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Rookie Lessons for New Bloggers

Guest Post by Katie Kimball from Kitchen Stewardship.

I know how it feels to know absolutely nothing, and that’s actually a good place to be.

When I hit the six-month mark with my blog, I took time to sit down and digest the experience, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much one can learn about a totally new field in half a year. I wrote down my lessons, some “rookie strategies” if you will, thinking that although the perspective of a seasoned pro is incredibly valuable, there’s something significant about still having the eyes of a newbie.

I learned the basics by reading posts about blogging (at Problogger, of course). Anyone will tell you content is king, you should learn about SEO just a little, be consistent in writing, interact with readers, comment on other blogs, etc. As I forayed into the blogosphere haphazardly, I had to use my own uncanny powers of perception and a hefty dose of common sense to figure out a myriad of little intricacies. Want to know how to enter carnivals effectively? Why you need a gravatar and should learn to play the fool? How about my number one tip that helped me hit 1,000 subscribers in 9 months?

Enter a New Society

-1.jpgWhen I began blogging, someone told me “Welcome to the blogosphere.” I thought it was a nice sentiment, but now I realize that the blogosphere is more than a funny phrase. It’s a society all on its own, complete with traditions, customs and strict standards of behavior that would impress any cultural anthropologist. It even has a unique language that you’ll have to learn if you want to get by. Quick – define these words:

  1. SEO, WP, RSS
  2. carnival, meme
  3. gravatar, Photo Bucket, button
  4. Alexa ranking, Google page rank
  5. permalink, internal link
  6. retweet, DM, hashtag
  7. plug-in, widget
  8. bot, crawl, ping
  9. monetize, affiliate, disclosure
  10. sleep.

I wouldn’t have known what to do with that list at this time last year. In fact, I had to have someone explain to me what a “blog” was. Now I’m intimately familiar with all of them… except that last one. If you’ve mastered the list already, keep reading for some “finer points” that may be new to you.

Making Comments Count, Not Just Numerically

As I learned about blogging, I read everywhere that commenting on other people’s blogs is the best way to get your new blog “out there” and gain readership. However, you can scramble around the blogosphere all day long and leave nothing but a time-consuming anonymous trail if you’re not wise about leaving your mark:

  • You must have a gravatar, preferably a photo, definitely something memorable. On any WordPress blog, your smiling mug will hover next to your well-chosen words. People will “recognize” your face around the blogosphere, and if you leave thoughtful comments, they may visit your blogo-home to see what else you have to say. Don’t change this image too often, if at all. Take care in choosing a great pic that you’re willing to see every day for a few years!
  • Don’t be just you, become your blog. I had people as regular commenters and didn’t realize were coming back over and over because they were just “Sarah” or “Jen”. The photo helps, but also get in the habit of commenting as Name @ Website name so people connect you with your site and notice you more. I’m Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship everywhere I go.
  • Two “don’t” notes:
    • Don’t just say “great post” and think you’ve left a meaningful comment. You can say something significant in one sentence, but that sentence ain’t it.
    • Don’t constantly leave links to your own site. Shameless self-promotion is obvious, no matter how exuberant you are!
  • Of course, there’s already a great post on Problogger to help you learn how to craft quality comments.

Number One Way to get more Comments on YOUR posts?

Play dumb or make mistakes. If you write a fabulous, seamless post, you will likely get comments like “great post.” If you demonstrate that your knowledge is slightly lacking or ask a question of your readers directly or fumble around a bit, you will have people (women especially) clambering to help a poor soul out. There’s a reason women talk a lot… we like to give advice. Open yourself up to be the receiver of some advice, and you’ll get more comments.

By the way, when you respond to comments, try to use the person’s name. This way if your comment is ever separated from the original question, as mine were when I moved to self-hosted WordPress, your readers aren’t confused.

