Brief Essays in Successful Blogging

In anticipation of VeganMoFo, I am wondering how other bloggers are getting along. Will they be furiously searching for recipes last minute or will they be hoarding posts like cherished acorns of MoFo nourishment? Urrbody’s writing blogs these days, but so many well-intentioned, genius, and sparkling blogs go by the way side due to lack of motivation, resources, and/or readers’ attention. I know I occasionally fall victim to the lackluster ways of web authorship and slip into reality for long periods of time. Reality is far superior to blog writing, but when it comes to that nagging dream of writing a book or gaining true web fame, it is crucial that you stick to it.

I love thinking up blog post topics on a whim and then rambling, paragraph after paragraph after self-indulgent paragraph. Typing our thoughts is a wonderfully addicting outlet! However, a truly worthwhile blog has several key components. Perhaps I’ll turn this ramble into a Blogging 101 mini tutorial..   My own tips as well as some superb links to help you out. Good luck!

 

Last Day to Register - Sept 28!

1. Be Genuine – Exception to this rule: “…unless you have horrific spelling and a terribly weak grasp on grammar.” Your words are 95% of your blog – spell check and proof read, mates! Aside from the mundane details of the English language, your writing should flow naturally and in your style. Blogs are not text books, news articles, or grand gestures in literature (in spite of what some authors exhibit). Your blog should reflect your personality to a degree. Finding a balance between your inner workings and your blog topic is where it gets tricky. This moderation is perfected with practice and feedback.

How I Do: Word like “urrbody” and “p-jams” (pajamas) sometimes slip out of my mouth when I talk. If I’m writing a more casual post, I’ll let those words jump right from my brain to my fingers and find a happy little home in my post. If I’m aiming to write more seriously, I might censor those vernacular impulses a bit. Don’t try to use words that are not in your vocabularly and don’t censor yourself too much. Your interests, writing style, and other subtle personal nuances are what will help your blog stand out from the rest.

2. Write About What You Know – Enough said. Feel free to branch out a little bit, but don’t spread yourself too thin in the knowledge race. The superficial bits of what you do know won’t get you too far within areas with which you’re unfamiliar. I hear people say so often “But I just don’t know enough about any one topic to write a blog.” Well, you know about you, right? Sometimes people simply want to read another person’s journal. Even the simplest ideas can become part of a successful blog. What begins as a Dear Diary could turn in any number of directions as long as you keep living, keep doing, and keep learning. You will find some wisdom to contribute to the legend of the interwebs.

How I Do: This section should more realistically be entitled “How I Don’t Do”. Sometimes, what you don’t write about is most meaningful. “Less is more” is ringing more truth every day. I’ve always been a “Jill” of all trades, hopefully somewhat masterful at some, and I have dabbled in countless hobbies and areas of interest. On social networking sites, under “interests”, I might just as well write “pollinator of whims and fancies”. Counterproductive, but always interesting! I found that I really needed to prioritize my interests to have a productive future in anything. The Big Three (as I’ve endearingly named them throughout the years) are: Art, Animals, and Psychology. I have an art/creative projects blog, I have a vegan/critter blog, and I have yet to embark on scholarly writings for the field of psychology. Two outta three ain’t bad when one has plans to get her Master’s in psych and write herself into insomnia for two years straight! I digress….    Of all the LiveJournals, Tumblrs, Flavors, Blogspots, and WordPresses, you know in your heart of bloggin’ hearts what informational highways run through your blood. Find your niche.

3. Add Photos – Blogs filled with mostly text are not only boring, but often stuffy-looking. Don’t go around stealing clip art, stock images, and (god forbid) other people’s photos. Also, don’t simply recycle other blogs’ photos. We have enough junk littering the internet. For your blog to stand out and be fresh, provide personal and original photography or design elements. Some topics are hard to add visuals to, but you and your creative and talented super-self will figure out a way.

How I Do: Even though I tend to use MS Paint for most of my graphic inventions, it does the trick. They may not be the most versatile or professional, but they are my own little misfit creations and I love them. I also particularly enjoy scouting out perfect images from artists or writers who I think deserve a little exposure.

