Saturday, August 21, 2010

Your Blogging Questions Answered

Balljar
Hi everyone! My friend Brenda @ Cozy Little House is doing a series on answering blogging questions for newbies (or oldies). So head on over to her blog (she likes red as much as I do) and check out her posts. She’s answering questions in the comments and she did a tutorial  on how to do the 3-column template which I know many are interested in. She’s a sweetheart and has helped me before and I’m sure you’ll find lots of useful info there!

I thought I’d answer two questions that I always get which are:

1) What camera do I use and how do I get such nice photos (thank you!).

I just use a digital point and shoot. Panasonic DMC-L27. It’s easy to use! I never take photos with the flash on. I’ll turn on every light in the room rather than do that! Sometimes I bring in an extra lamp if that's not enough. Using the flash washes out your color and things just don’t look quite right.

I do use a photo editing program to tweak my photos if they need it. picnik is a common one. I use one that came with my computer. So if the photo is too dark I can adjust the lighting a bit. But honestly, if the light isn’t right I usually don’t take the photo! I’d rather wait. There's only so much you can do with most photo editing programs before a photo starts looking like it's not even real.

Also, for every photo you see I’ve probably taken about 50 and rejected 49!  So take lots of shots from different angles so you give yourself a good selection to choose from. It's time consuming but worth the effort.

2) How do I get followers?

Some of you that have been with me since the beginning know I have a love hate relationship with the whole followers thing! I was blogging for about six months before I even put the widget on my blog.

I love that it gives me way of knowing that there are people that enjoy my blog and don't want to miss a post because I do work hard on it and it does take a good chunk of my time. Validation is always nice. So that's a good thing.

On the other hand, I personally think the question should be how do I attract readers not how do I get the number on my followers widget to increase. People place too much importance on numbers be it followers or some other statistic.

I don’t want people signing up to follow that don’t really have an interest in what I do here. Therefore, I don’t do any “incentives” for following but, of course, that’s up to you. My feeling is whether or not you follow...well...that's your business.  You can increase your followers # if you do giveaways just for followers. But then after the giveaway, some of those people might not stick around. Just sayn' how it is!

The very best way to get the word out about your blog is to comment on other people’s blogs. People that blog about the same things you blog about. It makes no sense to network with political blogs if you're a sewing blog. Unless you also discuss politics! Make it easy for people to find you. Set it up so that when someone clicks on your name  they are taken to your blog or add a link under your name when you leave your comment. Also, say this is your first time visiting if it is. I know I make an effort to go visit everyone at least once.

Just know that not everyone is going to take the time to come check out your blog so don’t get upset about it! To this day I know I can leave a comment on certain people's blogs and never hear from them but that doesn't stop me from commenting if I have something to say.

I use to tell people to join blog parties to increase their exposure but to tell you the truth, I just don’t feel they are as effective as they used to be. It used to be that if you signed up for a linky party everyone would visit everyone (pretty much). Now, I don’t think people make the effort. I think with the new picture link system, people look at the picture and then decide if they want to visit that blog. In the “old days” when we just had to put our blog name with no pic, you never knew what you’d get. Especially if it was a blog that wasn’t familiar. But you actually had to go and give that blog a chance!

Often I see someone that has linked to four or five blog parties, has a lovely post or good idea and gets 10 comments! I think everyone is waiting around for everyone else to come visit their blog these days. So I don’t know how effective these parties are anymore, but give them a try and see how it goes for you.

Also, try to post at least once a week. People need a reason to come back to your blog. They can't read the same old post over and over! Some people say post on a schedule but I post when I’ve got something to share or say (like today) and that works for me. Find what works for you. But have your priorities straight. Family always comes before blogging. I think some people get carried away and forget that.

Flowers
My biggest tip is to just be yourself! Blog about things that interest you and like minded people will find you.  Really! Have patience. Not everyone can be a rock star overnight. It takes time to build relationships. Enjoy the process! Have fun blogging and don't get hung up on all the external things that in the scheme of life don't really matter anyway.

Dont' forget to go visit Brenda for more tips on all sorts of blogging questions.

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by today. I wish you all a fun and happy weekend!

60 comments:

sunshine said...

