So You Want To Be a Blogger?

Before I dive headfirst into this post, I know I owe SEVERAL readers a heartfelt apology.

If you’ve sent me an e mail within the past oh… six months, asking me advice on how to start a blog or build your blog audience, I’ve been meaning to write back. Really I have. But every day I’m inundated with e mail. Every day I’ve got a monstrous things-to-do list and on top of all of that, I’m a forgetter. Just ask my mom, and she’ll probably go into a long rant about those photos/products/e mails I promised to send her and all kinds of other yadda-yadda-yadda.

Please don’t be mad at me, my brain is like a sieve. It’s a problem.

Rosie_The_Blogger

But anyway, I’ve recieved several e mails recently from aspiring or new bloggers asking the same kinds of questions. So I will attempt to answer some of them here. If you want to be a blogger, these are my top five insights.

1. Blogging may start as a hobby…but it’s a hobby that requires a tremendous amount of work. Are you ready to put in work?


Don’t be fooled. Blogging is fun, yes. It’s an avenue for personal expression, definitely. But it requires a tremendous amount of work. Behind the scenes, many (if not all) of your favorite bloggers are staying up into the wee hours of the morning, and then waking up early to make sure they’ve got a fresh post up for your reading enjoyment the next day. Being a truly great blogger requires a certain amount of sacrifice — and that comes straight out of your personal life and downtime. Learning the basics of HTML, coming up with fresh ideas, getting the right photos you need, linking back to your sources… all are time consuming but extremely necessary parts of building your blog.

2. Everyone and their mom has a blog now. What’s gonna make yours different and special?

Name your top ten favorite celebrity blogs. Or beauty blogs, hair blogs, food blogs, fashion blogs, mom blogs, music blogs…whatever category you can think of, there’s the ones you visit often and hopefully leave comments on, and there are the ones you read once a month if even that often. Why is that? It’s important to identify what resonates with you as a reader, what keeps you coming back for more…and from those answers, your inspiration will come.

Because there’s such an overwhelming number of blogs out there now, it’s even MORE important to make yourself stand out. In a GOOD way. When I first started Afrobella in 2006, I started it because there were no blogs like it. I couldn’t find a natural hair-loving, black beauty celebrating, plus size fashion endorsing blog that filled the void of all the print magazines that had been sucked into the vortex. That was in 2006. Flash forward to 09 and there are SO many awesome natural hair blogs, black beauty blogs, plus size fashion blogs…. the pressure is continually on me to step my game up. So I sincerely believe it’s even harder for a new blogger to establish themselves and carve out a distinct niche. But it CAN be done. Do your research. Visit other blogs that inspire you, so you can know what’s out there first and find a fresh way to present your information. Which brings me to #3.

3. BE ORIGINAL.

Not too long ago, another blogger came at me with accusations of plagarism. In the past I’ve gotten some e mails that bothered me…but this one REALLY bothered me, because I PRIDE myself on my originality. I work hard to write fresh material for this blog — and for AOL — every day of the work week. I was so incensed by the accusation that actually asked a friend of mine about this, who runs one of the most popular gossip blogs around…and she admitted this happens ALL the time. When you’re writing about the same kind of topics as other bloggers (especially breaking celebrity-related news), at some point some overlap will occur. It’s inevitable.

Look at your favorite beauty blogs right now, or celebrity gossip blogs…. most of the time they’re writing about the same thing. That’s because most of us get the same press releases from public relations firms, we watch the same television shows, and we all rush to get the information out to the reading, clicking public ASAP. Which is why sometimes it’s better to wait — I’d always, ALWAYS rather review a product than just post the press information about a product that isn’t available yet. It’s also why it’s vitally important to have your own voice and your own views, and not just cut and paste from press releases. Otherwise you stand the risk of being caught in the shuffle.

4. Make your own blog family.

What’s that saying, no man is an island, no man stands alone? I think the same goes for the blogosphere. I strongly believe in forging relationships with your fellow bloggers, showing and sharing respect, and being a contributing part of the blogging community. You can do this in several ways. You can join a group — many of my favorite beauty bloggers show each other weekly link love through Web Snob or Glamour Squad, things of that nature. While some of these require an invitation to join, I’ll tell you from my first hand experience — you don’t need an invitation to any exclusive blog group or organization to make a name for yourself, or to make friends in the blogosphere, just like you don’t need to join a sorority to make friends in college. How do you do find friends in the blogosphere? By commenting regularly on the blogs you like. By linking the articles you find interesting on your own blog. By communicating with these bloggers via Twitter or Facebook or via e mail, sometimes. By being friendly (without being pushy or insistent or leaving comments just to post your blog title on someone else’s blog or getting mad if a blogger doesn’t write back right away).

