Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Advice for New Bloggers 101

Skiing at the Brunswick Naval Air Station

My third anniversary seems the right time to share my experience of blogging, especially since my friend Maria Padian asked for advice as a newbie blogger. Do comment with more tips. As I said to Maria, the best part of blogging is the community.

My blog started as a place to gather material for my novels and to stay in touch with friends and family while living abroad. In 2007 my family was moving to England for a year. At lunch with my literary agent in NYC, she encouraged me to start blogging right away. She thought I’d enjoy it. I did, but it took months to build a following.

Back in 2007 the blogging community was barely connected. People were always asking, “What’s a blog?” This was in a time before “followers” and hyperlinked Blogger profiles. RSS feeds were brand new. Dial-up modems were common. Photos slow to load. WiFi rare. System crashes common. I typed in a shoebox in the middle of the road….

Nonetheless, my blog proved to be an invaluable writing tool and a storefront for my artwork. In England I was still working on my American novel S.A.D., and the Maine posts provided inspiration and material, like my lobstering jaunt. Now I revisit the Oxford posts to work on my English novel A MATCH FOR EVE (working title). I’ve sold paintings and photos as well, but the commercial side of blogging is secondary. I don’t sponsor advertisements, and I avoid commercial sites.

Most of all, it’s the community that makes blogging worthwhile. Writing and art are solitary occupations; you are my connection to the world. I look forward all week to my Wednesday blog days. There are true friendships in cyberspace. If you don’t believe that, then you aren’t a seasoned blogger.

 Now that I've broken the ice, let me share some blogging tips:

READ other blogs before you start to get ideas. Start commenting.

BLOGGER PROFILE: anyone can create a profile for free, even if your blog is hosted outside Google Blogger or you haven’t started. List all your interests; these are hyperlinks. Use them to find other bloggers who share your interests. Be sure to include an email so people can contact you. Enable share profile; it defaults to hide it.

BE YOURSELF: blogs are personal so get ready to share. Pick suitable content. Assume the last person you want to read it will. Be honest but don’t be snarky or mean. People may still identify you under a fake name.

DON’T SELL: a sales pitch is a big turn off. Many author blogs are boring because all they post are signings, fan mail, sales figures and reviews of their books. If you post good content, people will be interested in your books.

LENGTH: too short is better than too long. People read lots of blogs. Long paragraphs are hard to read, so are colorful fonts and backgrounds. Don’t post every photo from your vacation. Occasional longer posts, like an author interview, are fine. Revise and condense. I know; I’m guilty of long posts like this one!

FREQUENCY: post regularly or you’ll lose your following. An occasional vacation is fine, but let us know when you’ll be back. You can program your blog to publish while you are away in EDIT POSTS under POST OPTIONS. Pick a rhythm that works with your lifestyle, be it weekly or daily. The social side of blogging is time consuming (but rewarding.)

COMMENTING: respond to comments promptly either on your blog or on the commenter’s. Delete ads and abusive comments; don’t respond to them. Visit other blogs and leave comments about that post, but don’t push your blog. If you write thoughtful comments, they’ll come visit you too via your profile. Don't post the same comment every time and everywhere.  This is NOT a good comment: I love your blog, come visit mine - link.

FOLLOW: click on “follow this blog” in the sidebar, which will create an RSS feed in your blogger dashboard. Add a follow widget to your blog from LAYOUT. You can also add “blogs I follow” to your sidebar or reveal it on your profile. Don't wait for followers to find you; go find them.

LINK LOVE: to create a community, link to other blogs in your posts and sidebar. If you read a cool post, share it. Personally, I find awards that require the recipient to post and to pass them as irritating as chain letters. I have my own feature, “blog watch,” where I link to posts of interest with no strings attached. Feel free to use that meme but credit me. If you borrow a meme, always credit the source with a link.

ROUND UPS: to broaden your circle, join a regular blog round up. Visit and comment on all posts. I’m a regular contributor to the monthly Book Review Club hosted by Barrie Summy. You can even host your own.