The Importance of Links

Google acknowledges that your site is the real deal when other sites link to yours. Friendly links also help real people find your site. You can obtain links in the following ways:

  • Comment on another blog and leave your URL (on Blogspot you may need to choose the Name/URL option to help yourself out).
  • Write something that another blogger enjoys – they may link to you later. If you’re savvy about it, you can leave a link on one of their posts or send a direct email invitation to a series or the like.
  • Of course, there’s a Problogger post on the subject… but he doesn’t include this next one!
  • Enter carnivals.

Is Entering Carnivals Worth It?

Thou must enter carnivals. At least in the mommy blogger and real food blogger world, my niches (vocab alert!), there’s no easier way to get a link to your site than by entering the ubiquitous carnivals out there on the web. (What’s a carnival, you ask? It has nothing to do with elephants, let me tell you.)

When a blogger hosts a carnival, they choose a theme and generally a day of the week, and on that day you can input your blog’s name, post that applies, and the permalink (URL that goes directly to the post) in a form at their site which will then become a link to yours. Carnivals are also called memes, especially when one includes a list of questions to complete. (Read more about memes here.)

-1.png
This is one of my favorite carnivals demonstrating how many blogs do it, with a Mr. Linky system for linking up.

Here are Katie’s tips for carnival success:

  1. At first, enter any carnival you can find. When you’re a nobody, a link is a link. This is how you get people to find your site on the vast Internet.
  2. You can enter a post in more than one carnival.
  3. Always follow proper carnival etiquette: be sure to put a link back to the host’s carnival page somewhere in your post. I usually create a bulleted list at the bottom of my page with this format:

Google likes it when I make the name of the site into a link, and I also link that carnival’s permalink to the carnival name so my readers can find it.

  1. Once your site becomes more well-established, you can become more savvy about being selective with your carnival entries. Check your stats to see which carnivals generate hits. Some will bring in four visitors, some 50-100. Clearly you can prioritize and focus on the carnivals that bring you readers. Also, if you’re running low on time, enter carnivals at sites with better Google page rank or Alexa rankings (for the link recognition).
  2. There’s a fine art to getting genuine clicks from a carnival.
    • Be wise about how you word your entry. Instead of just using your post or blog title like this: cooking from scratch, you’ll get more people interested in clicking to your site if you’re creative or controversial, like this: Should SAHMs cook from scratch?
    • Use caps to draw attention to your entry, but not excessively.
    • Standard entries include your name @ blog name and your subject. If necessary to be more appealing, leave out your name and even your blog name. Draw them in…
  3. I absolutely assumed that getting listed on a well-known site would generate a lot of clicks, but that’s not necessarily so. The sites that have active, strong communities are the ones who have readers interested enough in clicking on their carnival links. I’ve been published at or linked to from all three of these “big” sites: Blissfully Domestic, Tip Junkie, and 5 Minutes for Mom. (Note: Blissfully Domestic as both a contributor in the food niche and in the weekly Tuesday carnival I am Blissfully Domestic; Tip Junkie’s Submit a Tip; 5 Minutes for Mom’s Sunday Around the Blogosphere, twice as a feature and a few times in the giveaway linky.) Only one of them resulted in triple digit hits: publishing a tip at Tip Junkie. The others? Only single digit rewards.
  4. Sometimes the best carnivals to enter are those that are not weekly but a special feature. They often have a theme that readers are interested in, therefore folks are more likely to click around. The only way to find these is to be a regular blog reader. Another favorite blog hosts great carnivals like this one:

-2.jpg

An incredibly comprehensive list of carnivals can be found here and another here (although outdated – I left a bunch of updates in the comments!), and find lots of carnivals at www.blogcarnival.com. This latter style of carnival also gives you an SEO-friendly link to your home page.

Are Some Links Better Than Others?

Quite simply, yes. I can link to your site all day long, but if I’m just a little “write about my kids for grandma to read” website, Google doesn’t care. Here are two things to watch for to tell when you’ve hit upon a site worth linking to:

  1. Google page rank
  2. Alexa ranking

You can install the SearchStatus bar for Firefox here to find out how various websites rank. It shows up at the bottom of your computer screen, and when you see a Google rank higher than your own or an Alexa rank lower than yours, you’ve found a site worth spending time at.

