Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My Blogging Smarts

(What I Learned While My Pants Were Up)

If you’re searching for hot spanko tales, keep scrolling down. This post is about blogging!

I’ve learned a lot about publishing a blog over the past several months. It’s been great fun, but it’s also plenty of work. I’ve tried whenever possible to share my insights and discoveries about spanking in the context of a committed relationship. My goal is to make the path easier for those who follow. It seems only reasonable to apply the same concept to blogging.

As with spanking, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve tried a lot of different things. Accordingly, here are my forty blogging tips:
  1. The three most important ingredients for a quality blog are content, content, and content. It's not that hard to attract first time readers, but only great content will keep them coming back.

  2. Make it attractive. You want your site to be visually distinctive. People especially love pictures and graphics.

  3. Avoid using the standard templates. You don't want to blend with the crowd or appear generic. You can and should modify them to obtain a unique appearance.

  4. Use a counter and regularly analyze your counter data. If the counter you're using doesn't give detailed information, consider one that does. The counter data will tell you a lot about who is visiting and from where they came.

  5. It's all about links. If your link is on a popular page, you will get a lot of first time hits. Few big name blogs will give you a link unless you link them first. Link the blogs you would like to have link you. Choose blogs similar in topic and tone to yours. Then visit those blogs and get involved in the conversation. Beyond a valuable link, you may well find help, inspiration, and friendship as well.

  6. Check out the top shelf blogs. Notice how they do things. Look for good ideas you can adapt.

  7. Post every day or as often as you reasonably can. Readers flock to ever-changing blogs and stop visiting those that become stale.

  8. Stay on topic and on message as much as you can. It's your blog and you can write pretty much whatever you choose. However, it's good to have a single purpose that can be easily understood by first time visitors. If you want to discuss several unrelated subjects, consider multiple blogs.

  9. Share the love. Anytime someone takes the time to comment or send an e-mail, acknowledge their contribution, thank them, and send them a response.

  10. Join Technorati. If you haven't been there, it's kind of a search engine for blogs. It's based upon tags and is not very hard to implement. If you choose the right tags, it can bring in plenty of traffic.

  11. Go for the gizmos. You will find, in the right column of my blog, a bunch of little chicklets beneath a heading that reads "Twiddlies." Every one of these is an index site, top site, or web ring. If you go and register, they will send you some traffic. Some of these can be time-consuming to set up, but if you want traffic, it's probably worthwhile.

  12. Get your readers involved. People love polls, quizzes, and open questions that invite discussion. Let them be part of the blog too.

  13. Have a brand. Choose a distinctive title, tag line, font, color scheme, logo, and layout. Make it recognizable and make it uniquely your own.

  14. Register with search engines. Go to the major search engines sites and submit your blog.

  15. Look up your blog periodically on those same search engines. Know who is linking to you. Visit their blogs. Introduce yourself. Get to know them. Return the link if you like their blog.

  16. Try to learn something new every day. Use your new knowledge to make your blog better or your readers better informed.

  17. Ask for suggestions and comments. When you receive them, take them seriously. I have received numerous excellent post ideas from readers.

  18. Check your links regularly. Trim the dead or inactive ones.

  19. Learn about RSS feeds and syndication. It’s an easy way to make your blog accessible to more people.

  20. Avoid being too predictable. Change things up from time to time. Strive to surprise and delight your readers.

  21. Test your pages to ensure they look right in both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

  22. Back up your blog content, just in case.

  23. Pay it forward. Help those bloggers who are just getting started. Who knows? They may turn into a blogging superstar, or better yet, a good friend.

  24. Get involved with the informal community of bloggers. These people can provide valuable support, both personal and technical.

  25. Avoid judging people or their beliefs in all but the most extreme cases. There's generally no benefit to be derived from offending someone.

  26. Have fun. Be creative. Share yourself. Do what feels right.

  27. Talk about subjects you know.

  28. Be topical. People love news. This can be as simple as tying in the theme of a post with a holiday or popular event.

  29. Respect your readers. Their time is precious too.

  30. Explain your vision for the blog early and often. This kind of statement will help to attract and retain the kind of dedicated readers you seek.

  31. If you receive offensive comments, delete them immediately without mention.

  32. Avoid becoming too commercial. If you choose to have advertisements, that’s fine. But no one wants to visit an online billboard. Pop-up windows are especially offensive.

  33. Spell check and proofread your posts.

  34. Make it easy for people to visit and stick around. Pick a memorable name and URL. Provide navigation aids such as drop down boxes to help readers find articles of interest.

  35. Be honest with people, but not too honest. Avoid sharing details that reveal your location and identity, especially if you’re female.

  36. Be positive. Some people may demonstrate sympathy for your troubles, but few readers will stick around a blog dedicated to whining.

  37. Take one step at a time. It doesn’t make sense to promote your blog heavily until you’ve accumulated a decent sized body of work. It’s hard to take seriously a blog that has only two posts.

  38. Arrange blogging around the rest of your life, and never the reverse.

  39. Try to be nice to people. Most of them deserve it.

  40. Remember that it’s ultimately your blog. At the end of the day, you are the publisher who decides what is and is not a part of your content. As soon as you start writing your blog for other people, it becomes real work.
As I said, I’m no expert. Six months ago, I knew none of this stuff and I’m definitely still learning. However, these are the techniques that have worked for me.

If you haven't started a blog, but think you might want to try, I encourage you to take the plunge. It's very easy to begin. If you're like me, I believe you'll discover that you have quite a bit to share.

For those who already have a blog, I hope a few of these suggestions will be helpful.

