Friday, December 17, 2010

Advice for Bloggers


Recently I got into a conversation with some folks starting up their blogs.

They mentioned this post by Rachelle Gardner and I was fascinated to read about what agents like or don't like when they read blogs, as well as what writers do and don't like in agent/writer blogs.

So I'm curious. What advice would you have for a new blogger? Do you have a blogging pet peeve?

I'll start with mine.

I know everyone worries about SPAM, but it makes my life much easier when there's no word verification thing that pops up after I write a comment. I'd save a lot of minutes if they were gone, which mean I could visit more blogs (or get more sleep, both good things!)

As it is, I don't have it on my blog, and I get maybe one or two spam comments per blog post. I can deal with that.

Well? Blogging pet peeves and/or advice for new bloggers?

72 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

Be yourself. And don't make it about being a popularity contest.

Leonardo B. said...

it's like in our own mailbox, for good and bad.

The word verification it's really unnecessary, but what "scares" me a lot is the "loud music", doubtful most of the times.

Great Hug

LB

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't like the word verification either.
I'd say stay away from really long posts. And remember to give and take - comment on other's blogs.

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

I agree 100% about the word verification. Spam can always be deleted afterwards anyway. Other than that, I don’t have a lot of peeves, and the blogging community makes it all worthwhile for me.

Cold As Heaven said...

Short posts are nice, since I can only use a limited amount of time on blogs. Word verification is a hazzle, try to remove it and see if that works, use it only if you really have to

Cold As Heaven

E.J. Wesley said...

You know, I really don't mind word verification, but it's kind of a nice surprise when I don't have to do it.

I don't like blogs that seem to be constantly complaining or railing against things, either. However, I think this goes for both writers and agents.

Specifically for agents, stop telling writers to act professionally and not openly criticize agents, the writing process, etc. and then turn around and bemoan all of the stupid things writers do on your own blogs. It's classless, and I've seen a bunch of it lately.

Writers, you know when you've short-circuited and gone off the deep end on your blogs, probably shouldn't do that much.

I'm also not a big fan of blogs that seem to only run scripted content (i.e. "It's Terrible Tip Tuesday!!!"). I like a little of that stuff, but it's great to see someone post things off the cuff every now and then. Also, I know lots of bloggers like to run contests to garner new followers, but I think we are reaching contest overload. To be clear, I think the contests that require creativity (write an essay, query, etc.) are great, but the ones that simply want you to promote their blog on your FaceTwitter kind of start to feel like those awful car dealership commercials. "Come on over to Crazy Dave's Blog, and I'll ride a pig!"

The biggest DO I can think of is to follow and comment on other blogs. You can build a great, responsive following simply by showing interest in what your fellow bloggers are doing.

Lydia is great at that, btw!

Tracy said...

I love it when I don't have to word verify...makes me feel like I won a little lottery.

And I agree with EJ. I don't mind if people are holding a contest of a Blogfest (the sheer number of those can get overwhelming), but please make the only requirements be that I follow your blog and I've left a comment.

If you ask me to jump through hoops for contest points I usually let the contest go to those who obviously want to win far more than I do. I'm all about helping my blogging friends if they have something to promote, but I don't want my blog to look like a walking billboard for others.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I found removing the anonymous option ended all spam. :D

The main advice I have is be yourself. I love Elana J's blog, but I'm not Elana J, so there's not point trying to write post like she does.

As a blogger, I love to get to know people though their posts, even if they aren't talking about their lives. Their voice lets me do that.

Liza said...

It's best if your blog is not your personal therapist. Oh, and good taste is important. If you wouldn't say it to your mother...or your school principal...maybe you need to think hard whether or not it should appear in your blog.

salarsenッ said...

You stole mine. I hate word verification. It takes forever, and tends to make me forget what the post was about. A distraction. One advice would be less is more. Don't clutter your blog. And use your posts to uncover your true voice, and then use it in your writing. lol

Jessica Bell said...

I have the same pet peeve as you. I get spam too but they automatically go into the spam folder so what's the problem? Seriously! I also don't like it when people hold back from saying what they really mean. I can smell FEAR a million miles away :o) I want to get to know the real person behind the blog. Not the person they think people will accept.

DL Hammons said...

A personal preference and one that I employ on my own blog, is keep the length of the posting relatively brief. If I see a particualr blog post is going on for pages and pages, I'll click away unless the topic REALLY fascinates me. We don't have time to make the blog rounds if each one is WAR AND PEACE. So please keep it short, and if its a detailed subject the requires length, then break it up into several smaller posts. :)

Susan Fields said...

I used to blog randomly, but now I stick to a schedule. It seems so much easier and more organized this way.

Paul S said...

I can take some good advice so I've just removed word verification from my blog.
My main peeve is people who never acknowledge or respond when you follow or leave a comment on their blog. Although I could never accuse you of that Lydia,thanks for the interest you show!

