I learned that people don't like word verification. I wish I could remember which blog I first read this on, because I'd give them credit. After I read this (approximately 3 months ago), I turned off my word verification. The thing is, I still preview comments, so if I got a spammer I could just delete it. In the time since I turned off word verification, I haven't gotten any comments in other languages or in nastiness. And it saves readers time and frustration by not having to go through it.
I learned that as in real life, in order to make friends you need to put yourself out there. As in visiting others' blogs, making comments, and if you really enjoy what they have to say, following them. Participating in memes or blog carnivals are a great way to meet people. I've tried a variety to see which ones I like best, and the one that I've stuck to is Muffin Tin Monday. But if you're not into cooking or muffin tins, there are plenty to choose from. By coming back week to week, you'll meet other regular bloggers and make friends.
I learned that people like posts where you are real. But all things in moderation. Do you really want to read about someone who is constantly down or struggling? Likewise, do you really want to read about someone who is always having a perfect life? I think a balance between the two creates legitimacy in your blog.
Blogging shouldn't be hard. There are so many things to blog about! If you're having trouble thinking of topics, use what you have. Take a picture of something you love and talk about why it's so great. Write about a book you're reading. A movie you've seen. A food you've cooked. Nutella (because it deserves its own post). Anything can be a topic. I once took a picture of a piece of wood that I was planning to blog about - but I had so many other things to talk about I never did get around to writing on the wood!
Learn how to go into google and see what kind of posts you're doing that attact readers. If only to gauge your own writing and see where your strengths are. I just think it's an interesting study of your blog. And it may surprise you. It certainly did me. My most popular post in the past 6 months? The Lure of the Park Ranger.
I learned how to write posts ahead of time and schedule them for posting without me. This is by far one of my favorite features. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out. So handy on the days that I am teaching. Also, I especially use it with Memory Lane Fridays - this way I don't have to be up early to get my post out there for those of you who participate - it just goes automatically once I schedule it. Love this feature!
I'm still very much a newbie and I still have tons to learn about blogging (and would love to hear your tips if you have any), but I've had a lot of fun with it so far. I've enjoyed meeting others and having a creative outlet has been essential for me during this year of transition after having the twins. Especially during those long, snowy winter days where we were trapped in the house. Whew! TGI Summer!