14 Tips For New Bloggers

I’ve been blogging for almost seven years so I know my way around a blog by now. No longer am I the naive teenager who didn’t know the difference between a post and a page. I taught myself so much and I am so proud to be where I am today in regards to blogging. So I thought I’d take a second and offer some tips to any new bloggers. I visit a lot of new blogs in the weekly Community Pools and in various Reader tags, so I know what advice I can pass on as I see things over and over.

So if you started the year with a brand new blog and are looking for advice, look no further! I am by no means a perfect blogger and I hope I’m not coming across as cocky or braggy, but I want to help everyone’s blog become the best they can be in little ways. I don’t know the Secret To A Wildly Successful Blog, but I do what features I like on peoples’ blog and what I find beneficial. Furthermore, some of these tips can perhaps be useful for people who aren’t new to the game. This is a post of sharing and helping. These are all tried and true, and if I can help even one person, then I’ll consider this post a success!

  1. If you haven’t actually started your blog. Take a second to research platforms. I love WordPress, but some bloggers like Blogger or Wix. Find out what’s best for you. The same goes for hosts if you want to go self-hosted or own a domain (which is not mandatory, by the way)
  2. You can always change your URL. I’m sure we all go through moments of wanting to change and rebrand, but in the end, you have to decide what’s best for your image and what’s easy for people to remember.
  3. If you do ever change your URL or relocate or delete your blog, make sure the URL attached to your username is changed too. So often I’ll get a new follower and want to check out their blog in return only to find dead links.
  4. Personalize your blog! Even free plans offer so many customizations options, so there’s no reason to stick with the placeholder images and text. Add colours, fonts, categories, a tagline, and widgets!
    Image result for personality gif
  5. Visit your blog the way a reader would. Log out if you have to, and pull up the URL to see what readers see. This is important for judging usability, clashing colours, and sizes.
  6. Edit your About page and make it easy to access. The About page is a very important part of your blog because it’s where new people will come when they’re deciding to follow you. Introduce not only yourself but your blog as well!
  7. Make sure to use spellcheck! I know good grammar is a dying art on the internet, but most bloggers do their best to avoid typos and make their posts as legible as possible for readers. A few mistakes are fine as we all make them, but not properly using commas or something can be irritating and could turn readers away. I know I’m guilty of occasionally having typos, so shoutout to my mother, who texts me every time she finds them!
  8. Learn the platform. Take an hour or two and click every setting and every option just to learn where they are and what you can use. Having an understanding of the site and where everything is makes using it so much easier.
    Image result for learn gif
  9. Definitely add a profile picture/image but remember that it’s a really small box that will cut off a lot so choose carefully so to best show what you want.
  10. In terms of blog content, I highly suggest adding images throughout posts. Walls of text is not always fun to read, especially when it’s so easy to add some visual to break it up. Not every post needs images, but they do spruce up posts. One blog I read often, The Invisible Moth, always has pictures in her posts, but sometimes they’re not even related to the topic, they’re just pretty and help break up the paragraphs.
  11. If you want to get more readers (and let’s be honest, we all do!) you will have to work for it. Read other blogs. Interact with other bloggers. Go looking for them because they will likely not come to you.
  12. Make use of the SEO tools you have. Make sure you use tags and keywords. Write catchy titles.
  13. Have a plan for your blog, not just in terms of content, but in terms of quality and quantity. What do you want to portray with your blog and how will you do it? My suggestion for complete newbies is to plan ten posts before you start so you can avoid burnout too quickly. Is my blog exactly what I thought it’d be when I started? Not exactly, but the general frame is the same. I knew I wanted to be nicheless and I knew I didn’t want to post more than once or twice a week, and those have maintained.
  14. Don’t spam your link and don’t demand traction because you’re new. If you want people to check out your blog, give them a reason to, and that reason could be as simple as a nice, relevant, meaningful comment. And most of the time, you don’t even need to manually add your link because your username will do it for you (provided tip #3 is in effect).
    Image result for you can do it gif

Having your own little slice of the Internet is a wonderful thing, and I highly recommend blogging to all, though I know it’s not for everyone. But if you do have a passion for it and you are new to the game, I hope these 14 tips helped you. And for seasoned bloggers reading this, if you have tips of your own to share, leave them in the comments!

That’s all for now!