B.E. Sanderson said...

I don't mind the word verification stuff. If I want to comment, it's not going to stop me. What bugs me is when a blog is so full of gadgets and whozits that it takes forever to load. I have a couple extra seconds to type a funny word, but I don't have thirty to wait to read a post.

Oh, and white lettering on black background. It seriously freaks my eyes out.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh my gosh, I cannot stand the word verification thing either. I got rid of mine a few months ago. I get SPAM but it's not out of control.
I also don't like really really really long posts. My eyes start to glaze over when I have to scroll down too much. LOL

Ted Cross said...

I turned off the word verification, too. I also highly recommend both the Friends gadget and the Blog Roll gadget.

Kenda said...

Pet peeves? I'm with others when it comes to short posts and not so much stuff that it takes a while to load, so nothing new here. But as for advice to new bloggers--I'd say just have fun! Blogging stretches the writing muscles and introduces you to great people in the writing community. Can't beat that :-)

Rachna Chhabria said...

I hate it when a blogger is being artificial. I also hate it when people go on and on about their personal lives. A little information is acceptable, but not post after post.
I love it if a post is related to writing or if it ends up teaching me something new.

Magan said...

The only reason I keep that word verification on my blog is because I love the words it comes up with. Sometimes people will write comments about their word and then I just laugh by myself. Okay maybe I need a life...

Ann said...

It is the different types of word verification that get me. The one where you write your comment, hit post and are capitulated to the top of the blog nearly always gets me. I forget to scroll down way too often, think I have left a comment and if I go back to see the blog awhile later I discover no comment from Moi! That is my pet peeve. Okay, deep breath, finished now!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Thanks for the link to Rachel's blog. Agents see things from their perspective, mired in their own needs and world. Basically, I think it all boils down to the answer to one question : "Can your work make me money?" We are racehorses to them. Nothing personal. Just business.

I think courtesy in blogging goes a long way. I have come to sigh at word verification, too. I try my best, with my schedule, to return every comment with a visit of my own. Life sometimes is a harsh mistress and won't let me.

Alas, long posts creep up on my writing style. I just feel if I'm going to write, I would like to say something of substance worth the time for my guests to read.

Have a great end of week, Roland

Melissa Gill said...

I kindof like the word verification because I take those words and use them on my blog. I'll be sad if everyone takes it off 'cause then I won't have any funny words to use on Friday. But oh well.

What I don't like is when someone shows up at random, once in a blue moon, and then writes a whole months worth of words on one day. Who has time to read a 10,000 word blog post? Be consistent and keep it short and to the point.

LTM said...

Avoid long, wordy posts...

Back when I started, I didn't get that, and I'd write novella posts, that were just laborious to read.

Keep it short, to the point. Yes?

Merry Christmas! <3

Bossy Betty said...

Word verification is bothersome, but worse are the comment systems where you have to fill out three little boxes just to comment. Even if the computer knows you after a bit....

Oh yes, the white letter on back background is hideous.

Oh, and long posts are fine, as long as they are mine. (Just kidding). I don't mind long posts as long as they are well-written!

Donea Lee said...

That's funny! I was making fun of the verification words on my blog the other day...I don't have it either. My advice to new bloggers would be to read, read, read and comment/follow lots of other blogs. Not only does that give you a potential base for new followers, but you'll learn something about blogging/what to post in the process!

Elizabeth said...

* Don't jump on every bandwagon that comes a-calling.

* Don't air your dirty laundry in public. This includes not-so-blind items and I-can't-tell-you-what-happened-but-just-know-it-did posts.

* Don't whine about how no one is reading/commenting on your blog. If you want people to comment, give them something to comment on.

* Don't clutter up your blog. I shouldn't have to slog through a bunch of free promo from people you want to like you just to find your content.

And finally...

* Don't be a jerk. Don't talk about other authors, readers, agents who've rejected you, etc. You don't have to be fake about it, but simply not saying anything at all about the editor who loathes your Oxford comma is better than ripping her a new one because she's being persnickety.

lexcade said...

oooh, these are great answers!

i would say that another good tip, to be taken or left, would be to engage your readers. i love to know what other people think about things, so every once in a great while, i'll leave a question for them. actually, my last question for readers was about this exact subject.

lexcade said...

also, thank you for linking my contest, lydia. that's awesome :)

Colene Murphy said...

Mmm. All good! Everyone said everything I would have. Give and take is the best advice I ever got. No one wants to be ignored here. You want followers and friends, you have to make the effort!

Erin Cole said...

A great post, Lydia. This gives people the chance to say something that otherwise, they wouldn't say -

like, writers must be professional in blogging, especially if he/she is looking for an agent. I take every comment seriously, and never, ever burn a bridge. You never know when you might need that fellow writer.

