. Let's keep it on the iPods and out of the blogosphere, OK? Seriously, though, consider your readers in this instance. What if they are at work or next to a sleeping baby? They click over to your site and BOOM! Instant music and it's very loud because they weren't expecting it and their speakers are turned up. Don't forget that auto-loading music also takes up a lot of bandwidth and will make your blog load much slower. Every blogger I've spoken with says they immediately click away from blogs and web sites with auto-loading music. As with everything, there may be an exception to this, but I haven't found it yet.

  2. Try to make sure your blog name and URL match. When you're first starting out, it's hard to pick a name that matches the generic URL you're given at Blogger or Typepad (yourblogname.blogspot.com or yourblogname.typepad.com). Everything seems to be taken. Here is the solution: Buy the domain name for your blog's title. If at all possible, buy the .com. If that isn't possible, buy the .net or the .org. A domain name is generally about $10/year, easy to install, helps your readers remember your URL easier, and is supported by all mainstream blog platforms (including Blogger).

  3. Find out what a permalink is and how to use it properly. Blogging Basics 101 has an article explaining permalinks and why they are so important. Have you ever wanted to be part of or host a ? Or link directly to a specific post that 's already published? You'll need permalinks for that.

  4. Find out what RSS is and use it. Don't forget to offer the option to subscribe via e-mail. I use Feedburner and love it. You can learn more about inserting the orange feed button (and the link to your feed) in the article How can I add the orange RSS button to my blog so people can subscribe to my feed?. Make sure you read the comments on that post as well because there is some excellent information there. Also, believe it or not, there are some people who do not use feed readers to keep track of their blogs. It will increase your subscriber number if you offer your readers the ability to receive your updates via e-mail (Feedburner offers this option). You can still offer full or partial feeds depending on your preference; the e-mail with your feed will show up the same as it will in a feed reader. Additional reading:

  5. Remember that online reading is different than traditional paper reading. It's harder on our eyes to read online. Keep your posts short and chunk your information. In other words, keep your paragraphs short, use graphics to break up text, and use bulleted or numbered lists where applicable. The white space around the short paragraphs, graphics, and lists will help draw your readers' eyes to the information and make it easier to scan your content.
I hope these tips will benefit you in some way. If you have any other questions, please visit Blogging Basics 101.

Thank you, Laurie, for inviting me to guest post! I hope you are resting and feeling better.