Those were all great answers!
I especially liked what you said about Followers.
Sometimes, I get hung up on the #'s.
I've been blogging for 2 years and have 82 Followers. I get frustrated from time to time when someone new blows in and has 100+ Followers in a matter of weeks.
I mentally smack myself around and remind myself that many of the Followers I do have, have become wonderful friends and comment often.
It's not the quantity, it's the quality and I've got some great people.

So, I appreciate your words on that subject.

I just love your blog so much. I think that it and you, are awesome!!

((hugs))
Laura

Georgia Peach said...

I really enjoyed your post and you made alot of sense about worrying about the numbers - I just started a brand new blog on the 15th and was used to a larger more established blog with alot of followers but I let it get so out of hand that I was faced with the decision to revamp and organize it or bite the bullet and start from scratch. I choose the latter. This new blog will cover all my loves - quilt, knit, crochet, sew, scrapbook, design cards, computers/design/blogging, cooking, baking, embrodiery and painting. I had pretty much limited the other blog to just quilting and knitting and the others just got lost. I too live in a small town outside Atlanta and am recently retired and have SO much time on my hands - I am struggling to regain organization and feel once I have this in check my crafts will soar! I am finally getting to be a stay at home mom even though my babies are all grown up! I am a Happy Homemaker finally! Please visit my blog http://creationsbyageorgiapeach.blogspot.com

This is my first but will not be my last visit to your blog!

Julie Harward said...

Great tips Manuela..thanks! I only have a digital too, but it does a pretty good job. I dislike incentives too..when I have a give a way, it's just..leave a comment! I so do not like have to jump through hoops to enter a give a way! My advise to anyone is...just be yourself! Please do not try to copy some one else...it does not work! ;D

Konnie said...

Good tips. I am so out of touch I didn't know many people desire a large readership. I do have the follower widget, and counter so I can't say I am totally oblivious, but I didn't realize that is what all the giveaways and such were for. I just enjoy writing and since it is about a large variety of subjects, from family to my cancer, I doubt I will ever reach large number of followers. I love your blog though and envy its beauty.

Ally's Corner said...

Great post!!! I don't have that many followers and that is ok with me of course I may have more reading but not leaving a comment. I mainly use my blog for a place to journal about my girls and that helps when I scrapbook. I did do a lot of parties when I did a project around the house, thrifty finds etc.. I would get more comments then .I don't have time to do many projects around the house or leave comments on blog like I use to. I only post to the blogs I read which is not many.
Have a great day.

Connie said...

What a good post. I have been known to get all hyped up about numbers but then I realized that the #'s don't make up the person I am. I enjoy blogging and when someone comments that just makes my day.
I have been a follower of your blog for awhile now and always enjoy what you have to say.

Mimi Sue said...

You are spot on Manuela. Great advice. I think when I first started to blog in 2008 there were not so many blogs. Now you can get spread so thin trying to keep up with everyone. Much easier then to have time to leave comments and visit more often. I simply can't sit in front of this computer any more than I already do. Family has to come first for sure. Mimi

Vee said...

Very good answers, which I tend to agree with. I placed followers on my blog as a way of reaching out more and two years after the widget was available. Now that's really a love-hate relationship with the concept. I still don't know what I think of it because, quite frankly, I don't see people on that list very often. The bloggers I'm most likely to visit with again and again are on my blogroll.

Thanks for taking the extra pains with your photography. I always think your photos are wonderful and tell the story.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Great tips Manuela!
I love lot's of different kinds of blogs and I always leave a comment even if I never hear from them either!
I think it's good not to keep tabs.
For me the friendships are the best part of blogging!
I've met many of my blogging friends now and I love it!
Hugs,
Cindy

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Manuela, the things you said are so true and good pointers. I am new and do like getting new followers. I feel like wow all these people have looked at my blog at one time or another. Little ole me. I probably will slow down posting since I may run out of things, but so far not. I do get more views on the day that I link to Between Naps on the porch for Met Monday. My visits jump and that is where I have had a lot of new readers from. Also show and tell at My Romantic Home gets me quite a few. So true about not using a flash and taking oodles of pictures. That is what I do to. I love your blog and always look forward to your posts since we do decorated alike.

Becky K. said...

Excellent advice, Manuela.

It is so much more fun to blog when we aren't counting and waiting for reaction. To just share our hearts and projects.

