Blogger development is difficult when you are starting out on your own. As I mentioned in my Armchair BEA intro, I was part of a multi-member blogging team with an extensive network. In the four months I was a member, they had a little over 5,000 followers (Twitter, FB, email subscribers combined). I formed several close relationships with some followers, but when I left, I had no one to turn to. A few that I spoke to afterwards didn’t end up following me to Lit, etc despite their enthusiasm and encouragement to keep blogging. So here I was in January of this year and decided to start forming connections by commenting at other start up blogs in hopes of growing a network. The plan failed primarily because newbie bloggers already have a network in mind. I came across Parajunkee’s Follow Friday blog hop and I was unsure at first if I wanted to participate. I kept putting it off, but I finally joined and through it, have found some great blogs.
Ultimately I had to ask myself what I wanted out of blogging. I wanted to build a more professional network and when I see newbie blogs take off with x amount of followers and comments a few weeks later, I can’t help but wonder what I’m doing wrong. I’ve left my fair share of comments on blogs that follow me and I know time is precious, but when I don’t get that interaction back, I feel as if it’s a waste of time. I constantly see this brought up by other bloggers, the whole issue with commenting. Sometimes it does feel like you’re waiting to be chosen for that team on the playground and you know you’ll be picked last. In the end, I let things go. I don’t obsess about follower count, etc. My pageviews have been pretty steady and even on non-posting days, I have a good number of visits. It’s just comments I wish I had more of.
Do I have a game plan? Not really. I’m coming on my 6 month mark blogging alone and I’m happy where I’m at. I do have some tips for newbie bloggers:
1. Keep a schedule: write down blog tour dates, review dates, interviews, etc on a schedule even if it’s a tentative event.
2. Blogging isn’t a race. You don’t win anything if you have x amount of pageviews, followers, etc. Okay I lie, you probably will get awesome ARCs and swag that will make some of us jealous, but remember it also comes with great responsibility.
3. Those tight friendships you form with other bloggers? It may end one day and not on a good note (trust me on this). Know that backstabbing may occur and in the end, hold your head high.
4. There’s no wrong / right way to review. You review the way you want to. Like to use gifs? Go crazy (okay not really because too many will distract me from the actual review). Review the way you want to.
5. Don’t go crazy with participating in too many cover reveals, meme’s, or blitz events. Some use these as filler posts, but when you see 10 cover reveals on one day alone for one blog for an entire week, I wonder why they are blogging at all.
6. Baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your blog.
7. It’s okay to take time off during blogging and maybe review twice a week. Real life comes first.
8. Most of your followers will come around only when you have a giveaway.
9. Don’t be afraid to participate in read-alongs, blog hops, twitter chats. I’ve met some great people that way.
10. Just have fun. When you don’t, it starts to become a chore.
11. The most important tip: make your own rules.
Please note: If you left a comment to my intro, I’m responding to them later today. My sister was in town visiting and I spent the day with her.