-2.png

-3.png
This is what the SearchStatus bar looks like. Unobtrusive at best.

As you can see, my Google rank is a 3, and Problogger is a 6. Guest posting here is a great idea! You won’t see many non-corporate sites any higher than a 6 (10 is the highest). The higher your Google rank, the higher Google puts your pages when people search.

Alexa rankings work opposite: lower is better. New sites start out in the millions. I’ve taken Kitchen Stewardship from over 400,000 at the end of August to well under 200,000 less than 3 months later. Mr. Rowse is sitting pretty at 2,467. (That’s really low, in case you’re wondering.) Paying attention to these rankings is one reason you still want to link up at the “big” sites I mentioned above, even though direct hits may not be plentiful.

Participate in the Internet Time Warp

Everyone knows that once you get on the Internet, you don’t come out again for two days. I suppose some people can get out of the Internet-suction within hours, but you never do just one thing. If you’re going to blog, you might as well do as the Romans do and try your darndest to draw people in to your site until they feel an overwhelming urge to add you to their reader!

The best way to draw people in is to provide ample opportunity to exercise their mouse finger. That is, give them something to click on. Anytime you can link to your own content within another post, do it. At the end of your posts, it’s not a bad idea to give your reader even more to click on. Keep them at your site reading quality content for 15 minutes, and they’re likely to add you to their reader and come back for more.

I use WP’s Link Within plug-in to help with this, but I also try to provide manual links at the end of most posts that compliment the post itself. I use headings like “Other Fall Recipes” and “More Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen” and list three great posts, using intriguing titles – not necessarily the actual title of the post.

I also have a standard closing to all of my posts. It explains the mission of my site (for the sake of new readers), invites people to click for RSS feed or email subscription (links included), and tells them where to find the latest Monday Mission (a feature at Kitchen Stewardship). You can see it in the screen shot above. I manage this function with my “endnotes” page, explained below.

Finally, use your sidebar to your advantage. Be sure to share your latest 5-10 posts somewhere near the top to capture new readers. You might also consider listing “5 Most Important Posts” or something similar in your sidebar. I keep a list called “Currently Featuring” right at the top for any series, giveaways, carnivals or special posts that I have going on.

Choose interesting tags and categories. One thing I wish I would have done is to be more cognizant about my categories and chosen phrases that would really pique folks’ interest and get them to click. Mine aren’t so hot right now! Put yourself in the shoes (computer chair) of your reader. What might you stumble across and be interested in enough to click?

Sanity Savers for Bloggers

First, realize this:

  • There is always more to do in the blogging world.
  • Sleep is secondary.

Then try to pick up some tips to streamline your time at the computer. Organizing my information has been invaluable. I quickly learned that, although I love composing my text in MS Word, links don’t always copy over well. It’s too easy for a small mistake to happen, and I don’t have time to test all my own links every time I publish. When you want to include internal links (links to your own content) often, use one or both of these two strategies:

  1. Keep all your permalinks in a text doc. Every time you publish a post, view it and copy the URL to the post (from the web address bar) into a Word or notepad document. Mine is titled “000 post links 000″ so that I can see it easily as I Alt+Tab through my open windows. Don’t bullet or number them, just paste the links in.When you need to link to something, use the “Find” function (ctrl+F) in Word and type part of the title of your post. Then you can easily copy and paste the URL into a new post as a link, or into the comments at other blogs when applicable. I promise this is much quicker than finding a past post via your website’s search bar or in your WordPress dashboard. The latter in particular takes such a long time. This is also how I find a post when I need to edit/update it after publishing.
  2. Create a “page” (not a post) and give it a parent page in case you ever accidentally click “publish”. On this page (mine is called “Endnotes”) place anything that you’ll use often: certain graphics, your post closing text, some favorite posts, written for draw-ëem-in purposes and linked to the URL already, and your carnival favorites. If you have this open in another tab while you’re composing a new post, you can easily put your closing and some effective internal links in your new post with a quick copy and paste. For organization’s sake, I always have my dashboard, then comments, then Endnotes page in tabs in that order when I’m working on my blog. List the carnivals you’ve found like this:

You can quickly copy a handful of appropriate links over to your new post and enter those carnivals in a very short amount of time. When you go to the carnival, you should make the words “My Favorite Carnival” a link to that specific post. You can enter many carnivals very efficiently this way if you have a flexible post! I keep a list of my favorite carnivals that generate the most hits organized by day in a text doc as well.