 

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Sneeze Count 2017

I know you’ve been waiting all year for this. I sure have. Sneeze count 2017, which is my fifth year of doing this! If you want to check out past years’ Sneeze Counts that I’ve blogged about, here’s 2015 (which involves a bit of a backstory if you’re new) and 2016.

The good news is that 2017’s Sneeze Count was able to encompass an exact 365 days. The days lined up perfectly this year, so that was neat. The bad news is that this was a really bad year for sneezing. It’s my lowest ever, by a lot. I don’t know why. Nevertheless, I still find it fascinating to look at the chart and stats, and I hope you do too. I love being able to share my weird hobby (can I call this a hobby?) with y’all!

sneeze count 2017

This year’s total is 1474, which I think is still a lot more than most people, but usually I’m in the mid 3000’s, so this year was kind of disappointing, as I said already. The minimum of 7 isn’t too low, as I had the same minimum in 2015, but the maximum is really surprising. I can’t believe I didn’t even come close to breaking 100. I usually do that a few times a year.

One thing that was different from the past few years is that in the summer I didn’t work in a book warehouse, so I expected the numbers to be down just based on that, but that alone isn’t enough to account for this whole year of low numbers. Maybe it was just a good year for pollen? Maybe I didn’t pet enough cats?

Image result for eh gif

Either way, that’s my 2017 Sneeze Count! Data is data! As I said, this makes five years of counting sneezes (half a decade! Wow!). And you can bet I’ll be keeping it up in 2018, so stick around for a new graph this time next year!

That’s all for now!

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: January 2018

2018! We’ve made it to 2018! I hope this new year is a good one for all of us! And let’s start the new year off by looking ahead to this month and the good things to come! If you’re looking to start doing MLAs on your blog too, now is a great time to jump in! Here’s what’s happening in my January.

monthly look ahead logo

  • Midseason premieres of all my shows
  • And the season premiere of Black Lightning. This show seems different from the current DC shows because the hero is older and retired, so we’ll see how it goes!
  • The Quidditch team is having a Yule Ball again in which we dress up and eat food. Good times basically guaranteed.
  • The start of my last ever school semester! I’m almost freeeee!
  • The Golden Globes on the 7th
  • Novel editing. I didn’t do any in December (oops? In my defense I was waiting for more beta feedback…) so now I gotta do it in January before the bookmaking class I’m in gets too deep. I still don’t love editing but I have a few rewrite ideas I’m kind of excited about.

Okay, so not much going on, but that’s okay. It’s a new year of growth and change, and I am ready! I’m not really one for new year’s resolutions, but this year I’m going to (hopefully) continue working on my positivity. What are your resolutions and what do you have going on this month?

Image result for happy new year gif tv show

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Why The Animated Grinch Movie Is Better Than The Live-Action One

Sometimes when I do opinion posts like these I’m half joking or I’m willing to hear from the other side. But this is not like those times. If you don’t agree with me on this, please send me your address so I can come to your house and fight you.

So. The Grinch. Dr Seuss’s classic tale about grumpiness and the magic of Christmas. It’s a favourite of mine. The Grinch never scared me. Here’s a Grinch plush I got a kid. See how he’s all worn? That’s love.

a grinch plush doll

The book How The Grinch Stole Christmas was published in the 1957 and became a made-for-TV short in 1966. It’s twenty minutes long and you can definitely find it on TV this month or the Internet year-round. Though the animation is nothing compared to the hyperrealistic stuff we have now, it’s pretty good for its time and very colourful. The short is nothing special, really, but it’s perfect. A nice narrator recites the book and the characters (meaning the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who) give a few lines of dialogue, and in the middle there’s the iconic song ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’. It’s not too long so nothing drags on. The whole thing is fun and enjoyable without being cheesy or unnecessary.