Becky K.

Theresa said...

Great post Manuela! I don't fish for followers either! I love my followers and don't really want just a number but people who really love me and want to follow me! I wonder sometime how people keep up with their followers when they have soooooo many and the truth is they don't!

I love your blog and find really good tips from your! Enjoy your evening!

Brenda@Cozy Little House said...

Well, thanks Manuela! I went over and over that tutorial with a fine toothed comb before I posted it. And I'm still worried I left some step out! I don't get the whole "follow me for a chance for a giveaway." Maybe you and I are old-school about stuff like that. The parties have probably lost their effectiveness because now there's so darned many of them!
Brenda

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Great answers Manuela. I am with you with the parties. I still do parties but I do the post first. If it fits a party, I add a link. I don't do a post to fit a party. I usually do the newer ones. Once in awhile I'll do one of the originals. I try to visit every other participant, at least. But realiality that isn't always possible.

I am also the same with followers. I've never asked anyone to follow or given incentives/giveaways to garner followers. I use the term readers, rather than follower. I have several readers who don't leave comments. I get e-mails from many, but others pass thru the Back Porch, enjoy and move on to another. I do that many times, too. Just because I don't leave a comment every time, it doesn't mean I haven't been there. I like keeping up with my regular readers who are linking to the parties pretty often.

I try not to over process photos. I like to shoot when the light is at optimum. J and I were out in the state park early this morning, when the light was still fairly soft. I had to do a bit of tweaking and vow to be out there an hour earlier next time. We did have a neat surprise along the way. Totally unexpected in rural Missouri. That's the kind of photoshoots I like. Not planned necessarily. We had no real idea where we were going when we got in the truck with Molly. J said, lets take a ride out to the park..funny, I had thought of that earlier, also.

I still use my point and shoot for some photos, but I do enjoy my newest Canon so much. I do photography for other reasons than blogging and use my framed photos in our home when possible.

I find blogging for the sheer joy of blogging makes my posts less forced. Sometimes when I try to stick to a theme or idea, they don't come across as natural.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and thanks again for this post.

Georgia Peach said...

have just read all the comments since my last post early - during which time Manuela visited my blog and left a beautiful message!) and each of you ladies all made wonderful sense! It reminded me of why I started my first one and one of my sons asked me why and I told him it was a journal - a place where I wrote about the things I loved to do and if no one ever read the first blog I had taken the time to stop and appreciate what gives me joy in life and it in a sense was the same as a "gratitude" journal. In the end I did have people find it and read and they too had similar interests as mine and we shared with each other and bounced ideas off each other. I have learned so much from the friendships that I made that way and I like to take a moment and visit the blog of any posted I get and leave them a message as well. I agree, if I had large numbers of followers I could not give them the time that I honestly would feel I needed too so smaller and cozy is just fine for me! I am loving reading Manuela's blog and intend on clicking of each of you that have a link as you must have a similar interest that brought you here too. I look forward to "meeting" and talking to all of you and you are all welcome to visit me as well.

Bettsi said...

Great tips, Manuela. I have always liked your common sense approach. Also, it has to be fun! If you're not having fun with the blog, what's the point? I think people can sense when someone is blogging and sharing just because they genuinely enjoy it and it draws others to them.

sewingseeds4U said...

Well said Manuela. I hate to admit that I can sometimes looks at the numbers (especially if it was a heart felt post) and feel a twinge of wonder. The bottom line is that I enjoy this...the writing, the sharing, photography and sharing my home or projects. As long as it's fun and sincere, people will come back. Also, it's hard to keep up with reading too many blogs. I try to find the ones that I would like to be friends with and leave comments on them. Great post...you know I love your blog and am always tickled when you stop by mine. Patty

Kathleen Grace said...

Great tips Manuela! My biggest question is how you find time to respond to all the comments you get!

Gloria said...

That's a great post Manuela. I pretty much follow people that interest me. I honestly don't worry about if I get follower's or not. I just visit my regulars and comment on their blogs, like I do yours and just let them know I'm thinking of them. Anyways, have a great Sunday. toodles.

Anita said...

