I dove into the blogging world a little over three weeks ago. Since then, I’ve joined communities of bloggers, made several connections to inspiring thinkers, and developed a habit of checking dozens of individual blogs daily. I’ve found the blogging world to be overflowing with great ideas and incredible leaders, but I’ve also come across plenty of downright…well, silliness. Here’s a cheat-sheet for even newer newbies than myself, and also for veteran bloggers curious to know how newbies are understanding the blogging world.
In the beginning, the traffic on your blog will mirror your activity on social networks.
Since I started my blog, I’ve had four featured posts on Brazen Careerist, the top Generation Y blog. I love being a part of the Brazen community, but I receive a shockingly low amount of blog referrals from the website when my posts are featured on the homepage. In fact, I get 3 times more traffic to my blog on an average day when I tweet three times, then I get in referrals when my content is shared. I do get direct traffic to my blog, however, when I actively post a comment within the community. I get more traffic by being an active member of Brazen Careerist than I get when one of my posts is promoted on the site alone. In short, I’ve found that the more active I am on social networks (Brazen, twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, etc), the more traffic my blog receives. That, my friends, is yet another good reason to jump in and join the conversation.
Beware of the word “you” (without an “I”) in the blogs of young professionals.
I understand why veteran bloggers with significant life and professional experience use the word “you” when writing posts that offer advice. I even understand why it might be a good idea to use the word “you” in a blog if you are that veteran blogger with significant life and professional experience. However, I don’t follow young professional bloggers (under the age of 30) who generally use the word “you” without the word “I.” Here’s why:
- I don’t look to young professionals for that kind of advice. I like to feel connected to the bloggers I follow, and I want to learn from them as individuals. My favorite young bloggers offer lessons through stories and their own experiences. I want to hear your story, and I want you to offer me the opportunity to relate to it. “You” alienates me.
- “You”-posts tend to assume a dumb reader, and make the blogger seem rather know-it-all-y. I’m your peer and I don’t want to feel like a dumb reader. Who does?
- It makes me challenge you to an imaginary mental dual. If you are going to use “you” without backing up your advice with a personal story or stating that your advice is from your own perspective, then I hold you at a much higher standard. Your advice must be creative and stunning in order to keep my attention. Most don’t.
- “You” works wonders when partnered with “I” “You” is a great word for giving advice, and I welcome the word in any blog in which the author also states that the post is from his/her own experience, or written from his/her own opinion. As a twenty-something reading mostly twenty-somethings’ blogs, I need to see an “I” somewhere (anywhere- even just once in the beginning), or I suspect that (perhaps incorrectly) you’re an ignorantly preachy blogger. Please don’t stop using “you” (and a lot of it), just please remember to throw in an “I” or two.
“Top N ways to X” posts are often great, speedy refreshers made for skimming.
Everyone seems to write “Top N ways to X” posts and I often enjoy reading them. Because they tend to be bullet-pointed, a reader can skim the first sentences and spend as much or as little time on the post as they want. For me, these posts serve as pseudo life-flashcards– and there are lots of them. They don’t often say points that I wouldn’t have thought of myself, but I appreciate their simple messages and general accessibility– and I don’t mind a lack of “you” in these posts because they are speaking to a more general audience. I will say that I’d be interested to see more “Top N ways to X” posts that contain research and creative solutions that I might not have considered myself. As they are, these posts can be breezy and easy reminders of the world around you.
I love you, Google Reader
I don’t know why it took me so long to start using Google Reader, but I love it. It keeps me on top of all of my favorite blogs. There are several types of RSS readers available, and I highly recommend any one of them to folks who like to read blogs. I can wake up every morning, check my e-mail, and see the updates on my favorite blogs– How cool is that? I’m extremely late on this one– but as a new blogger who just discovered it, I’m enamored.
Well, there you have it: a few findings and lessons from the mind of a new blogger. There’s a lot to learn out there, and this is only the beginning of my discoveries. Please feel free to share your own thoughts, feedback, and findings!