The Newbie Chronicles

by Eden on June 13, 2011

I wanted to write this without sounding like a pretentious bitch.

Thats a tall order. Just know I’m not trying to sound like I have a Ph.D in blogging. I have a B.A. in B.S. and thats about it.

New blogs are born every minuet. . Your congressman, your mom/mum, your coworker, your librarian, and probably your gynecologist have a blog (pray that its not all about your vagina or your latest pap smear). And no matter what, everyone was a newbie at some point
But cyberspace is a cruel, complicated world. It can be fun and entertaining, but you can’t sink your teeth into the blog world without thick skin.

I know what your thinking:

Who is this know-it-all? What does SHE know about blogging? Shes not getting paid for it! She can barely spell!

The above statement is true, but hear me out: I’ve been blogging for five years. Not all on Eden’s Eats but I’ve had two other blogs and did some contributing work for other sites. So take from this post what you want, here is what I have to give you newbies out there:

Keep It Short: At least when you first start out. I only read content-heavy blogs if I’m familiar with the author.  People have short attention spans and if you aren’t widely popular for your literary brilliance already, no one will read your novel post. Once you’ve been around the block a few times, maybe you can start getting a little lengthy…(a little, not a lot. If I wanted to read a novel, I have a John Steinbeck waiting for me on my nightstand).

Stand Out: look, I’ve mentioned this before how most blogs are of the exact same thing! Be a little different. Screw conformity! As a new blogger, bloggers will probably not want to read you cause their google reader or whatever is exploding with the millions of other blogs out there. So be you, and try not being like all the other blogs out there.

When in Doubt, Dont Blog: If you just kinda sorta want to start a blog because you think all the cool people are doing it, don’t. Cause let me tell you, only 5% of bloggers are cool anyhow (and no, I’m sadly not part of the 5%). Most blogs are diaries. If you want to start a diary go for it, but don’t try to make your diary a way to make money or get attention. If you DO want attention/twitter followers/book deal you better have a good premise. . Don’t feel bad if you feel you have nothing to write about. Trust me, as a reader, I will respect you on a whole different level if you leave me a comment. I know you are reading my blog out of pleasure and not because you want people to click over to your blog. And let me tell you, blogging is energy draining. If you have the time, great. But it can get really stressful. I’ve considered quitting numerous times and did, TWICE! Then I started Eden’s Eats and I can already feel Eden’s Eat’s getting ready to retire. She’s in menopause I think….

High School Rules Sort of Apply: Blogging is a lot like high school in that you kind of need help by someone “cool” (ie, a somewhat popular blogger) to think you are cool. I know, this is a painful, painful truth and it’s very unfair. Any blogger that is widely read got help from the praise of another, widely read blogger.  Unless you are Oprah, your blog won’t become widely read on its own.  The Blogosphere is not Marxist fairy tale where all bloggers have the same status.  Don’t worship your blog idols; begging and pleading them for a guest post, or irk them in hopes they will click over to your blog.  Just be real, leave thoughtful, genuine comments, and maybe they will click over one day and discover your charm.

Or…… they will totally ignore you and take more pictures of their oatmeal/cute pet/kin/marathon medal.
I have more to say, but I may make this a series or a two parter cause I don’t want to make this a novel…And for all I know, what I’ve stated may be complete B.S. (since I do have a B.A. in that field). So take what you will, but go do your own thing because my opinions are rather worthless.

But I would like to hear if anybody out there would like to add some advice to the newbie chronicles. If you are a newbie, how has it been so far? If you are just a reader,  have you ever considered jumping into the blog shark tank?

Enter Your Mail Address

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 13, 2011 at 6:20 am

So so true- all of it. Yes, keep it short. Dear lord, I can’t even read long posts by people I adore. It’s my social media ADD. And you are totally right about needing a cool kid to introduce you to the masses if that’s what you actually want. And yes, leave thoughtful comments and eventually people will remember that you are thoughtful or funny and click over for a peek.

Also, I agree that as a newbie, you should just blog because you love it. I remember being so excited about posts that I couldn’t sleep as I formulated the posts in my head at night. I couldn’t wait to get up and write them. Sadly now I look at them and they were pure drivel. I’m actually going back over my earlier posts and editing the crap out of them so I’m not totally embarrassed when unsuspecting souls look back at the old posts (god help them).

