Y’all. I generally don’t post about things that you shouldn’t do, but I wish I would have had a list like this when I started out, so here it is! May it be as helpful to you as it would have been for me.
When I started my blog I had no clue what I was doing, and I didn’t realize I should study blogging. So, I probably lost several years of audience-building by just winging it and having a lot of trial and error. If I could go back, I’d probably still dive into blogging without doing a ton of research (that’s my personality), but then I’d have spent the next few months reading about and learning what works and what doesn’t. (Pinterest has a lot of graphs that can help you with this.)
This means pay attention. If you want to use an image that’s floating around on the internet, you need to first discover if it’s copyrighted, and if it is, then don’t repost it without getting permission. One great place I’ve found for using uncopyrighted stock photos is Pixabay. They have a huge selection and are graciously free. If you see a picture on someone’s blog that you’d really like to use on your blog, go ahead and ask them – they might say no, but that’s okay.
One contingent to this graphs, etc…that are meant to be shared.
Bloggers are human – even the successful ones. They make mistakes, they learn through trial and error, they were once the newbie. Being intimidated or being too freaked out to comment/contact another blogger is not the vibe they’re going for. Sure, some bloggers might not be quick at replying, but that probably has nothing to do with who you are, and a lot more to do with them being too busy, having health issues, etc…
This doesn’t mean you should be sloppy, but you don’t have to wait for the whole world to feel correct before pressing the publish button. With that being said, I do recommend proofreading each of your posts and also using the preview button to make sure your formatting is correct.
My mom told me I should try Grammarly, and I’m so thankful I did. I had no clue how many “little” things I missed on my blog before the little green circle became a part of my everyday blogging life. You can add it to Safari for free, which is what I did. I highly recommend it.
But for the most part, as long as your grammar is correct, your spelling is on point, and your thoughts make sense, people aren’t going to be critiquing your every word choice and expression. (Like they do when beta reading a book…)
Sure, if you actually do something “wrong”, like post a joke that you later realized was off-color, then you can say you’re sorry. But! There are bloggers out there who start out half of their posts by apologizing that their post is late. That gets really redundant and has made me stop reading certain blogs. If you’re late with a post, then you were late, and it’s not the end of the world. Most people probably didn’t even notice. Just do your best and no one expects (or even wants) you to be perfect.
From everything I’ve seen the blogging community is very welcoming, kind, and caring. Let’s keep it that way. If another blogger is rude to you? I am sincerely sorry about that, but let’s not turn it into a public thing.
On the flip side though, when a blogger is nice to you, go ahead and talk about it all you want. I often post links to the blogs of people who have helped me with my blogging journey. Like Kate who helped me with my WordPress design, Esther who has written encouraging notes for me to keep going, Bekah from whom I won my first giveaway (and blogging friendship), and Stephanie who started the best blog for young writers. (Like, ever.)
Why bash bloggers when you can bless them instead?
Personally, I enjoy hosting giveaways. It’s a way for me to interact with more people and bless them, but it does get expensive. So far blogging hasn’t been a money-making source for me, but I have poured a lot of money into it.
I didn’t do any giveaways for the first several years in my blogging journey because I simply couldn’t afford it. And that’s okay. You don’t owe it to anyone to do a giveaway. And, although they do help grow your audience, if that’s your only purpose for hosting one, you’ll be disappointed.
If you do host a giveaway, it can be small. A $5 Amazon gift card might not generate a huge amount of interest, but it does give your readers the feeling that you care about them, and that’s what you want, right?
And speaking of giveaways, Y’all should totally enter the one I have going on right now to celebrate my 6th year blogging anniversary. 😉