Sparkling Advice for New Bloggers – Now With More Sparkles

This time last year I wrote a post called Sparkling Advice for New Bloggers as part of the “Advice and Tech Help for New Quilt Bloggers” series hosted by Plum and June. This year Beth is taking the year off, but some amazing alumni have filled the void and relaunched the series with new gusto! To help support them in this venture, as well any of you new bloggers out there, I’ve republished my original thirteen point list below, along with six new tips for an even nineteen.
For even further help, and to check out the new quilt blogging round up, head on over to Quilting Jetgirl, Late Night Quilter, Meadow Mist Designs and Childlike Fascination for all the shiny details. Thanks ladies for helping to usher in a new class of quilt bloggers!
One: If I have to squint to see your photos, I will close that window and not come back. As I’ve said my entire life, bigger is better.
Two: Write about what you love. If you don’t love it, I’m not going to either.
Three: Stop apologising. You don’t even know me; you certainly don’t have to tell me sorry for not blogging on time, for your indoor camera phone pics, or for having *gasp* an opinion.
Four: Be your unique self. You’re the only you, you’ve got. Make sure I know it.
Five: Link me baby, one more time. Link to your own posts, and link to other pages on the interwebs. It will drive traffic internally to your site, make other bloggers love you for your thoughtfulness, and improve your search engine results.
Six: Set yourself blog goals. These can be as simple as blogging once a week, or as ambitious as having 1,000 followers after six months. You then know what you’re aiming for, and can find ways to achieve it. If you fail, so what? No one died.
Seven: If you build it, they will come. And then stop again. Then they’ll phone a friend and bring the party to your place. And then go on vacation. Then come back with their baby’s daddy. Just know that your readership will grow in waves.
Eight: Not everyone will like you. And that’s okay. I definitely don’t like everyone either. And that’s okay, too.
Nine: That’s Molli, Ms. Sparkles if you’re nasty. Due to the very nature of the written word, expect to be misunderstood, misinterpreted, misrepresented, misread, misquoted, misheard, mistook, and misconstrued.
Ten: Keep your house tidy. Don’t let your blog wind up on an episode of Hoarders. Buttons should be minimal and all in one location, choose an easy-to-read font, be mindful of column widths, and ensure menu pages link to places full of content readers want to see.
Eleven: No-Reply Bloggers. Seriously, fix that shit. (Unless you’re WordPress, and then you’re excused).
Twelve: Ra-ra-ra! Be your own cheerleader! If you serve me a drink I’ll drink it. If you just happen to spike it with happy pills, well then I’m gonna love it, love you, and love everything about it and you!
Thirteen: Lastly, and most importantly, this is your house, so don’t let anyone, especially me, tell you how to make it work for you. 
and some new ones …
Fourteen: Put your best photo forward. That is, lead with the most eye catching image, because once I’m scrolling through my feed you’ve only got two seconds before I simply hit, “Mark as read.”
Fifteen: The wow moment! There’s a fine line between discussing process and over-sharing. Discussing your process tells the reader how and why you are constructing your project the way you are. If you’re showing me every single step, block, stitch, nip and tuck, there’s no surprises left and I’m gonna be all, “meh” at the end.
Sixteen: Saying “no” is just as important as saying “yes.” You don’t have to take every opportunity. Pick the ones that are right for you. Choose those that will compliment your style and enhance the experience of both you and your reader.
Seventeen: What do you have to say? Tell me! Use your voice! Give me an opinion, give me truth tea, but write about something. I visit blogs because I want to read. If I just want to look at pictures I head to Instagram.
Eighteen: Buy some fabric and then link up to “Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.” Seriously, self-promotion is important, and never be embarrassed to do so! You’re already writing a blog about yourself, so if you’re worried about vanity, you’d best stop now!
Nineteen: When you get even the smidgeon of a blog idea, write it down, because you won’t remember it later. (Too much champagne!)

20 Responses

  1. DianeY says:

    I have no desire to blog, but if I did, I would totally follow your guidelines (as opposed to rules)

  2. It's because of you that I always hit extra large when I size my photos. Loved it last year when I was a sad little new quilt blogger who didn't make the hop. I'm in the hop this year and I did a Kramer move when I got to #14. You're going to revolutionize my blog again! Thanks a bunch

  3. Debbie says:

    Excellent list – thank you.

  4. Peaches1003 says:

    Thank you!! Love your posts and very wise advice

  5. Paula says:

    Lots of great points but I have to say: #14 – shout it to the world. Apart from a few favourites whose blog posts I will always read, most I pick because of that first photo on Bloglovin so it had better be a good one. And I have to admit that when I see blog hop logos I often skip right past. My time is limited and I follow way too many blogs so if I can't see what you're posting about then I don't generally take the time to go check it out because I'll have already gone to visit that blog three posts down in my feed with the picture that has caught my eye.

  6. memmens says:

    Great advice for not so new bloggers too!

  7. sonia says:

    I got to your blog through the bloggers quilt festival and then you got me hooked with your sparkly answers to my comments and your witty words! Thanks. I think interacting with your readers, which you do wonderfully, is also important.

  8. charlotte says:

    Thank you especially for the photo advice. Small pictures turn me away and many times what I choose to stop and look at through my feed is based on pictures so they need to be good.

  9. Jayne says:

    All great points! I keep my pictures large only because XL ends up in the side bar. I need to fix that! I love #3 and I hope I don't do that, but if I do…I'm done! Thank you so much!

  10. Great additions to the list this year, Molli. I am firm believer in saying no and figuring out what actually works for me. Thanks for the link love; I'll be sure to reciprocate soon. 🙂

  11. Sue says:

    Great list Molli. I can especially relate to #14. Mostly I won't visit a buttoned post either.

    • Sue says:

      Oh, and for #10 I would add (in a polite and respectful way) – stop using a pale grey font, it's unreadable on a mobile device!

  12. Deb Chimes says:

    Awesome advice, thanks. #17 hits home – not just pretty pictures…need to write more…

  13. crossquilt says:

    #17 is my favorite. I will stop following a blog if you just post one or two photos with no story to tell.

    Crystoll at aol dot com (sorry – WordPress user. :-))

  14. Terri Ann says:

    Yes, yes, yes to all of these! As I was deciding which ones resonate most with me to comment on about I realized I was listing all of the numbers but in a different order. I have mixed feelings about no-reply bloggers topic though; I dislike the stance that Blogger has taken where either your email address will be publicly available or you are a no reply blogger, there seems to be no grey area. But in the end I'd rather have Gmail filter out some spam than prevent someone from sending me a response. Along with #14 is **do not post sub-par photos** just cause you have them deosn't mean you need to use them, pick the best and kill the rest!

  15. I'm so glad I read this. I'm printing this list and keeping it by my computer because I know I will need the reminder frequently. Thank you!

  16. 8 and 9 are exactly what I needed to hear. I always have a problem with just letting stuff go.

  17. Lisa J. says:

    Thanks Mollie: This is a great list and I aim to get better and better at following it. See you on Sunday!

  18. Danielle says:

    number 18 is hilarious – you do have a way with words Molli! Danielle

  19. no. 11 drives me batcrap bonkers. BONKERS.
    This is an awesome list.

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