Not getting on a pedestal or anything. Simply documenting my lessons learned since this whole thing started in Aug 2013.
When you first start your blog, you’ll be tempted to just OD on posting. Like 40 postings in one night.
DON’T DO IT.
For 2 reasons:
1. You’ll run out of material in like your first week.
2. If someone like me finds your blog, I’m gonna expect to see 40 posting, every day and if I don’t, you’ve lost some cred.
Don’t overwhelm yourself or the rest of us for that matter.
Let’s both ease into it, alright?
Don’t post drunk.
Of course, I’ve done this.
Like 40 million times.
35 million were bad…just bad.
Which means that the odds of something decent coming out of that isn’t even 50%.
So why bother?
TAG your posts.
You hear me? Tag your shit.
But don’t get too specific.
So for example, if you’re doing a fashion blog, add tags like, “personal style, OOTD, outfit, midi skirts..”
If you’re doing a food blog, tag it with things like “recipe, meatless, vegetarian, artisan, homemade..”
This is how I found every single blog I follow.
Because I search for blogs tagged with the things I’m interested in.
If you’re blog was conceived as an outlet for specific shit, keep it to that.
So like if you have a travel blog, created for documenting the best moments of every trip you’ve taken, that’s the theme of your blog.
Don’t get sidetracked.
If you have a food blog, don’t clutter it up with other shit like pictures of your dog.
Cute..but I didn’t follow you to see that.
Whatever intent you describe in your About page, keep it to that.
Which brings me to my next point..
ALWAYS have an About page.
If you don’t have one, open a new tab and create one.
Come back here when you’re done.
Because as you become more noticeable, people are gonna want to find out more about you.
So give us that.
Don’t make it long and all dramatic.
But make it unique.
You’re hot shit afterall, tell me about it.
DON’T POST A GAZILLION PICTURES.
Depending on the persons browser, internet speed and mode of viewing, a gazillion pictures is probably too much.
Limit it to like 7.
This is especially hard for fashion & style bloggers because we think we’re the shit in every fucking picture.
And since we want you to know that too, we post like 78 of these fucking things.
Meanwhile, your average blogger ain’t trying to go through all that.
Your average blogger just wants to get in, form an opinion, choose to like or comment and move the fuck on.
No disrespect to you, but we gotta do this with you and like 40 other people so you know… don’t make us want to rush through it.
If you’re a food blogger, never forget to post a picture of the final result in your post.
Don’t just give us the recipe.
We are visual creatures. You know this.
The beginning/front page of your post should be the finished product.
You should also end the post with the finished product.
Seriously, look at all your favorite food bloggers.
They all do this, don’t they?
Create a posting schedule and KEEP TO IT.
I hate it when I stumble across someones blog and really like it.
Yet see that the last time they posted was like in June.
All that tells me is that you’re not consistent and I can’t rely on you for whatever it was that I liked about your blog in the first place.
See what I’m saying here?
Recognize your audience.
As people start to find your blog and like and comment on your posts…let them know you see them.
And that you appreciate them taking the time to stop by.
The best way of recognizing a blogger is by showing them love too on their blog.
Which means now it’s your turn to go and like/comment on what they’ve produced.
Follow the Do Onto Others rule because it fucking applies, even here.
If/When someone makes a nasty/haterade comment, DO NOT reply immediately.
Read it. Nod your head like ‘yep, ok’..and then do something else.
Come back to it when you’ve calmed down.
If you’re still hot around the collar, you’re still not ready to address it.
Give yourself more time.
Chances are, that person just said the first thing that came out of their mouth and I mean…don’t act like you haven’t done that before too.
So don’t get defensive too quick.
This is where you want to apply the virtue of grace.
Say something nice like, “I don’t entirely agree but hey, thanks for stopping by.”
Or try and muster up one of these: :).
And if that fails, then just don’t bother responding.
He/She’s probably already moved on.
You should too.
Don’t be too cliche.
You probably don’t have an army of fans, so don’t address us as such.
