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Hi there!

I'm glad you've come to read my blog, but unfortunately I don't live here any more!

Feel free to trawl through my archives or look up my posts on Scoliosis which will always be at home here, but when you're ready please come and join me at my new home:

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Catherine Ann x

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Writing about Writing... Blogging Tips! (Part 2)

Here's part 2 of my lenghty list of advice about blogging. I hope you're finding it useful so far. Part one can be viewed here. 

·         VALUE YOUR READERS. Make them love you! Remind them how special they are, because I know that every time I gain a follower or get some views and comments, it makes what I do worthwhile. Tell them! Respond to as many comments as you can, and make sure to ask for opinions, too. Post something you think they will really enjoy if you can. Why not try running a competition to make them feel involved?

·         TRY NOT TO SWEAR! This is something I work hard at in any articles I write, and I’m trying to do it less in real life too! It’s not easy when you live in Ireland where swearing is second nature (a medical consultant once swore at me…) but that’s really no excuse! I just think it’s unattractive and unprofessional. Remember you’re not just talking to your best mates when you blog—you could be talking to a total stranger of any age or variety, and they might not appreciate too much of the F word. Or the S word. Or the C word. And so forth. (In this article, I changed another word to “peeved” just now…)

·         ACTUALLY WRITE THINGS. Nobody is going to read it if you don’t write it! Write prolifically and regularly, even if the posts are short and you’re not sure whether people will like them. The more you post, the more views and new readers you’ll get. Simples!

·         BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. In the tab above you’ll see “Stalk Me On T’Internet!” Click on it, and there are all the places you can find me. I chose to make my own “writer’s profile”, keeping it separate from my “real” internet presence, which Is rather limited, and I’d suggest you do the same if you’re a bit shy or just don’t want strangers finding your personal info. Share your blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest… anything you can think of! Be present on all of these sites. Post funny updates and pretty pictures to keep people interested between blog posts.

·         DON’T BE SHY. I was terribly nervous about writing a blog, or sharing it with friends. But once I began, I got so much wonderful feedback from friends and others that I was absolutely overwhelmed. I’ve never looked back. If you’ve been putting it off or deliberating like I was, I suggest you just go for it! If you find it’s not for you, then you can always stop posting or even take it down. You never know until you try!

·         MODERATE THE COMMENTS. Change the setting on your blog to moderate comments. I think this is one of the reasons I haven’t had any nasty messages—anyone who comments on the blog knows that the comments are directly emailed to me for my approval before they are published. (Though perhaps people are just nice!) This also gets rid of spam, and means I am reminded to read and reply to everything right away.

·         BUILD SUSPENSE. If you’ve got an idea for a post that might take a while to put together, then you might write a short post on your blog, or social media update, about what’s “coming soon” on your blog. If people like the sound of it, they’ll come back!

·         SHORT AND SWEET. People are busy. A lot of the time, I’ll look for a blog post to read in my coffee break and, if I see it’s too long, I’ll read something else. Big huge blocks of text can really put someone off. Try not to ramble, and if you do feel the need for a longer post, split it into two parts over a few days (this means readers will come back for more!). That’s what I’ve done with this horrifically long novel of tips…

·         TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES. I’m what Irish natives might call “a divil for this”. I do not take nearly enough pictures to go with my posts, but I’m trying to fix that as they really do make the blog look more lively and attention-grabbing. I’m not a good photographer and my internet is so slow that it took hours to upload the multitude of snaps for my what’s in my bag post. But it really is worth the effort, so you should try your best to include one or two. I’ve recently joined Instagram, which is great because I can edit and post pictures directly from my phone, and then use them on the blog if I wish.

·         LINK TO PREVIOUS POSTS. Do you see what I did there, in the point above? If you’re writing a post and feel it’s relevant to something you did before, then insert a link for people to click on, in case they missed your previous post. It makes the blog easier to navigate and means people spend longer on your site!

I think that my best tip for blogging, however, is to totally ignore everything you’ve just read. Sure, you might find something helpful above, but if we all followed this advice there would be about a billion “Unlucky For Some”s on the internet, and not much of anything else. Your blog is yours, and nobody can tell you what to put on it. As long as it’s not offensive, pretty much anything goes. Be as creative as you like and, while you might take inspiration from elsewhere, never try to be the same as another writer. Your own voice is unique and it’s what people will love.

Have you got any blogging tips, or has this post inspired you to give blogging a go? Leave me a comment as I'd love to hear about it. 

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