And turn the flash function off your camera forever. In fact, break the little light bulb. Do that now. We’ll wait.

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 6:40 am

Eeek, yes! NO flash! Why was it invented?

and you know me, I want to puke at my early posts. Everyone started out poopy, so natrually when a blogger is new I’m like, “ugh!!! its going to be poopy!!!”.

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Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I seriously cringe and die as I edit each old post of mine. Poppy is a kind word. Sadly I have about 200 left to do (in other words, I just started…sigh)

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Mama Pea June 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I’ve seriously considered deleting all of my old posts. And by “old posts,” I mean starting with yesterday’s.

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Oh dear, dont do that! I watch your oreo slide post and the one where gigi takes her pants off at the soccer practice whenever I feel down and just need to laugh.

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Ameena June 14, 2011 at 4:07 am

I don’t use flash in my photos but they are terrible enough. I hope they don’t make you sick to your stomach Deb. Please tell me they don’t!

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Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 14, 2011 at 4:40 am

I’ve never noticed your photos being bad! Plus your blog isn’t a ‘food blog’ where you’re taking photos up close with a 50mm lens! Totally different game! Your blog tells a story (at Ali’s expense usually) … no, not sick to my stomach at all!

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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts June 13, 2011 at 6:30 am

As a relative newbie, your B.S. seems pretty accurate to me. I know I can’t compete with the Big Blogs out there (I’m still figuring out how to take photos without my shadow in the picture, for goodness sakes), so if I was trying, I would surely have become dispirited and quit by now. But I made it through high school without being cool, so I’m okay with applying the same system to blogging.

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Ameena June 14, 2011 at 4:08 am

Ditto here. I was completely outcast in high school so I figure that even if a few people read my blog then I’m ahead of the game!

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Natalie June 13, 2011 at 6:36 am

I was bit doubtful when I ‘met’ you Eden. I started with a good article, which kept me reading. Then I got bit shocked with some other not-so-friendly entries. Not hating it just threw me off guard. I did however agree to disagree about some of the things you mentioned. Anyway, it brought me back for more and now i admit i do check in everyday to see what you have to say. It’s fresh, its real, its informative and there is some food involved so its got me hooked. keep it up.

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 7:10 am

wow, I guess I’m flattered! I dont really hate anybody, maybe Kim Kardiashian and anybody who spits on me…cause thats just gross.

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Natalie June 15, 2011 at 2:40 am

so you should be.
people who spit should be hated. truth be told, when I was 16 some ‘chola’ spit in my face.

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Chuck Feerick June 13, 2011 at 6:52 am

Well you of all people should know that when you reply to a comment on Wordpress, that person will never know unless they go back and check the post… ; )

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 7:14 am

are you sure about that ;)

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Chuck June 15, 2011 at 4:02 am

Am I wrong? Because has I not come back and checked I wouldn’t have know you replied??

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edenseats June 15, 2011 at 4:30 am

hmm thats weird…did you not get an email?

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) June 16, 2011 at 11:53 pm

I don’t get an email if you reply to my comments. I only know if I come back to check.

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Anne June 13, 2011 at 8:19 am

i just love that you wrote “the blogosphere is not a marxist fairy tale”. brilliant!

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Erin June 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

Eden not to leave you a gushy comment but I totally love your view on things. I started reading blogs very innocently then it bloomed into a 15 blog a day habit… Kinda like a coke habit would start… But alas like any addiction its lost its luster and most days I find my self hitting “marked read” or even “delete subscription” on many of the Big Blogs. Really how many times can I see a picture of your damn oats!!

If I had any advice for new bloggers, beside enfatically agree with your advice it would be please don’t put yourself down in a back handed or direct way! Oh and don’t try to convince me you are living clean or healthy when you are very obviously struggling with an eating disorder! If you have one and you aren’t candidly blogginh about it you don’t need to be blogging for money or fame!

Ok sorry for the novel… But shit chaps my ass!

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Erin June 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

PS sorry for the retarted spelling and grammer errors… I shouldn’t comment from my not-so-smart phone!

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Rachel June 13, 2011 at 10:52 am

Patience. I’ve had a life-time lack of it, but newbies should remember comments & followers don’t just appear the moment you hit “publish.” It takes time to build your following, which goes along with needing someone “cool” to take you under their blogging wing & show you around. I don’t consider myself a newbie–I’ve had blogs & online diaries in some form or another for going on 15 years now. This is a good list for someone who’s starting out or thinking of starting a blog.