Treat us like the individuals we are.
Talk/write to us like the individuals we are.
Stop with the, “Hi my darlings!”
Do you say that every time you hang out with your friends?
Alright then..cut that shit out.
When commenting on someone else’s post, make it personal.
Think about it.
When someone says, “Yum!” or “Cute” or “Wow!” on your post, what do you say?
“Thanks!” or “Thank you!”
And like, that’s it.
That is the end of your interaction with that person.
But if someone says, “Oh wow, that looks delicious! I’ve never had that/tried that before, what does it taste like?”
If someone makes a comment like that, you’re more likely to have a virtual conversation with them.
And that’s what you want.
To build a relationship with that person.
Because that person x 300, is what helps grow your blog.
When you interact with someone on a personal level, they’re more likely to come back.
It’s common sense.
Don’t forget it.
Update: Dec 29 2014
When it comes to following: DO NOT make a comment on someones blog like, “follow for follow?”
That is an immediate turn off.
Because all it tells me is that you’re in it for popularity which turns me off even more.
Follow someones blog because you genuinely want to.
Because you’re genuinely into their blog.
It’s like choosing your friends.
Edit your pictures.
Don’t argue with me on this.
I know this may sound painful because editing involves using software with all sort of features and shit.
But in that same token, some of those features help make your picture THE shit.
Because at the end of the day, you want to present decent pictures.
Not blurry, dark, is-that-a-fucking-ghost-behind-her, pictures.
But some decent, damn-that/she/he-looks pretty-damn-good pictures.
So you have 2 options alright?
1. Take better pictures.
This is normally achieved by having a pretty dope camera. Cost ranges but time editing is very minimal.
2. Invest in a good editing software.
Low cost, high time investment.
If you choose to go this way, I’d recommend using LightRoom or Snapspeed (Android – free)
Take time to say Thank You.
Seems like common sense right?
Or maybe it doesn’t.
But as your blog grows and you start crossing some major milestones, just take a min to say thank you.
Dedicate a quick post of appreciation to your readers and your followers because who’s kidding who,
No them = no you.
It’s like in the GodFather when he leans over to deliver some deep shit and ends with, “Remember that.”
Don’t let it get to the point where you can’t remember to say thank you.
Update: Jan 25 2015
So it’s totally ok to blur your photos.
A lot of filters and editing software have features specifically for this.
So all I wanna say about it is, don’t overdo it!!.
Trust me on this, alright?
Especially if you’re featuring food.
Then is nothing more annoying than seeing a beautiful picture, ruined by too much blur.
Literally so blurred that you can’t even make out what the fuck it really is.
You lean in to your screen like, “Wait, what is that?”
And don’t get me wrong…I get it.
Blurring out features narrows the focus which makes your picture look real top shelf.
I get that.
Except if I can’t make out what the fuck it is, you’ve just downgraded yourself right back to amateur.
Stop fucking around with it, it’s good.
Update: Mar 25 2015
Natural Light aka Daylight – is your best friend.
Don’t you hate it when your pictures come out with that yellow-ish/orange-y tint to them?
That shit can make what would be a great picture, look a hot ass mess.
And that’s because when you take pictures under regular, in-house lighting, that lighting (think any household lightbulb) interferes with your cameras ability to distinguish the proper color properties of the image being photographed.
And if you don’t have a decent camera to begin with…it looks even more like shit.
This is especially important for Food Bloggers.
Food photographed at night is not like a selfie taken at night; unless you have a straight up professional lighting kit, that shit will NEVER look good.
Even plain, un-buttered, straight out the fucking bag bread looks good.
Do I really need to say more?
Read your Camera Manual.
And I am NOT fucking playing about this one.
The amount of people that email me saying they have a great camera, but their pictures still come out like shit, I swear to God…
Read your camera manual.
There is so much power in your camera that you don’t and won’t even know about, because you were too ________ (insert whatever bullshit reason you keep giving here) to read your camera manual.