PROTECT MINORS: do not post photos of children with their names and location. There are sick people out there. Also your kids, as they get older, will value privacy. If you swear or post unsuitable content, Google Blogger will ban you.

RESPECT COPYRIGHT: quote and cite written material.  Add a link if it came from another blog.  Get permission to repost from another blog.  Do not reproduce artwork or photos without permission from the artist or at very least cite the source with a link. Better yet, post your own photos. Add a watermark to discourage copyright infringement.

BOOK BLOGGERS: explain your review criteria and post it in your sidebar along with your contact email. FTC rules in the USA require that you state if you received a free product, like an ARC. Reveal personal connections. Don’t expect publishers to send you ARCs until you have a large following and stats to prove it. Visit your library or join online book swaps if you are short on cash.  Everyone knows that Jane Austen is good; review new authors, who need help getting their name out there. You don't need permission to post book jackets, short quotations (but check with publisher if an ARC), book trailers or links to authors. Story Siren posts helpful blogging advice and excellent YA reviews. She has become a hub of the YA blogging community by facilitating connections. Dovegreyreader scribbles blends personal life (Devon, England) with quality reading; I love her blog.

TRACKING STATISTICS: anyone with a Google account can use Google Analytics for free. There is a link to "Analytics" on your "My Account" page. Follow instructions to install the html code on your blog. Don't worry about low stats. It can take 6 months for search engines to find a new site.

HAVE FUN: blogging should not feel like a chore. If it does, take a vacation or stop. Forced posts or whiny ones are not fun to read. If you have nothing to say, you are spending too much time online. Get out there. Enjoy!

If you have more blogging tips, please add a comment.  So ends Blogger 101.

Note: shoebox line adapted from Monty Python.  I shot the photos at the Brunswick Naval Air Station last weekend.  My son took the photos of me and Stella in the fields.  Dogs aren't allowed on the groomed ski trails.  Maria Padian is a young adult author; check out her new blog, Teens, Writing and Randomness, and say hello.


Maria Padian said...

Great tips, Sarah, thanks! And I love the gorgeous winter photos. Maine in winter is COLD but beautiful.

tina said...

Good tips indeed Sarah. I would also add to be aware that all bloggers go thru stages and that there are up days and down days in blogging. If a blogger keeps track of the reason they began the blog then they will always get joy from their blog. And ultimately like you said, blogs are personal and should be for the person doing the blog. We have to be true to ourselves.

troutbirder said...

Well stated Sarah. I agree with all your major tips although there are a few "techical" ones I'm not familiar with.

D said...

Excellent information, Sarah. And I love the photos: the branch which appears to be emerging from the ice; the first landscape looks like a painting... ;)

I believe the best blogs are those whereby we are "true to ourselves"... it shows through otherwise. Diana

Cid said...

I do agree that the most important tip is to be yourself. You can fool around with format, layout and even advertising but if you aren't yourself people are going to recognize that it is not real. The blogs I follow are written by people I think I would like to get to know in RL. Thanks for another thoughtful post Sarah.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wonderful advice. I would respectfully add that if you are going to have music on your blog, do make it soft and pleasant. I've been jolted out of my seat a few times! :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wonderful advice, and I love the texture of the ice in your photos.

A Cuban In London said...

Haven't got anything to add. Your article covers everything. And the most important element is the networking side of it. Without it I would not be exposed to marvellous pictures this week's. By the way, you don't make me jealous, we've got so much snow here on my road that I'm going to have to start skiing to work. :-)

Greetings from London.

Sarah Laurence said...

Maria, zero this morning was too cold, even for me. We’ll have to meet for coffee instead of a dog walk.

Tina, excellent advice! Blogging is definitely a learning experience.

Troutbirder, I should add that Google help and chat room are great resources for bloggers needing technical help. In the chat room you can search on a topic or post your question.

