Let’s kick off the year with some blog talk. I get a lot of emails from people asking me about blogging in general and setting up a photoblog, and a number of the Shoot By Design participants have asked for advice, so I thought I’d share some of my blogging tips and ideas. I don’t have the biggest blog on the block but I have been doing it for many years and am happy to share the things I’ve learned along the way.
Write with passion and about things you care about
If you love to photograph, write about photography. If you love design, write about that. There is no point in starting a blog on a topic that you are not totally in love with. Passion is infectious.
Have a clear purpose for your blog
Blogs that work are ones that clearly define what they are about and are consistent. Wishy washy ideas and topics make for a wishy washy blog.
Style is who you are
Find a look, feel and voice that is yours and yours alone. The way to figure that out is by doing some self discovery and being honest about who you really are. You are probably never going to see a “What I’m wearing” post on this blog. I love clothes and fashion but the idea of me being a fashion model makes me break out in the sweats and it’s just not what my blog is about. I’ll leave the fashion blogs to the people who do it well. Find your thing, and do it as only you can do.
Reply to comments
I think this one is a no-brainer. The people who comment on your blog have taken time out of their own busy schedules to not only read but comment, so it’s common courtesy to reply to them when they leave you comments. Obviously, if you are getting 50 plus comments on every post, that will become too much to reply to every single one. I certainly haven’t replied to every comment ever written here but I try to get to the majority of them. I also make an effort to reply to comments where a specific question has been asked. This is just my personal opinion and many bloggers may disagree but I think it comes down to respect, old school manners, and building a community.
Build a community
Decide whether you want your blog to be a place where you just showcase your work or a place where community exists. For Mocking Bird, I enjoy having a community to build around. I love that I have regular blog readers and commenters and building the community comes through being engaged, through asking genuine questions of your readers and asking them to share. I use twitter and facebook as an extension of that community also.
Make things pretty
White backgrounds, easy to read fonts, music free (lots of people complain about websites that have music playing as it can be intrusive) and a nice header or logo will go a long way in making people want to come back for more. If you have the cash, hire a designer to give your blog a makeover but go to them with a clear vision of what you want. Speaking of which, mine is way overdue for an overhaul.
They will make your blog far more visually appealing.
People scan the internet and big wads of text are going to put people off. Breaking it up with images can help. We are all pushed for time and unless you are an amazing writer, people are going to pick and choose what they read and what they scan. Break up the text with images and you will get more interest.
And if you are sharing your own photography, post images that are at least 500 pixels wide. You want the photographs to be the focus, so show them off as best you can!
I’m sure you read this everywhere, but it’s such an important part of making your blog stand out in a sea of tumblrs, blogspots and inspiration blogs. Those quirks and personality traits that make you different…use them, don’t shy away from them. Find the Bjork* inside you!
*Bjork is the only Bjork on planet earth and that is why she is so freaking cool.
These are just some of my ideas and you may disagree with them but I’ve found they work for me. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? What works for you?