How to be a Better Blogger

I've been talking a bit with some other bloggers about blogging etiquette and I thought it would be nice to share some of the things we have discovered and some of the things we think make or break a blog. While I'm no expert on the subject and my blog is far from perfect, there are a few things that I think can make any blog better and a few things you can do (or avoid doing) to increase your readership and make your little piece of the Internet more intriguing and enjoyable for readers.

{Passion} Whether you blog about weddings, food, fashion, your family, interior design, yourself or a mixture of a bunch of different topics, a blog is so much more alluring and pleasurable to visit when the author instills a bit of passion into it. Whether it be through your writing or the photos you post, readers will know when you blog with a purpose and in turn will want to come back time and time again. A little bit of honesty and a little peek into your life will also keep people coming back for more. People like to be able to relate to bloggers and like to know that there's people out there just like them so don't be shy and don't be afraid to share a little about yourself and your life (within reason of course). Like anything in life, a little effort goes a long way.

{Commenting} Sigh. In my opinion, commenting makes the blog world go round. Sure it can be time consuming and frustrating when you run into word verifications, incredibly long posts and content you can't relate or care to reflect on. However, I'm gunna go ahead and assume that most people with public blogs, blog because they have something to share and garnering feedback, discussion and appreciation is very important to them (myself included). Some aren't in it for the comments and that's completely cool too! But for those of us who are, you give a little you get a little. Pay it forward to those who visit your blog and in turn you will see your followers, comments and blog traffic increase. Never forget where you started and how good it felt to get your first comment and follower.

{User-Friendly Spaces} A lot of people are visual learners which is why a clean design is best for usability and reader navigation. Those gazillion stylish blogger award buttons down the side of your right hand column are an eye sore to some and distract from your main posts. If the buttons are important to you, put them in a blog post that you can add to when necessary or place them in the footer of your blog. The super cursive font you're using for your body text is illegible and causes headaches when people try to decipher what it reads. And the white font over top of the neon blue background is so psychedelic it feels like my living room is spinning. It's great that you have interests and preferences but try to flaunt them in a way that is conducive to a site that isn't too much for the average viewer to handle. Think of your blog as your home; would you invite people over to your home with clutter all over the floors and loud music blaring from your television? Didn't think so. Which leads me to my next thought.

{Say No to Music} I love music. But I also love having the freedom to listen to the kind of music I like when I want to hear it. When I go to your site and the music pops on and scares me to death, and I spent five minutes looking for the widget to turn it off, and then the combination of your Kenny Chesney over top of my Britney Spears wreaks havoc on my poor cat and by this time I've already exited out of your blog therefore defeating any possibility of me getting to know you and your blog; well you get the picture. Music can also be embarrassing for people who blog at work (naughty, bloggers, you!) and all in all is bad news bears.

{Don't Do This} One of the fantastic perks of being a blogger is the relationships you create with others. I have made so many incredible friendships with people like Blair, Ashley, this Ashely too, Michaela and Megan, and even friends overseas like Helena, KrystalSimone and Lou and so many others. These friendships have been built over time on a shared support system and genuine appreciation for each other's talents and blogs. Nothing is more tacky or irritating as a blogger who leaves a comment saying "Follow me and I'll follow you?" or "I'm your newest follower, how about returning the favor?" I hate feeling like I've taken the time to construct a really great post only for someone to respond with something relating to their followers count and I especially hate feeling bullied into following someone. Additionally, only comment on a blog post if you've read or at least skimmed over a post. Leaving a comment saying "How cute!" on a post about someone losing a loved one is incredibly embarrassing.

And imagine that, there's no picture with this post! So my friends, what did I forget? :)

65 Lovely Comments:

Megan said...

love it all. wouldnt change or add a thing. especially the line about us being bbfs. that is the most important part. :)

love you and your blog girl! so much talent seeping out of you!

Stephanie said...

I think you nailed it right on the head with all that you said. (hey, that rhymed!) :)

Liesl @ FabulousFashions4SensibleStyle said...

This is such lovely and wonderful advice, Rhiannon! I agree with you...especially the "Don't Do This"...so, so true!

Liesl :)

Jennifer said...