But you know what is unnecessary? The live-action Grinch movie from 2000. A friend and I rewatched it a few weeks ago just to make sure my long-time hate for this movie stands, and it does. Jim Carrey is not my favourite actor by any means, but I will say that he plays this role mildly well, all things considered. It’s not his fault the writing was awful and consequently ruined every good aspect of the book and 1966 film. One thing that made the Grinch so interesting is that he was grinchy for no reason, and I loved that he could be a villainous character for no reason. He hated the Whos and he hated Christmas, but he learned the true meaning at the end. But the live-action movie had to stretch this to a full-length film and therefore gave us a bunch of unnecessary nonsense including but limited to a silly tragic backstory for the Grinch, Cindy being extra annoying and bothersome, the Whos being overdramatic and weird, and the Grinch trying to be too quirky and funny. The movie no longer is about the Grinch’s plan to steal Christmas, but Cindy’s weird desire to include the reclusive Grinch in the town’s festivities. All in all, the live-action movie and its extra layers ruined the simple and classic story that was perfectly given to mankind in the 1966 version. The live-action version is not funnier, it’s not cuter, it’s not more powerful, it’s not more enjoyable at all. The only thing I will say is that it has better music, but even that isn’t much of a selling point.

a gif of the live-action Grinch saying
My feelings on the live-action Grinch movie

Every year I see people on social media get exciting about watching this movie and I die a little inside because, like, have these people not seen the animated version? Or do they just prefer mediocrity? I sound harsh, but I’m just really passionate about the Grinch.

Which is why I am already in a rage about the new Grinch movie apparently coming next year. I mean, as much as I feel like the live-action part of the live-action movie contributed to its suckiness a little, that wasn’t the main fault. I think a character as weird as the Grinch fairs better animated, but not like this:

the poster for the 2018 Grinch movieCharacter design for the 2018 Grinch movie

The animation is tolerable, but the cuteness of the first image means we’re probably in for another tragic backstory, and since this, too, will be a full-length film, goodness knows they’ll have time for nonsense like that and more. This Grinch will apparently be voiced by Bartholomew Cucumber Benedict Cumberbatch. I’m not ready for another generation of kids thinking that any of these new Grinches can compete with the 1966 version.

Anyway, this concludes my Grinch rant. I hope I’ve inspired you to watch the 1966 version this holiday season, as it is superior and you will enjoy it. The end.

P.S. Did you know that in the 80’s, there was another animated made-for-TV Grinch short about Halloween? You can watch it here, but I’m warning you, it is the physical equivalent of the phrase “Thanks! I hate it!”

P.P.S. Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all of you!

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10 Things I Want For Christmas

I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there are just some things I need. And here they are. Because writing them down in a blog post is the same as sending thoughts and wishes out into the world, just with more witnesses.

  1. I want Apple to bring back the headphone jack. I am still very sad they got rid of it, and I don’t even have a new phone. How dare they do that without consulting me.
  2. I want the busses in my city to actually show up when they’re supposed to. I am sick of waiting at a stop for half an hour for an east bus while five thousand north busses show up in the meantime.
  3. I want my roommates to turn off the damn lights when no one is in the kitchen or the hallway. We even have one of those lights where there’s a switch at the top and the bottom of the staircase so you don’t have to go down to turn it off, but it’s still left on. All. The. Time.

    Trump yelling to turn off lights
    The one and only time I agree with something Trump has said
  4. I want Darren Criss to release a full album. We’ve gotten a handful of songs from his new EP and from Computer Games’ EP, but his voice is just too good, and I need more of it. Especially since we’ve been waiting on a full album since 2012-ish.
  5. I want a Dairy Queen to open up near me. I keep getting BOGO Blizzard coupons sent to me but there isn’t a DQ near me so if I were to take the bus to the closest one, my second Blizzard would melt by the time I got home.
  6. I want the Canadian TV channels to play the promos for next week’s episode right after the shows finish. I know America sees the promos, so why can’t I?
  7. I want my laptop to stop doing this really fun thing where it just randomly stops connecting to the internet for absolutely no reason and won’t reconnect until I reboot it. Apparently it’s a Windows 10 issue, so if Microsoft could get their act together, that’d be great.
  8. I want Quidditch practices this coming semester to be warm. I’m shivering just thinking about the snow and wind I’ll have to endure. I know global warming is bad, but I wouldn’t complain if it decided to kick in for a few specific hours every week.
    a man complaining about the cold
  9. I want my hair to stop looking great right before I take a shower at night and instead start looking great when I leave the house.
  10. I want Agents Of SHIELD to have a planned and satisfying ending. I’m coming to terms with the fact that this may be the last season, and if it is, I’m really hoping the showrunners know this in advance and can give the fans the ending we deserve. I’ve spent years worrying about these characters. I deserve closure.

I’m not asking for too much here. Some of these should be considered basic human rights, I think. And I’ve been a good girl this year, so I’m really counting on Santa to deliver.

What’s on your Christmas list this year?

 

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