Also, I'm turning off my word verification now! Didn't realize how much it bothered others, but I'll try Stina's advice, and turn off anonymous to decrease spam.

Carol Kilgore said...

I no longer have verification, and I no longer allow anonymous comments. And with Blogger's spam filter, I think I've only received 2-3 posted spams over the last few months.

I don't like long posts that make me think before I respond. Too many of those suck up my available writing time.

Talli Roland said...

Loooooong rambling posts really get me! They're too much to sort through!

The Red Angel said...

Hmm, I guess it's because I have to do it a lot, but I don't really mind the word verification. It just takes a couple seconds to type out the letters, though it does make me happy when I don't feel like an alien being tested. =D

Hmm, well I think blogs that have a lot of links to certain resources are a major plus. :) Also, my other advice would be to write what you know and what you're interested in.


~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com
~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Kelly said...

Holy cow! People definitely have opinions on this!
My word verication is off, and my spam goes right to Junk Mail.
I like a good mix of personal and writing on blogs. But everyone is unique and their blog should reflect them!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Ha ha! We're on the same wavelength. I just posted about an online presence for writers. Biggest advice though? Be genuine.

Lynn said...

I really liked Creative Penn's podcasts on blogging. I do recommend researching how to blog before starting, and the commitment necessary to maintain it.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Don't write "Sorry I haven't posted, will post soon." ACK! Just write a post when you are able.

Turn off word ver. for the most recent post/s, but you can add it to older posts so you can see new comments and check for spam.

Olga said...

My thoughts about word verification are exactly the same. I love different blog types. The most important thing to me is that the owner of the blog has an interesting personality. I always had a soft spot for writers blogs.

Chris Phillips said...

Stuff I do:

-blogfests
-comments and follow
-after every new post I go comment on everyone's blog who commented on my last post
-embed videos of kittens falling into toilets etc.

The Words Crafter said...

I've been meaning to turn off word verification and I just went and did it. Whew!

The thing I don't like, and I follow a blog that does this (and I read it less and less), is someone who constantly slings around hate and prejudice and 'I'm better than you are' opinions all the time.

Sadly, this person is the one who finally got me to create a blog, and is a relative!!!!!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Yeah, the spam filter is kind of tiresome...especially during a blogfest when you have somewhere north of 40 comments to make to other participants.

I read that post too and really found that the inconsistent blog and the ones where I'm not quite sure what they're about are hard to follow.

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Old Kitty said...

I really really like it when blog posts are kept short. Short and sweet. But short. :-)

Take care
x

The Golden Eagle said...

I'm thinking about turning off the word verification; I know a lot of bloggers don't like it, and I haven't gotten any spam comments . . .

Patricia Stoltey said...

I don't like blogs that have things that flash, jiggle, or sing too loud, blogs that have white text on a black or other dark background (because it's hard on my eyes), and blogs that only post once in a blue moon. I overlook the spam filters because I know it's a big problem for some bloggers. I don't have one on my own blog...yet.

Heather said...

I haven't seen Rachel's post so I'll have to check that out! Thanks for the link. My advice to new bloggers, have something to offer your readers, something to keep them coming back. And make sure your blog is unique to you. Don't be afraid to put a bit of yourself into it. And, I don't mind the word verification. A few blogger friends of mine have been SWAMPED with spammers.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss lydia! wow so much comments on this. for me what i dont like most is something thats way way long to read. mostly when i see that i go at another blog. i like pictures. i dont like that id stuff either. i dont like oh poor me stuff. i like stuff that upbeat and fun. i like book reviews & interview if they dont get to long. i like blogs that get me learning something i didnt know.
...hugs from lenny

Krispy said...

I like blogs that are easy to read, like easy for my eyes. So no crazy fonts, no intense crazy colors. For me, a simple layout is better than one that tries to do way too much.

I hear you on the word verification, but I really hate spam. :P So I always flip-flop on whether or not to keep it on.

I'm bad at this myself, but a blog schedule helps. It's nice to know when I can expect to see a post. It's something I'm working on.

lbdiamond said...

Shorter posts, consistent blogging days, and humor go over very well with me!

I like pictures too! :D

Jai Joshi said...

I agree with you about the word verification thing. I took it off my blog ages ago and get hardly any spam at all.

At the moment my mind is running blank on advice for bloggers. I guess my only real advice is to be yourself and be genuine at all times. People respond to sincerity.

Jai

Lo said...

Ohhhh I love Venn diagrams, that one captures this issue perfectly! :-)

I think my biggest advice for new bloggers is to not be shy commenting on other blogs. It makes the process so much more enjoyable once you're able to use your blog to interact with people. Maybe it's just because I mostly follow writer blogs, but I don't like it when a blog is ONLY about craft. I mean, I can read that anywhere. I want to get to know the blogger and much like a good book, voice really grabs me and keeps me following!

