10 Easy Tips for Becoming a Better Blogger

While curating The Treasury of Small Blogs over the past three months, I've noticed a few simple ways small bloggers can improve their blogs. I thought it might be helpful to compile a quick list of easy things you can do right now to build a better blogging platform. I hope this encourages you to keep blogging! Blogging isn't dead! BLOG ON, oh bloggers, BLOG ON. photo

10 Easy Tips for Becoming a Better Blogger: Beginner's Edition

1. Make an ABOUT page. When I click on your site and read something interesting, the first thing I want to know is: who IS this awesome person? At the very least, make it easy for your readers to find out your name, social media handles and email contact. Think of your ABOUT page as your online resumé. Provide links to your most-liked posts. Encourage readers to stay in touch by signing up to receive your posts via email.

2. Be CONSISTENT with your name. If your blog is called "Butterfly Kisses" it's very confusing to first-time readers if your Twitter handle is @MommyLikesDonutsInTheMorning (I just chose these names randomly, my apologies if your blog is called "Butterfly Kisses"!). People have a hard time remembering first names let alone three or four different social media names. Keep it consistent.

3. High-quality profile pic. Your readers want to see you. Place a high-quality, good sized profile pic somewhere on the front page of your blog (header or sidebar is usually best). A good, high-quality pictures tells your readers you value yourself and your blog. A good picture helps readers feel like they're making a personal connection with you. At least in the beginning, it's also helpful if you use the same profile pic for Twitter, Instagram and your Facebook fan page. p.s. try to avoid iPhone selfies.

4. Own your space and stop apologizing for it! Please don't undercut yourself by writing self-deprecating descriptions like: "I'm just a mom. I'm not REALLY a writer. I guess this is just my little space to share my unimportant thoughts." UGH. Please, no. No whiney, self-bashing comments (which sound rather like false humility, anyway). This is YOUR awesome space! This is YOUR amazing BLOG! You have permission to do whatever you like with it. Show us how awesome you are! Let your content—not your self-deprecating comments—speak for your awesomeness.

5. Moderate comments. This is your lawn, strangers are not allowed to crap on it. If a comment makes you feel uncomfortable, just delete it. Your blog is YOUR space and you have permission to protect it. Additionally, you don't owe anyone an explanation or apology for how you choose to moderate comments.

6. Publish your full feed, not excerpts. Be generous with your content. Publish the full feed via RSS. Don't make your readers click through to "read more." You want your content as accessible as possible. People have a bazillion options for reading content on the Internet. Make it easy for them to read yours. {Note: a full feed is different than excerpting posts. I excerpt my posts in order to keep my page clean and uncluttered).

7. Optimize your content for mobile readers. iPhones and Tablets have changed the way people read blogs. Readers will read your stuff while waiting for their coffee, in the carpool line, in restaurants, at the dry cleaners. Odds are they WON'T be sitting down at a computer to read your words so make sure your content is readable via mobile devices (this is another reason NOT to excerpt your content).

8. Make it easy for people to like and share your content. Every blog post should end with at least one or two share buttons. When people read something they like, they WANT to share. Make it easy for them to do that. I'm not a fan of overwhelming options. You don't need to provide EVERY share button imaginable. Just a couple.

9. Don't forget Instagram! People love sharing and connecting on Instagram. Use a picture from your blog post and type a few, tantalizing words as a caption for an Instagram picture. Finish the caption with the words "Link in Profile" so viewers will know to go to your profile page and click on your blog link if they want to read more. Or use Instagram as a supplement to your blog. Sometimes there are short book reviews that I want to share—without having to write a full post on my site. So, I use Instagram like a mini-blog. You may even get more comments on IG than on your site. :)

10. Be generous. Respond to comments and emails. Engage your readers on Twitter. Visit your readers' blogs and leave comments. Answer questions. Cultivate an atmosphere of sharing and generosity.