So, What Have We Learned?

I love it when a plan comes together.

Last week, I thought I would try my hand at seeking out some Dublin-based blogging events. I was expecting to find something to look forward to a couple of months down the line, so you can imagine how lucky I felt when I found that one of the main events in Ireland’s blogging calendar was happening that very weekend, in a hotel a mere stone’s throw from Beastie Towers! SCORE!

So, Explorer Beastie and I packed our bags and spent last Saturday at the 2016 Irish Bloggers Conference. We heard from loads of different people, and I thought it might be fun to share some of the things we learned with you all. Plus I’m more likely to remember it if I write it all down.

Now, if you’re all sitting comfortably, let’s launch into…

The Monster Guide to Blogging Bliss!

And we’ll kick off with…

Hint No.1 - Be Positive (CrawCrafts Beasties)Entertaining complainers are as rare as virtuoso musicians and masterpiece-painting artists. Who wants to read a series of rants about the fact that no-one is visiting your blog? If you’re blogging, chances are you want to share something you’re interested in or passionate about with the world. Talk about what you love with enthusiasm and humour, and people will surely come back for more.
Tip No. 2 - Be Yourself (CrawCrafts Beasties)…Even if what you’re into isn’t popular. Talking about something you genuinely believe in will win you more loyal readers than slavishly hopping on every bandwagon going.

And while we’re on the subject of readers…
Tip No.3 - Join in (CrawCrafts Beasties)Don’t be shy! If you like what you read, say so. Start conversations. Reply to your comments. Join online groups based on your interests and pitch in on the forums. And if you’re sharing links to your own online places, don’t just drop them in there – ask for feedback, or tag someone who you think will enjoy it.
Tip No. 4 - Check your stats (CrawCrafts Beasties)Ah, something I need to be doing more. But it makes sense – for example, by finding out when most of your readers tune in, you can tailor your posting habits to ensure that your words of wisdom reach more people. You’ll also start to notice patterns in what appeals most to your readers, or what draws new ones in, and you can use this knowledge to plan what to talk about next. And that just makes everything easier!
Tip No.5 - Be consistent (CrawCrafts Beasties)Being consistent doesn’t mean that all your posts have to be exactly the same. But your regular readers will come to expect certain things from your blog, and being consistent in things like your tone of voice, what you talk about and when you post will set them at ease before they’ve read a word. You’d all be pretty freaked out if the BeastieBlog morphed overnight into a foul-mouthed diatribe on contemporary economic policy, wouldn’t you?
Tip No.6 - Take good photos (CrawCrafts Beasties)I can’t claim to be an expert photographer, but nothing detracts from your blog more than pictures that are grainy, or that have been squished and stretched until they look like something from the world’s worst hall of mirrors. Always start off with high-resolution photos – you can make big pictures smaller, but you can’t unshrink small ones!
Tip No. 7 - Be upfront about ads (CrawCrafts Beasties)Ah, can there be anything more annoying than reading an entire article, only to find out at the end that it’s basically just an advert? If you’re doing a sponsored post, be a good human and make it clear from the outset… Your readers will trust you more.

And finally…
Tip No. 8 - Hang in there! (CrawCrafts Beasties)One thing that a lot of the bloggers (and other speakers) at the conference had in common was persistence. They all made it clear that any success they’d had didn’t just happen overnight – more often than not, it was the product of long hours, hard work and a few people along the way telling them that their ideas were terrible. So keep going – you never know what’s around the next corner!

Thanks to the Irish Blogger Association for a really interesting and informative day out. And if you have any blogging tips of your own to share, let us know in the comments!

We’ll be back on Tuesday with a new Beastie for you to meet… In the meantime, have a monster weekend!

19 thoughts on “So, What Have We Learned?

  1. I could see Goth Beastie going on a foul-mouthed diatribe. I love looking at my stats page; it really does clue me into what people like and don’t like. Staying positive can be a tough one – especially after looking at the stats page sometimes :)) – but it does force me to see the good side of my work. Ugh…and don’t get me started on bloggers who ignore comments.

    1. Ah no… Goth Beastie is a shy, retiring type really. It was nice to see her again for this post, too… She moved in with my friend Katie just before Christmas, to keep her Robert Smith Beastie company. As for those stats… I’ve been checking them more recently, and it is illuminating. Weirdly, the quickest, simplest posts sometimes get more attention than the ones which involved a full photoshoot and some fact-checking! Hmmm, maybe I’m just working too dang hard πŸ˜†

      1. Isn’t that frustrating? I still have a post about bees from two years ago that still regularly does as well as my new stuff. Maybe I should give up and just write about bees. 🐝

  2. It’s good to hear some of this and have a bit of affirmation. Sometimes it can feel weird writing stuff and publishing it. I write what I like and if others like it too then that’s great. The only thing I do that isn’t true to me is avoiding the swears! I’m ruder in real life. However, it is also so much easier when you’re being yourself than trying to keep up a strange online persona. Love your beastie pics! x

    1. Thanks! It’s great to know that some of these struck a chord… I did wonder if it was a bit too far away from what I normally post about to interest anybody! And I don’t know how some people maintain a weird online persona, it IS just easier to be yourself πŸ˜€ (although admittedly without the cussing πŸ˜‰)

  3. Sounds like it was an interesting and informative event, thanks for sharing your learnings! All of the points made totally make sense but it’s putting them into practice where I fall down. The point about the stats is a good one, I don’t really pay much attention to mine either but I do notice that the Sunday Stitches series I did last year always get good hits…you’ve given me quite a bit of food for though here, thanks! x

    1. Haha, I hear you! I’m terrible for going really gung-ho with new things all at once, then reverting to my old ways the next week out of sheer exhaustion! I’m coming to realise that tackling them a little at a time is much better, and more sustainable. But it sounds like you already got some valuable info out of your stats – are we going to see the return of Sunday Stitches? πŸ˜€

      1. Oh yes, I can totally relate to that! I get so caught up in wanting to do everything at once, then I get overwhelmed and procrastinate so nothing actually gets done, haha! I think you are right, little and often is the key. Yes, I might return to Sunday Stitches…it’s definitely one to think about!

        1. It was a great feature… Especially for someone like me, who tends to “knit safe”… Pretty much all my Beastie-making needs can be met with simple stockinette and garter stitch, so I tend to stick to those! It’s fascinating to see what else can be done with needles and yarn. I’ve been enjoying your “That was the month” posts lately too!

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