How NOT to blog

We know we should blog and here we are, keyboard ready, coffee ready, fingers poised – and off we go!

But do me a favour read this first – you could actually be making lots of small mistakes that mean you waste most of your efforts

  1. PLEEEAASSSEE – light back ground, dark text. Always. We hate reading light text on a dark background. Don’t do it. You will cut your readership by a big chunk.
    The science says – 26% more accurate in reading text on white background
    People with astigmatism (aproximately 50% of the population) find it harder to read white text on black.
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  2. Keep it brief – Try to keep your posts down to around 500 words or else use this book method. Too many words on screen are SCARY and you chase your readers away.
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  3. USE WHITE SPACE. Most blog themes include white space but it doesn’t mean that you can just write and write. Use your return key often. Use bullets points.  Otherwise you will lose readers.
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  4. Gather Credibility Don’t start with good intentions then think one post every couple of months is enough to give you credibility. It’s not. When we network with wannabe authors we like to see how often they tweet, FB and blog. And what we find affects the way we think of them.
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  5. Give up Your pour your heart out on your page, hit publish and wait for the world to notice. And when they don’t get all miserable, offended and want to give up. Hang in there. Don’t give up, keep on plugging away. You WILL get there. No one who ever quit won the race.
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  6. Contact me – Include your contact details. Even if you want to be private – if you don’t want your details out there for all the world to see it’s enough to say the state/country you live in. It helps people relate to you. Also include an email address. It can be an email address separate to your personal account but make sure people can contact you. (And don’t hide it in teeny tiny letters at the bottom of your page)
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  7. Theft – Don’t steal other peoples articles. If you use their content use no more than three lines and ALWAYS link back to them.
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  8. Don’t lose focus. If your blog is a diary, don’t post that you got out of bed, cleaned teeth, ate breakfast unless it was for some reason remarkable – like you regained the use of your legs. Keep your posts focussed, useful, entertaining or else be quiet.
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  9. Reply You use your blog to network so when people comment RESPOND. If someone talks to you in the supermarket queue, even if you don’t know them, you know it’s good manners to exchange the time of day and you don’t even want anything from them. With Blogging you want them to actually like you, respect you. This is why you blog. Ignoring their comments will NOT do you any favours.
    Encourage comments too.
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  10. Create a site map. This is good for SEO and very good for user too. And don’t forget to include a SEARCH option
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  11. Manners If a neighbour had a party you wouldn’t hop over the fence and tell them to come round to your place would. Don’t do the same thing on other people’s blogs. Get to know them and their followers first before you post a link asking them back to your site.
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  12. Anna’s POV Don’t make the blog about one book and/or posting cute observations from your character’s point of view. .
    I got this useful pointer from Anne R. Allen’s Blog. Just remember my early point – LINK BACK and remember to say thanks -  read Anne’s great article for more tips on How Not To Blog
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  13. Rambling. Don’t. Also don’t use dozens of smileys, LOLs, Wubu2′s, animated gif’s and so on. You look immature and unrpofessional
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  14. My pet hate – blog has loads of content but can’t FIND it!! Set your navigation up properly.
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  15. Colour Blind Don’t use five different fonts and fifty five different colours. One font and one or two colours apart from the links.
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  16. About Me – Do have a good about me page. Don’t write your life history, keep it short, sweet and honest.
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  17. Keep above the fold. When you look at a web page your eye autmatically drifts towards the middle of the top left of the page and then scans in micro-seconds the first top paragraphs. You need to catch users attention by this point. If your key ‘hook’ is below the fold (off screen) then you could lose your readers.
    Don’t create such a huge header that it pushes your content below the fold.

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  18. Widgets – they can be brilliant but don’t stuff your side bar full of them. Your side bar is prime space. Don’t fill it with junk. Only keep things that have a meaningful purpose.
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  19. Categories – eeek Dozens of categories are great because they look impressive and your reader is pleased for you, but doesn’t stay to read through them because seriously, what a damn big challenge and she’s pretty busy anyway
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  20. Perfection Queen Every time I post something I read it a day or two later and see I left words out or made a spelling mistake so I fix it. Then a couple of weeks later I read it again and STILL find mistakes. Get the balance. Edit to your best ability then come back and edit again but don’t hold back until you find perfection because very often you will postpone posting forever.
    You’re writing a blog post, not a dissertation.
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  21. Social Networking Always include your linkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ urls. IF you keep them up to date. Nothing worse than a FB/Twitter link that was updated five months ago.
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  22. Be clear  Visitors should be able to tell within 3 seconds what your blog is about. If the first post they see is about teens and alcohol they might not get that blog is mostly about book promotion!
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Hope these How not to blog tips were helpful!

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