Blogging Tips for Beginners

Things are about to get blogtastic up in here, but first let’s cover lunch!

Monday Lunch

Today’s mid day meal included a smoked salmon bagelwich made with Whole Foods’ smoked salmon and Chavrie goat cheese (my favorite because it’s flavorful but mild for goat cheese and easily spreadable).

Fishy, Fishy

Our local Whole Foods sells smoked salmon by the seafood counter in individualized portions, so rather than paying $7+ for a small amount of smoked salmon, I purchased a big hunk of the stuff that should last for two meals for only $2.30. I guess it is possible to save money at Whole Foods. Who knew?

Take a Bite

On the side of my smoked salmon bagelwich I enjoyed half of a pint of grape tomatoes. I only had one “dud” tomato that was overly squishy in the whole batch. Sch-weet!

Before we dive right into blogger-talk, I just wanted to let you know that the Fashion page was updated this afternoon.

Moving right along…

Blogging Tips for Beginners

As you guys know, offering advice about blogging makes me wildly uncomfortable because I feel like I have so much to learn. Still, without fail, some of the most common emails I receive ask me about blogging and my personal blogging tips.

Since I’ve been blogging for just more than a year, I obviously learn something new about blogging every single day. There are some things I wish I knew right from the beginning, and I figured these little tidbits might be of some benefit to those of you who are just getting your feet wet in the blogging world or have interest in starting your own blog. (I also previously posted my number one tip for bloggers, which you may see here.)

So let’s get to it!

  • Think and Rethink Your Blog Name: It took me a long time to come up with the name of my blog. (You may see the story behind the name Peanut Butter Fingers here.)

    PBF

    Take time to brainstorm a blog name you think is catchy and that you personally adore. Having an original and intriguing blog name will likely encourage people to visit your blog if they see it pop up in the comments section of another blog or if it is discussed in another blogger’s post. A blog name like “Food is Good” doesn’t do anything for me and is not a site I would likely visit.

  • Make Your Blog Name (Roughly) Match Your Web Address: Nothing is more confusing than visiting a blog one time and trying to visit it again, only to find that the web address doesn’t match the blog name at all. If your blog’s name is Food is Good, don’t make your web address www.ilikefood.com. Using a variation of your blog name (such as katheats.com for the blog Kath Eats Real Food) can still be memorable and can sometimes be even easier to remember than the whole name of a blog.  Just make sure that your blog name and web address are at least somewhat similar.
  • Utilize Social Media: If you have a blog, get on Twitter. Seriously. (Sarah, I’m talking to you.) It took me months to join because it seemed pointless and honestly intimidated me. Once I decided to suck it up and get on board, I realized how beneficial Twitter really is for bloggers.

    PBF on Twitter

    Twitter has allowed me to “talk” with other bloggers and really feel connected with the blogging community in a totally new way. Beginning a Facebook page is also helpful, as it allows those who don’t have Twitter to stay connected to your blog, especially if they aren’t daily readers.

  • Buy Your Own Domain: Like many other bloggers, I started my blog through WordPress (highly recommended) and initially had the web address peanutbutterfingers.wordpress.com. What a mouthful! I was really scared to purchase my own domain, but eventually did and was so glad I made the switch. Not only is it 10,000 times easier to tell people my web address, it is a lot easier for readers to remember as well. Of course this is not a necessary step, as there are many fantastic blogs out there (like Janetha!) that still have wordpress or blogspot in their web address, but I found it to be a beneficial change for my blog and I only wish I would’ve done it earlier than I did.
  • Say No to Clutter: This is another personal preference, but I love blogs that have a very clean and simple look. Don’t be afraid of white space. When I visit a blog that has stuff all over the place, I feel like one side of the blog is competing with the other side of the blog for my attention. It’s a lot to take in, and I’m less likely to stick around. I like a blog that is simplistic in nature and very easy to navigate. Make sure you have pages (the tabs at the top of the blog) where people can go to learn more about you and what your blog has to offer.
  • Show Us Who You Are: Maybe it’s just me, but I like to see a quick overview of who the blogger behind the blog is right when I visit a blog. A simple small image with a quick sentence or two describing yourself or welcoming your readers to your blog goes a long way. For example, when I visit Courtney’s blog, I know right away that she’s in her twenties, lives in New York and her interests include food, fitness and fashion. Since we clearly have similar interests, I’m much more likely to explore her blog and visit again. Additionally, if you’re comfortable sharing pictures of yourself, definitely do so.

    Celebrating 25!

    It actually took me quite some time to feel okay with posting pictures of myself, but for me it all goes back to writing a blog I would want to read. I love seeing pictures of the blogger behind the blog. Pictures convey personality in a way words never quite can. Plus, it makes you seem real, and not like some autobot blogger.