Even a cheap ass DLSR has a fucking wow factor.
Oh, you lost the manual?
Type the make and model of your camera into Google and pull that shit up online.
I’m talking no excuses people.
Because when you do open that manual, and I mean like really spend time understanding what you camera can do…
You’ll have what they call, A Moment of Clarity.
And so will your pictures.
By the way , “understanding what your camera can do” = reading about a feature, then pausing your read so can test/play around with that feature in real life.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s like the difference between regular TV & cable TV.
Ok, as a part-time OOTD blogger – I’m not gonna knock you.
This tip actually only applies to those of you who take a picture of yourself in the mirror.
If you’re taking a picture of yourself in the mirror because you wanna show how cute you look which I totally get…
All I’m gonna say is please… please make sure your background environment, at least the portions that we can see, looks equally good.
It takes your picture, your blog and your cred right down to ghetto, when you take a pic in front of the mirror but have a messy ass room behind you.
What the fuck is that about?
They’ve been telling you since you were old enough to hear to clean you room.
Clean your fucking room up!
Update: May 05 2015
ALWAYS Reply to Comments.
Not sure if I made it clear earlier but people, you gotta reply when someone comments.
It comes across incredibly arrogant when you can’t take the time to respond to someone after they can take the time to comment.
Like what’s the point of me commenting if you’re not going to respond?
Besides, 99% of comments are really, really nice so there’s really no fucking excuse.
Don’t be a dick.
Styling your blog.
When it comes to your blog look, try to keep it clean.
People in general aren’t attracted to a mess.
This means don’t litter the sidebars with too much random shit. Or fonts I can’t read.
If your theme offers sidebars, use that space smarter.
Like instead of crowding it up with ‘Other Bloggers I Follow’ and banners of random sites, why not use those widgets to tell me about you.
I’d rather see some of the things that inspire you, a list of your accomplishments, some images from your personal life, whatever – than a snapshot of your Facebook friends.
Because Facebook is for Facebook.
And your blog is for the best of everything else.
Update: Jun 15 2015
Stats are weird. They can tell you something or they can just be like ‘meh’.
As your blog becomes more popular, you’ll find that you won’t need to refer to your stats page that often, but no matter how big you get, don’t stop paying attention to the Referrers section and the Search Terms section.
The Referrers section will tell you who’s driving traffic to your blog which is always eye-opening, especially if you’re interested in collaborations.
And the Search Terms section tells you what people are looking for when they search Google or Bing, which helps you because it’ll give you a better idea of how to title/label your pictures based on how people are searching.
See what I mean?
Update: Jul 29 2015
If you didn’t take the picture, give credit to who did.
And now I know you know to do this, but some of you still think the rest of us are dopes.
Like we can’t spot the difference between your pic and someone else’s.
And this is not just for food bloggers.
This is for anyone who needs to reference a picture period.
It’s one thing to see your photo on someone else’s blog but it’s annoying as fuck to see that blog act like it’s theirs.
The fuck are you thinking???
Bloggers can raise all sorts of alarms these days, especially when it comes to copyright content.
So if you don’t want your blog pulled from the search engines and whatnot, nobody can find your blog – just do the right thing.
Update: Aug 05 2015
If you’ve been blogging for over 1 year – revisit your ABOUT page.
I say this because what you wrote on your About page when you initially started blogging …$100 says it no longer defines you.
By the time a year has passed, you’ve firmly settled into the scope of your blog.
You have a clear idea of what your blog is about.
You know what kind of content you blog about, you’ve formed a steady posting rhythm, your pictures are better, you’ve got a bunch of followers – your blog has matured.
And it’s important to make sure your About page reflects that.
That’s like turning 21 but still carrying around a temporary licence.
Update: Sep 15 2015
Choosing your blog name.
Sigh…where do I even begin?
Ok rule of thumb:
– Don’t name your blog about your age.
“Twenty-something Life”, “Teenage Dreams”…
Absolutely no offense to anyone who actually has these names (I just wrote down the first titles that came to my mind), but these names suuuuuuck.