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Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen June 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

It’s your blog. Do what you want.

[Except use the flash. No one should do that. Invest in a booklight. It really helps.]

P.S.- It’s my blog and I’ll write a novel if I want to.

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seegirlsmile June 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm

What you say is true. But I think it is all relative too. Maybe fulltime blogging would be neat, but that type of blog would have to be well-thought-out,etc….some ppl (me anyway) are just trying to sort out the junk in their head and only write from day to day whatever junk needs to be released. Maybe for me its a way to declutter vicious thoughts that recycle in my head, or a way to practice writing for grammar , etc…
short posts are a plus majorly…but again, it depends on the blogger’s intention…if you’re only writng the post for the reason of audience, comments, exposure, etc,…yes…but if u write it and don’t give 2 fudges about whether anyone reads it or cares, then u can write as long a post as u please.

for the purposes u use above though, yeah, your points are good.

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm

And you have every right to declutter your head and put it out there. Most people write sadly give “2 fudges” about what people think though…I personally dont and hence I tend to get hate mail.

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Cameo Morningstar June 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I like to write. I could give a crap if others read it. I look at some of the “other” blogs out there and am dumbfounded on how they get so many comments when they suck so hard. Another thing…I think there is a big difference between the early to mid-20-something bloggers and the more mature bloggers. It’s the younger bloggers that write the more stupid shit and get the most comments. I think a lot of people will look back at their blogs in 10 years and say, WTF was I thinking? There is a lot of drivel…

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Well, Kim Kardashian “sucks hard” and still has a million twitter folllowers….sigh

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm

And I am SO unfairly agist! I always sneer at bloggers who are near my age or younger. they really have to be fantastic fro me to like them. I’m so mad I’m in my twenties, but I swear I’m pushing 90 inside.

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Cameo Morningstar June 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

HAHA! I didn’t mean to hate on your 20′s – I am just jealous. I thought (by content only) you were older.

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missymiller June 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

BE YOU!
That would be my advice.
If you don’t walk around speaking in tongues – I mean- bloggerisms, then your blog should maybe not read like “I was hangry so I had a hugh jass salad for lunch. I may or may not have had a brownie on the side. Twas amazeballs.”
Your blog should sound like you, not what other bloggers sound like.
(In my opinion.)
Some of my favoritest blogs are written by people….”PEOPLE” not “bloggers.”
People with individuality –that is why I love blog-reading. That’s my advice (Please nobody look at my blog (!) — if you do you will see I am CLEARLY no expert on cool blogging.

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Holly June 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I’ve been blogging since August — I am still a total newbie and most days I have no clue what I’m doing. But, I enjoy it. At first, I tried to do everything I “should do” — I ate OAIJ (most annoying name on earth) and linked back to big bloggers who “taught” me how to make it, etc. After a few months of that I realized how much I hated blogging and I quit for almost 2 months. Then I started up again this year and I write about what I want to write about. Sometimes it is serious, sometimes it is a picture of my dinner and a short summary of my day. This is for me, and if someone else wants to read too, great!

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I find many bloggers “take a break” and remerge stronger and wiser. At least thats what happened with my other two blogs.

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1970kikiproject June 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

yes!
and i agree with deb – once i learned to stop using my flash, my photos improved (although i’ll never be known for them).
you have to blog for you…i get bogged down when i start considering readers, other people…keep your own voice.
love checking in with you, eden!

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alexandrajean June 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I recently found your blog and I’m loving your straightforwardness. You are very YOU, which is what makes your posts so much fun to read. I love your “voice” and that you’re not afraid to say what’s on your mind.

I just started a blog, and I’m still on the fence on whether or not I want it. I need to find out what my vision is for the blog before I really get going. It’s been only a couple of weeks for me, and I can already feel how intimidating it might be for new bloggers.

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Shanna, like Banana June 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Yep, I think you’ve got it covered.

I’d add, as a newbie, find your OWN style. Don’t take words / phrases from other “popular” blogs thinking people will like your too..cuz you know “Holy yum, that amazeballs food is the jam and super easy peasy to make” for someone else..not for you!