Manuela, I enjoy reading your blog and looking at your pictures, not to mention the great decorating ideas I glean from your posts.
I agree with you. Just be yourself and kindred spirits will find you.
Blessings,
Anita

Andrea said...

Thank you for your tips. I like the part about being yourself. I think we ultimately should be blogging for ourselves. Making friends is just a bonus.

Shelia said...

Hi Manuela! Oh, this was a great post!! Some good tips! I agree with you on so much of this!! I do try my very best to comment back to others. Some of the famous blogs never do and I know they can't respond to everyone but sometimes I feel if you visit often they should say hello sometimes!
You know how I love love love coming to your blog!! :)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Madigan at madiganmade said...

Wonderful advice. I am so new to blogging, it is important to remember 'why' I want to blog. (to journal my projects, have fun and be inspired by others) The feedback, comments etc is just icing on the cake.

Love of the Sea said...

Thank you for this post. I am a new blogger and am strictly doing it for enjoyment and meeting new people. I love it!! Thank you...

priti.lisa said...

You are a generous light...Shine on, shine on :D

Paula said...

You give great advice, Manuela. Your blog is one of my very favorite ones, probably because we share similar interests, decorating and gardening.

I think that blog parties are out of control. Many of the participants don't visit around, they add their link and disappear. Some hosts ask that a participant comment on the two posts above and below yours and most don't do that.

Your pictures are always excellent. It sounds like lighting is the key thing for a great picture.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Angie said...

Great info and I agree with everything you said. Love your blog as I'm sure you know! Oh, and love the cute vignette too!

madhatty said...

Hi, I'm new to blogging as well as your website and just wanted to say thanks for the tips about blogging and thanks for sharing your blog - I love it!

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

Terrific post! But then, I always come here to see what pretty things/common sense/good ideas that you're up to!

John'aLee said...

I love your philosophy on blogging. So makes sense!
Your blog is so refreshing.

mcnairy said...

I am a reader, not a blogger and it seems to me some bloggers (not all) write only for other bloggers and forget they have readers who do not write a blog. It sometimes makes me feel left out. You are not one of those. Your genuine friendliness and generosity comes across in your blog.

I enjoy reading blogs of people who write about what I like and who give me fresh ideas to use in my own life. A lot of these are people I think I would enjoy knowing in real life. Hope my thoughts help someone who is blogging. Sue

Puan Isah said...

Thank you Manuela, for sharing all those wonderful tips on blogging. You are so generous :) When I first started blogging I didn't put up the followers widget and only put it up in my blog after several months. True, what you said the # ain't that so important compared to the small lovely group of friends that I have now.
Thanks again, I really admire you and your lovely blog!

Kathy said...

Manuela-Your blog is so enjoyable. I go to your blog everyday. Reasons I enjoy reading-I love your decorating and the colors you use -so many people have gotten away from red or shy away from red -but there are still a few of us that really enjoy a pop of color :-) , Your love of family really comes through in your writing, you share tutorials, colors and materials you use and how your readers can also achieve the same outcome. Yes your pictures are amazing -and appreciate all the time you take putting together a post.

Linda (Nina's Nest) said...

Manuela, great tips and advice. I always enjoy your blog! Beautiful pics today, too. Linda

Gayla said...

I really agree with you on these pointers. We have to realiza that blogging HAS TO be for ourselves. I l love comments and I rarely get them. but my visitor list is regular and long!!! Whatever!!!

Storybook Woods said...

I think you forgot one little thing Manuela, to be utterly sweet and charming, so we all want to come to your blog. It certainly applies to you xoxoxo Clarice

Mona Kay at Home said...

Great advice, and you have a beautiful blog! Found you through Brenda & am now following :)

Ticking and Toile said...

Great post! THanks for the great info :)

xo,
Shellagh

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

Hi Manuela!

This is my first visit! What a wonderful blog you have! And this post is great.

Melissa Miller said...

Good advice here Manuela! I actually read your post earlier today and then tried the *no flash* with my photos for my post this evening. It worked! They seem to appear more *real* if that makes sense. I'll keep trying and working at it. I still don't know all of my camera features yet. I have the same one as Brenda.

Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you liked everything. Red and roosters are some of my favorite things as well. :)

Heidi@TheCraftMonkey said...

great advice! one of the many reasons I enjoy your blog so much!

Chook said...