Single Greatest Tip?

You’ve been waiting for that number one subscribers’ tip, haven’t you? I’m hoping the answer is “guest posting at Problogger” myself… Honestly, beyond writing fabulous, amazing content that people care about, you need to believe you’ve got something good, work hard shamelessly promoting your own site, and get lucky sometimes. When a random site that has well-established readership links prominently to a post you’ve written because the author just happened to love it, that can garner more hits and subscribers than anything you can purposely do. You just have to make sure you have a few methods in place in case that happens to draw those readers into the Internet time warp, and you’re well on your way to a readership boost.

Katie Kimball is a former teacher, at-home mom, and newbie blogger at Kitchen Stewardship, which is dedicated to balancing nutrition, environmentalism, time and money through the eyes of faith.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. David Morson says:

    Hey extremely nice information, Your artcles are always helpful for me in my blogging an its the time now to implement your tips on my blog.

  2. Couldn’t agree more, content is king all in all.

  3. work at home says:

    This one is really very good lesson for new bloggers. When I was new on blogging I also learn from your blog about different blogging tips. New blogger have to learn everything that required to be one successful blogger.

  4. Seolove says:

    Good post, i think it`s good to post articls everyday

  5. Katie,
    It’s so fun to see you on here!! I agree on the carnivals, that’s the main way I got traffic early on.

    You said you like to write your posts in Word, but do you know about Windows Live Writer? I looooooooove it, you’ve GOT to check it out, Katie, it’s a super easy way to craft your posts offline, and then publish right from that program.

    Kelly

  6. Just when you think you’re starting to move away from beginner status, low and behold the word carnival gets thrown down and I’ve never even heard of that. Back to the drawing board :) Also great advice re page rank and Alexa. It’s something I did do before I wiped my PC so must install firefox again and get back into the habit of using that. Thanks again

  7. Pastorkayte says:

    Since I blog all the time, I was wondering how you go about getting people to guest blog on your site. I would like a few for my site and would love to guest blog on others as well. Any ideas on what I should do to accomplish this. Thank you!

  8. Well Katie… It seems that I apply most of advice you give but number of comments on my website equals BIG and UGLY 0. Maybe I’m just impatient (I started blogging 08/09) but at the moment I feel like I’m writting/talking to the wall…
    Anyway. great post . keep on going :)

  9. Gotta love the meaningful comments. There is nothing worse than a handful of “Great post” comments and one “Well Said”.

    I like to feel that I am talking to my readers and don’t won’t to have to slap them around a bit to listen. I would rather (in fact, I invite) someone to comment “You’re full of s**t, and here’s why…..”. At least I’ll feel like someone actually read the post.

    Beside, a good debate is soooooo much fun :)

    I have never heard of the carnival deal. Now I’m off to find the bearded man, the world’s tallest midget, and the astounding stripeless zebra.

  10. Jason Ulsrud says:

    Katie… I’ve been blogging for about 3 months now and just when I think I’m starting to get a grasp of how this craziness works, I read a blog like this.

    Thanks for the new information and have a great holiday season…

  11. Great post!

    ;-)

    Seriously, thanks SO much! Many very helpful tips, all condensed in one article. I’m now going to try to implement many of these strategies (I’m already trying my best to do a few of them) and hopefully watch my Alexa rank go down down down from 868,333!

  12. Drezz says:

    Interesting set of suggestions Katie. My blog will be celebrating its first year on the web, and its been an interesting one to say the least. I’ve managed to narrow down my focus to something truly concrete and in a specific niche that isn’t completely inundated with competing sites.