I’d be lost without my friends in the blogosphere. Especially in the early days when I first started out, I learned about blogging etiquette so much by just e mailing and communicating with the bloggers whose sites I used to comment on every day. While blogging CAN be extremely competitive, it’s better, smarter, and emotionally healthier to be cool with everyone, instead of approaching blogging as a game where there can only be one winner. I’ve been called “naive” before, for stating my belief in the sisterhood of the blogosphere. Well, I still do believe. And my sisters (and brothers) online know who they are. Love to all of you!

5. Don’t come into this expecting free products. Or money.

If you’re getting into blogging just for freebies or profit, I’ll tell ya right now — you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, and this probably won’t pay off in the long run.

Just this week I logged onto the Estee Lauder Facebook page and there was a comment right on the wall — “How do I get free samples?” It was apparently deleted shortly afterwards. I read that and thought, how tacky, rude, embarrassing, and clearly unprofessional. That kind of thing can make public relations people and business owners wary of working with bloggers, for understandable reasons.

As with anything in life, you have to put in hard work, prove your worth, and then the rewards come later. It took me at least a year to start making any kind of income from the advertising on my blog. I am extremely (almost annoyingly) cautious about the kinds of ads and affiliations I host on my blog. It took longer than six months before PR companies recognized that my reviews were considered, well-written and deliberate, and consequently started sending me products to review. Recently I’ve been meeting bloggers who seem to believe that there’s a fast track, and getting freebies is all that it’s about. So. Not. True.

As much as it may pain professional journalists, blogging is the new journalism. It’s the new medium for the masses to get information. With newspapers and glossy magazines going down left and right, and the recent implementation of FTC guidelines, it’s even more important now for bloggers to recognize and respect the need for professionalism.

I’ll be writing more about this soon, but for the interested bloggers who e mailed me, I hope this begins to answer some of your questions! And if you have more, please leave them in the comments below.

Are you a blogger? Please introduce yourself in the comments, and share your best advice for bloggers on the come up!

(photo obtained from LuxuryRealEstate.com).

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Comments

  1. Great post! I wrote a series of Blogging 101 posts a couple of weeks back too because I was getting all these inquiries. Mine are at http://bit.ly/LuvviesBloggingTips

  2. That is a great list and I would add one thing: write about what you love and are passionate about. Thousands of blogs are started everyday and often they are shut down or abandoned within six months because the owners lose interest. If you are not passionate about what you are writing about, it will quickly become a chore.

    I write a social justice blog and therefore it gives me a variety of subjects that I can write about everyday. Look for something that is going to give you a lot of diversity, but still allow you to be focused on a particular subject.

  3. Solid P

  4. Great post! I just have to say that Afrobella is one the nicest bloggers I’ve come across, so you couldn’t find a better person to guide you on your journey into blogging.

    If I may add my 2 cents, my blog is approaching it’s one year anniversary and I have found that the time commitment necessary is no joke! Thankfully I am truly passionate about my blog and the subject matter that I cover (beauty), so I don’t mind the time spent. But I advise any new blogger to find something that they don’t mind writing about for hours on end.

    Then buckle down for a long wait. I’m just recently getting the attention of PR companies, so hang in there!

  5. Great article. I couldn’t have said it better. Blogging is fun but it def is WORK! Lol. I have a natural hair care beauty and style blog http://www.agrlcanmac.com

    I would just add that it takes time and patience to get your blog lots of traffic and “popularity”. It will not happen overnight and you have to remain diligent if that is what you’re going for. But I advise you to just have fun with it and it will grow on its own. I’ve had mine for a year and a half and from where I started to now is amazing.

  6. Being male I’ll admit I don’t stop by regularly but when I saw your post on Twitter regarding this article I thought i’d drop in.

    I think your first point is spot on. I had NO IDEA how much time it takes to keep a blog running (and I still do not update as often as I would like).

    I also think point 4 is one that is critical to success. I have a number of fellow music bloggers to thank for supporting me in the early days and linking to my posts. Some have since ceased blogging but I still keep in contact via email and/or twitter. Being part of a ‘community’ is vital.

    I’d also add that it’s important to know what you want out of the blog before you start. If it’s fame, money and 1000′s of hits from day one, then do not waste your time. I still get relatively few daily hits but those that do stop by enjoy it and leave comments which is enough for me.

  7. I am a blogger. I mean I have my personal blog of my random funny observations, but I just started a blog about living with bipolar (click my name to go to it), because there aren’t enough resources, blogs, testimonies, etc out there in support of bringing the disease to the forefront.

    I’m hoping that with my reflections on each of my episodes, not only can I help better understand what triggers my mood swings and possibly how to control them, but to give a first-hand look for those who don’t quite understand the illness, exactly how it feels to have it.

    I’m not looking for money, or recognition (which is why my real name is omitted in all instances of my blogging), but I feel that if I can help one person who’s suffering, or help someone understand someone who’s suffering, then I’ve made some sort of positive impact on the world.

  8. Very informative with lots of good tips. I have been writing my blog for over a year and I initially started it to fuel my writing interests. My blog has been going for almost a year and I’m happy with the bit of growth from myself as a blogger and from my blog itself. I enjoy the community building with other fashion/beauty bloggers and meeting people with similar interests as well. I know there are thousands upon thousands of blogs out there, but at the end of the day, as long as I’m happy with what I’m writing about and this never feels like a “job” for me, then that is all that matters.

  9. Every time I write a post and post it, minutes after I’m like D’OH!!! Why didn’t I write THAT? Chaotic Diva and SoulUK, your comments just triggered that reaction for me.

    Point #6 – WHY do you want to be a blogger? It’s so important to know why you’re getting into it. If it’s to impart valuable information and share your experiences with the world, that’s a noble reason and well worth the work. Continual inspiration will come from that. If it’s to be “internet famous” and get free things/money/accolades… that can lead to burnout and IMO means your motivation will eventually fade away. It’s important to know what your blog will be before you build it. And to keep the fires burning, come at it like a professional. Have an editorial calendar, so you know what you’ll be writing every day. Make goals for your blog. Then be willing to put in the hard work to achieve those goals.

  10. Im a blogger too! It felt good to type those words, mainly because I really adore blogging. If you are looking to cash in quickly, you will soon learn that this may not be the avenue for you. However if you enjoy communicating with the masses (or the three people who may read your blog initially) then you will stick around because you value your space in the blogosphere. My blog isn’t just a product review zone, it is a space where I have made great connections with wonderful people. Despite the obstacles that you may face on the road to blogging, I say this- stay true to yourself, be original and enjoy the wonderful world of blogging!
    PJD

  11. this post is so spot on! when i started my blog, i really didn’t know what i wanted it to ultimately be. i really just wanted to post about fat fashion since its an interest of mine. i quickly learned though that blogging is kind of like a full-time job. sourcing images, researching for posts, image editing, and actually writing a coherent post takes a lot of work, especially when you already have a full-time job. it can be overwhelming.

    what i’ve learned is that its best to plan posts in advance. while i don’t write posts in advance, i like to create an editorial calendar so that i know exactly what i want to cover on which day. sometimes, things don’t go as planned but its definitely helpful to have.

    also, something else i’ve learned is to be consistent, so that your readers come to expect certain things from you. i have a few ‘franchises’ like fatspiration fridays where i post body-positive images and editorials. i also have one called ‘in our size’ where i showcase the plus-size equivalent to straight-size fashions. these also help your blog stand out versus the other blogs that may post about the same thing.

    being as though i’m in the (fat) fashion blogging game, i find that people will always come back to your blog if they like your fashion/style so i think its important to showcase your personal style. its one thing to just write about fashion but i think to go the next level you must in a sense, show and prove. that doesn’t mean to post what you wear everyday but every once in a while doesn’t hurt.

  12. I do this for a hobby after putting in 12 hour days. I’m not a journalist nor I’m I trying to be one, I just write about the things and people that I love. There are days when I’m tired and sometimes it can reflect in my writing, but when an idea hits me, I must put it on paper to be retrieved later for a blog post. I love it because it’s fun. In this youth obsessed culture, I have yet to find a blog solely dedicated to women over 40, which isn’t dedicated to the superficial, so I’m determined to create my own opportunity.There are some great Blogs out there and everyday I find a new and “fantabulous” one.

  13. don’t feel like you HAVE to post everyday to maintain followers and supporters….believe me if you post things that you love and put your best creative energy into it when you do, your readers will appreciate it and look forward to what’s next. Also..don’t overload yourself with too much tv or other blog content..limit yourself to reading certain ones certain days, or else you will start to become judgemental of your own work and feel like you are not as original, esp. if you seem to share similar content. Also, do not be afraid to pull from your personal life to blog/inspire others..you can control what you post, but if you feel it will help your readers..don’t be afraid to share it.

    if you plan to be an avid blogger, try your best to stick to a writing schedule if possible (i have 7 blogs out there..i do not blog daily, yet when i have time to write, i have certain days that i blog on each one..to keep them updated..however since having baby and homeschooling the kid, it’s been way spoadic..lol), and take pride in your blog appearance..dont overload it with INRELEVANT ads..keep it relative to your blog, create a nice header, do link exchanges, and the sharper and cleaner your photos the better…ok..i have said enough….sorry.

    ps: micro blog..twitter and facebook are priceless when you do not feel like posting a full blog.

  14. This is a great post! I haven’t been blogging long but I agree that it takes a lot of work. I normally begin entries as drafts in advance while I research/edit (badly) photos which can take up to a few weeks. At the moment life has gotten in the way so I’ve only really posted short, sharp entries, and spent more time on networking. But I guess at the end of the day it’s your space to do as best you can with it :)

  15. This is a great post and I have to reiterate the time commitment that blogging commands. Just last night I was up til 2am image editing for a forthcoming post. If I wasn’t writing about a subject that I’m passionate about (plus size fashion) it would have been a mojor chore.It wasn’t something urgent, but I enjoy it so I don’t mind that it eats into my sleeping time from time to time.
    Also, when you start out you will be one of six people reading your blog. The traffic will come with time as long as you write regular quality content and give people a reason to stop by. Just because you have very few readers doesn’t mean you should let the quality of your posts diminish- you want your archives to be worth visiting!

  16. I am a blogger and I go on your site every morning, sometimes, even before I go on my own. You are an inspiration to me and you are the reason why I even started my blog. My blog is mainly straight talk about my life, relationships, music, fashion, beauty and anything that just happens to be on my mind. I’ve started it in March 09 and I am very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time. I do giveaways to my readers that I pay with out of my own pocket, and never looked at my blog to give me income, but I hope that my blog allows me to open up some new doors. Thank you so much for this post, because it reassures me that I am going in the right direction! BTW, my blog is http://www.therealchattypatty.com!

  17. You have a lot of wisdom to share! Thank you!! :)

  18. This post is sooo right!!! And Christina…the editorial calandar is a must!! I get so many things from PR firms that its hard to keep track and make sure I have my own stuff in the mix. By planning ahead, you won’t be killing yourself everday about what you’re gonna blog about and, like a couple of other people said, you can write the blog in advance. It also keeps you posting frequently, keeping your blog up to date.

    Another point I would add is to be clear on who your audience is. Who are writing for? Who will best benefit from what you’re writing? That way when you start working with PR firms and advertisers, you can better discern what topics and advertisements fit into your vision of what you want your blog to be!

    Thanks so much for this post!!

  19. Awesome post! I definitely feel that patience in blogging is so necessary, which makes it so important to blog about things you care about. If after a few weeks, you’re mad because you don’t have the same number of followers as XYZ blog, then you need to reconsider why you’re writing. I started a natural hair blog on a whim with a good friend almost a year ago, and we’re constantly amazed at how far the blog has come in that time (www.leaveinthekinks.blogspot.com). My personal blog is about other issues that I care about, but I’m still working on getting the content to where I want it to be (click on my name for the link). I’m hoping that my writing will be of some comfort/use to other bisexuals who were perhaps raised in a conservative deeply ethnic community like I was, other women who’ve been through traumatic sexual experiences, other folk in interracial relationships, or struggling with undiagnosed mental health issues, etc. Like ChaoticDiva said, if I can help someone understand, then it’s all worth it =)

  20. Great article! I’ve been toying around with a blog, and have actually started two, but they are mostly for myself but when I’m ready I will make them public so I’m writing with that in mind. Can you give more info on the blog etiquette you referred to? Also, I have some ideas, but not a lot of money, how does one go about getting a graphic or logo done? I don’t want to just grab an image or infringe on anyone.

  21. Excellent post. I couldn’t have blogged it better myself.

    I have a blog, Spoiled Pretty, and I get a ton of emails asking me for blogging advice. And this is usually my response:

    If I didn’t make any money off of my blog, if I never received another sample, and if no one but my mom and BFF knew my site existed…I would still blog, because it’s one of my favorite things to do.

    I spend about 30-35 hours a week maintaining my blog, in addition to my FT job. And I sleep, on average, 5 hours a night.

    But I love my blog. I love that people enjoy my blog. I love the friendships and opportunities that have resulted from this endeavor.

    So I guess my advice is that, if you want to be a blogger, you do it for the love of it…because serious blogging is not a half-ass hobby. It takes a lot of love, time, patience, and hustle to stay afloat in this endless sea of blogs.

    Daneen :)

  22. Blogging, much like pimpin’, btw, aint easy.

    It really is hard work. You have to define perimeters for yourself and discover what success is for you personally.

    Remember: Not everyone can be Afrobella (she so lovely). But you can certainly be the best and most lovely you that you are. And that my friends speaks in volumes to the world at large.

    Holler.

  23. Bella,
    Rant? yadda, yadda, yadda?? Your mom is extremely grateful for the ”compliment”.

    Anyway, this is an extremely informative post and your willingness to share is a true reflection of your character.

    I also believe that a new blogger should be prepared to accept constructive criticism
    D

  24. Thank you so much for writing this post! As a new beauty blogger on the scene it is so inspiring to read words of wisdom from the bloggers you look up to. And you definitely fall into that category for me. ;)

    Beauty has always been a passion of mine and has been the industry I’ve worked in ever since my first job at age 16. So blogging has now become a way for me to share that passion with others. It IS a lot of work. A lot more than I had anticipated to be honest. But I love it, I look forward to it, and it truly makes me happy. I have never been raised to go after things that bring you temporary fulfillment. So it is a shame to meet people who are in the blogging world simply for money and freebies. It’s really not that simple!

    So I thank you and the other bloggers out there who encouraging us newbies with your honest and true experiences. I plan to take your advice, build relationships with my peers, and continue with my passion. Thank you again, Afrobella! ;)

  25. Great post Bella! And right on time! My blog started of as just a hobby but boy! It is TIME CONSUMING, especially when you have a 1,000 responsibilities. It is also something you have to really get right, its sort of a hit or miss situation if you will. Because if you don’t carve out yourself a niche outside of the millions of other blogs on the web you will just get lost in the shuffle.

  26. As a UK beauty blogger where blogs are still quite new, this is such a helpful feature. I’ve been blogging about beauty for about 18 months and people here are just starting to embrace the blog. Especially love the point about having a ‘blog family’…so important and so true. I know who I consider my blog family – the ones who helped and supported in the beginning when I thought 100 hits a week was amazing!! And the ones who continue to follow and leave all important comments…giving the love back is half the job actually – i spend a lot of time (gladly) commenting on other blogs. What started as a 15 minute a day hobby now takes literally hours – it can’t be done in my employer’s time so it has to be done in mine, but I love doing it so much it is time happily spent. Thanks for fab post. XXX

  27. I absolutely adore blogging. However, it it is a lot of work-but it’s honestly work that I adore! Originally it started because of my obsession with all things beauty, but now I do a lot more with it, and talk about my journey to be a reporter, to giving advice to other women about life & love. As spoiled pretty said, if it was just my bff, and mom who read it, I’d still do it because I truly love it.

  28. Hi, I’ve been blogging for about four years. My original blog in my link was a companion piece to my papercrafting business. It was always more of a newsletter to what I was working on and where I would be selling.

    I noticed lately I was blogging more about personal items vs business so I started secondary blogs. My new blog, Project Danielle, was started because of the inspiration I receive from reading blogs like Afrobella. I’m a busy, busy, busy lady and I’ve been neglecting to take care of me. So I’m making some changes in my life and I wanted to journal about that but somewhere separate from my business blog.

    The blog was meant to be private for me only. I only made the blog public because a friend encouraged me to share my journey. I’m not looking for followers for money but more for encouragement. Right now I’m enjoying talking about what I’m doing for myself even if I’m only talking to myself. lol

  29. Your motivation is key. I started my most recent blog because I wanted to share my experiences with natural hair — even if it was just me and my three friends reading. If you truly love sharing your life and journey with people, you’ll find blogging enjoyable. If you want to be the next hot hair/fashion/lifestyle/gossip blog in two weeks, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Enjoy what you’re doing and see what comes of it. Don’t follow fashion, as my mom would say.

    Another thing, respect your fellow bloggers. If you take someone’s content, give them credit. Don’t try to pretend it’s yours. Link to their site or send a trackback. Not doing so is just rude and unnecessary.

  30. Well written and I counldn’t say it any better than you have written. I started my blog in June 2009 and I am happpy at the progression it is. I truly believe in making bloggers understand that you work into the wee hours of the morning, working on a post, because it takes times to recieve and input info, pictures etc… I also believe in making conversation and building trusting relationships!

  31. This is a great article!

    When I first started my blog just over a year ago I had no clue how much time I would be investing in it. I spend basically all weekend preparing for the upcoming week’s articles, and it’s very time consuming!

    I love point #3 also, especially when you made the point that other bloggers seem to think you are copying them just because you are writing about the same thing. It happens constantly with nail blogs, we all basically cover the same brands and lines, but we all have a different take on the collection, and all our photos are different. We are all helpful in different ways, there is no one blog that’s “better” than the other.

    Thanks for writing this!

  32. Hi, My name is Jamie and I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years at Rural Glamour. http://www.city-itis.blogspot.com

    Although Ive been at it for awhile the best advice I can give is find your voice and stick to it. It took me some time to find that I couldn’t do fashion and beauty at the same time, I’m way more passionate about beauty. Ive been turned down by different blog engines and didn’t get a free product for over a year after I started. It has been alot of ups and downs and I used to get down that even though I started the same time with some of the most popular beauty blogs that I wasn’t at the ‘top’ with them. But as my bff said to me one day, she said, I was the Erykah Badu of Beauty Blogs. LOL! You love Erykah but sometimes you don’t understand her and she’s popular because she is authentic. Be Authentic. My blog is reflection of me. I live a rural area of SC, single mom obesessed with beauty. There might not be many like me but Im going to stay who I am thru this blog!

  33. Great post! Blogging is so labor intensive – I don’t think most people know how much time goes into it. It’s the last thing I do before I go to bed and the first thing I do when I wake up. I love exploring beauty and my relationship with it. Who knows where it will lead for me, but it is a fun ride!

  34. I USED to blog regularly but have since deleted my blog. Please make sure that outside of these things, that you aren’t violating any “work” policies.. after receiving a “new” employee manual I realized I had to delete my blog because I wasn’t “anonymous”

    all great points listed here and through the comments so this is definitely a good starting point for anyone interested.

  35. Thanks for this info. I’m a new hair blogger and as a professional hairstylist I have to say I’m super passionate about hair, but have found it hard to blog all the time. I started my blog to answer questions I get all the time from internet message board friends and clients, but found that I really love my blog and want to make it grow. wish me luck :)

  36. I love this post. Very informative and very precise. There is loads in there that I myself found useful and I am sure others will.

  37. hi there! i love this post. i’ve been blogging for about 7 months now and have recieved a few emails asking these very same questions. if you don’t mind.. would i be able to include a link to this post? you answered every question better than i probably could have ;) well good job lady, adn thanks for putting time into this post. i know it was time consuming. good luck with everything!

  38. These are great tips! I’m a longtime reader of your blog and I’m proud to see you make moves and keep this site growing. Blogging has its ups and downs, but passion and dedication keeps us going.

    I’d like to add a note about plaigarism…usually as long as you attribute your sources, no one can accuse you of such. As blogging grows into a leading medium, I think us bloggers need to keep this issue in mind. Attribution can quickly kill accusations of plaigarism..its such a simple move that alleviates drama. We need to treat blogging just as we would printed material.

    Thank you again for the tips! And keep inspiring your audience!

  39. I appreciate this post it has some great tips and insight that I can utilize for my blog which is less that 2 months old. Thank you so much and I look forward to building a relationship with you.

  40. Great List.

    and on the heels of the #140conf and BlogWorld I would also have to add the following:

    Don’t spam your readers and potential readers.

    Engage. Engage. Engage. Never forget that you want your readers to remember that you are a human.

    Whether you like it or not, if you have a blog, you are branding.

    Be authentic.

  41. thanks for the encouragement that your post has provided. i need to write 3 things and i’m just not feeling like doing what i’m supposed to be doing right now.

    I have a national lifestyle blog at http://www.indias-world.com. my blog is really a creative outlet for myself. it’s kinda what i’ve been doing all of my life:recommending cool things to see, do, and buy. and also, my blog allows me to stay in touch with my friends and business associates all over the world. everybody that knows me will tell you my blog is me 100%.

    it’s great to speak in your own voice. b/c i swear you can get fatigued by this whole thing if you are faking it. oh and it’s so much more than just posting. you gotta concentrate on content, marketing, traffic and etc.

    oh and networking is imperative to me.

    india’s world is like my 3rd child it’s with me every moment of the day.

    so keep rocking and blogging ladies. and pls holla at me if you’re interested. i am truly a networker and all around cool peeps.

    thanks!
    indiasworld

  42. What fantastic advice, I could not have put it better myself.

  43. A Girl Who Wants to Blog for Fun (not Profit) says:

    It seems to me that it’s no longer acceptable for girls to just blog for fun. There are so many terrific blogs out there, that I constantly hear about how much time and effort these women put into their sites. I greatly appreciate that effort because more often than not, these are the truly fantastic blogs. But what if you just want to blog as an outlet or for fun? Is that no longer acceptable? Does blogging have to be a 2nd full-time job? I just want to write about what I want to write about when I want to write about it. And where can you reach out to girls who will accept you? I haven’t necessarily found this to be the case. Thanks for a fantastic post. I’ll definitely be back for more!

  44. Bella – as comment #23 from your Dad stated – this post is a true reflection of your generous character. I love coming to your blog as I am always entertained, enlightened, and informed. Keep up the good work.

  45. Good post. I started my blog 6 months ago, and it is definitely a lot of work. And it takes patience. It can be discouraging when you are starting off and the views are low. Having the right motivation really does help.

  46. Great Post!!!! I started my blog over a year ago and everything written here in this post is true. One thing I would like to add is that, you have to write about something(s) that your passionate about today, tomorrow, and forever. Some people start blogs with great passion but as time goes on the passion dies. Another thing I’m learning is embrace change, constantly research and always be open for good sound advice. Those are just my two cents especially since I’m still a toddler in the blogging world.

  47. Great read. Its nice to have someone break down the basics in a simple and warm way.

    Thanx Again.

  48. VexInTheCity says:

    Good post. I started my blog back in May and I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it and I’m proud of what I’ve put together.
    I love beauty and my blog really is an outlet for me to indulge in that with no questions asked. I’ve met some really nice people through blogger meets too and have some really great readers who support my blog.

    In regards to plagiarism, I actually did have somebody copy something I wrote in a recent review which pissed me off cos it was a pretty unique statement and not something that ever featured on a press release but whatever – imitation is the biggest form of flatter right? LOL

  49. cocofiere says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been toying with my blog concept for a while and even have drafted a few posts but I want it to be right. I don’t know how I want to structure it so I’ve been second guessing putting it out there at all. Do I sign up for AdSense immediately or do I wait? How do you handle it when no one is reading your blog yet? Does it feel like you’re talking to yourself and does it matter? Learning about the best methods to post pics and links is important to me also since I want it to look as great as the blogs I read daily. You guys inspire me to try. :)

  50. Bella! Spot on post…..

  51. This post is so right. I initially started my blog as an online diary, but not too personal. I just did it for fun. Last year I revamped it and tried to put in ads and add pictures to my post. Hard work. I just don’t have the time. One can also run into not being specific enough to be recognized for the subjects you discuss. I am glad that I was recognized to post on a specific website, but I was initially aiming at products and fashion. I discuss a wide range of topics, so eventually I may get picked for other websites, but for now I haven’t posted anything recent and don’t know when I the next time is because I have been busy working. Blogging is definitely a full time job, in it’s own right.

  52. What a fabulous post! I’ve been a blogger for a couple of months now and I agree with many of the bloggers who have commented before me; blogging definitely takes up a great deal of your time…..

    So, I created a blog that covers all things creative (something that I am passionate about). Although, I devote many hours towards my blog each week, it’s still fun for me because I am writing about people and things that I love:)

    This has been my first visit to your site Bella~ I will definitely be back for more:)

  53. Hi Bella!

    Long time since I have posted, but you have been an inspiration to me from the first time I read your blog (about 2 years ago I think).

    I’m a blogger (just started on July 4th!) and a longtime reader of your blog! Thanks for posting this as I am reading up on all the tips I can.

    I am also writing about what interests me, but I am interested in also posting about individuals who are creative whether they are writing, painting, sewing, etc. I’m loving this and I’m in the process of purchasing a laptop just so I can post when I go to work! Thanks for the tips Bella!

  54. Thanks for this post Bella! It’s so helpful. I started blogging in July. It’s tons of work. I’m having fun with it. I would tell a new blogger not to feel like they have to post everyday right away. Build your blog, voice and readership. Also, It never hurts to just be yourself. We’re all unique so even if you’re blogging about the same topic as many other bloggers, no one can be you.

  55. This is a great post! I’ve been at this for a little less than a year now and am still navigating my way. But want to thank you for being one of the first bloggers to add me to your blogroll – that was major for me (and my site’s traffic)!

    Thank you again, and thanks for the tips!

    bgg

  56. Hey Bella,
    Am doing my blog catch up duties right now, and just like the blogger you described in point 1, it’s 1am here inParis and I’m just decompressing from a long day of coming up with fresh posts (and walking by the Eiffel Tower by I digress).
    I started my blog (The Fashion Bomb) in 2006, like you, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to have blogging buddies. You don’t have to be persistent or try too hard, just…real recognizes real. I can recognize a great blogger and am happy to support and usually it goes both ways.
    I also can’t agree more about the sisterhood. I meet SO MANY people who are sooo ubercompetitive who don’t realize that pple can click on 50 sites a day if they like and revisit each one every day. I have hundreds of fashion, beauty, gossip sites bookmarked and each serves a different function…which means there’s room out there for everyone.
    All I’d say is to try not to be too competitive…give and it comes right on back to ya. And I’ll be honest, the bloggers in the past who were too snobby or stingy don’t exist anymore. Just an observation.
    Keep it fab!!
    xx,
    Claire

  57. thanks to claire@ thefashionbomb for linking this through twitter. afrobella, you seem like such a sweet woman. and this post was muy informative. thanks!!!

  58. Thanks afrobella, this is a really informative post and I’d love to put some of your points into practice. I appreciate all the time that goes into the blogs that I read – they’re inspirational.

    But I also agree with post 44.

    Where are the bloggers who just write because it’s fun? Or because they need to get something off their chest? I think I fall into the category of blogging for my own wellbeing not for readership (which is lucky because readership is low – lol).

    I guess I’m just wondering if anyone still blogs in a less than hardcore manner?

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  60. Great post! I’d add…be passionate about your subject. If there isn’t any love for what you’re blogging about, it’ll show in your writing.

    For me, writing came first; music was a by-product. My blog showcases my love for all types of music, and the passion I have for writing about it.

  61. Thanks Bella. As a recent convert to blogging I can attest how the addiction grows!

  62. I’ve been blogging for six months. This post was extrememly helpful. Already I’ve made great connections with other bloggers, and it’s like an online family. We support each other by linking and letting our audiences know about posts on the other’s blogs. I didn’t expect my blog to create the relatonships it’s created already. Thanks so much for doing this post!

  63. Hello AFROBELLA ~

    You were highly suggested for me to read your article by my dear ftiend, and was so glad in doing so. Im very new as a blogger, so, ive got my,”due diligence” to do, etc.

    “THANK – YOU” sharing your knowkedge, I look forward in all if what you will post, etc, & perhaps, collaborating on a project, in the near future?

    GOD BLESS YOU, AFROBELLA!!!

    Respectfully Yours ~

    Virginia
    Virginia’s Hi-Lites

    VegasVargas1@yahoo.com
    http://www.FaceBook.com/VirginiasHiLites

  64. I think I found my calling!!!

  65. Thanks for this post Afrobella! I am new to the blogging world and was wondering how to increase my readership and comments. This post was really helpful.

  66. Thanks so much for directing me to this post. I will consider and practice everything you’ve mentioned. Thanks again.

  67. Chic Working Moms says:

    Great post! I’m a newbie so this is awesome advice for me. I wish more bloggers would share their knowledge and expertise. Just curious and you dont have to share but is this your FT job?

    It’s extremely tough now since everyone has a blog. I wonder if the floor will fall out from under the blogosphere.

  68. Christie says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been toying around with a few blogs for a while and trying to find my niche and 1 that has not been tapped into yet. I’ve found one that I don’t think any other black woman has done yet…at least not that I can find.

  69. I started my blog last month and it is a lot of work. More than what I planned for. I think I was so excited in the beginning and became a bit over ambitious and did not realize how much time maintaining my blog would take. Thank you so much for sharing your story and encouraging us bloggers.

  70. This is great! Very informative and really opened my eyes to things I didn’t realize about blogging. I am still interested in getting into one of these days in the near future, but I do have a lot to think about.
    Thanks!!!

  71. Miss you Patrice…hope you guys are doing well! XOXO

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  3. [...] I would type up a new response, but Afrobella did a wonderfully thorough post on this awhile back. Here’s the link. She’s been in the blogging game for a long time, so she knows far better than me. I [...]

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