In my post on tips for hobby bloggers, I said to read all the blogging advice but then make up your own mind about what to follow. Which I do believe it true, not all advice is good advice for everyone. But there are some blogging rules that truly are helpful for everyone.
And I know that they’re helpful, because I learned most of these rules by reading and watching what other successful bloggers were doing. They worked for them, and they’re working for me.
Use shorter paragraphs
When I’m reading a book, I can read huge paragraphs no problem But on the web? It’s not appealing at all! If I see a huge block of text, I either skim it or just head to another blog to read. Realizing my own habit, made me start using shorter paragraphs in my own posting, because I don’t want my readers to leave my blog because of something that is so simple to fix.
Now, I’m not saying to only write paragraphs with two or three sentences in them, but just be aware of how long your paragraphs are. Ask yourself if you would read one that long or if you’d skip it? Then edit accordingly.
This means to link to your own posts within your post. I first stumbled across this concept at Penelope Trunk’s blog, and I thought it was brilliant. I didn’t know it was a common thing, or good for SEO, or even that it was called deep linking. I just knew that I’d spent hours on her blog because she’d linked to old posts, and I knew I wanted my readers to do the same thing.
So, when you’re writing a new post, be sure that you link back to older posts that are relevant to that topic. You can also update older posts with links to your newer posts.
Have links to your social media
Whenever I find a new blog that I like, I immediately check out their Twitter and Instagram. And most of the time I follow them. More and more people are more likely to comment on your post on social media than they are the actual blog. So, wherever you are on social media, include those links in a prominent location on your site. Don’t risk losing out on followers by not giving them an opportunity to connect with you where they like to hang out.
Open outgoing links in a new window
Whenever I’m visiting someone’s blog I always right click and open any outgoing links in a new window. I assumed everyone did this, but Sammie was kind enough to email me and remind me that this isn’t true. Not everyone surfs the way I do, and I was losing my visitors by forcing them to use the back button to come back to my site. You always want to make navigation easy for your readers not harder.
It’s always good to link to other blog posts and bloggers, but you want your visitors to stay on your site too right? To do that, you need to open outgoing links in a new tab or window. I use a plugin to do this for me. Also, you can check out Allyssa’s tutorial on how to this if you would prefer to use HTML.
Have you ever read a post that you enjoyed but were unsure about what to comment? This is when I love that the blogger has asked questions at the end of their post. The first blogger that I noticed doing this was Sally at Already Pretty, and she always got a ton of comments. So I started to ask questions too. It’s a great way to keep the conversation going.
Don’t clutter your sidebar
Personally, I will leave a blog if they have too much going on in the sidebar, because I can’t focus on the writing. Too much clutter anywhere – on your blog, in your work space – is distracting. It’s one reason I removed the sidebar completely from my about pages. That way the focus stays on the message of my blog.
Now I’m not saying that you have to remove your sidebar completely, though I know several blogs are doing this now, but do be choosy about what you put there.
Have a mobile version of your blog
People don’t just read blogs on their laptops/desktops anymore. They’re reading on their phones and tablets. I read blogs on my phone all the time! So you want to be sure that you use a responsive theme, so that it will automatically adjust to whatever screen your reader is using.
If you’re theme isn’t responsive, try a plugin. I haven’t used this particular one, but it looks to offer more customization than the one I used a couple years ago, and it was updated fairly recently.
Give credit where credit is due
Just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean that everyone can use it. Don’t copy other people’s work. If you quote them, link back to them. Don’t use an image if you don’t have permission to.
There are so many great artists online that share their work with us. Just look at all the free stock image sites out there! Always read an artist’s rules for their work and follow those rules. Even if they don’t even require a link back, it’s still nice to do.
It’s why I keep a credit’s page. Even though this blog is mine, I’ve had a lot of help making it what it is today, and I want to give credit to those who’ve helped me along the way.
So, these are the blogging that rules everyone needs to follow, at least according to me. What are some blogging rules that you follow? Do you follow any of these? Which ones have proven to be the most helpful and which have not? Let me know in the comments!