Monday, June 28, 2010

For the Newbie Bloggers...

I am a newbie to mom blogging, but I am not a newbie to blogging in general. I started blogging in January 2007, so right now I'm at about 3 1/2 years of blogging. The ins & outs of mom blogging does tend to be a little different than just general blogging. It's more of a specific niche kind of group - understandably. And I actually just started regularly posting & marketing this blog about a month ago when I got my new design! But when Adriel at The Mommyhood Memos posted this on her blog today, I got really excited because I actually do have advice or experience for all of her questions! She may not use all my advice (or any of it), but it's still my experience & what has worked for me! I thought it was at least worth a share - especially since she asked! So I started posting it as a comment, but I tend to be rather long-winded when I'm writing about something I am passionate about - & I am passionate about blogging! I decided it might be less overwhelming as a blog post. It's still pretty overwhelming because oh my gosh I can talk!!  
If you have answers to these same questions, post them on your blog & link back to Adriel! Maybe it could be like a mini-meme!
  • How do you read the blogs your subscribed to? - Google Reader! Check out How to Efficiently Read Blogs!
  • How do you keep them organized? - Folders! Check out How to Create/Add to Folders in Google Reader!
  • How many (on average) a day do you visit? - Probably 10 that I actually go to their site from my Google Reader. It all originates in the Reader.
  • How many (on average) a day do you read? - I probably read about 200 posts per day in my reader on a week day. On the weekend, I read more because I have more time.
  • When you read a post, do you always comment? - If I like it & read through the whole thing & have something to say. I'm not a comment-spammer. I comment if I have something to say or if I particularly liked the post for some reason. I try to be specific & thoughtful.
  • When you comment on someone else's blog, do you "expect" them to comment back on yours? - To a certain extent, yes. Not every time, but for example, there is one blog that I have been reading & it isn't that big - just a few more followers than mine - & I've left some comments (see above - thoughtful, sincere comments) about 7 or 8 times & she has yet to even acknowledge my comments, visit my blog or respond to me in any way. Since my blog philosophy includes building community & it appears she is not interested in community with me, I'm probably going to stop visiting & commenting on her blog. But at the same time, I don't expect a reply to every single comment, but I do try to reply to the majority of my comments that are thoughtful responses to what I have to say. If they're just "hey, I'm stopping by" then I reciprocate by stopping by their blog, following & probably leaving a comment!
  • When someone comments on your blog, do you always then visit theirs? - Yes, if I haven't visited it before. (see last answer) If I have visited before, then I'm already following theirs & will visit from time to time - or daily - anyway.
  • Can someone please tell me what the deal is with these Follow Me Fridays please? (And does it take up a lot of time? Is it worth it?) - Follow Me Friday, Twitterhop Thursday, Follow Me Back Tuesdays, etc are all just blog hops where you link up your blog & then are expected to visit a few of the blogs already linked. The idea is that you visit & follow them & they in return follow you. I participate in just a few of these, but I try to not make it a big spammy deal on my blog. I may mention that I'm doing it, I may not. I'm not trying to be rude to the people hosting, I just do think that it can be annoying for readers of my blog to see all these posts about the blog hops. As far as being worth it, for me, these do take a lot of time so my blog time Tuesdays & Fridays are pretty much dedicated just to these. I try to follow 20+ new blogs each day. They generally all follow me back & I probably get about 5 dedicated followers who regularly come back & visit. So just because you get 20 new followers doesn't mean you get 20 new regular readers. But I still find that it's worth it for those 5 new regular readers.
  • What sites do you feel are most helpful to register your blog with? - Mom Bloggers Club, Bloggy Moms, Lady Bloggers Society, BlogFrog, The Secret is in the Sauce, Theta Mom Community - these are the ones that I regularly get new followers from. People will mention them when they visit my blog.
  • Are you selective about what blogs you follow or will you follow anyone's? - You'd have to read my How to Efficiently Read Blogs to get this one. I Google Friend Connect follow everyone who comments, visits, follows my blog. But I have to actually like your last 5-10 posts in order for you to be added to my Google Reader.
