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Top Five Tips for New Bloggers

I've been playing around with blogs for a few years now and tried my hand a a couple of different services. So I suppose I should have a couple of tips by now for new bloggers. Hmmm, let's see...

1. Keep it simple.

Original I know :P I know others have used this one too but it really is a good place to start. When you get into blogging there are just so many options out there that it is easy to become overwhelmed and bogged down in the details. I think the best thing to do is set up your space as quickly and simply as possible and get blogging! Go for a layout that you like - you will no doubt initially be the person that looks at it the most. You don't need something like your blog layout distracting you from making entries.

When I started blogging I would (and still do to some extent) spend hours trying out new layouts, experiementing with blog titles and settings. You end up feeling like you have done heaps of work but do you have a post to show for it? Nope :D Most things can be tweaked later so don't be bugging over the details just as you are about to hope on the boat, so to speak.

2. Create an identity.

Ok, while I am all for keeping things simple, I do recommend creating an online identity that you are happy with, that lets people quickly identify with and to identifiy you by. This doesn't mean filling your profile page with your life story. People who I am interested in following on their blogs are quite often the ones with succint profiles covering what they're interested in and what they blog about. Personally I am yet to master this art but I am determined to dissect it and master it eventually.

And a little pointer when creating an identity - a user icon. If you end up being active within online communities, especially like LiveJournal, it helps to have a default icon and stick to it in the beginning. Until your 'friends' online get a feel for you and your user name, an icon will help people to quickly recognise you.

And this brings me to...

3. User name

Please don't use wingdings or excessive x's. In my opinion this is just lack of creativity. Or rather, that the user is actually 12 years old. A good user name, I believe is one that reflects the person's character and is something they take on as an actual name. You should 'own' it. Now I realise this isn't something that is easily achieved. I recommend thinking about something of personal relevance to you and possible words that you associate with it. And if you end up struggling, go with simplicity. For example, for this blog I have gone with hannah_net11. My reasoning is its my name and it is solely for use in this blog which has a very specific objective. That is, a log of my net11 studies. This is not however, the user name I would use about the interwebs. My preffered user name is vunadiwai - this is the native name of the place of my childhood. Thus it has personal significane and yet can roll off the tongue.

4. Try early on to catergorise your posts.

If this option is available in the blog service you use (and I believe most of them offer it these days) then do it. This will make things soooo much easier to refer back to at a later date. Alternatively, and possibly more importantly, your entry will not become lost in cyberspace over time. I have many an LJ entry wherein I did not tag and as a result they have become like notes written on scraps of paper and thrown into a large box. Its like their significance is diminished i.e. why would I want to recall that scrap.

5. Get involved!

I get the most out of a blog that I write when I know that others read it. And the best way to attract readers? Read other blogs and comment. How else are they to know that you took the time to read their work? To me its like karma - you get what you give in return. I would warn against commenting and then expecting the same in return (if that makes sense). Expecting someone to comment on every single post of yours just because you have done so on theirs isn't friendly. Its needy. When commenting, do so with a purpose and I believe you will attract readers with a similar approach to commenting.

As they say - comments are love :P


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 5th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
hi Hanna,
it was interesting to read the tops 5 tips from an experienced blogger. i especially liked your opinions about wasting time playing with layouts, keeping things organised and commenting on other peoples blogs. all good tips.

Also thanks for the comments left on my blog, and of course i would like to link to your page, as i said in my post on the discussion board i dont think it really matters which platform you chose for your blogs with net11 as we are all one group really(something to that effect)

well that was interesting, maybe livejournal users are grouped together because you cant leave a comment on there blogs unless you are a livejournal user yourself. I had use the username and password from the livejournal blog i created when experimenting with the different platforms to actually be able to send you this comment. i have left comments on other peoples blogs without any drama, so i think this could just be a livejournal thing.
Dec. 5th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi
Thanks for the comment Jamie. I kinda felt like I rattled a bit but if I overthink something I tend to less like the outcome :P

I just enabled annonymous commenting in my settings. In theory this should allow you to comment without logging into LJ... fingers crossed it works because I wouldn't want to limit potential commenters to being LJ users :)
Dec. 5th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi
Hey Jamie,

I was checking this out for you, after you commented on my blog. When I click on leave a comment. It asks me how I would like to ID myself: Anonymous, OpenID (which I chose) or LiveJournal user.