Di, that branch does look 3D. I love when images play with your head. I often try for a painterly feel in my photos and a realistic feel in my paintings. Great point about “being true to ourselves.”

Cid, I agree that being yourself is the most important tip. A blog can fail by being too impersonal – by sounding like a textbook instead of a real person.

Pamela, good point! I can’t stand automatic music on blogs – too distracting. I want to focus on the words and images. I press the mute button. If you want to share music, a better method is an embedded YouTube video that the reader can click to hear and enjoy after reading your words.

Tricia, it was the interesting texture and high contrast that made me stop and take the photo, even on such a cold day.

ACIL, yes, the global connections are wonderful. You’ve introduced me to many new musicians. I must rent the film you recommended in your latest post. Wow, enough snow for skiing in London! When we lived there, it snowed once, and the kids sledded down Primrose Hill on rubbish bin lids. Enjoy!

Elenka said...

Very good advice! It's been years since I've cross country skiied. My cross country ski shoes...well...the leather (or whatever it was) is literally cracking!

Sarah Laurence said...

Elenka, my ski boots are cracking too, but that might be from 13 seasons of use. Maybe your husband owes you new boots next year for all the shoveling you are doing for him now?

Les said...

Great advice, but not just for new bloggers. There are seasoned bloggers out there that should read this post, including myself.

Rose said...

Excellent advice, Sarah! One of the first tips I learned was to read other blogs and leave comments on them. Long before I started blogging myself, I read what I consider to be excellent gardening blogs for examples of good and interesting writing.

Besides all that you have mentioned, I have learned for myself something I used to teach my students--how important an audience is. While I write for myself, I love getting feedback from others. I would think for budding writers, this would be one of the most beneficial aspects of blogging.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Excellent summary of what's important to know when you start blogging. Wish your post had been available when I began, in terms of the technical and layout advice.

I think you have covered it all - I would simply add to be prepared to encounter some glitches and surprises - and if it stops being fun or is taking you away from relating in real life, it is probably time to take a break.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...


Because of you and so many other bloggers--I have started posting on my blog(after waiting a year). I received good advice and I am still working on certain areas of blogging.

I try not to worry how many people read my blog--I just hope my readers will enjoy my writing and pictures.

Beautful pictures!

Tracy :)

TBM said...

Fantastic tips, Sarah! And that is so true about freindships.

BTW, the ice in that second photo is amazing and so delicate looking.

Sarah Laurence said...

Les, that’s good to hear that this post is useful for seasoned bloggers too. I stil pick up tips from other bloggers even after my years of experience. The medium keeps evolving.

Rose, excellent point. As a yet unpublished novelist, I’ve found the positive feedback on my writing a big boost. Many authors are worried that a blog will detract from book writing time, but I’ve found the opposite. Blogging is a great warm up exercise, like scales for a pianist. My writing speed has doubled since I started blogging. Other bloggers post material for critical content, which helps them refine their writing.

Bonnie, the technical stuff can be a challenge for new bloggers. You can find more of my posting tips by clicking on that label. Good point about the glitches and surprises. We all encounter them at the start. Don’t get too discouraged should be another tip.

Tracy, I had you in mind especially as someone who joined the blog community via comments and a profile before launching the blog. The reflective time shows in your posts. Definitely don’t worry about stats, especially at the beginning. It can take 6 months for a new site to show up in a google search. If you are blogging for purely recreational purposes, don’t bother installing a statistical package at all.

JAPRA, friends are the best! As I often say, nature is the best artist.

Dutchbaby said...

Popped over here via Cuban in London. Excellent crash course in blogging; sure wish I got this advice when first started.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blogging advice, detailed and timely.
Your blog is a model of civilization.
I, too, started blogging from abroad and it kept me in contact with friends at home --but I also met new ones like you!

My advice:
keep it short and snappy -people do not have time to wade through seas of verbiage...!)
lots of ORIGINAL photos
no memes or awards (they are fine but not for me!)
clean, clear presentation (avoid dots and black backgrounds!)
visit others often
only post stuff not available elsewhere

Sarah Laurence said...

