I Blog Hard Part III

by Rachel on June 28, 2010

If you’re still with me after my post on starting a blog this morning, let’s keep going!

Once you’re all set up with a domain name and a platform and a design, then it’s time to start pimping your blog. Here are some steps you can take to make your blog above average — which I know you want to do, right?!

Learn to Write Your Blog. Call me a snob, but I see a very big distinction between “writer” and “blogger;” that said, I do not think you have to be a writer to be a good blogger! Still, if you don’t have a natural instinct for spelling and grammar, then write your posts in Word, Spell- and Grammar-check the shit out of them, and then paste them into your blogging platform. Seriously. A typo here and there isn’t going to break you, but good luck getting that great internship if you write like a seventh grader.

Not sure about something? Look it up on Grammar Girl. This site is great! And if you are so clueless, you don’t even realize you need to look something up, it’s not too late! You can also download a free excerpt from her book.

Also, don’t use emoticons. Just…don’t. A little wink face at the end of a Tweet? Fine. But in a blog? No way. If you’re happy, tell us you’re happy…WITH YOUR BIG-KID WORDS!

Now read:

Give Video a Try. I think all bloggers should try video at least once. If you’re writing to strangers, they need to see you! They need to hear your voice; I’ve often been amazed by how different actually bloggers sound than the way I imagined them sounding. So got a Southern accent? Let us hear it!

To answer some of the tech questions I get asked frequently:

  • I use a Flip UltraHD Camcorder to shoot my videos.
  • I edit them in iMovie.
  • I use a $12 tripod so you guys don’t feel like you’re watching the “Blair Witch Project.”

Now read:

If you do not do video well, then do not make video your “thing.” Seriously. There was a blog I stopped reading because while the blogger seemed fun and cute via written word, she seemed stoned via video (and unless you’re doing Pot Psychology a la Jezebel, that’s not a good thing). If you don’t have the time or energy to make a good video or you’re awkward on camera, that’s fine. There’s some level of self-criticism that you need to have here (and just in general when you start a blog). Know your strengths!

Promote Yourself. When I started Shedding It, all I did was share the links to my posts on Facebook. I was amazed how many people I hadn’t talked to in years started coming out of the woodwork and reading! And using Twitter properly had a huge effect on how fast my audience grew.

Now read:

Read Blogs About Blogging. You can learn a lot this way! I have gotten great tips and ideas from blogging blogs – and, of course, I run one too! Here are some I suggest adding to your Reader — and a couple books written by bloggers that are really good too.

Learn a Little Tech Shizz. There is so much tech stuff to learn – I honestly learn new things every week! But here are some posts to help you get your feet wet.

Really, the learning never stops; that’s what I love about it. You can make a weekly BTB project focusing on just one of the above tech topics. There’s so much you can learn and do, and yeah, it usually takes a lot of steps, effort, calls to tech support, Google searches, and forum visits, but the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it and the better your blog will look. So it’s up to you how much you’re willing to do.

But if you’re blogging about something you’re passionate about, something you want to be part of your career some day, think of this as part of that. Think of your blog as an internship or class assignment – a direct path to your dream job. It’s not just “some thing.” This is YOUR BLOG. Own it. Love it. And if you do it well, it can help you do things beyond your wildest dreams, I promise.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eunice June 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Such helpful tips! My next step is to self-host. I figure I might as well do it now while my blog is still a baby.

I was also considering a video… still a little nervous about that though. You’d tell me if I look stoned right? Haha!

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2 Trinidad Pena June 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Nevermind you answered my question here.

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3 Kaela June 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm

This post was golden! I always read your blog, but have never commented just because I was (may sometimes still be unsure) about the content of my own. I’m an English and Journalism major and often times a pain in the ass perfectionist. So being a writer very often gets in the way of being a blogger! Thank you the tips and for bringing your journalistic ways of the blog world. Shredding It has definitely set such a high standard for professionalism as well as keeping it real!
Love what you do!
Kaela

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4 Rachel June 29, 2010 at 7:26 am

Kaela — thanks for the great comment! :) I’m glad you are feeling more confident in your blog now. I’m excited to check it out!!

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5 Alyssa October 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Hi Rachel!

I just wanted to let you know you completely inspired me with the “starting your own blog” thing. When I read your original post on why you should start a blog, I was like psssh sure. That was awhile ago obviously. But recently, I’ve been trying to learn more about social media and I’m extremely interested in using technology/social media/informal learning in employee training and development (I’m in the human resources field). Then a few people started to come to me for advice on job-hunting and resumes. Something clicked in my head and my idea for a blog came to life. I re-read everything you have written about starting your own blog and using social media. Then I decided to take the plunge and actually start a blog based on my experience in searching for a job as a college grad and the little things I learned along the way. I wanted to pass on the advice in a slightly humorous manner to those around my age (rather than those job-seekers taking advice from people twice their age). I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all of your awesome advice and tips, I will be look at those posts over and over again. Although I secretly wish to be a food blogger (hence why I originally started reading your blog), I decided to turn to my other passion.

–Alyssa

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6 Rachel October 24, 2010 at 8:57 am

Alyssa — THANK YOU! It’s so nice to hear from people who have used my tips…I really appreciate it. Also, I think it’s so awesome that you took something you’re obviously good at and realized it could benefit the masses. Job seekers DO need advice from someone who has a more modern, up-to-date perspective, rather than those who did it ten years ago, before social media changed everything. Your blog looks great so far and I’m excited to see where it goes. Good luck with everything!

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