4.20.2011

10 tips to starting your blog

I was recently asked by readers on my Q&A page to offer suggestions to starting a design blog.  My blog is not the largest, but I do have suggestions you!


1) Make the time to do the work.  Blogging will suck your time, especially a design blog because of the research and photo editing, etc.! It's still worth it and rewarding, but the reality is that it takes time. Ideally you build up a few weeks of posts so that when your kids get sick or you get extra busy, your readers don't miss out.  I have never been able to do this, but a girl can dream. ;-)

2) Be yourself.  I know, it seems obvious, but when you begin, most people think of a blog that's popular and try to emulate that.  Eventually you'll find your voice.  Just keep writing.  Keep posting.  You'll discover your style and what works for you.

3)  Leave comments on other blogs!  This should probably be tip #1. You're not an island.  Visit blogs you love and leave a thoughtful comment.  At the end of the day blogging is more about building relationships and your blogging friends can be your biggest promoters!  Never assume that a blogger is too "big time" to appreciate a comment or even reply and follow your blog.  (If you're a regular reader and I don't know you exist; I would love to hear from you!)

4)  Widen the margins of your blog format for bigger pictures.  Granted, this is a personal preference, but if your focus is design, I want to actually be able to SEE what you're writing about.  Go to your dashboard.  Click on design.  On the top left side click "template designer".  Click "adjust widths" and you're golden.

5)  Please.  For the love of blogs.  Take the security code off of your comment form!  Comments are difficult enough to get.  Most readers will never leave a comment.  So if you get them to take the time to type, make it as easy as possible for the comment to go through.    Most blogging sites have built in security from spam, and it is a major pain and time waster to enter the code every time a  reader wants to comment.  Go to your dashboard.  Click "settings".  Click "comments" on the top.  Scroll down to "Show word verification for comments" and click NO!  Please, with a cheery on top.

6) Set-up a "Google alert" with the name of your blog.  This way if someone blogs about you, you can at least stop by and say thank you!  This will also help you know if someone has added your blog to their sidebar/blog list and you can return the favor.

7) Design your blog to reflect you.  I know this is another one that seems obvious, but I confess that I judge a blog by its cover.  Readers only have a small bit of time to decide if you are worth reading and the design and layout of your blog speaks volumes before they read any of your words.

8) Only feature images that you love...especially if you are trying to build a business.  Your readers will judge your style and sense of design by what you post.  Even if an image proves your point, keep looking for the perfect image that not only proves your point but also shows your style.  And please, be sure to give credit where credit is due.  Link back to the source!!

9)  Reach out to a blogger you read regularly.  Some of my favorite people are fellow bloggers that I have never even met in real life...but we're working on it!  Don't miss out on the conversation that can happen behind the scenes via e-mail.

10)  Have fun!  Blogging can be a wonderfully creative outlet so pace yourself and enjoy!

I hope this was helpful! 
 If you're looking for more reading on the subject here are some of my favorite posts 
from very successful bloggers.

What is your best blogging tip?  
What do you wish you had known when you started?
  

42 comments:

  1. Very well said! I totally agree with the all.. especially with those security codes! Take them off people!!!

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  2. I agree with everything you saidm Abby...especially being yourself...sort of why I feel like I know you. It's so much easier to comment without the word verification (learned that from Beatrice Banks Blog). Now I have to figure out what google alert is?

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  3. Sorry about the typo above (jet lag)...one tip... when I have an idea for a post, I start it (even if it is just the title or subject). That way, I can add to it it over time and it leaves me with several posts "in the works" or near completion that I can use when time is short.
    I love how you put past posts below on the left.

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  4. Abby, Thanks for the great tips, a few new to me which I need to implement! I enjoy your blog for one of the reasons you stated, your voice, real and approachable, just like a friend. Keep up the great work!
    Cathy

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  5. Abby, these are great tips - really well done!

    I think the security code for comments is my biggest pet peeve. After music on a blog, that is.

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  6. Gret tips, thank you! I immediately saved two Google alerts, I didn't even know you could do that before! Ah, blogging... It's a work in progress :-)

    Relatable Style

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  7. great tips! just removed my word verification..I dislike when others have it...totally forgetting that I myself had it, ops!
    xoxo emily

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  8. Great tips! I never thought about adding a google alert. Off to do that now!

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  9. That is great post, Abby. You are always the gracious hostess! Time sucker though it is, I love blogging :) and am very happy that I've gotten to know you - x

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  10. This was great advice! I never knew about the google alerts, so I think I will add that right away. I agree that commenting and building relationships with other bloggers is key, especially when it feels like a huge time suck...they keep you going!

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  11. Great advice! I just resently started my blog and any advice is greatly appreciated. I also just found your blog and it fantastic. Thanks.

