Recently, I was asked about my advice for new bloggers. Mostly, I feel like I’m a case study in what not to do, but let me explain why I was asked.
Oklahoma is kind of weird in that I know everyone by two degrees of separation at most. That’s how I know Ashley. She’s a cousin of Katie. (You know, the Katie who I call when I need a bosom buddy/accomplice/good set of eyes for a story/person to go on an absurd adventure with.) Ashley and I had hung out a couple of times, and oddly enough, have worn Silence of the Lambs-style facial masks in the presence of one another at a skincare-themed girls night at Katie’s apartment.
That’s a weird sentence. All of it’s true.
Last Saturday I met up with Ashley at Gray Owl Coffee. She interviewed me for a blogging class she was taking from the infamous Dr. Clark. If you’re local to the OKC Metro Twittersphere, then you’ve no doubt seen #ClarkClass floating around.
Ashley is funny and smart and full of the sort of energy that can only be possessed by those in their early twenties. Which is to say she wants to do great things, but is anxious about what the future could hold for her after she leaves college. (Girl, I feel you. But don’t worry. Everything will work out. And remember, your twenties are for letting all the boys you meet buy you a drink and for hopping around from job to job until you find one that fits.)
We chatted about what’s up with her, what her plans are for the inevitable graduation, and the possibility of grad school. (If you want to save money, don’t ask me about grad school. I will tell you to go. I loved it. I loved it so much I did it twice. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and I have some pretty intricate fantasies about the Ph.D. program I will eventually enroll in. So, basically, EVERYONE SHOULD GO TO GRAD SCHOOL RIGHT NOW.)
But we also talked about blogging. See, she needed to interview me for a class project. So she asked me questions that I had never really thought about before. Like how many blog followers I have. I mean, I know I have like 25 subscribers on Bloglovin’, and I’m just shy of 2000 followers on Twitter, and I know I get about 1000-1500 page views a month…but like, how are you people accessing this? When do you know to come read my longwinded rants about bags, shoes, and what made me cry lately? Let me know in the comments!
And she also asked me what advice for new bloggers I had to offer. (Other than find a more fulfilling hobby — just kidding.)
That’s a really tough question. I’m definitely not someone you should turn to for advice, unless it comes to how to choose the right brown leather tote for you, or which sensible shoes are the coolest. But I think there are some universal truths to blogging that I’d like to share.
First and foremost, do whatever you want with your blog. It’s your proverbial room of one’s own, and you should have fun with it. If you don’t like what you’re doing, then there’s no reason to do it. I have a history of bugging out when it comes to things I don’t like, and I’m a firm believer everyone should just throw in the towel whenever they feel like it.
How’s that for advice for new bloggers? Just give up! (Not really.)
You should blog like future employers have no idea how Google works. And by that I don’t mean that you should post nude pictures of yourself online. Never do that. Unless your last name is Kardashian, and then I think it will actually work out in your favor. But you should write what you feel and what you believe. Don’t worry about whether or not it jives with the view of a potential employer. I spent a lot of time blogging that way, and I can tell you that that way lies madness.
If you find yourself doing something that you don’t like, go ahead and delete it all. Some time last year I hit a wall, and deleted almost all of my blog posts. I did this because those posts didn’t feel like me. I realized I was writing a completely different blog. And since having deleted those posts and starting over, I’m averaging more page views, my social media interaction is up, and I’m proud of what I’ve put out there. When all the web gurus tell you to be authentic, they aren’t kidding. Just do it. Be real, and blog about what you want to write about.
And finally, the best advice for new bloggers I have is just make sure you use your blog to #tellstories. There’s this misconception that people read blogs to learn things, and I don’t think that’s true. I mean, sure. I read some blogs to get recipes, or others for travel tips, or great DIYs. But if all that information is presented so badly and the writing is garbage, I’m out. I come to your blog because I want you to tell me a story. So, regardless of what you have to say, make sure you #tellstories.
Now, I know that there are fellow bloggers who are reading this right now. What advice for new bloggers do you have?