  • How many hours on average a day (or week) do you spend blogging (reading and posting)? - I spend 2 nap times per day (if I'm home) doing blog stuff & then about an hour or so at night after Isis is in bed, depending on what my husband is doing. So on a good day, I'd get maybe 5 hours doing blog stuff, but that's really a long day. That means she took a 2 hour nap in the morning, a 1.5 hour nap around lunchtime, then I spent about 1.5 hours after she went to bed. This is not always possible.
  • I tend to write a bunch of posts in one day and then predate them for the week... is this normal? - YES. Probably the best thing you can do in order to manage your time. I do the same thing on Sundays usually & then if something just strikes me as really interesting to post about, I may post an extra one during the week.
  • How in the world do you manage your time online when you're busy being a mom?!!! - Well, first of all, my daughter is only 6 months old & we do scheduling. So she takes 3 naps per day for a total of about 3.5-4 hours. I also am not working right now, so if I want to be home all day, I can be. My husband & I also pick certain days that we are going to not do our own things at night & rather have mini date nights. So I seriously plan out my weeks. I have certain times of day I blog when Isis is asleep & certain times I do house stuff & certain times I hang out with Lewis, etc. We've found a good routine, but it will all have to be switched up in the fall when I start student teaching. At that point I'll probably have to do a purge of my Google Reader & get it down to the main ones I really want to read & I'll have to focus my blog time on weekends & maybe an hour at night. I also try to do certain things on certain days. Like Tuesdays & Fridays are blog hop days. Other days are post writing days. Other days are blog maintenance days. I'm working on the Problogger 31 days to a better blog thing. (That link is to the one for 2007. He also did one in 2009 & I have all the links for that if someone is interested in them rather than searching through archives on his blog for them.)
  • Do you prefer to read blogs where the subject matter is streamlined... or do you like a variety? - I like it all if it's written well & of interest to me.
  • What are the top three reasons you will read (and go back to) a particular blog? - I identify with the blogger; The posts are easy to read & organized well; The information is useful to me
  • What turns you off from going back to someone's blog? - Nothing but giveaways all the time. I like giveaways as much as the next guy, but I want some substance. Some of the stuff people give away is just plain crap & I feel like they're just giving it away to do a giveaway. I haven't done a giveaway on this blog yet, but when I do, it will be stuff I really WANT to give away. I also won't go back if for whatever reason we just don't mesh well. I also don't tend to like the blogs that are basically just journals for some mom to record the day to day activities of her kid. I think it's fine & wonderful to share information about what's going on with your kid, but make it useful & applicable to me as the reader. What have you learned about this experience with your kid? What could I learn from it?
  • Do you think good blogs post everyday? Or does posting every day annoy you? - I think good blogs post good content regardless of how often - but definitely several times a week. I try to post everyday, but only if I think what I'm posting is useful and/or interesting. If I have nothing to say, I don't post just to have a new post up there. But no, posting everyday doesn't annoy me. Not if it's good content.
  • What's the best way you've found to boost your readership (and, honestly, do you ever feel like a sell-out for self promotion?!)? - The blog networks, the blog hops & comments! Definitely. I do feel like sometimes self-promotion is just sucky, but at the same time, I feel like it's necessary. You have to put yourself out there & kinda market your blog if you want more readers. It's just the way the game works. The comments are huge, but you have to leave thoughtful, sincere comments. Nobody cares if you just go to their blog & say nothing but "Great post, check out my blog." I might check it out, but it's rare that you'll go on my Google Reader. Not that everyone is just dying to get on my Google Reader, but I bet you'd love to be on somebody's!
  • What's one thing you've learned that you wish you knew when you started? - Hmmmmm, probably that comments are a really big deal & that a good blog design really does make a difference. I also wish I'd started with Wordpress. I'm on Blogger right now & I'll move when I feel ok spending the money to have my blog design converted to Wordpress. I'm not there yet. Probably next summer. I loved this post on The Blogger's Concierge about this same question.
  • Do you have any blogging regrets? - Not so far. I mean, I think my blog has gotten better with time. I'm embarrassed by some of my really old posts, but I think growth over time is a great thing. If I didn't feel like I'm at a better place now than I was a year ago, then I think there would be something wrong.
  • What's your top tip for a rookie blogger? - Be consistent & comment thoughtfully on other blogs!!!