Dutchbaby, thank you and welcome to my blog! I’m a big fan of the Cuban. I was pretty clueless when I started too. I had only one real life friend who blogged and his was a fishing blog. This post has everything I wished I knew back then. I’ll come visit your blog soon.

Ewix, it has been a delight to connect with you. Thanks so much for adding your advice and emphasizing the value of original content. The fantastic photos from unexpected points of view make your blog special. You are the queen of brevity and impact.

Kelly H-Y said...

So very true ... wonderful tips, very comprehensive. And, as usual, gorgeous photos!

Elisabeth said...

I'm new to your blog, Sarah and relatively new to blogging itself.

I think the tips you suggest here are invaluable. Thanks. It's good to meet fellow writers, though my focus is on creative non-fiction.

The community is as you say the best thing about blogging. It helps offset some of the isolation of writing. As one of my friends online suggested it's like being part of a blog writing group. It's wonderful and it's good to meet you.

I'm from Australia, not only our weather but our mores are different but nevertheless we have a great deal in common.

Delwyn said...

Hi Sarah

I have loved your snowy photos - thanks.

Happy days

Donna said...

I'm glad you posted this; I find it helpful. I'm always interested in how others make blogging work for them and what they do/don't like about other blogs. I'm glad I found your blog through my friend Alyson's. It's an intellectual and cultural treat to read each week!

Jason said...

You have a great blog here. I like checking out travel blogs much like yours at times. I have a blog myself which I hope will be a great resource for those looking to go on vacation. I want everyone to get that "vacation feeling" every time they come to my site. You know what I'm talking about.

I'd like to exchange links with you to help spread some traffic around between each other. Please let me know if this is possible. Until then, keep up the good work.


Sarah Laurence said...

Kelly, thank you!

Elisabeth, welcome to my blog and thank you! It’s always nice to connect with other writers no matter what the genre. When I was living in England I actually set up a private blog for my writing group there for critiquing the weekly assignments. We also met once a week, face to face. Now back in Maine I have author friends whom I see regularly. On a daily basis, blog buddies are great comfort. I’m happy to have you join my circle. I’ll come visit soon. First I have to ski my dog and have tea with my critique partner, Charlotte Agell.

Delwyn, thanks! I hope things settle down for you soon.

Donna, you bring up a good point that blogging preferences are subjective. What I like might not appeal to others.

Jason, normally I would trash your comment, but I’ll keep it up as an example of what NOT to do. Had you actually read this very post, “Advice to New Bloggers,” you would have learned that a BAD COMMENT gives generic praise, promotes yourself and then asks me to visit and swap links. A blog is not a business transaction but a relationship. Part of that involves reading my blog carefully enough to realize that I live in Maine. I’m not on vacation. This is not a travel blog, except when I lived abroad 2 years ago. My link list includes my blog buddies whom I’ve gotten to know over a long period of time. I admire their work. Read this post and the other comments, and you might learn something. I’m even breaking my own rule by responding to you.

Anonymous said...

You said it, Sarah!
I completely agree with your comment about Jason.......
He is certainly trying to build his blog audience
but not going about it in a thoughtful way....
Thank you for your kind comments.

☆sapphire said...

Hello Sarah.

Great tips!
The snow photos make me feel good! By the way, as for "Picking Bones from Ash", I've already placed an order. I'm looking forward to reading it!! And thank you for answering my question about Lesley Livingston's books !!

Sarah Laurence said...

Ewix, I couldn’t resist a teachable moment. I delete comments like Jason’s every week. This one was obviously copied onto many blogs. The best advice is to ignore and delete or not publish. I had to add the word recognition test due to robot spam.