  • Don’t Blog Just to Make Money: Yes, blogs can make money, but if that is your sole motivation to start a blog, you may want to think again. Blogging requires a lot of time, effort and a serious commitment. I think it’s clear when a blogger is sincere and blogs because it’s their passion and they love writing and communicating with people who share similar interests. On the flip side, if someone is just posting nonsense and is only blogging because they want a “popular” blog, it is also quite apparent and off-putting. When I receive an email from someone that only asks me “How do I make my blog popular?” I cringe a little because I’m not sure that their priorities are in the right place. If you concentrate on producing quality content, people will want to read your blog and it will grow naturally. You can’t force-feed your blog to people. This is not saying that you shouldn’t want your blog to grow! It is only natural for you to want people to read your blog. This is not the same as blogging just to make money. It’s okay (and wonderful!) to want your blog to thrive and grow, but do it because you love blogging, not because you’re solely motivated by money. Money and increased readership can be motivating, but don’t let it be the be-all and end-all of your blog. I can honestly say that I loved blogging from the beginning when I had four readers (thanks mom, dad, Leslie and Ryan)!

Please feel free to share your tips for bloggers below!

  • What has worked for you?
  • What do you think bloggers should and should not do?

Comments

  1. Ann says

    I just started blogging and am trying to find my groove with writing so your post (and all the tips in the comments!) really help. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything other than research papers so hopefully I’ll eventually settle in and get comfortable!

    Also, totally love your blog name! I used to dip a spoon in a pb jar at work last summer because I wasn’t allowed to use my fingers.

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  2. says

    Hi Julie –

    Just wanted to pop in and tell you that you are such a motivation to me! I read your blog regularly, and I heard about you in the Angelos. :)

    I’ve just recently starting blogging as I’m transforming from severely obese into the land of the healthy! Thanks for sharing your healthy stories! They are VERY motivational to your readers, and for these awesome blog tips.

    AOT – Kelly

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  3. says

    This post came at the perfect time… i LOVE to write and share advice and after my january wedding i decided a blog was the perfect outlet for me.

    My blog (savethedate.blog.com) focuses on fitness, fashion and weddings! I hope to inspire and encourage my readers and look forward to gaining a world of wonderful followers- as you have!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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  4. Pamela says

    Thanks for the tips, Julie! I recently started my own blog, and I honestly love it even though I have only shared it with a few people. As a grad student, I don’t have much free time, but I have found enjoyment and even some stress relief from writing and blogging. :)

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  5. Desiree says

    Love the tips!!! I too have thought about starting a blog.

    Would you recommend to start at wordpress or just jump into self-hosting at the beginning? I’ve looked around wordpress and it seems super easy and that’s really what I need since I have NO idea what I’m doing.

    I know know, you said “if you can do it…” But you are super talented and and inspiration. Thanks for the tips!!!

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  6. says

    Thanks for the tips! I have recently really gotten into blogging, and I have been reading all of these incredibly successful blogs wishing I could be like that too!

    I love to write, so I really write for myself, but I would love to be apart of the community you know? These are great suggestions! Thank you :)

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  7. Trisha says

    Hello! So now that you’re up and running successfully, have you changed where you’d recommend newbies go through for their domain, host or blogging? Would you still recommend wordpress for the blog, godaddy for the domain and where would you recommend for the host? I’m trying to understand how all of this ties together and get my blog rolling in the best way possible. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I absolutely heart your blog and follow it daily!

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  8. says

    Hi Julie!

    I stumbled across your blog on pinterest last week and have been hooked ever since! I started a blog about science education on blogger this summer, and it’s been slow to start. After reading your advice on starting a blog, I decided to try out wordpress and twitter and am loving the change! I still have a lot of studying and playing around to do, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. Thanks for your inspiration :)

    Sarah
    treestarscience.wordpress.com

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  9. says

    I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog! I kept reading about PB Fingers from other blogs and here you are. Thanks so much for your posts – I’ll definitely be going through all these tips for blogging. I’m only new to blogging but am aiming for my first half marathon and as I love writing it’s such a great way to fulfil both passions! Already I’ve read your tips and got some ideas to improve my blog http://campoontherun.wordpress.com/ here it is – check it out if you have time… Only been blogging a couple of months so a long way to go! Thanks so much – look forward to following your posts!

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  10. says

    Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and
    effort to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

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  11. says

    Hi Julie,
    I’m a new reader to your blog and recently started a blog of my own. I just wanted to thank you for putting these posts together! I’ve found them really helpful. I really enjoy reading your blog and look forward to reading more!

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  12. says

    Hi! I know this is an older post, but so glad I came across it again. I’ve been an avid PBF reader for years, but just re-read all the blog talk Tuesday posts. It’s fantastic! Do you think you’d continue doing series again?

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  13. says

    Hi! I know this is an older post, but so glad I came across it again. I’ve been an avid PBF reader for years, but just re-read all the blog talk Tuesday posts. It’s fantastic! Do you think you’d continue doing this series again?

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      • says

        I’d love to hear more about the very beginning of your blog. What kinds of things outside of just posting did you do on a daily basis, and how long it took before you really started to get more followers, and when you realized this blog really made it! Forgive me if you’ve already covered this, but I love hearing others success stories. Thanks again!

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