    The best thing I can do now is get out there and be seen. I’ve slowly begun working on that portion. The content I currently have is good, my readership is slowly growing – my largest obstacle appears to be reader engagement.

    I’ve tried 90% of the suggestions you’ve posted throughout the year, and each one appears to have assisted in getting my blog to where it is right now (I went from an Alexa rank of 2.4 million in the spring to about 1.4 million now.)

    Its a slow steady climb, but its moving at least – and I CAN see some results, so it remains encouraging.

  13. As a new blogger, your post will be a great help to me!

    While your tips may not all be intuitive, they make great sense. I really like the one advising “make mistakes”. That one I could learn without much effort at all.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience!

    http://www.saylor3d.com

  14. Kudos to you, Katie, for writing an awesome summary of beginning blogging strategies! Unbeknownst to me (and probably you) at about the same time you launched your blog, I began implementing some of the same strategies to grow mine. I have seen great growth due to participating in carnivals, leaving thoughtful comments on other blogs, and sharing personal weaknesses/questions. As I was reading your post, I was thinking, yes, yes, yes, that is just what has happened to me! Congratulations!

  15. Tried the tip about having a different document for urls today, yes, works so much faster! Can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this before. At times I would resort to Googling myself to find the link I wanted within my own blog :oZ

  16. Thank you so much for this info! I’ve read both Pro-Blogger and also Yarrow’s and Gideon’s work, but this is a very meaty list of tasks that is very helpful. I’m a newbie myself, finally with time enough to focus fully on the blog, and I hope that I can be as professional and expert as you someday.

    Best of luck and thanks again.
    Marie Angeli

  17. waqas says:

    well i think blog must need vacations too

  18. Been blogging for around 9 months now, who would of thought that I would make it this long.

  19. Phou Phinds says:

    THANK YOU! I am a newbie and often am so overwhelmed and occassionally concerned that I am so behind the times. I’m always looking for tips, tricks and insight. One lesson I have learned the more you share, the quicker to success. So, thank you for sharing…you deserve the success!

  20. Thank you so much, Katie!! I found this post as a result of at Twitter RT, and I’m so glad I clicked over.

    I totally agree that the carnivals are awesome for mommy bloggers, and SO much fun, too!! I’ll be looking at the list you linked up for us.

    I’ll have to try your endnotes idea, too. Thanks for spelling that out for me. Hopefully I won’t accidentally publish my page!! LOL!

  21. Mark Wood says:

    Katie:
    Great to see someone give their beginner’s views on blogging. As a somewhat new blogger, I’m always curious to hear how others are going about getting links.

    There are a couple things that I feel you overlooked though. First, site design is key to subscribers. I had a somewhat outdated site and got very few regular visitors. Updating to a more modern layout did wonders for my subscriber count. This seemed a little odd to me, but then again, I can’t bring myself to read sites where text runs amuck and headers are hard to read. Even worse, poor imagery. If you want people to stick around, you have to give them something pretty to look at.

    Second, everyone knows it’s key to connect with readers, but I find few people actually answer questions posted on their blogs or respond to comments. The few that do seem to have a much better community feel. I realize that this can take loads of effort, but I think, especially for people starting out, that it’s worth the investment.

    Thanks again –
    Mark @ digitalnotions.net

  22. yeah, ha, you are going to get a “great post” comment from me. ;)

  23. Paul Hassing says:

    Well, Katie, I’ve been blogging for years, but you just made me feel like a Rookie. And that’s a damn good thing.

    There’s a heap of stuff you covered that I should know but don’t.

    Thank you for pecking a hole in my shell and revealing a whole new world to explore. I’m a great deal richer for your post. Best regards, P. :)

  24. Katie-
    You certainly don’t seem like a ROOKIE! Seriously though, I found this all very inspiring, as a wannabe blogger who wants , more than anything, for people to come to my site – I appreciate all of your tips, and will study up on those vocab that I don’t know. Thanks so much…

  25. Kristen H. says:

    This was a very helpful post. I especially appreciate the tips for streamlining computer time. I’m definitely going to make a page for all my post links.

