As promised, I thought I would share a few more tips that I have found useful in my experience as a blogger. Again, these are my personal opinions and I am sure many bloggers would disagree - this isn't the Gospel of Blogging - just the Gospel of Blogging According to Amber.
Choose pictures carefully.I think this is a sensitive subject. Some bloggers post 10+ pictures a day. Other bloggers rarely post pictures at all. I try to land somewhere in the middle. If I am writing a post about a particular event, I will include a few pictures of the event. If I am writing a post about a product that I love, I will include a picture of the product and possibly a link to the product. However, there are many days that I do not include pictures at all. It's important to keep your readers engaged visually and to keep your blog appealing to the eye - so fun pictures & cute artwork are definitely a positive. I believe it's better to use your own pictures rather than "borrowed" pictures from other sites. When I stumble across a blog that is 80% motivational pictures from WeHeartIt or nothing but fashion shots from Vogue, Elle, etc., I move on. I need more content than that. Like I said yesterday, most people want to see your real life - not what you wish your life was.
Shake things up a bit.Try to write varied posts each week. Product reviews are great. Sharing recipes - awesome. Tips on budgeting and couponing are extremely helpful. Hysterical stories about mishaps as a newlywed, new mommy or career woman are always a plus. But writing about the same thing every day can make you and your blog somewhat predictable and people may be less likely to visit you every day. There are a few blogs that I love for fashion do's & don'ts, recipes & budgeting tips. But I only visit them when I want advice on fashion, food & budgeting - because I know that is all that I will find.
Take advantage of social media.Twitter people! Twitter - Twitter - Twitter! Many women who blog - also tweet. And we tweet to each other - all day long. :) Developing those friendships outside of the blogland creates a true interest in your life among your readers. Sharing links to your blog on Twitter and Facebook is also a great way to draw new people to your blog. I've also found that many bloggers will actually share a link to your blog on their Twitter page - which draws their own followers to your blog. I'm telling you - if you want to get the word about your little old blog - then tweet it.
Be a considerate member of the blogging community.This is a pet peeve of mine. If you want others to read and comment on your blog - then do the same. I know that life gets busy - hello I took a 6 month sabbatical! But make time to keep up with other bloggers. If you see that new readers are visiting your blog and leaving comments, be courteous and do the same to them. I am not saying that you have to visit every single person who comes to your blog. That's not possible. I'm also not saying that have to follow everyone who follows your blog. I'm just saying that if you see a blogger visiting your site time after time and genuinely enjoying what you have to say - then at least make the effort to do the same. If you visit their blog and truly don't like what you see - no harm no foul. You certainly don't have to love everyone - but you can at least try.
Live your life.This is probably the biggest struggle I have as a blogger. Balance. I swear to you I could spend hours a day blogging. I could visit 100+ blogs a day and leave comments. And when I do spend a great deal of time visiting other blogs and commenting on other blogs - that is when I see the most traffic to my blog. It's like a drug. I love sharing with other bloggers and I want them to share with me. But I work full time. I have a husband who would like to eat dinner with me every night. I go to church and help out with our youth group. It's difficult to devote hours upon hours to blogging. This is the main reason that I took a 6 month break recently - I just became too wrapped up in blogging. I felt guilty if I couldn't comment on every one's blog. I felt bad if I didn't respond to the 50+ emails I got a day. So I just quit blogging completely. That obviously wasn't the answer. The answer is balance. If you need to take a day or two off to focus on things at home or work - do it. You will be missed. If you can't respond to every email or visit all your favorite blogs each day - it's okay. Catch up when you can. Most active bloggers share the same time restrictions that you have and they will understand. Like I said - it's all about being a considerate member of this community.
Okay - I think I have shared enough for now. I hope this helps to all of you who are trying to get your blog up and running. Thanks for following along with me. And if you're thinking about joining Twitter - feel free to find me HERE.