I finally did it! I bullied my mother into blogging! I might regret it later, but she is having so much fun thinking of new stories to share. You can find her wreaking havoc at BoggleMama.com.
Helping my mom create her new blog gave me a chance to think about the things I would do if I could start all over again. Here is the advice I gave her (applies to newbies as well as seasoned bloggers):
7 Tips to a Bang-Up Blog from the Very Beginning
1. Get your own domain.
If I could do it all over again, I would have used my own domain name for fresh vintage. It is not too late for me to switch over, but it will be a lot of work to move my photos. And I am afraid to lose Google traffic since 32% of my traffic comes from search engines.
2. Install Google Analytics (or equivalent statistics program) on day one
How the hell do I know that 32% of my traffic comes from search engines? The stats on typepad certainly don’t tell me that. My mom is obsessed with looking at the stats on Google Analytics, and her blog is only a couple of weeks old. The charts and graphs are practically empty, but she is optimistic that traffic will build.
If you haven’t installed it yet, it is never too late. And it’s totally free.
3. Write a few posts before you tell anyone about your blog
When I started freshvintage, I made the mistake of sending an email to a bunch of my favorite bloggers after I wrote my first post. And my first post was not anything special. At the very least, I don’t think it convinced anyone to keep returning to my blog. In hindsight, I should have waited a while before I jumped into “cold emailing” other bloggers.
4. Create a theme for a series of posts
My parents have met some interesting celebrities because of my dad’s past involvement in politics. My mom and I came up with the idea of having Famous Fridays. If she starts suffering from writer’s block (highly unlikely), she can easily come up with a post for her Famous Friday series. Whether it is just a funny photo or a brief story about a brush with stardom, it is a no-brainer for her.
I have a similar series on freshvintage, called fresh find. These are short posts that focus on just one of my vintage finds, instead of the heaping piles of junk that I normally write about. The freshfind posts don’t need a lot of preparation, and they keep my family from bugging me about writing a new post.
5. Don’t apologize for not blogging
Sure, I haven’t written a post for freshblogtips.com for several months. Do you know why? Because I had way too much stuff going on in my life. And I had nothing substantial to say. I even had to remove my BlogHer Ads because I wasn’t posting as often as required by their advertisers. But I didn’t want to write a post that said that I was sorry for not writing a post. Boooring. Only write when you have something to say.
6. Make each post stand on its own
No one wants to be the loser at a party who doesn’t know anyone and doesn’t understand the inside jokes. If you refer to a project or event or even a person in your blog, be sure to link back to a full explanation of it on a previous blog post. Give a little background info to help new readers. People will stick around longer if they know what you are talking about!
7. Encourage family and friends to casually proofread your posts
If anyone finds a grammar or spelling mistake on my blogs, I want to know about it as soon as possible. I know that some bloggers don’t care about small errors, but I do. Tell your friends to let you know when they spot a faux pas. Case in point: on the About Me page on this very blog, I made a major spelling error that drastically changed the meaning of the sentence. I had NO IDEA about my error until a friend told me about it recently. The page had been live for eight months. Damn you, bitches! This was the error:
Original sentence with a misspelling:
In addition to being a mom of two preschoolers, a loving and gentile wife, a blogger and an antiques dealer…
In addition to being a mom of two preschoolers, a loving and genteel wife, a blogger and an antiques dealer…
I didn’t mean to say that I am a Gentile! Why in the world would I ever point the fact that I am not Jewish on my About Me page?! I was trying to be ironic by saying that I am genteel – as in “free of vulgarity and rudeness”. Oops.