  26. Hi Katie,

    “Amazing content’ and ‘get lucky’ seem to go hand in hand in the blogosphere.

    I’m now six months into my blog and the two biggest days of new visits were when somone totally unexpected either linked to my blog or used my content and gave me credit.

    I would add this is another way to build relationships with other bloggers, so find amazing content (written by someone else) that enhances your message, quote them and give due credit, then add a linkback to their permalink.

    They will probably come check out what you written, and this could spur some mutual posting/guest-posting and cross links…

    Write On!

  27. Katie, you rang a very very vital note to me when you mentioned “making mistakes”. I’m recently trying to pull myself out of a writers block created due to a lack of confidence in what I know about my niche.

    Something I’ve been trying to remind myself about is actually the root of blogging. Blogging is linked to journaling which is linked to the diary. Many people “journal” in “diaries” as a means of observing something they are currently experiencing or learning, not usually on what they already know everything about.

    So I believe it should come more as a human (and thus friendly) approach to blog about something as you’re learning it, on a more down-to-earth “observance” level.

    Btw, along with the rest of them up there, I love the post! Perfect timing!

  28. Webtint says:

    Really good post. I’ve recently started blogging, and I do use most of the tips you’ve mentioned. The commenting on other sites is something I was doing pretty sparsely but I’ve started doing it a lot more now, not just for the links but to let the writer know I enjoyed the article.

    So well done, I enjoyed this one :D

  29. Raj says:

    Why Most of time am getting Page not Found 404 Error on your Blog Posts, but after refresh it works fine.

  30. Raj says:

    Not Found

    The requested URL /archives/2009/12/21/rookie-lessons-for-new-bloggers/comment-page-2/ was not found on this server.

  31. Your tips really help me a lot.

    I have reading you for only a couple of months, but I can’t stop learning.

    Thanks!

    Happy holidays!

  32. Thanks all for the kind words and other tips. Can you believe anything was “left out” in a post this long? ;)

    A few notes:
    Bruce – You can find carnivals on cooking, being frugal, “green” living, taking photos, being thankful, and probably a ton more.

    Curtis – my biggest day(s) happened when really influential bloggers spotlighted me. I got 1000 hits one day at a site with just over 3000 subs, and only just over 100 from today’s Problogger debut, which equals the return from a blog with 2000 subs. I guess this isn’t my niche!

    Pastorkate – getting a guest post is as simple as writing a good pitch. Most folks who want guest posts on their sites either write a post asking for offers or send an email to other bloggers requesting guest posters.

    Indrek – re: website name next to name. Not the url of the website, just the title. Anything to make you stand apart from all the other Katies out there. Although with Indrek as a name, maybe you don’t have to work at that like I would!

    Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

  33. Delson Moo says:

    Thanks Katie for the great post and thanks Darren for getting another great guest. Add another 1 to your faithful fans, Katie :)
    I’m a newbie myself and have started blogging for about 3 months or more. I’ve been reading and reading tonnes of blogs from anybody you can think off, and in fact, have been spending so much time on it and have neglected the very first rule of blogging…. Write More !!!

    All the technical aspects of blogging such as SEO, page ranking and whatsoever not, I’m actually quite familiar with, since I’m a trained I.T. professional.

    All the good habits, rituals and even proper behaviors from other A-list bloggers I also tried to understand and learn them.

    My problem now is that no matter how hard I tried, I can only be a cookie-cutter blogger and my knowledge or expertise is always somewhat a few steps behind others.
    It seems that there is no way for me to come out with original content or ideas that I can blog about, and that is my question to post to you…

    How do you or anybody here come out with original contents every week, or even everyday, when the so-called blogosphere is already fully packed with other like-minded bloggers?

  34. adelle says:

    I have found that the best thing I can do for traffic and repeat visitors to my site is having a giveaway!

    Here is a list of, what I think, are the best giveaway blogs to promote your giveaway on.

    http://www.adelle.com.au/the-best-giveaways-blogs/

    Hope this helps some.