These are some great tips! I love your first point about passion. Most of these "blogging tips" post have left that out. I think it is certainly most important. I can deal with some of the other annoying things if they write with passion. These are really the best blogging tips I've ever read. Bravo lady!

Mallory said...

I needed that post today, thank youuu! Plus, I don't play Kenny Chesney, i'm a Britney Spears kinda girl anyway ;)

Holly said...

you are always so thorough with your reasonings & it's what keeps me coming back to your blog time after time. you always provide such value in your posts. thanks for this :)

although I am rather new to the world of blogging, I have one rule for myself & that is to stay true to me. at the end of the day my little space is something that I am proud of. I love looking back & seeing where I was at a few months ago, how I've evolved, and so forth. I love having an online journal to document "me".

jacin {lovely little details} said...

great post!! i saw another one that was helpful as well: http://storyofmylifetheblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/blogging-tips-tricks-part-2.html.
love the no music thing, it drives me nuts, and what if i'm in the office and click on your blog and that new "F you" song starts blasting out? haha :)
happy thursday!

Kelley @ Kelley Maria said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. You bring up some great points! As you know I am fairly new to the blogging world and am just beginning to connect with random people (meaning it is no longer just my family and close friends following my blog) and it is super exciting, but also unfamiliar to me. I get so excited when I have a new follower so I want to reach out to them and thank them (because it really does make my day), but I want them to know that I am sincere. Anyway, sorry I was just thinking out loud. I enjoyed this post!

Leah said...

These are all very true statements and great tips! I totally know what you're saying about being bullied into following people, especially when you are just starting out (like me) and would love a new follower.

xo L.

LB said...

This is so true! I really agree on the clean lines of a blog, because I'm always running through real fast trying to catch up on blogs and when they're hard to read or figure out I just don't even want to take the time!!

Mandy said...

Thanks for the great tips :)

Lindsay said...

I agree on all counts, especially clutter free blogs and music! I also hate those comments about follow me and I'll follow you. Passion is key too. With so many blogs out there, you have to enjoy what you are writing or else no one will read it. Great post girl!

Aleah + Nick Valley said...

Wonderful post! Clean, simple, and to-the-point posts are the best. They make it much easier to relate to and to comment on.

HiLLjO said...

Thanks for the ideas! About the comments: Yeah I do comment a lot, but I do read every post.

Hope I haven't offended you at my blog.

jessica lynn said...

you nailed it! great post!

Brooke said...

You didn't forget anything! This was awesome :D and I agree so much about everything! Blogging takes time and patience but I love it :) and thank you so much for your comment! It really means a lot!!

jessica said...

i really enjoyed this post, and agree with it 100%!!

the music thing, annoying... and the follow me, and i'll follow you... tacky!

Koru Kate said...

Very wise! I agree on every point, especially the music. I don't like music on business web sites either.

LouBoo said...

Hello there sweetpea. We are so in tune ;-) I like this post and would have been delighted to read it when just starting out. There are some fab pointers on here and I am in complete agreement. I try to keep my blog looking really simple - partly why I have never taken on any ads - as I like to have a really minimal look. With music you are spot on; I find myself scrabbling to try to turn it off. Somehow music and blogs just don't translate for me - although music is so important in so many other walks of life. I think it's about the visual hit at first and then the person behind the blog. If you find a firm friend - as I have found in you - then it's all so much better! Lucky us... Lou x

Anna Elder said...

i agree wholeheartedly. it always startles me when i go to someone's blog and music starts playing and i'm probably listening to music already. then you have to look around and find where that darn player is on the blog so you can make it stop. funny that you bring up the clutter on blogs. i've been trying to figure out a way to get mine more streamlined and clean. i hate all the clutter. i love simple. thanks for the pointers!

natasha {schue love} said...

This is wonderful feedback and so true! I think we all are guilty of getting caught up in trying to "keep up" and it can become very overwhelming at times. Almost exhausting--you begin to question why you're doing it all in the first place.

Another great piece of advice I came across when I first started blogging was not to post: Sorry I've been absent or I've have no motivation or inspiration lately...I think this ties to your bit about being passionate about what you blog about.

Thanks for the great post! :)

Major Gal said...

i don't include pictures with every post and i've been meaning to do that. great advice :) btw, your blog is gorgeous.

