1) Keep at the blogging if it makes you happy.
Reading back through my posts, I had been blogging for an entire month and a week before I got my first comment. In retrospect, it doesn't sound like that was a very long wait, but that's a whole month and a week I kept at posting at every opportunity I could. In fact, it was a whole year and a half before I got regular readers. I'm not entirely sure how I did it, but even though my reviews were pretty sucky, I still enjoyed writing about movies when I was given the opportunity to do so, and having people actually reading them was the cherry on top. The best thing about the fact that I kept going was that I got a good idea of how far my writing - and my love for movies - has come in the past few years. It is always great to have a record of something like that, but only if you enjoy making it.
2) Give back to the community that is giving so much to you.
I admit to not being the best at this, but commenting on other sites is key. At first, it starts off as a way of making yourself known in the community. Then once you get the readers, make sure theystay. That means giving them some of your time, as they've already spent the time to give you theirs. Another way of saying "I appreciate what you're doing" is by linking their posts or putting them in your blogroll. Try and be nice and spark up a conversation - unless these guys are 'Anonymous' or purposefully trying to cheese you off. And always reply to your comments. These guys spent the time to read your post, so they'd appreciate a reply to know that you're not completely ignoring them. Even if the response isn't straight away, make sure it's there.
3) Write about what interests you.
I'm sure you've been told this one many times before. Why write about something when you couldn't care less about it? Because that's when you get careless, crappy posts. It is a blog, not a job, so therefore you can do what you want.
4) Don't post what everyone else posts.
What I mean by this is don't overload your readers with trailers or stills to upcoming movies that every man and his dog has posted about. I only find this justified if you're a real website, as opposed to a blog. However, it is okay when you have a bit to say about the trailer. I personally love the trailer posts that Ruth does over at FlixChatter (check out this one for Anna Karenina) because she has more to say than "
5) Post a variety of stuff.
If you like writing reviews, then write them. If you like classic films and your blog is based around them, stick to classic films. While I know quite a few fantastic blogs that base themselves purely on reviewing (and that's how I started off), I'm not an overall fan of posting reviews day in and day out. So I say, instead of picking your poison, pick lots of different poisons. Look at new films, old films, trailers (but remember, promote and contribute to discussion), upcoming films, stars of films...the list of opportunities is endless. Also, if you're like me, a blogger not dedicated to one area of film, don't hesitate to try something new. That's why I'm doing the French New Wave series, particularly because I have a fanbase which loves foreign films. Next time, I'm doing something for another fanbase. Variety also works wonders when you write for specific groups of people.
6) Don't be afraid to be personal.
Even though I always feel guilty for posting them, I find that the posts where I delve into myself and how I am get the best response. Likewise, whenever I see bloggers writing about themselves, I'm usually quite happy. That's because we're part of this blogging community where most of us are friends, but we're joined through a love of film. Sometimes we think that film is all we have in common though. While it is nice to agree on the films we've seen and compare each other's tastes, I always like reading about why people like movies, or why we blog, or those special moments that have shaped them as a person. Remember, it is a blog, not a job, so do whatever you want with it. And reviews that look at the personal connection instead of just lighting techniques and the like are always far more interesting. Also, find something that you want to be known for.
7) Be yourself and be original.
|Unless you can be Batman. Because that's cool too.|
8) Make sure your blog is easy to navigate.
As much as I'd like to say that all people don't judge books by their cover, they do. That doesn't mean you need to make a huge widgety site with all the latest gadgets - just make everything easy to look at and easy to work. My simple tips:
1) Don't overload your blog with colour. Lime green and bright fuschia never did anyone any good.
2) Always have a review index. In alphabetical order. They're handy tools to have.
3) And a search bar.
4) Make sure you have a couple of different 'follow' options on your site. Like the Blogger follow and the Email follow. Don't just cater for one group.
5) Have all of your different social media profiles linked somewhere. Gives you more of a presence.
6) And one minor niggle that I always have: if you have sidebar images, make sure they fit to your sidebar, and they're all the same size.
9) Keep up the consistency.
This is a hard one to attain, but one that I've become obsessive over. I've realised that no, you don't need to post every single day. But don't be the guy who posts five times one day, then takes two weeks off, posts once, takes another week, and then posts 10 times. I stick to one post per every day I can post on because that's just the way things work around here. Also, if you can, set an area of time that you want to post in. Basically, I post every night between 7pm-11pm, because I like everything to run like clockwork. It may not work for you, but it works for me.
10) Be inspired.
This is a simple one: be inspired by the movies you see, the bloggers around you, the world around you. And then aim to inspire people yourself. Keep this circle of inspiration going.
I don't in any way claim to be a perfect blogger but these are the tricks of the trade that I've picked up in my last 900 posts. Hopefully someone finds some use in them.
What's some of your favourite blogging advice?