  35. Denise says:

    With a switch over from Firefox to Windows, I was finally able to get to this post, after getting the 404 error message all day on FF. Anyhow, I really enjoyed reading this post. There is plenty of useful information for new bloggers, and I’ve got it bookmarked so that I can come back and re-read it.

  36. “Great post.”

    No, but seriously, it was. Although I’ve been “blogging” for close to eight years, I’ve never taken it too seriously. Now that I’m diving into the creation of a gaming blog, I’m going to have to. And now, I know just how to get started.

    Will definitely read and re-read as many times as necessary until the message(s) sink into my brain.

  37. You’re right about the time warp – I happen to be in one right now… :) But you’re right, it is amazing at how much you can learn in a short time. I’ve been blogging for about 9 months now, too. Of course, there is always more evolving things to learn, and after several slaps on the wrist for improper “Blogosphere” etiquette – I’m continuing to adapt and learn – the most important is time management, and figuring how to get out of the warp… Also, when I switched to focusing on helping others, by exposing the work and accomplishments of other bloggers to my audience, I noticed an immediate increase in return favors. Everyone doesn’t follow or link back, but about 60% or more actually do. That’s more than worth it.

  38. Thank you for a very good post! Was actually thinking about writing a similar one myself, but then you came along and did it so much better than I would’ve had!

    I have one question, though. I run TWO blogs… How do I decide which one to put beside my name? *puzzled* :)

  39. Thanks so much for this post!

    I was a little confused though by the section on making sure you link back to memes.

    You talk about linking back to the principal carnival host even when participating in a Mr. Linky – type round up on another blog. How does that work? Do you have any examples? I’m not sure I’ve seen people remembering to do that with Mr. Linky and wanted to know if it was protocol.

    Thanks!

  40. oh amanda says:

    Katie! I’m with Musings of a Housewife–I know this works b/c I read your blog after you got involved in my lowly carnival! Thanks for the very detailed tips…even tho’ I’ve been blogging for a few years, you have given me some ideas I haven’t attempted yet!

    Thanks!
    a

  41. scheng1 says:

    “sleep is secondary”?! Oh no! I love to sleep very much. I bet those blog addicts can do without sleep!

  42. Thanks for the great info. As a newbie I’m making a list and checking it twice of the things I need to be doing. I’ve been at it for 6 months and am amazed at all the little things I know I need to do and haven’t gotten around to doing yet and still remain quite busy.

  43. I’ve written an entry about myself that has allowed me to be more comfortable with any information mistakes I might make on my post. Very inspiring advice.

    Oh, and thanks for clearing up the naming suggestion. This is a lot cleaner to read while using my branding. Awesome! :)

  44. Tiesto says:

    I am thinking about to start a new blog

    Nice article thanks

  45. katie,

    i really appreciate this roundup of information. i’ve been blogging for years, but only recently have i come to regard it more as a public forum than a private diary. i’m taking the first tentative steps out into the blogosphere, and these tips are going to come in super handy.

  46. Wow, I have so much to learn! I linked to this on my weekly roundup, post is under my name. Thanks for sharing, Katie!

  47. Aaron says:

    Thank you so much for the information! Its definitely helped out in building a blog! I’m recommending everyone I know who are interested in blogging to read this. Its even great for people who have done it for a while because its like a refresher course!

  48. Great post! :D (sorry I couldn’t resist!)

    I’ve been blogging off and on for a couple years now…starting off as a “blogging for granny” type. Folks seem to like my style and I have a small following. Still, I’ve a lot from this article and hope to create a slightly following…thank you so much!

    I have another question that’s slightly changing the subject. You mentioned that you moved over to a self-hosted WP blog. Any hints on the best way to do that? I’m planning on making the move from wp.com on the 1st and want to bring all my readers (and my google page rank!) with me. I’m having a horrible time figuring out a seamless way to do that. Any suggestions?

    Once again, thank you for the info you’ve already provided and hopefully for any moving hints as well!

