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Things I wish I would’ve known

June 21, 2010

So. This is actually a post bordering on the educational/informative and NOT about oh if I knew what I know now when I was in high school…because honestly? If I knew the shit I know now when I was in  high school I would have probably a. gone on a killing spree, b. been arrested at least once or c. been less sweet than I already was. Scary thoughts people.

This is about if I’d known what I know now when I started blogging. People have actually asked me for advice/opinions. Scary.

1. WordPress-that is something I did right. It was an arbitrary choice at the time but one I’m glad I made.

2. Planning-I did blogging like I do everything. Jumped in and decided I would figure it out as I went along and it would either work or I would explode/go to jail. Well, it’s worked and it hasn’t. I wish I would have taken a little time to plan.

3. Consistency is huge. I wish I would have from the getgo had my own domain name-it’s so easy to do and pretty cheap. Pick a comment name, twitter, domain name and stick with them.

4. Commenting/reading other blogs. Probably the best thing you can do. I wish I would have always used the same name when I was commenting. AmyBlam is what I tend to use now-because in the blog world-that’s who I am. Meeting and chatting with other bloggers is awesome and one of the best parts about blogging. I have blog friends I like WAY more and that I think get me better than some people that I know. Want readers? Comment on other blogs. I TRY REALLY hard to either reply to a comment on my site, or MUCH more often, visit the person’s site and leave a comment-I just think it’s nice to do. 

5. Design. I’m lucky to have a graphic designer for a sister and I wish I would have started with a good design. If you don’t have relatives you can force in to slave labor, there are still plenty of options and templates and your own photos you can work with. Pick a look and stick with it. Clean lines, bright colors and easy to read fonts/text are huge.

6. Twitter-for blogging I almost think it’s a necessity. I wish I would have tied the two together early on with the same look and feel.

7. Facebook fan page-I waited a really long time to do this despite the internet telling me to all the time. Scary Mommy has some awesome tips.

8. Set up a separate blog email. I did mine with gmail because I am not smart enough to figure out how to do amy@amyblam.com 

9. Tags-This is the ONE thing I wish more than anything that I had really thought out, swear to waffles. I wish from the start I had selected maybe 20 or 25 tags that I was going to use consistently.

10. Feed readers-I originally had partial feeds going out and found that most people HATE that. I mistakenly thought it drove traffic to the site. I was wrong, general consensus I’ve received is that it’s annoying to HAVE to go to the site to read the whole post. They’d rather read the whole post and then go to the site to comment if they choose. And? Since I went to full feeds, page views AND comments have increased.

11. Copywrite-a benefit of having lawyer friends. I was advised to have a copywrite both on the blog AND on each posts. I’m still not 100% why but they’re lawerly and informed and stuff so I did it.

12. A button-I just recently figured this out thanks to Alabaster Cow. You’ll use it more than you think you will.

13. Figure out when people read your blog. I get most of my hits in the morning and at lunctime. Weekends not as many. So either post around traffic or promote around it-thru twitter/facebook/etc. I’m still working on catering to this.

14. Make it easy to comment– I hate capcha things. I’d rather weed out spam then have to make my readers work to comment. It’s a personal thing but that’s what I prefer.

Things I WISH I did and am working on:

1. Post calendar. I’m big on writing about whatever strikes my fancy. I’d like to be a little more structured and plan out for a few weeks at a time what I am going to cover and on what day.

2. Share this with readers. Once a week post come back and read this on Monday, this on Wednesday, etc. Miel et Lait is GREAT about this and where I got the idea.

3. Schedule posts for if I’m going to be busy/traveling/etc. This is my first attempt at that.

What about you? What have you learned? What would you share with new bloggers? What are you still trying to improve?

© Amy Lloyd Mayfield and Amy’s Blam, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amy Lloyd Mayfield and Amy’s Blam with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. Wendi permalink
    June 21, 2010 7:27 AM

    Amy, blogging is a huge learning curve. I’ve been doing this for three years and I’m still stumbling all over myself. But I think your list is a pretty solid primer. WordPress makes it insanely easy to schedule posts to publish in advance.

    I’m still torn on the full vs partial feed. But it might be interesting to see if changing my settings to full feed has any impact on the number of views and comments. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  2. June 21, 2010 8:14 AM

    I kick myself all the time for not starting out wth wordpress! But seeing as how I didn’t know what wordpress was 3 months ago I’ll forgive myself–but I hope to make the switch soon!!!

    And I’m trying to figure out twitter, it’s just a tad bit complicated for me right now! But I have been tweeting for the last week–I just don’t know how to do things like link up posts without it being the entire URL from that post. I’m also not sure if I’m retweeting things right etc etc. I need to google that stuff! lol

    You are absolutely right about comments! I have been slacking because my comp crashed, but I’m getting back into now that I have my good comp back! The dinosaur I was using hated to load blogs!

    And I have been into scheduling my posts for a while now—IT’S AWESOME!

  3. June 21, 2010 8:15 AM

    P.S. GREAT POST!!!!!

  4. June 21, 2010 8:23 AM

    Good list! I especially appreciate the feed reader tip. I read in feeds (rhyming!!!) and it is annoying to have to actually visit. I will visit to leave comments and see the pretty site but I do prefer to read in the reader.

