10 Ways you can Improve your Blogging

During the two and a half years I’ve been blogging, I have found many bloggers who go through periods of inactivity, not because they are busy with their real lives, but mostly due to lack of inspiration or a desire to give up. When I first encountered one of those posts I felt it was a bad-day for the blogger, but I have found it to be a common theme among many others. And my reaction? I couldn’t believe what I was reading! The vast majority of the bloggers who feel a desire to give up write some of the most inspiring and well-rounded reviews on my Google Reader!

So, inspired by a post on last week’s Week on the Web by Rikki where she kindly directed us to this 10 Ways to improve your life today, I wanted to share my 10 Ways to improve your blogging. With this post I do not want to set standards as to how/when/why to publish, blog, read or to make a list of good blogging vs. bad blogging. I just want to share some of the strategies that, during the last two and a half years have made me come back to blogging every week, if not a few times a week.

1. Never make blogging an obligation.- For me, this blog was a place where I could come and relax. Reading and writing had never been an obligation or a project for me, but rather an everyday part of my life so, back in 2010 I decided to make that side of my life public and create Books and Reviews. I love to share my thoughts (even if they are bad!) with all my readers!

2. Blogging is better when you interact with your readers.- When I first got comments on my posts, I couldn’t believe my luck… and nowadays, I can’t either! Sharing my thoughts is really important but I prefer all the interaction I get from other bloggers and my readers, either here or over Twitter. You can expand your views, learn about other books and get very different interpretations from a book, all fuelled by the very different backgrounds of the people you talk to.

3. Reading other blogs is as important as writing yours.- I was not a very organized reader of blogs until I got a reader and added all the blogs that I love. I use Google Reader and I’m pretty happy about it, but any other system that you feel comfortable with can ensure you read more.

4. We are readers and writers.- Reading other blogs is great, but leaving a comment is even better. Not only are you collaborating with another blogger but you are also building a relationship that will always pay off. During the years I have become good friends with some bloggers and even send them books on Christmas.

5. Your blog is yours.- Lately some bloggers have denounced threats/insulting comments of readers who did not agree with their reviews. Dissenting is fine, but one must remember to keep it all polite both when writing and commenting. As a blogger, you can always set WordPress to send you an email to approve all comments to ensure a friendly environment.

6. Don’t obsess with numbers.- Since I joined Goodreads, there is this small box asking me to challenge myself to read a number of books a year. And I completely refuse to. I’d rather read a book a month that changes the way I think or see the world than four which I will forget next year. Also, I do not want to make my reading something I have to do, but rather something I tend to naturally: I want to pick up a book because I want to, not because I have to.

7. Don’t obsess with numbers #2.- Same as with the reading, but this time with writing posts and comments/visits. I’d rather write four great posts a month than only one, but if for whatever reason I can’t or don’t feel like it, it is better to let it go. There must be a reason why I did not feel like writing and it is a great occasion to do some introspection and learn from ourselves.

8. Create a style that reflects your reading.- Ellie has a great blog about crime fiction, thrillers and sci-fi and you can immediately recognize it from the design of her blog. There are many styles and colors and WordPress offers different templates to choose from. It is worth spending an evening doing some research and revamping your site if you do not like how it looks anymore.

9. Never stop yourself from writing if you’re inspired.- There are days when a million ideas come to my mind and I feel like sharing them, although not on the same day! Sometimes I write as many posts as I want and save them instead of publishing. Later on, I revisit them and decided to share them… or not. Most of the times, those ideas are still appealing to me after some days and I do share them. This is very similar to the scheduled posts some bloggers do.

10. Love what you do.- A key to healthy working (on anything) is to love what you do. The happiness and passion of a blogger can be infectious! I do understand that sometimes it is difficult to keep blogging, but three posts about wanting to give-up clearly show that you are not. Look at the bright side of it: you still feel that you need blogging even to share you want to give up. Could it get better?

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15 thoughts on “10 Ways you can Improve your Blogging

  1. Very practical advice. I enjoyed reading your post and was relieved to see that I put into practice many of the points you raise! Might I add one of my own? Think of your voice when writing. What can you do to create your own style? Reading widely helps here. What writer has affected you the most? That would be as good a place as any to start thinking of how you wish to write.

    • Thanks for that new additon! I do not think these are THE rules to blogging but just the ones that work for me, so I appreciate that everyone has their own.

  2. Very good advice, Elena. I am not saying I disagree with no. 6 but a little challenge isn’t a bad thing. I love statistics and watch my little counter grow in the course of the year, so it might be a bad thing for some but a nice little thing for others.
    As for no. 8, yes. Fot a re-do I strongly recommend participating in Bloggiesta, which is a great way to meet new people and at the same time learn how to improve the looks and features of/on one’s blog.

    • Oh yes, I’m the first to look at the visitor counter, but what I mean with that is not to write thinking of the visits, only to have more.

      I never participated on that Bloggiesta, but many friends did and re-did their whole blogs. A nice way to have the tough work done!

      • Ah, no, not the visitor counter! The Reading counter! I am not so concerned about visitors, but I love to count the books I have read, :).

  3. Great list Elena! They’re definitely things to keep in mine when blogging. And lol, I admit that I have fallen prey to #6 and that reading goal on GoodReads. I’m almost at my goal anyways but it definitely messes with your head a bit when it comes to enjoying the book you’re reading (I realise I hate it when there’s a goal or number hanging over my head like that). Am definitely not planning on filling that out next year =P

    • Thanks, Li! I think that if you really want to read a number of books it’s OK as long as you focus on the book and the story and not only make it a number.

  4. Great tips! The one I have the most trouble with is #1, feeling like blogging is an obligation. I always hold myself to a really high standard, and I feel super guilty if I don’t post on a regular schedule! But you’re absolutely right; I blog because I like reading and writing and trying to organize my thoughts on a book. I should remember that enjoying what I’m doing is more important than following a schedule :)

    • Well, if you expect something from your blogging (money, meeting new people, lots of visits etc) you can take it as an obligation, but when compared to studies/family/time to do whatever you think it’s important, blogging (I think and it’s my humble opinion) should come as secondary, as something that helps you get though rather than make it more difficult. At least, that’s my approach!

  5. I can totally relate to the “don’t obsess about numbers” thing. Last year and also this year, I had set up this GR challenge before I found myself angsting over the “Great! You’re 3 books ahead!” comment, waiting it to say 2 books… one book… “You’re two books behind…” and so on. So I threw it out of my figurative window and feel much better.
    Sorta the same with keeping track of how many books I read – accumulating them is fine, numbering them is not.
    On the side note, I really like your blog. I guess it sounds like a cliche, but I don’t do cliches. I really like yours. Your words are lively, and you review classics, but not just classics.
    I hope you had a nice start into the week – yours starts on Sunday, right?

    • Thanks for everything, Eugine! And thanks for all these comments and for subscribing.

      I really like classics, but I love contemporary literature even more (and don’t get me started on crime fiction).

      I hope to see you around more and let me know if you pick a book I reviewed and your opinion, please.

  6. Found your post on BlogHer Spotlight and you speak (write) the truth. I can so relate to your points. Thank you for putting these thoughts into words.

    I vowed when I began blogging a year and a half ago that I would only do it until it wasn’t fun anymore. That makes me super sensitive to when numbers or schedules or pressure start to encroach on the love. Because I want to keep writing, because I want to keep it fun, I give myself permission to kick the rest of it to the curb. Who knew blogging could be so liberating!

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