Sapphire, brilliant! I’m sure Marie Mockett will be thrilled to hear that her novel is on its way to Japan. It fits the theme of her book. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

All, I need to finish some stuff for work before the long weekend. I just got really helpful feedback from my crit partner, Charlotte. I’m looking forward to time to visit your blogs soon. Your extra tips are really adding to this post and your thoughtful comments are great examples. As for you newbies, go ahead and try a comment. This is a friendly environment as long as you aren’t a salesman. If you make an embarrassing mistake, you can click the trash icon to delete it and try again. I’ve done some bloopers in my comments too. I won’t mock you, and I’m happy to answer a nontechnical question. Now back to work, sigh.

walk2write said...

You've shared some excellent advice, Sarah, and this post will likely become one of your biggest "hits" in cyberspace. That fact is seldom talked about but quite important. The topics or labels you choose and even the titles will be snatched by web crawlers or not, and they can help a blog gain some footing in a sea of competition. It's fun to experiment with different ideas and occasionally explore blogs outside your immediate circle of favorites. I've found the best blogs to be seasoned with a dose of humility. They're the ones I return to time and again.

Anil P said...

This will inspire many to give another thought to how they're blogging as well as prompt new bloggers to streamline their approach.

Sound advice, Sarah.

I've enjoyed reading your blog since I first discovered it. Three years is a long time.

Here's to more.

Sarah Laurence said...

W2w, it’s hard to predict what will float in cyberspace. One of my most popular posts was the sponge cake recipe, and I rarely bake. Still, it’s an excellent family recipe. The review posts of new release fiction are popular too. I hope those posts will help talented new authors connect with an audience. I think the best approach is to write from your heart and not to try to outsmart search engines.

Nonetheless, you do bring up a savvy point about the importance of titling and possibly labeling. More than half my traffic consists of regulars and referrals, but the rest comes in through search engines. A search engine friendly title that matches your specific content helps new readers find the post. For example, title a review post with the book title and author instead of “I read a good book.”

Anil, I hope this post is helpful. I was a very shy newbie blogger and waited for people to find me. I’ve been lucky to connect passively with such a fabulous community. I’m always curious to hear how people found me. I recall we connected 2 years ago whilst I was blogging from Oxford. Many of my readers have been with me for an equally long time. I love that. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and them over the years. Here’s to many more years! It’s fun meeting new people too….

Crafty Green Poet said...

These are excellent tips. I think I would also say it helps to know how to use hyperlinks to maximise connectivity - it both makes moving from one blog to another easier for the reader but it also develops that 'link love' that we all need.

I also love your sunset photos a couple of posts back.

Hana Njau-Okolo said...

Thanks Sarah. And yes, the networking is priceless! Lovely, breathtaking photos. Oh, and don't forgot to update the year to 2010 on your copyright footer.

Mama S.

cynthia newberry martin said...

Oh, yes, the texture of the ice and that branch--an amazing photo. And what a great idea to celebrate 3 years of blogging by passing on all you have learned. Nice to have the information all in one place too. Also a timely post. I had an email today from someone starting a new blog. I will send her your way. And congratulations, Sarah!

Linda Sue said...

Sarah, I came here through Elizabeth, Ewix, And am so glad i did. Blogging is just fun for me - I don't even mind if no body reads it, I am just haveing such a good time with myself!
Jason also sent me his begging thing...ignored it but did look at his blog- meh..
Somedays I get stuck in and visit many- might or might not leave a comment- some days I just go to my faves- my friends. Blogging has been so wonderful. How did we get by before 1007?
Thank you so much for this!

Linda Sue said...

Whoa 1007???
Question- do you always answer comments? Is that a nice thing to do?

Barrie said...

I don't think I have much to add. Other than: Have with blogging! ;)

Val said...

hi Sarah - i have enjoyed browsing your blog and will be back! thanks so much for your visit to mine. your photos are gorgeous and you look lovely :-)

when i started blogging there was a widget called Black Box that was a great way to explore the blogosphere. another way is to go to the blog list on a blog you enjoy and visit some of their pals.

your tips all make good sense

thanks again, V

Sarah Laurence said...