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Tamar June 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I started reading food blogs because I love to cook. Then eventually I got sucked into some other life blogs (like yours) just for the fresh perspective. The food blog universe is interesting to me as an outsider, but I would never ever write one; people are so mean to each other! (Or just boring). I write/ have written a few blogs, mostly political (which I won’t link to because those universes shouldn’t collide), so it’s great to hear what you think!

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Kristina @ spabettie June 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I also felt “pushing 90″ in my twenties – felt that way all my life, actually. if only I could take today’s knowledge and go back to my twenties – okay, maybe all I want is to be able to play and teach tennis all day like I did back then…

Hmm, I have a good one, stay on track?? ;)

these are all great, and so true. especially Deb’s No Flash!! oh my – I cringe to see some of my old photos, what WAS I thinking?

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm

yes, my first pictures had flash and I swear the food was delicious but it might as well have been dog food.

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Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I even have a flash-prejudice in every day photographing now. Like if we are somewhere at night and want to take a photo and the flash goes off, I’m like “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! Turn it OFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Knee jerk, over-reaction, maybe. Maybe.

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I’m the same way. And I’m sorry if its Derek that ends up getting that knee jerk. That might leave a mark.

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Gillian June 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

It’s kind of wild, my mom started blogging around 10 years ago..and I started blogging 8 years ago…but mostly for the pleasure of writing. As a “newbie” my posts were very long winded and I received very few readers for years but I was just so happy to be “published” every day and have a place to write. I think my advice for any new blogger would be just to write about what you love and not to worry about your readership unless you’re only in it for money (and then you probably shouldn’t be blogging in the first place).

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm

excellent point about doing it for you and not the money…although some of my favorite blogger (they arent food bloggers) get paid.

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sophia June 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I already broke at least one of your advice: keep it short. I can’t seem to be able to do that. I’m a pompous ass who thinks every word is from God. :-p

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edenseats June 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

yes, but you are hardly a newbie. You’ve earned you right to write lengthy posts and interesting ones at that.

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Anna June 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

I started blogging a few months ago, and I’m still getting the hang of it. I started to blog just as an outlet for writing what I love. This summer I’ve been interning at a newspaper, and they have me writing and compiling obituaries. Short, sad obituaries. I see blogging as a release from that. Do I have nothing to write about? Probably. But I’m definitely doing my best and enjoying it.
Finally, after menopause, women often have years and years of success…just look at Betty White! (ie, please don’t stop writing Eden’s Eats! I just discovered your blog a few days ago and now I’m hooked. Especially after this post, I read it this morning and have been thinking about it all day.)

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Amanda June 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I’ve blogged for over a year, and have like maybe 4 followers.
I really don’t care – it’s not like I ever planned to make money from it. It’s more of a place for my to vent/work things out/ or whatever else, but every now and then I wish I had people to actually give advice on some of the topics. It probably doesn’t hurt that I’m not a good writer, and am really not that interesting!
I’m also the most long-winded person ever, so I can rarely right a short post! That must be it.. :)

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edenseats June 14, 2011 at 12:20 am

I find that the worse the writer, the more I want to read it

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Stacey June 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm

My two cents:

1. Don’t blog about work unless you’re ok with losing your job.
2. If you write something less than flattering about someone, that person WILL find it. I don’t know how. Unseen cosmic forces.
3. If you are particularly proud of a post, no one will comment on it. No, it’s not fair, but that’s generally how it works.

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melissa @ the delicate place June 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm

noob. that is what i am perhaps. the blog has been going for 1.5 years and i neglected it a good bit in that first year. i never pretend that grammar is my middle name. admittedly, i try to limit my sciencey side to appeal to more people. i never blog a certain number of times weekly because that would piss me off. i say what i want when i want without worrying too much about who i could possibly offend this time. there are no rules, this is the interwebz.

totally agree about the long-winded posts. i’m a child, i like to post pictures with little text. if i could make pop up pictures on the blog, i would!

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juliegolean June 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm

hahahaha i love looking back at my old posts and thinking wow your pictures sucked but you sound the same. no wonder why i’m the same boring me 2 years later which hey! i’m fine with. being popular comes with too much pressure like my oatmeal has to be perfect every morning and the raisin can’t touch the side of the bowl if the light doesn’t hit it just right

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Abby June 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Well, I’m going to be the blog bitch here and respectfully disagree a little bit. I don’t think you have to follow “big” blogs or get cliquey. I say be yourself, be original and don’t worry about what other people are doing.