  5. June 21, 2010 8:55 AM

    This is a great post, Amy. I agree that advance planning can be really key. I didn’t coordinate my naming of Twitter, blogs, FB pages, what name I use to comment…[perhaps because I couldn’t commit to a name forever] and that is probably confusing.

    You’re doing great, though 🙂

  6. June 21, 2010 10:59 AM

    Very, very good post. And yes, I regret not starting out with WordPress. I have a one man fight going on with big, mean Blogger these days. But, I am too lazy and technologically challenged to change.

    I know I should Twitter, but I don’t, only because of the time suck thing. If I add one more way to socially network, my family will never see me again.

    That was a very informative post and right on the money.

    • June 25, 2010 12:48 AM

      I don’t tweet. I don’t know how. I also don’t have a button, and I don’t get what the big deal is about those. Who needs a button? (Isn’t that a game too? From elementary school?)

      Maybe this means my blog sucks. I definetely don’t know how to work a feed burner.

  7. June 21, 2010 12:22 PM

    These are all really good. I’m glad I arbitrarily used WordPress in the beginning for my blog too. And I was also way late on the Facebook train.

  8. Little Miss S permalink
    June 21, 2010 1:10 PM

    Thanks for this post, Amy – I will go back to it often. I am in the planning stages of my blog…but I am WAY hard on myself..and think that everything has to be perfect in order for me to unveil…me thinks I need to get over it…. Anyway…I love reading your blog..and I absolutely love your Friday Flip Offs…..awesome!!

    • amyblam permalink*
      June 27, 2010 10:58 AM

      Well stop by when you have your site and let me know the url-would love to see it!

  9. June 21, 2010 3:26 PM

    This is a great post. I’m still finding my way after almost a year and am thinking about jumping onto Facebook when I find the time!!

  10. June 21, 2010 10:04 PM

    Wow I just learned so much. I am new to this and still trying to figure EVERYTHING out . Thanks for all the helpful information.
    Since I am new I usually post something new about every day or every other. Not sure the out come I just love to talk about my family.
    Thanks again!!

    Shared Days!

  11. pajamadays permalink
    June 22, 2010 7:43 AM

    That is a great list Amy – I started my blog just a few months ago and was totally overwhelmed with all of the information out there. You kind of just take one day at a time. The FB thing is really confusing me – I started a page but haven’t seen any traffic. What’s the secret? I agree, Scarey Mommy is great. Thanks for sharing.

    – Emily

    http://www.mypajamadays.com

    • amyblam permalink*
      June 27, 2010 10:51 AM

      I endlessly hounded fb friends to join my fan page and then added the badge higher on my site-that seemed to help.

  12. June 22, 2010 5:56 PM

    It should make you feel all kinds of sparkly to know that much of the advice you have given was given to me by a BIG TIME alpha blogger who helped guide me in the early days. So I guess that makes you pretty savvy. Also? I was lucky because I had the chance to do some stuff over when I launched Chez Rougie (my 2nd blog) in January. One last piece of advice frequently given to me? Don’t blog about blogging.

    • amyblam permalink*
      June 27, 2010 10:50 AM

      Are you likening me to a big time alpha blogger? Just one of the many reasons I love you-you are not above lying to make me feel sparkly 🙂

  13. June 23, 2010 2:40 PM

    Glad I stumbled upon your site today! Good advice for us novice bloggers. I’m only on month 3, but going strong.

  14. June 23, 2010 10:34 PM

    You make so many great points here! Love the advice!

  15. June 24, 2010 4:45 AM

    Popped in from Lady Bloggers! Those are all things I learned the hard way too!

  16. June 24, 2010 11:00 AM

    One thing I’ve found is important to do is to talk back to commenters. Just a two line email is all it takes to make someone’s day, sometimes…

  17. June 24, 2010 1:42 PM

    K, the scheduling blogs thing while vacationing is brilliant. I am very bad at this and then come home and feel all listless and lame. Stealing this.

  18. June 25, 2010 8:42 AM

    This is one of your best. One, b/c you have so many.

    But, this one? I love.

    WIsh I would’ve researched blogging more, and stayed away from BLOGGER!!!!!

    • amyblam permalink*
      June 26, 2010 7:08 PM

      Thank you, thank you!

  19. June 25, 2010 9:13 AM

    As always, I’m crazy-late to this party .. I don’t know how I missed this post, but I just saw it when reading your Flip-Offs .. but there’s a plugin for WordPress that shows your posts on an actual calendar, and when you see it blank for a couple of days, it will make you feel HELLA GUILTY and then you’ll write stuff just to make the calendar pretty and symmetrical. Or you will if you’re me and have underlying OCD tendencies.

    • amyblam permalink*
      June 26, 2010 7:07 PM

      Well you know I have OCD tendencies but where is this calendar thing of which you speak? I haven’t found that yet but kindof liking the idea.

  20. June 26, 2010 8:45 AM

    Great post ~ still learning my way around!

  21. August 29, 2010 2:55 PM

    Great post! My daughter (mypajamadays.com) actually sent me to your site because I’m a brand new blogger (2 weeks) and she’s only been doing this for a few months. I’m so green, I don’t even know how much I don’t know! Your post gave me some good things to think about. Luckily, my daughter had me buy my domain name right from the beginning, something she wished she had known before she started. I’m looking forward to reading other posts in your blog.

    • amyblam permalink*
      September 7, 2010 5:52 PM

      Oh good-I’m glad it was some help!

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