Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Reviewers' Roundtable- Advice for New Bloggers

Inspired by all the blogs who do joint discussions, The Reviewers' Roundtable is our version of a weekly feature where we discuss a book related/blogging topic.

Meet the Reviewers:

Me (Michelle) here at Pink Polka Dot Book Blog (Thursdays)

Emily from Read Your Bookcase (Fridays)
AND.... our newest member Emily from Emily's Crammed Bookshelf (Mondays)

Advice for New Bloggers

Basically the question this week was if someone who had never blogged or read blogs before came and asked me for advice on how to start a blog, what are 5 of the most important/helpful things that I would tell them? 
 I've only been blogging since March 2012, so in no way am I an expert.  Also my blog isn't the biggest or the most popular blog in the blogosphere, so I could probably use some advice myself.  But no matter how big or small the blog, I think we've all learned things from doing it.  I know there's tons of little things that I learned along the way that I wish I would've known in the beginning of my blog and not had to do it the hard way, figuring it all out on my own.
So basically this is a list of things I wish I knew when I first started blogging:
1.  Turn off CAPTCHA.
CAPTCHA is the word verification thingy that comes up when you want to comment on a blog.  It's supposed to prevent spam, but most bloggers really hate it.  A lot of people won't leave comments on your blog if CAPTCHA is turned on because it annoys them.  Personally it doesn't stop me from leaving a comment, but I KNOW a lot of people that will X out if they see the CAPTCHA code come up. 
My blog was up for a good 2 months before I even knew CAPTCHA was on.  My advice to you would be to check and make sure it's off even if you don't think it's on.  I'm not sure about Wordpress, but in Blogger you go to Settings- Posts and Comments and change Word Verification to "No".
2.  Set up an account with Netgalley and/or Edelweiss (if you have an eReader).
These are websites that give out galleys (or ARCs- Advanced Reader Copies) of books to book bloggers.  It's a really cool way to get books to review!  It's true that you might not get approved for some of the books you really want until you've been blogging for at least 6 months to a year and build up a bit of a following, but some publishers will approve you anyway so it's worth trying.
3.  To build up a presence in the blogging world, you gotta visit blogs.
When you're first starting I think a good way to get yourself noticed is to visit a lot of blogs and comment, comment, comment.  A lot of people will visit the blogs of people that comment on their blogs, so that's a good way of getting people to see your new site. 
Another suggestion: If someone comments on your blog, it's nice to reply... but since a lot of people don't end up coming back to see your reply, it's nice to try to visit their blog and repay a comment.  You totally don't have to do this, but it's something I try to do.  Oh yeah and most people like the comments to be meaningful... not just 3 words.
4.  Meme's- dos and don'ts.
A really great way to build up followers and pageviews is through weekly meme's.  The problem is there are a lot of meme's out there, to the point where you could do one every day if you wanted.  You gotta pick one or two, stick with them, and leave the rest of the week to other content.  People don't want to follow a blog that's full of meme's and little, to nothing else.  You're going to want to stand out in some way, and meme's aren't really going to help you do that.
Personally I LOVE Top Ten Tuesday by The Broke and the Bookish.  It has a really strong following and people who participate in it usually are super social and visit lots of blogs.  Other ones that are popular are: Waiting on Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves, Cover Love, Feature & Follow Friday.

5.  Twitter and Triberr!

So a great way to get people to visit your blog is by using Twitter and Triberr.  If you don't know what Triberr is, it's a site where you can join "tribes" with other bloggers and everytime you post something it'll go into the "stream" and people will tweet your posts.  Basically it's a better way to get your posts out on Twitter.  But if nothing else, I totally recommend tweeting all your posts and being social on Twitter.  It's a really great way to meet other bloggers and get new people to visit your blog.

Other Stuff:
Giveaways- Hosting a giveaway is a great way to build up some initial followers.  True a lot of people will just follow you for the sake of the giveaway and never come back, but a certain percentage will see you on their timelines/blogroll and see something interesting and come back.  To get started I totally recommend I am a Reader, Not a Writer's Giveaway Hops (or Book Twirps New Release Giveaway Hops).  Being in these hops will get traffic to your giveaway's... otherwise it can be hard for newbies to get new people to find their giveaway.

Blog Tours- They can be super fun and are a good way to get involved in the blogging world.  I love Atomr Tours and Xpresso Book Tours.

Blog Friends- It always helps to have blog friends.  It makes things a lot easier to be able to ask someone who might know something about what you are trying to do... or just someone to bounce ideas off of and be able to talk books with.  If you are new and looking for a blog friend, don't be afraid to talk to me!!  I love new blogging friends!!  You can email, comment, or tweet me!!

Oh and remember- It's your blog, have fun with it and don't be pressured to post more than you want or participate in things you don't like.  These were just little tips I thought I would put out there...

So that's my advice for ya.  Nothing mind blowing... and if you've been blogging for a while I'm sure you know most, if not all of this, but this was for the new guys. 

What kind of advice would you give new bloggers?


  1. I think that's pretty good advice! I HATE Captcha, please turn it off people! NG and EW is a good place to get books when you're just starting out. Now I avoid them since I have WAY too many books!
    I don't do memes anymore, but agree you need to pick one or two and not any more then that.
    Yes, visiting blogs is the best way to build a readership. Your blog may grow slowly, but at least you are getting followers who actually read your blog and hopefully will start to visit it more regularly.
    Yep, lots of good tips for new bloggers, I'm not really thinking of anything else off the top of my head.

  2. Great post. I agree totally with Candace - I despise Captcha. I tend to go overboard at NG and EW and I need to try to reign that in a bit, but it is a great place to get books. I agree with limiting the memes to just a few. They can get overwhelming, and time consuming. I like WOW, STS, and sometimes Teaser Tuesday. Great advice, thanks for sharing!!

  3. Captcha is bad... I think I had it on for a little while when I started blogging too. The I realized how annoying it was when I visited other blogs. It has taken a long time but I have met some fun friends in the blogging world!! I am not that big on blog tours. I can't stand blogs that have a ton of tours and cover reveals one right after another.

  4. Wonderful post. I didn't know about sites like Netgalley and Edelweiss. I'll be sure to sign up!
    I've seen so many book blog tours, the same memes on a lot of blogs and generally a lot of support for book blogs. It's refreshing to know there are a lot of options for whatever interests you, and I'm looking forward to trying all of them out. Thanks again!