27 comments:

sEy said...

I really believe with the last one. A friend I found in blogging says that she has more than 200 followers but that doesn't matter to her. What counts the most are the sincere comments from her readers.

With regards to bloghop, I should say that I followed blogs which I really like but I am not requiring them to follow be back. I wanted to read the post of all the blogs I am following and leave comments too if I have something to say. But not leaving a comment doesn't mean we're not reading.

Dawn said...

I am learning to be a better blogger as it is a way for me to release thoughts and things easily without holding it all in. Back in the day I would just blog about the drama in my life, which is not very good reading material! LOL So stuff like this helps me!

Also, I am interested in the scheduling you have done with your daughter.

And 2nd: How did you get your blog into 3 columns? I have been trying to figure that out!

Thanks in advance!

Teresa @ ♥ TOO MANY HEARTBEATS ♥ said...

This is really great advice! I wish I had found a post like this when I first started blogging. :0) It took me so much time to figure out most of this information on my own, and some of it, like creating folders in Reader, I've still yet to conquer. LOL!

I've noticed from reading several of your posts that you really have such a heart for helping others! Thank you for taking the time to write all of this out for those who are still learning. I know that it will really help a lot of people. I am going to bookmark it so I can share it with some of my blogging friends.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

{{HUGS}}

Teresa <><

♥ Too Many Heartbeats ♥

Posh Play said...

This is great information! I appreciate you sharing it all. :)

How did you design your cute blog?

http://www.poshplay.blogspot.com/

Asashia said...

I'm on Blogger as well because that's what hubby recommended. He too of course is new to the blog world---as in through me! I've heard before of people's love affair with Wordpress. What's the difference and why would you want to switch?
Thanks!

Cameron said...

Asashia - from what I understand & from doing a little snooping around on Wordpress, it just offers a little more flexibility & is much more prepared for larger blogs. It can handle more traffic. Plus the plug-ins are supposed to be incredibly helpful. It just has a lot more to offer. It's definitely a step up from Blogger in terms of complexity, so a lot of people - me included - started on Blogger because it's much more user-friendly.

Dr. Mommy said...

This is really helpful because I am just getting into the blogging game, and still have a lot to figure out. I feel like I share a lot of your thoughts about blogging. Thanks for the help!

Dawn said...

email: plentiofsunshine@yahoo.com

THANKS again! :)

~Lisa~ said...

I took your advice and re-organized my blogs to folders. I just started blogging mid-May and having a ton of fun. I love reading other blogs and find a ton of useful information as well as get entertainment out of it. Thanks for your tips!

~Lisa~ said...

I have a question. I revise my posts sometimes (typos, errors etc.). After revising I click publish post. Does this mean that that post is published again to everyones reading lists? Gosh I hope not.

Sandra said...

Cameron, you have got to be one of the most organized people out there. I totally value that, and I appreciate the fact that you are sharing your knowledge and expertise with everyone. Completely selfless. Should I ever get a large following ~crossing fingers~ I will credit you. Thank you.

Sarah @ Hippie Mommie said...

I'm so happy that you're posting things like this... I feel like Im in a blogging rut. I love blogging oh so much... But I'm just... in a rut!

Thank you, again! :)

Lilac City Momma said...

You rock for writing this!! Thank you, from a newbie =]

zek said...

I am new in blogging world. This one will help me a lot! Thanks for sharing ate! :)

pibyang
Elijah's Crib

Crystal said...

Thanks for all the info and tips! You did an awesome job of answering all these questions us newbies may have! Again thanks so much! It is very helpful!

Tracy said...