Because when you turn 30 and if you still plan on keeping your blog, you’re gonna look like an idiot.
– Don’t name your blog about your career/job.
UNLESS and ONLY unless, you are planning to be in that role for as long as you have your blog.
Because if your blog is called “Life of a Teacher” and you switch jobs and become a fucking paralegal, you’re gonna look like a silly goose.
– Don’t have a long ass name.
Me: You have a ____ blog!?! How cool! What’s the name of it, I’ll look it up now..
You: Yeah! It’s called ‘Whattocookandeatwhentheresnofoodinyourfridgeandnooneelseishome…
Me: ….da fuk…?? You know what – nevermind. I’m all set.
– Get rid of the special characters. No ?!^%”; (*)||<~
NONE of this shit.
– Don’t bite off of someone else’s name.
If you’re biting off of someone else’s blog, chances are one of us is gonna know who’s blog it is and you’ll look ridiculous. No one likes a copycat, come up with your own shit.
All I’m saying is think about what the intention of your blog is, what the content of it is and who your audience is before you select a name.
Totally necessary and I should probably get on board with this so I don’t have much to say except this:
DON’T GO OVERBOARD.
Please…for the love of god, don’t overdo it with the watermarks.
Stop spraying it diagonally across the front of your picture!
It totally distracts us from the actual image and why the hell would you want to do that??
Place the watermarks neatly in a corner of your picture and keep it discreet.
This means that you’ll want to look at things like your font size, how many words there are, the color of your watermark…
If the name of your blog is written in big ass fonts, taking up half the damn picture, you’re fucking up.
If your watermark has over 50 characters/letters in it, you’re fucking up.
If the color of your watermark is so noticeable that you see it as a separate entity from the actual picture, you’re fucking up.
Stop fucking up.
Update: Nov 15 2015
Build up an archive.
Trust meeeeeeeee. You need this.
Because there’s going to be way too many times you’re gonna fall behind in building your content and you’ll wanna have a ‘fuck this’ moment.
AND THAT’S TOTALLY COOL, you probably deserve it.
Or maybe you just wanna be a lazy fuck, whatever.
My point is build an archive – so you can have your time away, take a little break, without actually breaking your stride.
When you build an archive of material, writing your posts in advance, getting the hard part out the way…then it’s just a matter of scheduling it to be published.
Just set the date you want your shit to go live and step away, guilt motherfucking free.
Update: Jan 08 2016
Add a MORE line.
You know what this is, I know you know what this is.
A more line is that thing, that symbol that looks like tire tracks, in the toolbar above where you write your posts.
Start using it.
Because when someone comes to your blog, either from a post they’ve seen somewhere or just from clicking your username (more on that in a sec), we want to be able to leisurely peruse your blog.
Maybe even for a while.
But we can’t and won’t if we gotta scroll forever just to get past one blog post.
I’m telling you, stop that fucking horseshit – put a more line to separate the beginning of a post from the rest of it so that we can get a chance to see your other posts.
Besides, a little ‘read more…’ is nice little teaser and that’s what you want, right?
Update: Feb 08 2016
Gravatarrrrr, people. We gotta get this shit on track.
Your gravatar is a tiny passport-sized identifier that represents you when you ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on someone else’s shit.
Check this out –
If I’m scrolling through different blogs in the WordPress Reader (see Tag Your Shit above) and come across a comment you made, if you have an eye-catching gravatar or made an interesting/funny comment, my first instinct is to click on your gravatar, hoping it’ll link me to your blog or somewhere that I can find out more about you.
THEREFORE… it is INCREDIBLY important that your gravatar not only be personal to you but more importantly, that it be accurate.
The amount of times….the amount of times I have clicked on someones gravatar only for it to take me to a blog that hasn’t been updated in MONTHS, sometimes motherfucking YEARRRS,
Years! Like are you fucking kidding me??
Stop with that HORSE SHIT.