Have a great weekend!

Corey Schwartz said...

I hate when bloggers choose a font color and background color that don't offer enough contrast to each other I have had to write to bloggers and say "I really like the content of your blog, but I'm afraid it is so difficult on my eyes that I may not be able to visit any more!"

M Pax said...

I'd say be yourself and find your own voice - just like writing. It's about connecting with your audience - potential audience.

For every stated wrong, I'm sure there are exceptions. Just like with our stories, we'll never please everyone.

Carol Riggs said...

Excellent post, and excellent comments below it! I've recently turned off my word verification too. What I really dislike is the Comment Moderation where your comment doesn't show up until the blogger has made sure it's ok. What's up with that? Just delete anything that you don't want on there...

I dislike long blogs, white-on-black, cluttery blogs, and blogs that take forever to load because of all the gadgets, photos, and complex headers. I follow a LOT of bogs, and I sigh with impatience at this sorta stuff.

Karen Lange said...

I agree with you on the word verification thing. I get very little spam.

Advice? Be real, and offer something of value to readers, whether it's great links, advice, etc. Keep it short, or short-ish, and make sure you reciprocate on comments/following whenever possible.

Happy weekend,
Karen

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I can't think of a think that wasn't already said. I had no idea people hated word varification. Like some of the others, I think it's fun to see the strange words that come up. I may consider removing it. Maybe more people will comment on my blog.

Abby Minard said...

I don't like the word verification either. And long posts- I've seen several people post about Rachelle's post recently(one of them is me, lol). This community is so tight and I love the support everyone gives.

Faith said...

I get craploads of spam, but I don't have WV on my blog. I've wondered if I should get it, but I hate when it pops up after I've already submitted the comment... I've lost more blog comments that way...

I'd also tell a new blogger to not be afraid to be themselves. Insincerity glares, even across the internet, so they need to be open and willing to engage with the people who visit their blog!

Vicki Rocho said...

My advice has probably been repeated a thousand times already.

Don't try to be all things to all people. Be yourself and you'll attract an audience you'll be able to sustain.

Also, DO go visit other blogs and comment/make friends. But be prepared for the time when you can no longer visit every blog everyday. It happens to everyone.

L'Aussie said...

As I've said on blog posts, word verification is the pits, especially the ones where it doesn't come up til after you hit 'comment'. I'm sure sometimes I'm in such a hurry I forget and rush off to the next blog without doing the verification! I don't use it and can only remember one or two spam so it is definitesly unnecessary.

Also, I think it is a wordpress thing where you have to type in your name, email and website. I hate that with a passion!

I also don't like blogs that automatically play music. Our tastes are so different. Some big-time blogging authors (won't mention any names) say they give a blog a miss if they post youtube vids, which is one reason I rarely post from youtube.

The same author says she likes lots of white space between paragraphs. Don't cram your post up tight.

Ciao!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Lydia, I agree with all the above comments!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Lydia, I agree with all the above comments!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Lydia, I agree with all the above comments!

Munk Davis said...

I am engaged in such a hate/love relationship with social media I best not start.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi,

Pet hates, like pet likes, differ person to person.

You can please some of the people some of the time, please most of the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all of the time. ;)

Blogs are a window to you, your mind, how you think, how you speak in words, and how you respond to others: no matter what mask you choose to hide behind, your true self is there for the reading of.

best
F

Jonene Ficklin said...

Lydia, thanks for the advice and the link! Half the battle is finding out what NOT to do, as well as what works best. Great and timely blog!

Nicole MacDonald said...

A pet peeve? Don't be rude! And don't name names just address the issue (in a discrete manner please). Otherwise always be polite and chatty and have fun!

The Arrival, BirthRight Book one on Amazon 1.1.2011
www.damselinadirtydress.com

Saumya said...

Ooh, great post. The word recognition thing is annoying and so are very long posts.

Sarah said...

Wow, your post was great, but all these comments are also really helpful! I'm a new blogger, so it's great to see what turns people off and what keeps them coming back. Thanks everyone, and thanks Lydia!

Sommer Leigh said...

I don't like it when the comment box only allows someone to comment who has an OpenID, Google/Blogger ID, Wordpress ID, and/or Livejournal ID.

Everyone should also use the "Name/URL" because not all of us use your typical blogging platform.

I had to create a google account for commenting on these types of blogs, which is frustrating.

Sarah said...

Great post! As a new blogger I'm going to take all of this under consideration. :)

Happy Frog and I said...

Crumbs, this provoked a lot of comments and quite right too! I don't mind whether posts are long or short as long as they are engaging in some way. I like blogs where I feel I get to know the person blogging a bit. It's nice when comments are responded to.

 
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