If you’re looking to get famous, good luck with that. Hardly anyone gets rich from blogging, so do what makes you happy. Write a lot, write a little, add pictures, don’t add pictures, post five times a day or five times a month. Write what you want instead of what you think others want to read.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow certain rules–NO FLASH, apparently ;) –but in the end, do it for you. Don’t worry about anyone else out there. That’s boring, and no one likes boring.

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edenseats June 14, 2011 at 12:24 am

no, I think we agree. Im not saying “follow the big” blogs at all. I’m just saying that if its readers you want, to expect them to just magically discover you. And I agree 100% with just being you. As long as you dont use flash…but then again. Flash all you want. Who am I to tell you what to post ;)

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jack24 June 14, 2011 at 12:19 am

don’teven think about putting ending your blogi would hnt you down jack style!!! i read u cos u are no holes barredhonest and bloody funny

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Jess June 14, 2011 at 12:38 am

Bahahaha..these are FUNNY!! I agree. You must comment and NEVER start a blog because it’s purely “cool!”

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Amy June 14, 2011 at 2:57 am

“Or…… they will totally ignore you and take more pictures of their oatmeal/cute pet/kin/marathon medal.” … Awesome and so true.

I am a “newbie” and while I don’t have comments (or many readers for that matter) I am just writing to get my story out there and because writing is outlet for me. I mean sure it would cool to have a big readership but I won’t go cry to my mom if it doesn’t happen.

Plus I don’t eat oatmeal so clearly I would never “fit in” anyway =)

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Heather Eats Almond Butter June 14, 2011 at 3:10 am

Yes, keep it short, and never start out a post with “‘This is a long post” – makes me not even want to start reading. Trust me, if it’s a good post, I’ll stick around through to the end – just don’t warn me.

Cracking up at Deb’s hatred of the flash, and I agree. Took me a while to learn that one. I cringe when people say they read through my archives – so many awful pictures and some pretty awful posts as well, but then I remind myself they didn’t seem so awful when I hit publish – it’s just where I was at that point in my life…however, the veggie blended oats were pretty bad. Seriously, what was I thinking?

P.S. I consider you to be in the top 5%. :)

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Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 14, 2011 at 3:15 am

Heabie! YOU were the cool kid who introduced me to your readers. Honestly without you, and your support, I probably would never have kept blogging!

And PS we all ate those veggie blended oats for a while there and nom-nommed our asses off.

Finally, I agree about the old posts- why didn’t they seem so bad all those months/yrs ago when we hit publish? Do we really change our writing style that much?

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Ameena June 14, 2011 at 4:04 am

I’m not an expert by any means but I’d like to agree with the whole keep it short thing and I’d also like to request that one doesn’t have 1 million pictures and links in each post!

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edenseats June 14, 2011 at 5:56 am

People often tell me they like seeing pictures, but personally, I really dont like tons of pictures. Two or three is nice but 80 plus 800 links is overkill.

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Niki (Life's a Payne) June 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm

This whole discussion was great! I am a new blogger and I thoroughly love blogging. In fact I blogged to NO ONE (not even telling my sister I had started to blog) for almost a week!

I think patience is important. I am not doing this to make money… I just want to share and be able to chat with people who share some similar interests! And I do believe if you just act like yourself you will get there :) !

OH! And I love the idea of SHORT posts! I am so barely I usually browse pictures to find something that interests me, no matter who wrote it!

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Cait @ UrbanFencepost June 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I started my blog a whopping 1 week ago and omg, i’m all over the place. it’s pure chaos. thanks for the tips, i can sure use them! ;)

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Chuck June 16, 2011 at 3:46 am

Nope, I never get an email. Do other people?

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) June 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Advice to knew bloggers:

Don’t ask a million questions about what people want to see on your blog. Just blog what you enjoy blogging about and the readers will come … maybe.

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Cameo February 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Dang, I just revisited this post – honestly because there was a little note in my traffic thingy that said it referred someone to my blog and I am sort of ashamed of the vitriol in my first comment! While I still think those same blogs are pretty silly, I am not as put off by their popularity as I was a year ago.

And on the note of going back and editing early posts – Oh, MY, lordie! I just looked back at some of the first ones I wrote and turned red in the face with embarrassment. And those were some of the ones I thought were really good!

I think about deleting my blog every day. But then I get a really nice comment or I find a like minded new reader and it keeps me going.

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