CGP, welcome to my blog and thank you for adding your tip. So true: a little bit of html goes a long way. These days “links” are made easy in the edit mode of Google Blogger. All you have to do is highlight the word, then select “link,” and paste in the URL. We do get gorgeous winter sunsets here. I enjoyed the green tips on your blog.

MS, thanks for the reminder to update the copyright. Newbies can add one through “Layouts” in Google Blogger. Happy 2010!

Cynthia, on my first anniversary I was busy moving blog addresses (from sarahlaurence/blog to after making the mistake of publishing by FTP on my website. It frequently crashed and was slow. The better option is to buy a custom domain to avoid the blogspot or wordpress etc in your URL and keep the blog at the host site. I forgot my second anniversary, and then this year it hit me that 3 years is a long time in the blogosphere. It’s exciting being part of an emerging medium. Thanks for the referral. Welcome to blogging, friend of Cynthia!

LS, welcome to my blog. Elizabeth and I connected almost 2 years ago back when I was living in England and she was in Morocco. I love the urban photos on her blog and enjoyed the images of spring on yours. The downside of a blog roll is exposing others to spam commenters. Thanks for adding your whimsical approach to blogging – there is no one right way to do it. On average, only 5% of my visitors leave a comment. I do try to respond to all. Answering comments turns blogging into a conversation. I respond-comment in batches to avoid clogging up the email inboxes of subscribers.

Barrie, yes, having fun with blogging is the main point. Good reminder.

Val, welcome to my blog. I enjoyed discovering yours through a post of Bonnie’s@Original Art Studio. Those lion cubs were adorable – I can’t believe you have them running through your backyard. That’s a good tip about exploring the blog rolls/lists. Close to half of my traffic comes via referrals. I love being able to connect bloggers too.

Donna said...

Sarah, I have a question. How do you see how many hits your blog gets, where they come from, etc.? I'm interested in being able to do that and seeing what my audience actually is. I usually base it on comments, but as you said, many people visit but don't comment, which leaves a foggy perception of who and how many are actually visiting.

Sarah Laurence said...

Donna, anyone with a Google account can use Google Analytics for free. There’s a link to “Analytics” on your Google “My Account” page. Follow Instructions to install the html code on your blog. Visitors (individual people visiting a site) mean more than hits (clicks on the site). Great question – I just added this as another tip to the post.

Laura Cococcia | The Journal of Cultural Conversation said...

Sarah - Happy New Year (a bit belated) and thank you for these tips...perfect for even those of us who have been on the path for a bit, but we all need to be reminded of the basics. Being true to ourselves is critical - and I've had moments where I've strayed from that, but ultimately find my way back! Hope all is well!

Sarah Laurence said...

Laura, it’s never too late for a Happy New Year – and to you too! Yes, this year is off to a happy start. It’s nice to reconnect with you.

Dawn Maria said...

I think the best thing blogging has done for me is give me a creative free space to write without expectations. I guess that's a fancy way of saying "be yourself", but it's really more than that. Because I'm not trying to sell anything or market my platform in my blog posts, some great and unexpected writing has appeared. That free writing has definitely made my fiction better and more intimate.

I won't lie- getting feedback from comments is great. While it's a free space for me, I do want to have interesting content for my readers.

I like what you said Sarah about better too short than too long. Very good advice.

Sarah Laurence said...

DM, yes, you are exactly right about the value of “creative free space.” The length guideline is a challenge for me as a novelist. I find it easier to write more than less. Blogging has helped me tighten up my writing.

Rosaria Williams said...

This is a very good summary, indeed. I might add: photos to illustrate your theme. Photos tend to attract a reader faster than titles.

Sarah Laurence said...

Lakeviewer, that’s a very good point, especially since many rss readers show the first photo. A banner image can set the mood for a blog too.

Alyson | New England Living said...

What a great source this post is for newbies! You must also be organized to keep track of all of those good tips.

I really loved your "breaking the ice" photo!

Sarah Laurence said...