  49. I’m finally back from a little Christmas bloga-break to answer so many of these good questions:

    Jeanette @ Hjemmemamma.com – Which blog are you trying to promote OR which one fits the niche in which you’re commenting?

    Delson Moo – I’ve seen others ask that question before, about “how do you find ideas?” and it always surprises me. When an author writes a book, they have something burning inside that they must share and need a venue in which to do it. No one decides they need to write a book and then figures out what it should be about.

    Bloggers should be the same way. We ought to begin with ideas brimming over and just need a forum in which to share. If you’re out of ideas other than what’s already been said, and you don’t have a particularly unique and catching way to say it, perhaps it’s time to take a break from blogging and just enjoy the community that comes from commenting around the blogosphere.

    I hope that doesn’t sound too harsh; believe me, I’ve thought a lot about your question over the past week as I took a break from blogging for the holidays.

    Now perhaps you do have a unique style and are wildly deserving of your own seat in the blog community. Here are some ways that I keep writing, day after day:
    1. I have my own system at my blog with Monday Missions every week. They give a theme for the week and connect to another post, a “Food for Thought” with information behind the mission. I have to post on Monday or I feel like I missed a deadline. The other thematic posts just stream out from there.
    2. Carnivals give me structure. I know there are many recipe carnivals on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I’m motivated to post new recipes on those days, or at least once a week so I can participate. Wednesday is a hugely popular tip carnival (Works for Me Wednesday), so that day I often have a light-hearted, tip post. Real food is the topic on Wednesdays, too, if I can manage. The carnivals give my whole week a schedule to organize my ideas.
    3. I think about my niche ALL. THE. TIME. I have a huge list of possible blog posts from my own kitchen, as well as emails tagged “ideas” and websites bookmarked in every topic imaginable. I make it my own.
    4. I’m not afraid to talk to experts to make something “new” in my niche. I’m emailing a doctor in Australia and the author of a book in the States currently, debating a hefty topic. That post(s) will be as original as anything.
    5. I have to say again – the ideas should power the blog, not the other way around. If you’ve run out of things to say, don’t clutter up your screen with your own redundancies. Get out there and read something fun.

    Adelle – thanks for the note about the giveaways. I absolutely agree, and they’re fun to run as well. I’m checking out your list now!

    Claire @ Money Saving Plan – It is blog carnival etiquette, especially with Mr. Linky-type roundups, to link back to the host. That’s one reason the host goes through the work of running a carnival! It’s an easy way to support others in the blog world, too. I always put a little note or list at the end of my posts. See an example here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/12/02/simple-frugal-homemade-gifts-for-kids-books-on-cd-playdough-kits-bathtime-fun/ I link almost all my recipes to carnivals if you want more examples or food carnivals to enter yourself. Good, important question!

    Susan @ A Slice of my Life – I moved after only 10 weeks of blogging or so, so I didn’t have any page rank issues. Feedburner will allow you to transfer your feed instead of deleting it, and all the subscribers should stay w/you (if I remember right!). Page rank should come back in time, but it is worth the trouble to email folks you know have quality links to your old site and ask them to change over. I also kept my WordPress site and left messages on popular pages directing readers precisely to the new permalink. The best tip for someone just starting on WordPress is to make all your internal links like this: ../permalink. The “../” takes the place of the http://www.yoursitename.wordpress.com — it means that all your internal links will still be valid when you move. I am blessed to have a computer programmer as a husband! Hope your move is successful and pain-free!

    **I have a new answer to the “best thing you’ve done to increase your blog stats” question, too. I have received 203 trackable clicks over from this guest post at Problogger, and although I know there are more still trickling in as well as some from readers and emails that I probably couldn’t track, entering big weekly carnivals remains the best and easiest way to gain readership. Sweet! Thanks for hosting, all you lovely carnival-hosting bloggers! I’ll keep stopping by (as soon as I get my head on straight from too much time away from high-speed Internet).

    :) Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

  50. Well said. I guess I should take a second track at carnivals.