Love this post Manuela.Thanks for introducing me to Brenda's blog too.One Im going to follow myself.

Lallee said...

Manuela, you said all this so well. I share the same philosophy when it comes to followers. I need some validation that I'm not just talking to myself, but I don't want to focus on numbers. If I worry about numbers then I am tempted to jump through hoops instead of being myself. I love connecting with kindred spirits who share my interests. That's exactly why I love visiting your blog!

Marty said...

The is my first time visiting you. I found you through someone who had this featured on their blog. Thanks for sharing=)

The Working Home Keeper said...

Great advice Manuela!

Mary Ellen

Mrs.Rabe said...

I always love your blog Manuela! It is fun to see what you are working on in your home.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

Thank you for taking the time to blog about this. GREAT tips and help.
Have a pretty day!
Kristin

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

great post...and yes...i agree...just be YOU !!!

and don't use the flash :-)

kary
xxx

bj said...

I would NEVER, in a million years, tell someone to follow me if they wanted a chance at my giveaway. I want them because they want ME and I seldom sign up for a giveaway if it requires me to follow, snap my fingers, Simon Says or blog about it. I blog about other blogs when I WANT to...and, believe me, there's so so many out there that it is a PLEASURE to blog about.
The memes ....I am still enjoying them...IF I don't try to do too many at once.
I love blogging...and am having so much fun with it. I don't "count my numbers" either...and just go with the flow of things.
I do love your blog and ...always have.
You do show me the Pleasures of Homemaking...:))

bj said...

OMGosh..I HAVE to know how you did those amazing books....pa-lezzzzzz..

Gumbo Lily said...

I like the "be yourself" part of your advice. That's what attracts me to various blogs. I'm not blogging for people, I'm mostly journaling about the things I do and love.

Jody

Kristi said...

Thanks Manuela! Great post and I was agreeing with everything you said as I was reading!! CSN contacted me for a giveaway, I realize it was free advertising for them, but I just wasn't comfortable doing it, so I didn't. And while I don't have a "big" blog (I could really write a novel on some of the bigger blogs that I used to enjoy...) I am ME, so I totally agree with be yourself!
You are my red loving, toile rockstar!!! Keep on bloggin! :)
Kristi

debbie said...

Thanks so much for the blogging tips. As a new blogger it is wonderful to get advice from some of the established bloggers.
I love all of the red gingham ribbon in your photos!

Debbie said...

I can pretty much say "ditto" to all of the comments above. As a fairly new blogger it's hard not to get discouraged, so it's nice to read some advice/tips from someone who's been there/done that. Thanks for sharing not only your wonderful projects, but all the great tips as well.
www.debbie-idodesigns.blogspot.com

Miss Janice said...

Enjoyed reading your answers! Lord, I need a new camera!

Style Sisters said...

What a perfect post! I loved reading your answers and especially about putting family first. I love having readers and lookers come to my blog to see what I have been up to. I do use my blog to sell things a lot of the time but I also show lots of ideas. Great post....awesome bloggers!
Karin

poppies said...

Just saw this today, as I was introduced to you by Jen Rizzo. Thank you so much for the tips. I'm a very new blogger and so in awe with what I'm reading every day by you 'seasoned' ladies. I pretty much want to just quit, thinking who cares what I have to say, and then posts like yours motivate me to continue on. Thanks so much.

ellie said...

well said Manuela...I think you hit the nail on the head....It is a big time consumer and I try to comment on something that "gets me"...but I always enjoying bobbing around. I am not a popular blog...not sure why I've been hear forever but that's Ok cause I do it for a history of my life. I love yours because you are so matter of fact and I like your organization tips...

Carolyn said...

Hi Manuela,
Thank you so much for this post! I found your blog a few months ago, when I was searching the web for mercury glass lamps. I stalked my local TJ Maxx for weeks after seeing your pretty lamp, but alas, didn't have the same luck :) Just opened up my "favorites" list and started reading some of your other posts. I just started a blog (only 2 posts so far and still figuring out how the whole thing works), so I appreciate your advice.

Kimberly said...

I loved this post. Thanks for your advice. Your blog is lovely & I always look forward to "visiting" with you. I've never really thought about the numbers but maybe I should ... I'm always up for a making a new friend!