4. Blog Branding – No cattle prods needed. (Did I mention I specialize in dry humor and word play? You’re welcome..) Whether or not it’s your final “look”, try to pull your blog’s visual scheme together with complimentary color palette (often found in default settings of pre-made themes) as well as a logo and sub-images. Creating a smooth and memorable aesthetic for viewers will keep them away from headache medicines and propel them into the curiosities of your e-world.

How I Do: Green and purple. Simple enough. Rather than riding on the literal “green light” imagery, I decided to add a little more elegance and personality to the GLV scheme. I have loved orchids for a long time and they have endlessly interesting lines. The deep, calm purple hue I chose works beautifully with a lighter, more lively green. I wanted to have an artistic, unique, inviting, edgy, elegant, and cozy feel. That’s a lot to cram into one little header, but mine epitomizes my efforts. I daresay I would hang it on my wall. I could give a whole workshop on finding your “you” scheme, but I’ll keep it brief. Use what you like, keep it “fun”,”professional”, etc. depending on the purpose and vibe of your blog, and ask only a handful of people what they think. Too may external opinions will tear you in many directions.

5. Write, Write, Write – No one wants to hear about that mediocre sandwich you ate for lunch, unless you write a restaurant review or something of that ilk. Other than that, nothing ruins the mood more than throwing in meal-time rants amidst your otherwise interesting posts. Trying to stay on a path while keeping a constant flow is ideal. Momentum will grow once you begin brainstorming ideas and keeping a blogging mindset even while away your pad.

How I Do: I make a goal to write at least once per day. This isn’t always possible with work and other obligations getting in the way, but this is where the wonderful world of Queues comes in! I often find once I write one post, I’ll want to write another two or so. I let the writing take over and then often queue the 2nd and 3rd posts for the coming days. Perhaps you find a balance in writing consistently each day, but some of us write in spurts. Either way, keeping your brain fresh with writing and maintaining your readers’ attention daily is crucial. Another tip: Copy links or images that inspire you into an “ideas” draft (or drafts, if you have multiple themes). These will make great references later on when you hit a wall and are stumped on new ideas.

6. Keep A Blogging Mindset – Always be on the lookout for new material or sneaky and inspiring sources. Through conversations with friends, daily routines, and other interactions, you’ll be surprised to see what catches your attention and inspires you.

How I Do: Just today, I found a book while sifting through my library at work. A cookbook featuring recipes that contain only 5 ingredients? Sounds perfect to help me with my GLV on-the-go VeganMoFo posts. An accidental find becomes fodder for a blogger. Without my writing flickering on my mental back burner, I would have glazed over that book and left it behind. You’ll begin seeing many aspects of your daily life in a new, inspired way. Take advantage of this! Now is also a great time to remind you that you might want to keep a little note pad handy for these convenient eurekas.

Now the links!

Web Inspiration

Pinterest, "vegan" search results

Pinterest – New favorite! A pin board of inspiration and anything you dream up.

Tumblr – A highly photography- and writing-oriented blog site with many quality writers.

Etsy – Handmade mecca to the world! You’ll surely find a use for it in your blogging. Surely…

News Sites – Key terms and novel topics melding to birth your ideas. Read these regardless your blogging status.

Amazon – Find books and other relevant products to feature or to use as tools and resources.

Blog Extras

Independent graphic artists (Headers, logos, etc.)

SALE Professional Premade Custom Business Digital Logo Photo Watermark

MelissaStarr on Etsy

 MelissaStarr

MoxieTonic

DreAmloft

TuesdayBella

(For more graphics and logos, search Etsy by keywords such as “blog” or “website“. You can filter the results by price, too.)

Shabby Blogs Layouts

The Cutest Blog On The Block Labels

The Warehouse of Blogging Accessories


Bloggapedia  Pixels, Widgets, Badges, and more!

Best of luck blogging! Feel free to share your endeavours below!

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~ by Katherine Cota MacDonald on September 28, 2011.

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