Alyson, I wrote a long email reply to Maria and then thought that other newbies would be interested. Now I can just send this link when others ask me for help. Thanks, that ice photo was my favorite too.

Bee said...

Sarah, I can't think of a single thing to add to this. You are very thorough. You are a scrupulous blogger in so many ways . . . the perfect mentor!

I have just spent a long weekend in Copenhagen at Blog Camp -- thus proving the point that blog friends are real friends (and sometimes even becomes friends in real life). I have met about ten people that I blog with and I have never once been disappointed. I think that when blogs are personal (in the sense of voice; not in the sense of baring salacious details) there is always a close correspondence between blog and blogger.

cynthia newberry martin said...

Bee--I believe you've figured it out:

"I think that when blogs are personal (in the sense of voice; not in the sense of baring salacious details) there is always a close correspondence between blog and blogger."

No wonder we like our imaginary friends when we finally meet and with a hug make them real!

Sarah Laurence said...

Bee and Cynthia, as your warm words show, there are true friends in cyberspace. My real world is that much better for having both of your friendships. Thank you.

Keri Mikulski said...

Great tips! :)

Keri Mikulski said...

And great pics! :)

Sarah Laurence said...

Keri, double thanks!

Booksnyc said...


Thanks for taking the time to post the blogging advice and to solicit from others. I am new to blogging and trying to learn as much as I can from seasoned bloggers!

I will definitely implement the advice to STREAMLINE!

Thanks again -
Colleen (Books in the City)

Sarah Laurence said...

Colleen/Booksnyc, welcome to blogging! You are off to a great start. I really enjoyed your blog.

Nidhi said...

Wow! I wish I knew all this before I started blogging but will definitely follow the advice going forward. BTW, you are an amazing photographer.

Sarah Laurence said...

Nidhi, welcome to my blog and thank you! I enjoyed the humor on yours.

Joanne said...

Great blogging advice here. I definitely second the advice to keep the posts short. It seems to be the nature of blogging, where readers stop in for a brief visit, chat, and move on. Those short posts are inviting!

Sarah Laurence said...

Joanne, welcome to my blog and thank you! I need to work on following my own advice. Only posting weekly, the temptation is to write more than less. Short daily posts work better for blogging but would distract me from novel writing. Still, short is sweet.

Flat Rock Creek Notebook said...

This post was most helpful though I wished I'd discovered it when you posted it or could have read it when I launched my blog last August. I am realizing what a learning process this is and the different kinds of creativity you can bring to bear on this enterprise. I have modest goals for developing my blog that I'll pursue this summer when I have a bit more time, like writing pieces shorter than essays, for instance. For now, I'm accepting the path mine has taken even as it violates many of your principles! One unexpected turn has been a recent opportunity to use it for a little community activitism---I never could have imagined such a use for my blog last summer. Thanks again for your wise counsel.


Sarah Laurence said...

Mary, welcome to my blog and thank you!

Haley Jo said...

This is really good advice - I used a lot of it to create my blog! Thanks so much!!

Sarah Laurence said...

Scripsi, welcome to blogging! I’m glad to hear that this Advice to New Bloggers post was helpful.

Craig Ruvere said...

Sarah, your advice is invaluable.
I've been a freelance editorialist for the last ten years, but am just entering the cyber world of blogging. There is some very good advice out there and also so very bad. Yours certainly ranks up there with the best. It's honest and speaks in terms anyone can understand. All the best...Craig Ruvere

Sarah Laurence said...

Craig, thank you and welcome to my blog! Good luck with yours. It was nice to hear that this post was helpful to novice bloggers.

Lily Iona MacKenzie said...

These tips are really valuable. I would also add that bloggers should feel some passion for what they write about. I'm always interested in perspectives on a subject that I may not have thought of.

Sarah Laurence said...

Lily, great point! Welcome to my blog.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

I have been blogging for years, but learned much from this. Thanks!

Sheila Grimes said...

Thank you Sarah for blogging 101. I am very new and enjoyed writing the comments to your comments too!