We’re excited to have Alece Ronzino guest posting for us today. If you’re not already reading her blog or following her on Twitter, make sure you fix that. Now.

I’m just gonna pass the mic right over to Alece…

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There are people out there I’d consider pro-bloggers. And I am certainly not one of them.

But I’ve been blogging for 6 years and have definitely learned some things along the way.

The purpose and “face” of blogging has changed for me since I first began in 2005, but it’s been an incredible journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Sometimes (all too often actually), writing doesn’t come as easily as it used to. And as things have grown, I often find myself feeling overwhelmed by everything that goes into blogging well. BUT, underneath it all, I absolutely love blogging and the amazing community that has grown out of it.

Every blogger out there probably has their own list of things that works for them. And what works for one, won’t necessarily work for the next.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to blog.

Certainly there are things that will cause people to click away or lost interest… And those elements will differ for each person. You cannot please everyone, and you will destroy your blog (and yourself) trying. It’s best to learn that sooner than later.

There’s no magic formula for blogging well. It’s about discovering your own natural bent and learning how to best engage with your own community of readers.

Here are some of my own personal best blogging practices:

  • Interact with commenters. Engagement is everything. Participate in the conversation.
  • Respond via email to first-time-commenters. It’s personal. And it lets them know they matter.
  • Read and comment on blogs. Even when you don’t have time to do this regularly, it makes a difference when you link over and engage on your readers’ sites.
  • Size does matter. I aim to keep my posts under 500 words.
  • Break things up. Use paragraph breaks and bold headers to make your content easier to read.
  • Link back. When referencing a concept or phrase you’ve blogged about before, link back to your previous post. It’s the simplest way for people to see what you’ve written on similar subjects.
  • Make it easy to comment. Requiring a log-in or using those annoying “captcha” verification things just deters people from engaging. It’s your loss as much as theirs.
  • Foster dialogue. End posts with a question. Use a threaded comment system so readers can reply directly to other readers and a plug-in that automatically emails commenters when someone replies to them.
  • Keep it clean. In terms of blog design, less is definitely more.
  • Make it easy to find you. Links to your Twitter, Facebook, and email/contact page should be clearly visible.

I never want to just blog. I want to blog well

And I know that to do that, I need to keep learning.

So fellow bloggers, I wanna learn from you!

What are your personal best practices of blogging?
What are your top do’s and dont’s?

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Alece Ronzino
Alece is in the middle of the biggest Plan B of her life, enduring infidelity, divorce, and the loss of her ministry in Africa. Now she’s rediscovering what faith really is, trusting God to redeem the broken pieces of her life and make something beautiful out of her ashes. Alece blogs candidly about the grit and glory of her journey. Mostly grit. 

Visit Alece’s blogFollow Alece on Twitter

Comments


Dedra

6 December, 2011

Alece... THANK you.. THANK you.. so grateful for your encouragement this morning.. lots of new things on the horizon as I look back over 2011 into 2012.. thank you.. Much love to you!

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    Really, Dedra? Wow. That means so so much to hear. Thank you!

Moe

6 December, 2011

Good post Alece. I would say, write from your heart. I've found that when there is a level of personal attachment to the topic at hand, it will show up in your writing. If a blog post has "heart" in it, it will capture people. Passions are revealed in the arts, and writing is one of the greatest arts we have today.

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    YES YES YES! I don't know how that missed my list when I wrote this. So good and so true, Moe. I value authenticity HIGHLY!

tracee

6 December, 2011

Love how your blog has been your one constant in the midst of ever changing things. It has been your one consistent home.Love your hospitality. Always.

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    The Grit has definitely been my one consistent home over the past few years... So thankful for that!

Chris Lautsbaugh

6 December, 2011

Great tips for a newbie blogger. Thanks. I especially like the email first time commenter idea. i would have never thought of that!

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    Glad to hear that, Chris!Even as a "newbie"... what are some things you're being intentional about? I'd love to hear!

Caleb Magnino

6 December, 2011

Alece ... Great as always!One thing that I have been intentional to do is to ask more questions than solutions, even if it comes across that I by no means have it all, or any bit of it, figured out. I have found that people interact with my transparency as they see that I wrestle and have questions much like they do. We are all on the journey...

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    I love that, Caleb. My life doesn't have a nice, neat, red bow perfectly tying everything all together... so neither should my writing...

Katy

6 December, 2011

Great post and good reminders about blogging! I definitely agree about the value of connecting and really "seeing" those who comment...makes such a difference and can totally let them know that you value them. You do that so well.

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    I know how amazing it is to feel seen, and i want to always stay intentional about offering that gift to others...

Karen Hammons

6 December, 2011

I want to blog well and this info helps me so much!! Thank you!!!

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    Love you, Karen!

Jason

6 December, 2011

A big thing to me is that if you respond to comments on a post that you need to respond to all of them. If someone comes to your blog and posts a few comments but notices you only respond to either the same people or people who are "popular" then it says to them "you're not of value to me."Great list, Alece.

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    I can't always reply to all my comments individually, but I try to mix up the "some" so that it isn't always the same group of people... Good point, Jason.

Chrissy @ Fireflies and Hummingbirds

6 December, 2011

Excellent tips, Alece! I so, so agree with you about making it easy to comment. I hate when I have to "register" to comment, or when I have to enter a "captcha" to comment.Another thing I'd add about commenting is that I don't care for blogs where comments have to be approved before being visible. I think this can really impede the flow of the conversation.

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    YES! I agree. I am also not a fan of the comment moderation.

    Jason

    6 December, 2011

    Hey, I completely get what you mean about impeding the flow, but I have to throw something in here. I know a few folks who stopped blogging this year because of harassing comments that were put on all their posts by a handful of people. Moderation can harm flow but if there is some individual out there who just thrives on hate and leaves comments with hate or inappropriate comments moderation can be a way to make sure nothing offensive to the majority of readers is seen.

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    There may be times and seasons where it's necessary...

Tammy Stelly

6 December, 2011

I have been wondering how to increase comments on my blog. I have many readers, but I only get one comment here or there. I think I need to go in and change their access and make it easier for them. I want people to communicate with me! :) Thanks for the advice! Thanks for writing your blog...it has been a huge blessing to me!

    Alece

    6 December, 2011

    I think making it easier for interaction will make a big difference, Tammy! (Kinda makes me excited for you!)

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