Wild and Precious said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU for writing this!! you take the words right out of my mouth! i can't think of anything to add, you've said it all!

PERFECTO DARLING (and quite entertaining too)!
(and thanks for the shout out)

April a.k.a. "A. Liz" said...

Fantastic etiquette post Rhi, and may I say that visually, your blog is one of the most fantastic ones that is a daily read for me. Clean, organized, and easy on the eyes.

Meg said...

I'm a naughty blogger ;)

Great tips, my darling!

MEGAN LAND
xx

Nikki said...

I say always include a picture ;) Just kidding. Great tips! Oh the music just kills me. Thank you for trying to put a stop to that.

Natalia Lynn said...

Great post, I think they are all right on. I love your blog, it is so cute and stylish and simple. I like it like this better than other ones stuff everywhere. Easy on the eyes and pretty!

Maddy said...

So true! You make a lot of valid points! I especially enjoy blogs that are clutter free and visually pleasing. Content is super important too, but can eaily be overshadowed by too many widgets, gadgets, weird fonts, music players, etc..

Morgan said...

Great post! I have been drafting up a similar post for my readers but it's most for the benefit of a friend who just does not have a handle on the blogging etiquette. *Sigh*

Ashley said...

I like the tips for better blogging, but I have to say that I actually don't mind when people tell me via a comment that they are a new follower of my blog, because then when I'm emailing back on comments it lets me know to hop over to their blog and take a look. Otherwise I might have skipped over it thinking I had seen their blog before... or maybe that I already follow them.

So I don't mind it when people say hey I'm a new follower, but I definitely agree that I don't like when someone says "hey follow me, and I'll follow you". I will follow if I want to, thanks. (:

Helena - A Diary of Lovely said...

Rhi this is a pretty fantastic post, I agree on so many points, I follow you, follow me back? ugh! sorry but please DONT. I still remember my first comments, and Im not going to lie, I remember when Jen from Made by girl left me a comment at the beginning, BIG! I got SO excited, so yes agree, comment as much as you can, I so wish I had more time to go around and comment!
Thanks for including me darling, love you too! xoxo

M. said...

hey, thanks for this!
it really is helpful, because i'm pretty brand new.

I appreciate you!

xoxo

Divamom-Act II said...

Love your blog. It's always exciting to get comments. Most bloggers don't admit that. Great post.

Lori said...

How cute! Oh no ~ I had to do it...sorry. I think you nailed it Rhi ~ I tried to clean my space up a bit and I like the look now. I do try to comment when I can ~ I hate word verifications but alas ~ to comment on some of my favs ~ they are indeed there and I will muddle through. Bravo ~ great post. xo

la petite coquine said...

I'd say you knocked it out of the park! Music on blogs might be one of my biggest pet peeves, and tacky layouts or spammy looking content will absolutely always make me hit the back button, but there's NOTHING worse than the "Follow me!" comment. I usually just delete them, because they're so gosh darn obnoxious!

Stephanie Faris said...

As time-consuming as it is, commenting other blogs is essential to getting readers to come to yours. I try to work hard to do that...but there are days when it's just not possible.

Concrete Jungle said...

All true!

Marcie said...

Love this and thanks for the reminders! I am all about NO to music! :)

xo M

bonafidebride said...

Fabulously said! Follow me and I'll follow you? ;)

(I had to!)

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Great list Rhi and so on point. I definitely try to blog about what I enjoy.
I admit to doing the following thing, especially since I've gotten it quite a few times. But I truly value the relationships more. Commenting is pretty key to that.

I hope I'm an overseas blogging friend too! :(

capclassique said...

Great post! I so agree about those "follow me" posts, or ones where there's just blatant promotion of someone else's blog and it's clear they haven't even read the post. So rude.

xxShivvyxx said...

I really agree with your last post! I've had my blog for just under a year and so still get really excited when someone has commented on my posts! There's nothing worse than seeing it is either nothing relevant or that it's only vaguely relevant and obvious they haven't even read my post! The last person who commented on my blog kept going on about these fantastic eyelash curlers (clearly being paid to spam people) when i had said in my post i didn't really see the point in spending a lot of money on curlers...

However a few comments before that i got a lovely comment from you which really made my day :) xxShivvyxx

Krystal said...

cute post, follow my blog!

Krystal said...