Act like you really wanna be on here and that shit is your contact card.
Act like you’re serious about being a blogger, alright?
Get rid of the broken links, put a dope picture up and then give it a test-try. Act like you’re a stranger that clicked on your gravatar.
How does it come across to you? Does it give a fair representation of who you are and/or of your blog?
I’m not trying to get on my high horse here but please, for the love of god, if you haven’t…please go to your wp-admin dashboard, scroll down to the ‘Users’ icon and click on ‘My Profile’.
Fill out the shit that makes sense, upload a picture that makes sense and link to the shit that you represent.
End of story.
Update: May 5 2016
This applies to only the bloggers that are using WordPress as a platform, shoutout to all my WP bloggers!
By now you guys are familiar with the WP Reader, right?
It’s at the top left of your page when you sign into your WP account and BESIDES displaying a feed of all the other WP blogs you follow, it also provides a DIRECT correlation to how you can increase traffic to your blog.
Shoutout to all my non-WP bloggers! It’s about to suck to be you right now.
Alright WP people, here we go –
I already told you to tag your shit months ago, so assuming you did that, way #1 to drive traffic is to ‘like’ other peoples post via TAGS.
TAGS: Search for other blogs you’re interested in, blogs who share similar interest to your blog, search for them by tags.
So ok you’re a fashion blogger, right there in the WP reader, type in the tag; streetstyle
Or OOTD or Outfit or Style Diaries….
Whatever tags you feel best describes the content of the type of blog you’re looking for, put that shit in and hit ‘search’.
Note: spaces are accepted. This isn’t IG. Style Diaries is 2 words.
After you hit search, a number of related blogs will pop up in your feeder and literally, ALL you have to do it scroll down and like each of them. Scroll, like, scroll, like, scroll, like, scroll, like…
This works in the same way as if you actually went to their blog, read the entire post and then hit ‘like.
It’s just a much faster way!
This will drive and increase traffic to your blog because every time you like a post, the author of the blog is notified and 90% of the time, they will go to the blog of the ‘liker’.
Think about it.
When WP notifies you that someone liked your post, isn’t one of the first things you do is to click on that persons name to see what that person is all about? 9/10…ok 8/10 times, you click that persons name or the blog title next to their name. And every time you do, you’re directed to their blog.
Let me summarize here because I feel like I’m losing some of you:
Search by Tag in WP reader – > ‘like’ the posts that populate after your search – > the person who’s blog you just liked gets notified that someone new likes their shit – > they get all curious about who just liked their shit – > they click on your name or the blog link next to your name – > they are directed to your blog – > every time they go to your blog = increase in your traffic (IF YOU KEEP THIS UP!!!!)
Method 2: Likes will help increase your traffic but COMMENTS are what will increase your followers.
So search for shit by tags like you did before but this time, COMMENT.
Don’t be a doucebag and only ‘like’ – that’s a real douchy thing to do, give an honest comment.
If you can’t think of one, ask yourself what about your post would make people comment? Your shits probably not that deep either but you can ALWAYS find something nice to say, so don’t be a douche.
Another reason to comment is because while ‘liking’ by tags in the Reader will help YOU, it actually doesn’t help the person who’s blog you’re liking.
See they’re thinking they’re getting all these likes because people are actually going to their blog so their traffic numbers must be increasing too, right? Yeah no. The Reader doesn’t work that way.
It only counts as traffic if someone actually goes to their direct blog, not through some feed.
So you’re kinda cheating them out of the same love you want, you see what I’m saying?
So once again – don’t be a douche.
Leave an earnest comment, make yourself likeable so that you can become followable.
Update: July 04 2016
As authentic as you possibly can be.
Because they can always tells when you’re not.
These bastards always know. So just talk to us like you would your normal friends.
No friends? No problem.
We’ll still be here when they all move on so give us the benefit of the doubt and really personalize your words.
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE of what I’m talking about.
If you click on the link, what I like about Kara is that whether 2 people or 22 people like her shit, she sounds like same.