OpenID is great because blogger,wordpress & livejournal are parties to it, so you can post with your wordpress ID for all three sites.

I think what may be happening to you, if you don't see these options, is when you joined livejournal it put a cookie on your system, and now it wants you to log back in as a journal user to comment or something. Just a guess.
Dec. 5th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi
or hannah just switched it on. as above. hehe
Dec. 5th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi
Oo I didn't know blogger & wordpress used OpenID - will have to check that out :D
Dec. 5th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
Hi Hannah,

Nice site you have here. Sorry to post randomly without saying hello first. So "Hello" :)

Jamie asked over on my blog, what the go was with posting on lj. So I checked it out for him.

Because I'm over in China, behind the great firewall of China, it took me 2 hours of trying different things, to be able to post. In that time you had replied yourself. lol

It sucks because wordpress seems to be always blocked, blogger blocked most of the time, and for some reason lj stopped working for 2 hours, and I was trying a bunch of proxy servers in between.

Cheers :)
Dec. 5th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey
Ouch. Sounds like that Great Firewall is gonna make this so much more fun for you.

I didn't realise that LJ set commenting to LJ users only as a default. Handy thing to know. I'm glad jamie piped up and pointed it out :)
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
Oh! I'd love to further your comment regarding usernames! If I may, make it easy to type! Saying it aloud is one thing, but online it comes down to muscle memory too. If you're fingers cramp into knots, it's a good indication you have a lemon of a username!

Personally, I prefer the short and sweet ones. It took me a long time to settle on 'amyty', and now I use it everywhere. Play-on-words type names are always chic and clever, provided they're chic and clever names. :D

Short, simple, and easy to remember makes them more likely to be passed on by word of mouth as well.
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Yes! Good point. My usual user name is a bit long but people seem to remember it - or shorten it to vuna or V :P
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
What's your usual username?

Don't misunderstand me when I say 'easy to type', I definitely don't mean 'long', just that there are some letter combinations that are HRAD!

Oh Hi! My name is Amy and my comprehension skills don't start until after my morning coffee!

[now I see that your username is in the entry] -cough- I'm a dummy.

Edited at 2008-12-06 12:32 am (UTC)
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
LOL totally understand the need for coffee.
Dec. 7th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
Hey Hannah, beaut blog. Wonderful tip about commenting. Blogs are all about a conversation. Look forward to your posts.
Dec. 8th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
Great Blog
Hi Hannah, I love your blog. What a difference it makes to see a blog from somebody that has experience. I will be following yours very closely. I can learn a lot from you
Thanks Evelyn
Dec. 8th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
Re Thanks
Hi Hannah,

Great blog and lovely photo.Thanks so much for the comforting words left on my website, it was lovely to actually receive a comment from a fellow student.

I will keep you in mind as an experienced blogger,incase of need.. hope u dont mind... Good luck in NET11.....


Dec. 13th, 2008 09:45 am (UTC)
Hi Hannah, I finally managed to leave a comment. I like your blogspot and I am also with live journal. My blog address is: bevy1.livejournal.com

I noticed you listed your blog address as: www.hannah etc. you need to take out the www and just list it as http//hannah-net11.livejournal.com in order for people to reach you. Although, you probably already figured it out. I have not yet figured out how to leave the option on my page for others to comment, or maybe it's there and I missed it. I will have to check. I do like livejournal, but I noticed most other students have gone with blogger and blogger has a followers button. Are you getting much feedback? I look forward to any suggestions. Regards, Bev.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )