The Lazy Girl’s Guide To…

Posted in Blogging.

Blogging

Before we begin, my fellow lazy girls, I must confess – blogging is not easy. Fun, yes. Rewarding, yes. Easy? Nope. It takes time and effort and you’re just going to have to suck it up and get on with it. No procrastinating, no diversion tactics (no, you don’t have to just go paint your nails…), no excuses. If you want to build a successful blog, you’ve gotta do the time. Just so we’re clear. Now put that copy of InStyle down (I know it’s the new issue, but we’ve got work to do!) and pay attention…

The internet’s a big old place, and making yourself stand out and be noticed amongst masses of other mildly interesting things is no easy task. As a blogger, you’re competing will literally millions of other bloggers for those coveted Regular Readers. The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Blogging will give you the helping hand you need to make sure you’re doing all you can to get your little corner of the internet noticed.

There are two aspects of blogging that are important above all other things – one is content, the other is community. Let’s start with content:

I love a good metaphor, so here’s one for you. Remember when Big Brother first hit TV screens? (Yes you do – don’t pretend you’re too intellectual. You remember Craig and Nasty Nick as well as the rest of us.) The format was new and fresh and interesting. People watched because they’d never seen anything like it before. They watched series 2 and 3, as well. Then the Big Brother production team got a little lazy and when series 4 came along, we turned off in our droves because we’d seen it all before. Okay yes, this is a rather convoluted way of saying if your content is repetitive or dull or too similar to someone else’s blog, people won’t read it.

It’s very, very hard to come up with original content. Especially for a lazy girl. A Google search for ‘interesting blog content’ won’t help you here. Neither will America’s Next Top Model, so turn it off please. Your content should interest and inspire your readers. It should make them laugh, or think, or gasp. You’re looking for a reaction. The easiest way to do this is to talk about something you’re passionate about. It’s really easy to tell when a blogger is totally, utterly and completely interested in their subject – you can tell they typed it up with furore, ignoring their surroundings until their thoughts were recorded in that post. Similarly, it’s easy to tell when someone’s written their blog post with one eye on Eastenders and the other on asos.com.

Lazy Girl’s Tip:
Get passionate, then get your readers involved. It’s all well and good getting worked up about your boyfriend, cat, new shoes or that band you saw last week, but if your readers can’t relate to what you’re saying, they’ll lose interest. All you need are four little words and a bit of punctuation – what do you think? – and you’ll generate a response as people share your enthusiasm for something similar in their own lives.

So, you’ve got your content sorted. What about community? This is probably the most time consuming part of blogging, but it’s also the most rewarding. Reading comments like ‘I love your blog!’ or ‘I totally agree with this!’ or even ‘I have a completely opposite point of view but I like you so I’ll start following you’ (okay, not a real comment, I admit) makes achey fingers and square eyes worth it.

When you start blogging, it’s like being the weird kid at school or a latecomer to a party – everyone’s already made friends and they don’t need you, no matter how darling your vintage dress is. So strike up a conversation (much easier to do from behind a computer screen than in real life, and you can wear your PJs without getting stared at). Find blogs you love and comment on the posts. Make REAL comments, not just ‘I love your outfit!’. Add something to the debate, ask a question or offer a different opinion. Hopefully, the author will seek you out to reply and then a blogging relationship is born. Rinse and repeat.

Lazy Girl’s Tip
One of the easiest ways to connect with lots and lots of other bloggers is through Twitter. Set up an account, promote it on your blog and add other bloggers. It’s the best way to get instant feedback and response to your ideas. You can use it to push readers to your latest posts, tell them about giveaways (more on that later) and share thoughts. You can find me on Twitter right here.

We’ve got content and community down. They’re your Blog Basics – the two things you should invest lots of time in to get just right. But there are lots of other things you can do to improve your blog, and most things don’t take longer than an episode of Gossip Girl to master. Perfect for lazy girls like us.

Photography
You don’t need David Bailey-esque skills, but good photography makes a HUGE difference to the look and feel of your blog. If you can, take your photos in a well lit space. Use a photo editor like Picasa, which is free, to brighten your images, crop and resize them. It’s worth finding out a little more about Photoshop if you want to add effects to your photos. Blogger tends to make pictures teeny, so I upload to Photobucket and paste the code into my HTML. Which brings us on to…

HTML
Argh – nasty technology programming language! Now, I’m lucky enough to have a web geek for a boyfriend, but I actually taught myself some really simple HTML. If you’ve ever been on MySpace or commented on a forum, you’ll know HTML is easy to pick up. Websites like HTML Code Tutorial will show you how to use the basic codes. The most useful is the link tag – using a handy hyper link (clickable text) rather than a URL that your readers have to copy and paste into their browser saves lots of time and makes your blog look cleaner, too.

Giveaways
Sometimes a sore point amongst bloggers, it’s no secret that a giveaway is an easy way to generate lots of followers. However, more often than not, you’ll have a surge of followers and commenters who just want free stuff and will leave you high and dry when the giveaway’s over. With that in mind, approach giveaways with caution. If YOU want to spend your hard-earned cash to say thank you to the people who read your blog, go for it. If you’re prepared for the flighty followers, you might be pleasantly surprised when they stick around. You can also contact companies you like and think your readers will like and ask (nicely) if they’ll donate a prize.

As a relative small fry in the world of blogging, I don’t think of A Little Bird as an amazing success, a revelation or the gospel on good blogs. I do understand the time and effort that goes into building a blog, and this guide is just a collection of the things that work for A Little Bird. These methods may or may not work for you, but be sure to let me know what you think of them. For now, I’ll let you get back to the sofa – you can paint those nails now, if you like.

Until next time, lazy girls!

62 Comments

Emma

Such an in-depth and insightful look into the world of blogging. Thank you for the great post!
Although I am secretly looking forward to the next OOTD post, because they’re my favourite πŸ™‚
xx

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thecraftycurrant

Thanks Little Bird, this post will definately be saved to my favourites! Before you actally create a blog you never realise how much time and effort goes into each post, getting the idea is one thing but then you’ve got to get all of your imagery and then edit it into the style that would suit your theme before you even type the first word! Before I start each post I feel a little bit like I have homework to do but once I have completed it, I get excited waiting to hear the feedback from my readers x

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Susan

That’s so useful, thank you. I haven’t posted in aggggeeessss and I think I’m suffering from a bit of ‘bloggers block’ but you have inspired me to get something done today (it was also delay the inevitable horror of having to start preparing for the essay I should probably have already written :-S ) Thankss!!! xx

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jennie

I adore the way you write and you’ve given so many wonderful tips here. Oh and you’re boyfriend is mighty talented, your new layout is gorgeous ♥

xoxo

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The Fashion Teller

Really great advice hun! I love your blog and how you write-for exmaple in that post, ‘Rinse and repeat πŸ™‚ Great, cute and funny wording really do0es make a blog more initing to sit down, read and follow.
Thanks for sharing your great tips and advice xoxo

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Alice

Simply spellbinding.

I love your writing and I love this very blog. And I think a lot of people will find this very useful πŸ™‚

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Sarah

This is really useful – thanks. I just started my blog last week, so this is really timely for me. A lot to think about…x

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LilyLipstick

This is such a great post. I think your blog really does stand out from the millions out there, your photos are always such good quality – do you take them yourself on the timer or do you get someone to take them for you?

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Harriet

Great tips, I especially like your tip about uploading your photos to photobucket or flickr, it bugs me when people post teeny timy little pictures and I’m like ‘Do I really have to go get out my glasses?! I want to see you!!’

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Danni and Maria

It’s true though, I think everyone loves knowing that someone, somewhere is reading about their lives and the sense of community I have felt through blogging is amazing and makes me smile πŸ˜€ Maria xxxxx

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giddynici

Fantastic post Jen and some great tips. Love the new website. Your Mr is very talented. Will be watching with interest to see what you will do with your new space. x

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Pink Flower

Cheers for the advice, I’ve always thought about doing one of the old giveaways but i’ve always wondered about the issues of the flighty follower that may appear and vanish as quick as they appeared once the give-away is over.

Sometimes I fear my blog writing is all over the place – but that kinda reflects my mind – a bit jumbled up!

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PinkBow

what an amazing post. you succinctly covered everything about blogging. i think people think it is easy to have a blog without knowing how much time it takes. you need to be passionate that’s for sure. love your new layout too πŸ™‚

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xoLauraox09

Thank you! This helped me a lot as I only started blogging not long ago.
I’m off to go paint my nails mint green πŸ˜€

starsandshoes.blogspot.com

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Vicki

Thanks for this post, it’s really helpful. I find I have two main problems, lack of time and procrastinative (is that even a real word?)tendancies and also a rather immature writing style and overuse of simplistic language.

I’m definitley going to try to put more thought and effort in to my blog now.

Vicki xxx

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Leah

I love this post… I think I will use those words now… “what do you think?”

Have a great day! xoxo

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Leah

PS… to add some more into your thoughts, I find that the people’s attention span when it comes to reading blogs is so short that they tend to just browse through the blog and just look at the pictures. So I normally don’t write much and just let the pics do the talking. πŸ™‚

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shealennon

Thank you for this realistic yet helpful advice! I’m a relatively new blogger, and I have a hard time advertising myself. I don’t want to be pushy or annoying. But I can try some of your tips, and possibly even delve into the world of twitter. Maybe. Anyway, thanks for your fun, colorful, creative looks and your inspiring words!

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Gizelle | Vanilla Ice Cream

very well-written jen!
i really love and agree wit everything you wrote here..omg, i can just remember myself back in nov 2009 without any readers (or comments)..it takes hard work to get your blog known…and it takes even more passion to write good content..this is what i always love about your blog..it’s very entertaining!

♥ vanilla ice cream ♥

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closet365

Great advice. There are some things here that I hadn’t really thought about. It’s also reassuring to know that we all go through the same issues when blogging.

I also love, love, love the new makeover. Your Mr. is quite talented indeed!

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Shhh

This has come at just the right time for me! I’m just starting out, and I’m having such trouble with outfit photos. I just don’t have anywhere to take them. When you live with your parents and have a very cluttered room, finding a plain wall is not easy. Sigh.

I love the makeover, especially the wobbly graph paper background! It reminds me of the weave of cotton actually, if you look really close.

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Happy S.

This is a great post! i absolutely agree with every point, especially on giveaways – sure, they generate tons of followers but I would much rather have 5 loyal subbies than a 1,000 who entered because of a giveaway. Moreover, I believe that is exactly what companies are looking for as well – a community, a sense of unity, reviews which are trusted.

It is great that you are writer – must me a great opportunity for you to master your writing skills (I’m sure they are mastered already, but you can never have too much practice :)! I have always enjoyed writing as well, I find it very therapeutic.. that is probably they main reason why I have a blog! πŸ™‚

Good luck you in all your future endeavors! xx

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Anonymous

i was thinking about starting a blog after I’m done with these horrible exams! thank you! this is really useful!

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princess

know what? i’ve a problem here. i start a blog. i write about things i’m passionate about. it’s really difficult to produce original content. but i do an okay job. no one is interested to read it at all. i told a lot of people. so i lost my wish to write. it’s as if i don’t want to tell my opinions ever again. my own friends criticise that i write posts in a very english home-worky manner. there’s no point in maintaining a blog when no one wants to read it. and yeah, i dont know anything about html and photoshop.
congratulations to you on having such a great blog

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Grace

Thanks for writing this post, It’s always refreshing to hear other bloggers opinions and tips. I am going to follow your advice of asking the audience an open ended question and see how it goes.

Grace x

P.S Web geek boyfriends are the best, aren’t they?!

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BLONDIE

fantastic! im a new blogger and i ve just started blogging properly! im now following you, all archives you wrote were beautifully written.

follow me pls!-www.theyoungbridgetjones.blogspot.com

Kat x

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MariΓ±a " La Marquesa"

I have started with my blog now….it seems very useful but twiter???? I really use it on work but i feel so frustrating 140 characters are not enought!!! I have too many things to say to jus 140!!! but ….I will try it!

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ganjie

Ha that help give me some really good tips, i do find it hard to make friends in the blogging world i;ve notice since i’ve started so im glad someone out there made a guide to it πŸ˜€ thanks

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Jen

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this information! I’m just starting out with my fashion/jewelry blog and this is very helpful.

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Headmaster's Wife

Great advice, thank you for posting this article. Your writing is lovely! I’m not a fashion blogger but hope some style shows up in my posts. Will follow you to keep up to date!

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Cherchez la Gem

Wow Jen,
thank you for this really good post, I found you through sitting pretty and I’m really glad I did, your posts are sweet and informative and although I really should be doing my work now (sigh)I have just lost the last hour on your blog. As a new blogger (as new as today) I take on board what you say and I’m already thinking about the week ahead and the posts. eek excited! xx x thank-you

Gem x x

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leedsstylefile

This is ace, I was starting to fret about my lack of blogging attention but I now have plenty of homework to be getting on with! Thanks. It’s good to see another blog from Leeds… gives those Londoners a run for their money! How did you do the theme? I’m having a battle with HTML at the moment and I’m sorry to say I’m losing! x

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Ondo Lady

Bravo!! Could not have said it better myself. Blogging is indeed fun and rewarding but as you stated it does require a lot of passion and hardwork. Also research is key too, that is the basis to everything.

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Lizzy Lips

We professional social networkers / digital marketers know that content is king. It’s drilled into us again and again and I try to keep my posts and writing to a high standard.

I have my own ideas about fashion and lifestyle blogging and whether it works or not it’s something that I feel strongly about. However, my blog has a relatively low follower base and a steady readership (quality not quantity). I read LOADS of blogs, some with hundreds and thousands of followers, but what I think is low quality writing and samey content. I could list a million examples.

I’m interested to know what you think their key is.

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Ali

What a useful post. I’m a relatively new blogger and wanting to ramp it up somewhat so these tips are great. Thank you! x

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Hannah

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve just started out, and I really want people to see what I’m proud of! I am definitely using these tips!
I’m really glad I came across this. You definitely have a new follower! (And/or friend too!)
Thank you so much!
Hannah
http://alittleburdtoldme.blogspot.com

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Lottie

Hey chick,

Thank you for the tips – blogging certainly is a full-time job on top of my full-time job but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Mine’s all about Boobs. Yup, that’s right. Boobs. Take a peek….

L x
Beauty & the Boob

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Anonymous

Thanks for the great advice. I’ve only started blogging since November 2011 and I agree it’s very difficult to stand out from the millions of bloggers out there. I think the most important thing is to have that passion and drive and don’t give up. Only blog if you’re passionate about a particular subject not just because you want free stuff and to be in the press and get famous.
Mary
http://www.popgoesfashion.com
Twitter: @popgoesfashion

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Karmen Deanne

This is just what I had been looking for!

Bit of a late comer to the whole ‘blogging’ scene but have been immersing myself in them for some time. My regular morning ‘new post reads’ is standing at 27. And that’s before I even start to get on with my day!

Finally got round to putting up my first post at the weekend πŸ™‚

Really for me it’s an outlet as I genuinely love getting dressed!

Karmen

http://www.karmendeanne.blogspot.com
Twitter: @Karmen_Deanne7

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candice garrett

Thank you for posting this! It is pretty much the best thing I have read so far about blogging..mostly because I am a new mom and for whatever reason it makes me really LAZY. Actually I was lazy before I became a mother but now sleepinh in two hour intervals between 3:00 a.m. and 9:00a.m. and cleaning and cooking for a boyfriend a baby and a boxer make me stupid lazy.

I hope to be a better blogger and very much appreciate your efforts to make us “lazy gals” better bloggers. <3

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Velvet Blanc

Thank you so much Jen! This was a really good read and hopefully I can apply it to my blog and get some readers! Trying to get a bit of a community going on Twitter but as of yet no such luck. Not to lose hope yet though. Only been at it since January πŸ™‚
Love, B.B.
http://velvetblanc.blogspot.co.uk/

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chloe verde

thanks for the tips!!

you forgot, get a decent computer! haha. i’m struggling along with awful photos and MS paint made buttons until I can muster the energy to do a laptop over hall and reinstall everything!

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Hannindrome

What a great, helpful post! Delighted to have discovered you, I was in the middle of ‘trying to find new blogs’ research and have been sleepily reading through your posts since about midnight. Brilliantly written, amusing and lovely clothes. Hannah

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Gemma Aspland

Thanks Jen, This is such a helpful post!! Im so excited about starting up my own blog but im unsure where to start but this has given me inspiration to get going. Ive set up a blog to go alongside my website for the vintage boutique I own on The Isle of Wight called “With Love Betty”. So if you ever come down south dont forget to pop in and say hi πŸ™‚

Thanks again Gem
http://www.withlovebetty.com

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Sarah Smith

Does anyone write a blogging calendar? I keep wanting to but finding stuff to constantly write about is tough. I seem to have spurts where I’m blogging about travels, finds and projects then I go quite… Do you find a blog calendar actually motivates you to get it done in time? Or are regular features better for encouraging regular (timely) posts?

Thanks! I just found your blog today and I’m already ravenously devouring page after page! I love how it’s so simple (design wise) really makes your photos pop.

Sarah
http://www.porciniandbutton.com

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Katie Franklin

Just as I was nonchalantly flicking between an episode of Californication, about to start blogging… I stumbled across this post. Ha ha you’ve caught me red handed! So true though, will definitely be taking this on board, thanks Jen x

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