What You Will Learn
A few weeks before Busting the Newbie Blues and Busting the Big Blogger Blues went live, Ruby and I posted up a question form. Readers were encouraged to write whatever newbie or oldie questions they had about blogging.
We've addressed many of these questions throughout our events, but there were a few questions that we either couldn't fit in anywhere else or didn't need an entire post devoted to them. So that's where this post comes in.
If you feel your question still hasn't been answered, please ask again in the comments!
If you have a question you would like answered in a future Tips & Tricks post, I would love it if you filled out THIS FORM. Tips & Tricks posts go up once a month, so it may take a little while for me to get to your question, but I promise you I WILL answer.
Let's Do This!
How do you add originality to your blog? How do you take ideas from other blogs without seeming unoriginal or copying?
The best piece of advice I can think of is to say look at yourself, not everyone else. YOUR voice is what will bring originality to your blog. Let your personality shine through and your blog will be uniquely yours.
But what about features? Memes? Honestly, I wouldn't worry about them. When answering the Busting the Newbie Blues questionnaires, you know what a lot of people DIDN'T like about blogs? When they're filled with memes. You know what people DO want? Quality reviews.
Still stuck? Try this approach:
Other people can be hugely inspiring, but when you look to others for inspiration you walk a tightrope with originality on one side and plagiarism on the other. Of course you do NOT want to end up on the plagiarism side of things (and keep in mind, paraphrasing or taking an idea IS plagiarism!).
Ok, so you're not looking at anyone else now, right? Now I want you to forget about your readers for a minute. *GASP*
Yes, your readers are hugely important, but when you think about them in this context, you're probably thinking of how you can please them. Do you know what that means? PRESSURE! It's incredibly hard to be creative when you're feeling that kind of pressure.
So now you're not looking at anyone else for inspiration and you're not thinking about your readers. What do you do next?
Look in a mirror. Ask yourself, what do YOU want to see? Focus on what YOU want. When you read a review, what do YOU want to know about the book?
How about frustrations? Is there anything that you as a reader and a blogger experience that frustrates you? A problem you've faced? How can you fix that problem? For me, my latest feature was born out of a need for book recommendations.
Once you've brainstormed some ideas, search around a little and see if anyone else is doing something similar. If no one is, then wonderful!
If they are, then no worries. Sure, maybe you'll scrap that idea, but you have discovered that someone is doing something you wanted. Even if it's a loss for the "original idea" category, discovering their feature is still a win for you.
Now get back to that mirror and think of another idea. Or don't. I said this earlier in my discussion post but it bears repeating:
- When the muse is out on extended vacation, embrace the basics. There is nothing wrong with a review blog with nothing but reviews. You do not have to be the NEXT BIG THING to offer something of value.
How do you get your heading banner thing to become centered on your blog? Mine isn't.
This probably has to do with your code. I'm not sure what's going on, but try looking in your code for words like "Header," "Align," and "Padding." Maybe your padding is set unevenly? Or your align isn't set for center? I'm sorry I can't be more helpful!
How, in comments, do you link your site so people commenting can check it out?
That is called anchor text, and it is fantastically useful! Check out my Tips & Tricks post called How to Make Anchor Text to learn how. Let me know if you have any trouble with it.
I've been trying to link up my Word97 to make it easier to post but it's just not working. I just love how other bloggers have these neat nice rating images and boxes in their post. I'm so not good with design.
Hm, I'm not sure what you mean about linking up Word97. I will say though, that when it comes to blogging DO NOT use Microsoft Word if at all possible (it took me a while to figure this out). Microsoft Word adds all kinds of extra code that could mess up your formatting and potentially cause errors. See:
|Click to see in all it's awesomely bad glory|
Every time someone tries to view your post, their browser needs to read every line of code you have written. Look at all that useless code! Sloppy, sloppy.
|Click to make larger|
I highly recommend Notepad or Notepad++.(which is the program I've used to show my code in both of those pictures). Personally, I write all of my blog posts in Notepad++ because it does code highlighting (this is what makes the text different colors, and I am a color coding fanatic).
As for the rating images, I love them too! You can try sites like All Silhouettes or All Vectors to get an image you like for your ratings. You can crop the images using a program like Paint or something more advanced like Photoshop or Gimp (free).
By boxes, if you mean colored boxes, I have a tutorial called How to Make Colored Boxes that explains how you make them. I hope that helps!
And don't worry if you're not good at design. You'll learn! A lot of design is much easier than it seems at first. It's easy to be overwhelmed by design, but if you try to learn things in bite sized baby steps, it's a lot less intimidating. Also remember, a neat and easy to navigate blog is far more important than pretty graphics.
The form is anonymous, so please don't feel shy at all!
I'm certainly not an expert, but I'll try my hardest to explain what I do know and research what I don't know.Tweet
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Click here to read previous Tips & Tricks Posts