Bookmarking this post. Awesome info, girl!
xo

Nicole said...

excellent advice! I agree though, sometimes self promotion well, sucks basically. I always wonder if people really care what I put out there, but as I'm starting to get a few more comments here and there it gives me a good warm fuzzy feeling! I like the layout/design of your blog and the woman character at the top is adorable! Other blogs have her or similar, I wonder where they come from sometimes!

Sugar Mama said...

Thank you for posting this! I'm at the point of trying to make my blog more known, while also making my blog more appealing to read and look at. I appreciate all of this great advice!

Life with Kaishon said...

Such great advice : ) I loved reading this! Now one difference we have is that I have no idea how to read posts in google reader. Isn't that funny? I have one that is emailed to me : ) Just one. I consistently visit all of the people on my sidebar and thoughtful commenters : ).

I leave comments when I go to someones blog if at all possible. If I can't think of anything nice to say then I don't comment. And I probably won't go back again.

Giveaway blogs sort of give me a headache. I can NOT stand when someone says I am having a giveaway. Follow me for an extra chance to win. OH. Brother. : )

parentingBYdummies said...

Holy blog reader lady! 200 per day?! Wow, gonna have to stalk you a bit to see how you find time for that! Thanks for all of these tips and I'd love you to link your post to Mom Tip Tuesday at pBd today; it's perfect! Found you from SITS by the way and glad I did!

Trish said...

What a great post, I am also a newbie to blogging & I really do enjoy it. I have learn't so many interesting things from some very inspirational bloggers, it really is a great community. I will be putting you on my google reader because I have so much more of your blog to read. Thanks for the insight!!!
Cheers

J. Is A Bird said...

Great advice here, thank you for posting.

I wish I had known in the beginning that one should respond to comments from other bloggers. That struck me as overt, but now I'm a bit more comfortable with it.

Also, I will comment on a post, even if it's just "great job" just to encourage a post I like, but don't have anything particular to say about it. Just to send a message that hey I did stop by and I liked what I saw.

Thank you for the blog reading organizational tips as well.

Cheers!
J.

adriel, from the mommyhood memos said...

WOW cameron. you are amazing! or crazy! one of the two. ;) first of all, i have to ask, what is a 'mini-meme?' and for whatever reason i wasn't able to get the folders before, so glad you posted again about that one. i really need to get a reader up and happening. i have homework! and seriously, you read 200 posts a day? have you also taken a speed reading course or what?! and no wonder you have such an amazing blog. five hours a day is way more time than i have... though i can see how i'd easily spend that much time if i could. (and i know you said that's not the case every day.) but seriously, you've got to be one of the most organized people ever - impressive! thanks so much for all the links you've included in this post too. i'm thankful for the time you took and know my readers will be too. (hope some of them have clicked over here.) now... you've given me lots of homework that i want to do without actually assigning anything... you really are a good teacher, aren't you?! ;) THANKS!!!
adriel
p.s. Lisa, as far as i can tell, no, when you edit your post it doesn't republish it in the feed! :)

Nolie said...

I am 100% with you on a lot of this. I too use google reader. If I read through it all and have something to say I will go and comment.

When I find a new blog I will check the past couple of posts. If I like them I subscribe but they go in a on probation period for 2 weeks. Then they get moved to another folder or I unsubscribe.

Blogging and building your blog is all about putting yourself out there. Participate in communities and leave worthwhile comments on blogs. You get what you give first perfectly in blogging.

Lindsey said...

I am so glad you brought up reading blogs! You can't be a great writer unless you read!

Laura said...

I just started blogging myself and trying to figure this all out while managing two little ones at home. I enjoy writing about the kids and life, if I stay with it I would like to make a book of it for when they are older. I think your blog is great, your new follower :)

Mama Maintenance said...

Thank you so, so much for such an informative and helpful post! I just started blogging as a personal outlet and have been shocked to receive such a warm reception by readers. It has actually motivated me to move my blog from Blogger to Wordpress and register my domain, and I've just started researching my next step! Thanks again for your experienced and helpful advice... Great Blog!

Valerie
http://mamaneedsmaintenance.com/

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