    Megan

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  12. Great advice Abby! I was just playing around with my margins last night and I still haven't seemed to get them right! Whenever I make the blog wider, my header is off center. Any advice? Also, I know we are supposed to credit back to a source if we use someone's photo but do we have to get permission from every website first (such as magazines, Pottery Barn etc)? I am always so confused about that because you hear all these things about copyright issues and how you should only use things in public domain. I usually just post my own pictures to be safe but I would love to use other photos for inspiration from time to time! Thanks! (Sorry so many questions)! I am sure other people have these questions too! (I hope its not just me!)
    Shelley

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  13. Very helpful tips Abby, I agree with all of them. Thank you for telling us how to take off the security code (I just did), and set up The Mustard Ceiling for google alerts (I had never thought of it). I hope your move is going well.

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  14. Definitely helpful!! I didn't know about Google Alerts but I will definitely be doing that!

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  15. This is some GREAT advice!! I agree that it's so important to give your own voice and set yourself apart from others even if it is a really simple shift of design. It does take TIME, that's for sure!! One little post can take time to come up with ideas, create and add your own tidbit to it!

    Thanks for all the tips! ;)

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  16. Abby, this is great advice. I just began blogging about design, and have recently found your blog {which I love BTW} Thank you for the helpful tips... I am glad to see that I am heading in the right direction and also know what I can be doing to improve it! And thank you for Google Alerts!!! Did not even know that was there!!

    Tiffany from {Living Savvy} www.savvydesignwest.com

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  17. A perfect list. I especially like the one about removing the security code of the comment form - I can't tell you how many times I've written a comment, then been asked to decipher a word I can barely see so have cancelled.

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  18. Great tips...thank you for the one about removing the security code, it is such a bother to deal with when leaving a comment. I am going to check out the Google Alert ~ thanks.

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  19. These are all great ideas! I was not aware of Google Alert so I will have to add this to my list of things to do.

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  20. Well...well....those are some great tips and who knew...google alerts....I am late for that party!

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  21. Ok, I've been blogging for two years and never knew about #4 or #6. Great tips!!

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  22. Nice post.! I hate that word verification thing and i go through spurts of lots of spam so I put it on for a few days but end up taking it off again because I know its a pain. It's amazing how much spam shows up for a blog! I agree with everything. :)

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  23. Great post Abby. I still have a hard time trying to think of things to blog about. I am still trying to learn how to work this computer.

    Susan

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  24. Those are great tips Abby! I need to get that google alert! Always enjoy reading your blog and your encouraging posts! It's so fun getting to "meet" new people and build relationships through blogging!

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  25. I did not know about google alerts! Love all your tips!

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  26. SUPER helpful! I always appreciate learning new ways to connect with my readers. Now, if only I can learn how to make my widen my margins even MORE! :)

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  27. Great Advice!
    I just finished the Blogging Your Way Class
    http://decor8eclasses.com/
    It was full of great ideas for new and established bloggers. I loved it and I thought it would be a great thing for your readers to hear about and you. I have been blogging for just 1 1/2 years and they still had tons to teach me.... and here I thought I knew quite a bit :-)
    I am going to go and take my security code off and see how it goes!

    Cheers for the tips!
    Ivy

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  28. love your tips! I will do the google alert - a new thing I learned.

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  29. Great idea! This is such a thoughtful post, with wonderful info.! I wish I knew about doing a series in the beginning. I recently started one, and readers like coming back to see what's next in the series. I like how you do series posts! The Dear Abby one is great. :)

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  30. THANK YOU for telling people to remove the security code!!! I hate that! Great tips.

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  31. Great tips!!! "Google Alert" learn something new everyday!!!

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  32. Great list of tips! I agree with them all...and truly love and appreciate the relationships I'm building bc of blogging! (hi friend!)

    And I have no idea what this Google Alert is that you speak of!!!

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  33. What an awesome (and true post!) love it, and best of luck packing!

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  34. What helpful tips! Thanks Abby for your insight; I'm going to consider these as my sisters and I continue to build up our blog!

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  35. Great tips! Just found you, and I'm loving your site. I would say.. buy your domain asap, don't stress about numbers, be true to yourself!

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  36. Great tips.... :) I learned a lot of this a few years back the hard way. I also wanted to know where you found hat image "l love you blogs and coffee" - Oddly enough that looks almost exactly like a copy of my print (not very cool) :

    http://madebygirl.com/product.php?sku=PR-63

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  37. Jen, if you click on the "via" link below the picture it will take you to the site. Should I take it down?

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  38. Thanks for sharing! I'm a new blogger and this is great advice -- it doesn't seem so overwhelming when broken down like this. Thank you!

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  39. This is fantastic information for a new blogger like myself. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  40. Thanks so much for the advice. I was a little shy to ask for tips from the "big time" bloggers lol

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Abby Manchesky Interiors is a boutique design firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. Combining the new traditional, vintage and a dash of the unexpected is her ideal. Contact Abby Manchesky Interiors for more information on available interior design services for clients near and far. abbyminteriors@gmail.com | 616.719.9400

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