;) i loved reading this. thanks for putting it all together - i really couldn't agree with you more about everything. esp the music part - when it comes on and i have my speakers loud i about have a heart attack. no bueno!!!

leigh said...

What a good list! I find that the blog that are my favorite do follow most, if not all, of these points. I have to say, you have great taste in friends too -- I LOVE Megan & Blair and others that you follow!
Have a great Friday!
<3 leigh

Katie said...

Such great tips...thanks for sharing!!

Melanie's Randomness said...

I agree wholeheartedly with all of these! I lost my job and someone commented CUTE PIC! I was like huh? Great advice!! =)

Melanie's Randomness

Amanda Wilcher said...

Thanks for this post Rhi. It definitely has urged me to be a better blogger...which we all know I'm not exactly good at! You're blog is more lovely than I could have ever imagined. Proud!!

Kelly said...

This post is SPOT on. I will not spend time searching for a widgit to turn music off. Especially because I'm one of those covert people who looks at blogs on my phone and lunch break - don't need to draw attention to myself with unwarranted music!

Dancing Branflake said...

I so agree with this! Another one? Copywrite. This is becoming a huge issue within the blogging community.

Ashley said...

Rhi! #1 thanks for the shout-out! Love ya so much and we must discuss your last comment on my wall. A collegiate athlete that doesn't like sports? Wha?
#2 your tips are spot on and i owe a few rounds of comments myself. I've watched your list grow from 220-nearly 800!! do you remember when you never thought you'd break 300?! crazy!
#3 i love that you are so consistently you. it gives this blog so much credibility.
love you!xoxo

hanschenklein said...

Hey Rhi, couldn't agree more. Blaire sent me over. Thanks for the info.

allison
http://hanschenklein.wordpress.com/

Kirby said...

oh, I love it! Someone needs to write a book on comment etiquette. My blog isn't big enough to receive too many people leaving unrelated comments. and I do think how great all the connection one makes from having a blog. I've made so many friends! I never planned on that when starting mine.

xo
Kirby

meghan said...

This is really a great post and reminds me of everything to keep in mind about blogging. I absolutely know what you mean about commenting, and I definitely notice that when I go out there and look at blogs and comment I definitely get my love as well. And I absolutely don't get it when people comment with one word or two word answers when a post has a deeper meaning or is asking for advice!

Thanks!

little girl in the big world

Shana said...

Thank you for the advice! I am just starting out so I definently appeciate it!

Shana

Meg said...

Great tips! I'm a rather random blogger with most posts almost becoming little messages and reminders to myself and not really expecting many people to be all that interested - but I’m always encouraged by people leaving comments and kind words. And the music issues you mention are always true. (especially the scared to death part!) Thanks for putting this together and sharing. :)

Renée said...

I loved reading this, I will keep these tips in mind. thanks for sharing!

Zelina Garza said...

wow this was really informative I just had to bookmark for mental note. thank you!

Nicole Marie said...

oh my gosh it honestly irks me when people write follow me and i'll follow you or something of the sorts.... seriously people....

Lacretia said...

Thanks for the insightful post. I hopped over from Blair's blog, and found your tips to be really helpful. I especially agree with the user-friendly spaces, say no to music and "don't do this" points - amen, sister!

ag. said...

Great post! I think blogging is a constant learning experience and having someone else sum up the lessons we should be learning along the way is really helpful! Thanks!

Tamara Nicole said...

Amen to that last one! It's funny when people say "cute" to a deep thought of mine . . . nope it's not cute, sorry! Lol

I just read Blair's post too, I love to read what others say, especially since I am still somewhat new at blogging.

Thanks hun!

Kate/MagnoliaRouge said...

Brilliant post!! Agree with all of it but that last point... so true. People who 'like' my face book page and then put 'come and say hi' etc... well it's kinda annoying. I don't want to feel obliged!

Terri said...

You summed it up quite well! Wonderful!

I've been enjoying your blog for awhile. Despite the fact that I've been married for almost 10 yrs, I love wedding blogs and all the eye candy they provide!

Megan said...

Wanna follow each other??

JOKE! : )

Love your blogging tips!! I absolutely HATE when people write, "I'm following you, follow me back." UGH! That makes me want to avoid their blog at all costs.