Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Blogging: Tips and Tricks #1

Counter-parting the undoubtedly wonderful side to blogging lies an abundance of rather taxing antics. I would be a downright hypocrite if I were to deny the amount of hair pulling and key board slamming I partake in as a direct result of blogging. Nonetheless, there are up and downs to every situation. Blogging is such a situation. In spite of this, there are a myriad of tips and tricks to set you headed along the right blogging path.

Don't produce carbon copies of the same, stereotypical blog posts: Be Original! Clones of posts are constantly appearing all over the bloggosphere. Producing run-of-the-mill posts is not doing your blog, or you, a favour. Take some risks and try out some fresh, innovative content. Write what you like to write about. if it interests you, its sure to be of interest to others. Look at the world from a different perspective; put on the goggles of a reader and see what they would like to see. The posts may be different, and they may even spark controversy. But this controversy is what sparks debate, and this debate sparks readers. Experiment; often, its the only way you will gage any feedback, and its the only path into discovering what works, on both a blogging and personal level. 

You don't need a fancy DSLR camera to achieve fabulous photographs: With the right set up, any blog photos, whether taken on your £1000000 camera, or slightly dodgy mobile phone camera, you can still achieve fairly brilliant photos. If I could guarantee one thing when it comes to blogging, lighting would be right up there. It's cheap, effective, and is the key to perfecting blog photography. Take photos outside, or directly in front of an open, bright window. With the right light, your exhausted, past-its-prime-time-camera can still live up to your expectations. Take blog photos from around 8am to 2pm, or when the light is brightest. I often take photos in bulk at the weekend, although fitting in an hour or two's worth of photography always proves a tricky task when it comes to juggling your life as well as your blog. I'm no professional when it comes to lighting, but if you want a synthetic option head for a white LED lamp, or if you have the cash to spare, then light boxes are supposedly brilliant. Photo editing is key, although I suggest you don't go crazy with the contrast because not all of us fancy a trip to specsavers after a good blog reading session. That being said, sites such as Picmonkey offer an 'auto fix' service which does all of techy-bits in one go - its brilliant!

Its in our nature to crave aesthetically pleasing things, so make your blog pretty! After many one-sided shouting matches with my computer, a few tears and lots of stressful hours, I have finally grasped the basics of blog design. So be my guest to indulge in some of my hard-earned knowledge. Blog design is a topic deemed particularly tricky by the oblivious, but with a few minor cosmetic adjustments, it's nothing to sweat over.  As long as you have a clear, clean layout, with easy to find nav links and pages, I'm all over it. For your header, use a 'posh' font (aka no comic sans), or something that you wouldn't write a whole essay in. Stick to a lot of white space, as this makes it generally easier on the eye. Use subtle hints of colour to draw attention to various aspects and to tie all of the loose ends together-such as in your header and social media icons. After all, your blog design is the packaging to your content, and as much as we try to infiltrate society with the phrase 'Don't judge a book by its cover', that's often not the case.

If you would like a short but sweet assessment of your blog design with a dabble of constructive criticism, send me an email at laurynsnotebook@hotmail.co.uk and I would be honoured to help out! (All I request is a cheeky follow on bloglovin-thank you!)

Put your right tweet in; your left like out...that's what (social) media is all about! I'll be honest; if you really want to make an impact in the blogging world, you have to do the whole social media malarkey. It may be shameless self promotion at times, but to fully immerse yourself in the whole (wonderful) blogging community, you would be at a loss without Twitter. Facebook, Instagram and the likes of various other social media accounts, whilst undoubtedly addictive, do not compare to the status of Twitter within the Bloggosphere. It may seem like a murky and threatening assault course, but once you have grasp of the basic ropes you'll be anticipating the moment as to when you can next condense your thoughts into another 160-character message. Twitter chats for bloggers occur every single day of the week and cater for every one of your blogging needs. One of my go to bloggers for anything technical, Ellie, who blogs at xomisse.com has the most useful calender or every blogger twitter chat: http://xomisse.com/twitter-chats/. You can also use the various hashtags (#) to promote your content, in addition to hunting down bloggers or posts in the sub-genre that appeals to you. Twitter accounts such as @FemaleBloggerRT are not given enough appreciation, as this account successfully retweets every single one of your tweets if you tag them, making a brilliant added promotional tool.

What are your top blogging tips and tricks? Was this post helpful? 

Let me know in the comments below what other tips you fancy! Would a post all about HTML and CSS coding be of interest to you? 

P.S. Lauryn's Notebook is now on facebook. *eager excited face*. Check it out here: 
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