She talks the same.
This bitch does not give a flying fuck and I love it.
The sooner you become you, the quicker you get to us.
Update: July 22 2016
If you’ve been blogging for over 6 months…and by blogging I mean actively posting on a consistent basis…. it’s time to go back and revisit your earlier work.
You must build the habit of periodically going back and looking over your work. It’s one of the most immediate forms of feedback you can get to help you become better at blogging and deliver better content.
Every 6 months, or sooner if you’d like, go into your archives and review your work. Take a sampling of your posts from 6 months ago and really study them.
Be proud of how much you’ve grown since then. Look at how your writing has improved, how much better your pictures look. How many more likes you get now compared to before.
Then look for areas of improvement.
What still makes you cringe?
Is your blog aesthetic still too busy? Is your font too small? Do your watermarks take away from your pictures? Are people not commenting enough? Are your pictures still too blurry? Do you need more paragraph breaks?
Look at all the little things that bother you, that you want to improve upon. Find things that you want to get better at.
Write ’em all down and then rank them, in order of importance and time required to correct.
Let your top 3 items be the things you fix first. Or top 5 if you can swing it.
Implement your improvements then in 6 months, look at it again. Review it all over again, looking for new/other things this time.
Each round of improvement will help your blog. BELIEVE me.
If you keep this up, you’ll start to see that you have less and less to nit-pick at and eventually, you’ll have a sort of self sustaining blog.
It’s like having an adult child in college. You’re not off the hook yet but you can walk around naked and no one will give you shit.
What I’m saying is – you’ll have formed a rhythm and no longer have to worry about the nuisance items.
And that’s when you start to feel the pressure of being a blogger ease.
Because who are we kidding, it takes a lot of work to be a good blogger and in the blogging world – to be known for your work takes a lot of work – but at least the pressure of building your blog will be off and you can start to point all your effort to the content.
Update: Dec 23 2016
Make a habit of reviewing different themes.
When was the last time you changed your blog theme? It’s been a minute, right?
There are seriously tons and tons of just really lovely themes made for any kind of blog look you want and a bunch of them are fucking FREE.
It’s kinda like shopping.
Where you get to try on any look you want on your blog….demo it, customize it, adjust the fonts, feel it out, you know?
THEN you can chose whether or not to activate it.
Changing up the theme of your blog is a great way to upgrade it. It’s like a makeover.
It’s like the difference between cable TV and local TV.
And your writings, your photos, all your hard work deserves to be showcased in the best and most cohesive way out there.
Upgrade your blog. Change your theme.
Update: Feb 13 2017
Food Bloggers: STOP POSTING YOUR FOOD IN BLACK AND WHITE!!
Fuck is wrong with you??
I can’t believe I even have to say this right now.
You trying to showcase this amazing meal you just made, you just took the time to write up and you post it in black and white!!!?!
Are you nuts??
How’s that supposed to excite me?
A black and white picture of a plate of food but there’s no colors or texture to it and I’m supposed to be like you blog or even follow you??
Act like you know better, because you do. You most certainly do.
Update: Nov 16 2017
Be a little obsessed with your blog.
If you wrote a great post, brag about that shit man.
You put in real time to craft a good post. Your pictures are great, your words are flowing, you did alright…..so braaaggggg about that shit mannnn!
Tell your friends, tell your mama, tell your man…tell everyone!
Talk about what you do, talk about what you create –
I mean, you did good work and they should know that….
Do NOT be afraid (or uninterested) to stalk your own blog. Troll that shit!!
Act like someone who is brand new to your blog. How does it feel?
Does it make sense??
How does the layout look, how do the colors look, how do the words flow?
Does it all gel together or can you spot some areas of improvement….?
Read your old posts, read your new posts!
How do you sound? Has your voice changed? Has it gotten better? Worse?
What do the comments look like? Are people commenting? Are folks leaving notes, are you generating interest?
You gotta stalk your blog sometimes man, trust me, you learn so much.