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Today is one of those days I've been waiting for. Why? Well one of my very favorite bloggers decided to grace my blog with her words. Not only that, she's giving us some really good blogging tips. Honestly, why didn't I think of this? If you haven't guessed who I'm talking about yet, it's Bonnie from Life of Bon. I love reading Bonnie because I feel that she expresses herself in a way that's so relate-able, honest, and fresh. Anyway, enough talking from me, here's Bonnie.

Hi!  My name is Bonnie and I have a blog where I write whatever I feel like. Sometimes people read my blog and sometimes people don't and that's just the way the cookie crumbles. I'm a high school English teacher by day and by night I take to the interwebs to unleash on all of you the absolute insanity that is working with 200+ seventeen year olds.  I'm married to a fine ginger man with whom I am expecting our first ginger child this summer.  (At least I hope it's his!  Bad joke?)  Some of  the posts I have most enjoyed writing are about (in no particular order) stupid questions my students asklove in a snowstorm, making fun of how to articles, losing my dadcommon misunderstandings about Mormons and lessons I learned from my lady doctor.  You know, love, death and gynos- everything you could ever want from a blog!  

This is a picture of me and some dude.  Just kidding.  It's my husband.  I was going to just post a picture of just me but I figured if I showed you all a pic of a ginger with his shirt off you would be hooked for life, am I right or am I right?!?

Today I want to share some unconventional blogging advice with you.  I've done a lot of trial and error/ crash and burn in my two year blogging adventure and I figured maybe I could save you all the trouble?  I know there's a lot of blog advice out there so I hope to offer you something fresh in this crazy blogging world and maybe even have you come visit my blog.  It's always a freaking party over there, I'll tell you that much.

10 NOT SO OBVIOUS BLOGGING TIPS 

1.  KARMA, BABY!

Most bloggers want the same thing- for other people to read their blogs.  So if you help another blogger out in her journey to more pageviews, chances are she will likely do the same.  At least once a week I try to tweet the link to a blog post of another blogger that I genuinely loved reading.  I don't ask anything back, but I always mention them so I make sure they know I was sending good karma their way.  Stick with blogs that reach similar sized audiences and your chances for a return-the-favor will be much higher.

2.  MAKE PEOPLE CONNECT.

In every post I write, I ask myself if I am connecting with my audience.  Do women relate to what I'm saying?  Am I making people laugh?  Or cry?  The fact is I believe we are all narcissists to some extent.  We don't want to hear about other people- we want to hear about us disguised as someone else.  Some blogs are aloof.  There is a disconnect from the blog and the audience.  There is no interaction or caring. If I had one wish for the blogging world, it would be that all bloggers come down a notch and be more real.  At the end of the day, those are the blogs that I come back to every day.

3.  PICTURES MATTER.  I feel like it takes most bloggers a little while to figure this one out.  A couple of things about pictures that I notice all the successful bloggers do:

-Make pictures as big as possible.  None of this small or medium crap.  Hit the x large button every time.
– Don't post every picture you have taken on your blog.  Especially if they are very similar.  Choose the very best pictures.  People gotta stay interested.
– Edit photos.  I'll admit I rarely do this, but when I do I notice a huge difference.  Picmonkey.com is a great free resource for simple and easy edits  If you think you are going to be in the blogging for awhile, I would highly recommend you invest in a DSLR.  I got mine in November, and it has made a HUGE difference in the photo quality on my  blog.  

4.  BE CONSISTENT.  Now, some people might disagree with me, but when it comes to blogging, I say that quantity over  quality.  That doesn't mean I think you should be writing garbage, but some nights you just don't have a stroke of brilliance.  But you can still write something entertaining to your readers.  When I started blogging I set the goal to blog 5 times a week and I have stuck to that religiously.  People need to know that when they check your blog in the morning there will be something new.  If there isn't, they will check less often.  Less traffic.  Less followers.  You get my drift.  There have been lots of times when I've thought, “But I have nothing to say!” and then I sit down at my computer, and what do you know?   My fingers go buck crazy with their talking.  


5.  HAVE SOMETHING THAT KEEPS PEOPLE COMING BACK.  Every blogger fills a niche.  You've gotta have something that makes you stick out a little bit.  Something that sets you apart from the (literally) millions of other bloggers.   I think a blog should have energy to it, almost like a vibe.  A blog should have personality and reflect the person that is writing it.  Be comfortable with yourself when you're writing and write stuff that other people want to read.  When writing a post, think to yourself “Would I be interested in this if it weren't about me?” 


6.  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT BLOGGERS ARE WRITING AROUND YOU. To be a blogger you have to read blogs.  You have to know what's out there, you have to know what other people are reading, writing, saying.  I've had several posts that have been triggered by reading a post on someone else's blog.  


7.  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT'S GOING ON THE WORLD.  Taylor from The Daily Tay is one of the best at this… her “Best Week Ever” feature is all about news and gossip from the week.  She is totally up to date with current events and celebrity gossip so she writes these hilarious, timely posts about it.  There is so much going on around us that can trigger post ideas… BE INFORMED.


8.  MAKE YOURSELF UNCOMFORTABLE EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE.  I talk about this at length in my “Risky Writing” Post, but you gotta go outside your comfort zone every once in a while.  Mix things up.  Make it interesting.  Dan from Single Dad Laughing says he tries every couple weeks to write something that “scares him” because that is where the really good writing is.  It has never been easy to me to write about the difficulty of losing my dad or how tough marriage can be, but I do and those are the posts that get the most traffic.  You have to be willing to lose followers to gain followers.  You lose the ones who were going to go anyway, but you gain loyal, lifelong friends instead.

9.  BE VULNERABLE.  I like to hear about people's struggles.  Because I struggle too.  And when I hear that the blogger who seems to have every single thing in her life put together struggles with anxiety/ feels inadequate/ sometimes argues with her husband/ can't get pregnant/ sometimes wants to kill her kids/ burns dinner/ lost a loved one… it makes me like that blogger more. People want to read about real people with real problems so it's okay to open up on your blog.  Let your readers see the real you. (Of course there is a balance- you also don't want to turn into a sob fest!)

10.  ASK PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR POSTS.  Once in a while I feel like I absolutely nailed a post.  Wrote something that others can relate to or that I know a lot of people would enjoy reading.  When this happens, I ask people to share it.  No shame in that!  My most popular post ever was after the Miley Cyrus debacle on five lessons MTV is teaching America's teens .  I knew the post would spark interest so I asked people to share.  Tons of friends, family, and blog readers shared the articles and I had three times as much traffic on my blog that day than I normally do.  HOLLER!  (Don't abuse this privilege- I think we all know how annoying it is when someone is constantly asking you to share their stuff.  I ask only when I have a really important post. 

These are tricks that certainly have worked for me and I hope you find success with them as well.  There is no right way or wrong way to blog, just things that work well and things that work… less well?  In any case, make sure to come say hi at Life of Bon, I always love new faces!  Or if you want to ease into our blogging relationship slowly, there's always instagram!

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