Note: For more blogging tips, I have since published two more articles. You can find them here and here.

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18 comments :

Roper said...

These are all great tips. But it sounds like hard work! I'm not sure if I can be bothered to do all this to maximise my readers. Can I ask a question? How many hits a day do you consider a reasonable number for our type of blog (ie spanking, etc)?

Bonnie said...

Roper - Yes, it is a lot of work. As the publisher, you decide how much you are willing to invest. I don't think there is any right or wrong answer to that question. It's a matter of what you want your blog to be.

My perspective is that of an author. I love readers. My aspirations from the beginning were to build a showcase for my writing. That's why I've taken the approach I have. I fully recognize that other bloggers will find different formulations more to their liking.

As for hits a day, I was delighted when I received my first visitor, my first comment, and my first link. I still treasure them all.

MBS receives about 3000 hits per day. By blogging standards, I'm told that's medium-sized. However, I think more about the good people at the other end of the mouse. A number cannot express the happiness I feel because you and so many others come back here day after day.

Anonymous said...

Great tips, Bonnie, and your blog is one of the best!!!

*hugs*
Tigger

CeeCi said...

Thank you for sharing this information, Bonnie, it is most valuable. I really enjoy your site and the friends I've made by blogging. Since I began my site in November I have found myself learning much from you and your site. Keep up the good work, 3000 hits per day is nothing to sneeze at...wow...and that's a medium sized blog?

SpankedMinx said...

Bonnie,

To put it simply you really are lovely! I'm a virgin blogger and literally a few weeks ago went into this blind. I love your blog, humour and helpfulness & really appreciate my first comment too! I'm going to work through the list when I can and try and get some erm "traffic"

Keep up the fantastic "work"

Luv N Hugggggggs


Spanked x x x x

Paul said...

Bonnie,
you have a wonderful blog one of my favourites.
This post, I'm sure will be useful to newbies and wannabies.
Not only a very good blogger but kind too. :-)
Hugs.
Paul

Danielle said...

Thanks Bonnie.
I've listed some tips to look after.

SmartNnaughty said...

Bonnie,

You are so generous to help other bloggers such as myself. You know what you are doing and set a very good example. All of us small bloggers could call you Mom.

Personally, you were the first to comment on my site and it is the comments that change this from a solitary exercise into a social one. I love the spanking community and I am having so much fun.

The words thank you seem so small. But I am grateful and very impressed with your business abilities to market your product and offer a helping hand to others.

All the best to you, Bonnie, now and always!

SNN

Storm Rider said...

If you give a test on this Im going to fail!!!!!
Now Im sure Im going to quit blogging, thats way to much work!LOL

Bonnie said...

Tigger - Thank you! I wasn't quite sure how this admittedly off-topic essay would be received. i'm glad you liked it.

CeeCi - It's my pleasure. Yes, the friends are the best part, and I feel honored to count you among them.

My blog is busier than many, but my volume is still tiny compared to Dan or Patty. However, my chief interest lies not in sheer numbers, but in the very real humans that they represent.

Spanked - Thanks! FWIW, I think you're doing great.

Paul - Thank you. I aim to please.

Danielle - You are most welcome.

Smart - It can now be revealed that you were the inspiration for this post. Thanks for a great idea.

Sure, you can call me Mom. It's a name I've worn proudly for a long time. It fits me well. Now, "Granny," on the other hand, I'm still struggling to fit into.

I agree about the value of comments and introducing interactivity. Without it, we're just making speeches into the ether.

Thank you. I do market, but with a twist (I'm nothing if not a twisted gal). In the case of this blog, I'm not competing against anyone. Not only do I not mind that my readers visit other spanko blogs, I hope they will. A lively community with lots of strong, active blogs makes us all better bloggers. I want to do all I can to help each of you succeed.

Storm - Perhaps we'll have an extra credit assignment for you.

padme said...

I read your blog post twice, bonnie. You are so right about everything you said here. I know what it was like starting out for our blog. It has been a lot of work for us with our blog. But mostly I have been glad to meet people like yourself and other bloggers. Thanks for some great tips...
You have a wonderful blog and I keep coming back daily. I may not comment often but I am always reading and so is Master Anakin...
HUGS

padme said...

bonnie,
I mentioned you in my blog post today. I really enjoyed your post about blogging and I hope others can come read it.
HUGS

Bonnie said...

Padme - Thank you! I admire your blog for its amazing accounts, beautiful photos, and clever design. Compared with the early days, you and Anakin now share a lot more of yourselves. I have no doubt that element plays a big role in your continuing success.

Thanks for the mention. I hope this post will help others to express their thoughts.

padme said...

Thank you bonnie. I hope that your post will help others express their thoughts too. You and Patty have the best spanking blogs around and I am inspired by you. I know I don't comment often but I am always reading your blog.
HUGS

Linda said...

thank you for this blog.... this is my first time reading and posting to your blog.... I think I got the link from somebody else's erotic blog... spanking fantasies turn me on....

Tom said...

Great and valuable hints, Bonnie, thanks for sharing!! :)

Purple Angel said...

Hi Bonnie,
Thanks, this is so helpful. I am just beginning my own blog so I have a place to post my spanking writing. Right now I am using a standard template but I will get around to customizing it as soon as I get my feet wet. Your help is much appreciated.
Valorie

Sub Nouveau said...

Great Post Bonnie. Once again I appreciate you recommending my site.

I'd like to recommend for women bloggers to sign up at blogher.com, it is a great site & organization. I had the pleasure of attending their conference this past summer with almost 1000 women bloggers & had an amazing time.

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