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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Goth blogging 101

Before I begin this post proper, I'd just like to share the news that I just spent a ridiculous amount of money on day tickets for Reading Festival in August because the headlining band on the Friday is... THE CURE. (!!!!!) The line-up also includes a couple of other bands I like (Crystal Castles, Coheed & Cambria) and a few that I don't... but yeah. I just got tickets to see The Cure. (And now my friends know that the reason why I never have any money to do anything ever is because I blow my cash willy-nilly to go see spooky bands from the 80s. It's an investment...)

Now, this post is perhaps a trifle different than my usual ramblings, but I recieved a very nice email from a lovely young lady (again, back in February... I told you I had a lot of messages to wade through), who asked, "I am aspiring to write a blog, but I have no idea about what, why, or how. See you, I don't think that a lot of people would be interested in what a young gothling has to provide to the subculture and general life (if I even have anything to provide). I could review classic works of fiction or post some DIY tips and tricks or have a creative writing Tuesdays, but I don't want to be something that is too common (I will not be the teenager who complains about their parents not letting them dye their hair or get a piercing, even though that is part my daily woes). I want to show the world wide web what it is like to be...well I don't know yet. Maybe a babybat or growing gothling. Now I ask for some advice from a blogging goddess on how to make a blog because I do not know where to start. Can you please share some wisdom?"

*preens*

Firstly, I'd just like to note that I am not a professional blogger; this is something I do for fun in my spare time, I earn maybe a little pocket money but mostly it's something I do for enjoyment. Those of you who have queries regarding ads, money-making, or things like HTML or web design are best advised to look elsewhere as I know very little about such things.

That being said, I've been writing this blog in its various incarnations for, ooh, a good five years now (does anyone still remember the Very Serious Babygoff days on Piczo? D'aww...), so hopefully I have picked up a few pieces of helpful advice along the way that I can share with those of you who would like to join our spooky wee blogging community.
  • Notebooks! Carry them. (Especially if, like my Dear Reader, you are not sure yet what precisely you would like to hold forth about - making notes on things you observe, things that amuse you, products you'd like to review or even daily occurences or parts of your life that are interesting can help you create a few starter topics to talk about.) I am forever forgetting post ideas because I never remember to write them down. Don't be like me, darklings!
  • Honest enthusiasm can work wonders. Good days, bad days, opinions and vagiaries; whilst not everyone likes to bare all on the internet, readers can tell whether or not a writer is genuinely passionate about their chosen subject. If you write on a topic that you think will get hits or be saleable, that's all very well and good, but if you lack enthusiasm, people will pick up on it and will respond with equal apathy.
  • Talk to people! I am very shy and get all squirmy and shuffly when talking to new people, even online, but following blogs that interest you, posting comments, and responding to comments from readers can help promote your blog and can create new friendships both on and offline.
  • Sort out your profile page. Heaven knows talking about yourself is awkward, but here on Blogger you can helpfully find others with the 'interest' tags. I used to spend HOURS going through the 'goth' tag and leaving comments on people's blogs.
  • On the subject of networking, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, Scoop.It and Tumblr have all been useful tools for further connecting with readers and those with shared interests, as well as providing endless inspiration and topics to blog about. Let's face it, at the moment there are a LOT of bloggers talking about assorted Goth and alternative things, which is great to read but not so great when you're aiming for a different take on the whole thing. It helps to keep your eye out for news and gossip that people aren't talking about yet; I tend to trawl mainstream media like the Daily Fail for interesting tidbits too.
  • "I don't think that a lot of people would be interested in what a young gothling has to provide to the subculture and general life." - why not? If you doubt yourself before you start, you'll never try. Whether witty observations on the Goth scene from a newbie's perspective or wide-eyed delight at new discoveries, I can think of plenty of things I'd enjoy reading from a young Goth's point of view. :-) At the end of the day, a lot of people are basically interested in other people, so if all you can think of to write is showing other people what it's like to be you, then do that. I mean, why the hell not, right?
  • Watch out for copyright. I have occasionally been caught out by copyright on images that I have used; it does help to check sources, credit as much as humanly possible and ALWAYS include a disclaimer. Sharing other people's delightful creations is one thing, but never, ever, ever, ever claim someone else's work as your own.
  • Really obvious stuff: please make sure your font isn't too difficult to read or your background too garish (I know, I know, I'm a fine one to talk...). A simple, basic layout and clean font are the best way to start.
  • Begin at the beginning, of course! If you draft an intro post in your notebook or on your computer, you might find that doing so will help you cultivate more ideas for what you would actually like to blog about. It seems you already have a few ideas... all you have to do is write them down and post them up!
Everyone, please do share your own blogging tips and advice!

19 comments:

Leena said...

Love your hair! My tips are just be yourself and write about what you like and things you think about. Honesty is great thing. And just what you feel like to post! I was supposed to make eating disorder blog but now it is much more, it is all the things about me and things I like and it is about my life.

Ria said...

My 2 cents:
- Have Eyecandy... I start visiting lots of blogs just for the pictures and sometimes I stay for the wordy posts.
- The biggest advantage of blogs vs. magazines is that blogs show real people. It's usually not photoshopped to death and it shows outfits which are actually wearable in real life. Most of the fashion magazine stuff just works in 1 or 2 poses.
- I'd love to read more tutorials for DIY that are doable without buying lots and lots of stuff you'll never use again and with results that don't look like it's been made by someone in kindergarden.
- Idiot proof hairdos would be a nice thing too.

PS: Amy, your layout is eye-friendly compared to many other blogs, where you have to highlight text just to make out the words.

Mrs. Katie said...

Just popping in here to say I just found your blog, and I love it. Also, those pink boots in the picture up top have rendered me speechlessly jealous.

Daniel_8964 said...

I agree with your blogging tips. They are certainly useful for casual bloggers like me and newbies. I can admit myself I'm not a professional blogger too. I think your blog has more updated information and more visual user-friendly colours than mines. I also don't always upkeep articles in my blog as I'm not really good at blogging. I do my best though, no matter how I try. Everyone starts off somewhere.

Ria said...

@Daniel:
I think you bat-backround is really cute, but giving the text panel a background in black or dark grey would make it more readable. (It's not bad, but it would make it eye-friendlier.)
And I think everyone who's brave enough to show their outfit experiments and thoughts to the cruel internets desevers an extracookie. (Says the girl with the meerkat as a profile pic XD)

Amy Asphodel said...

Mrs Katie - Thank you! The boots were £45 on eBay ;-)

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been around for a very long time, I have to say I like reading about the journeys of those who are newer to the scene. I also find it interesting to see goth life in other parts of the world. DIY tutorials are good, too.

I read a few blogs regularly (not necessarily goth related) that have weekly theme topics. Perhaps once a week you can do a DIY post, or "a look/band/song of the week", or anything you find interesting. Just maintain a constant theme.

I would also advise answering as many comments or questions as possible, as it'll show your readers that you care about their feed back, and as Amy said, comment on other blogs and become part of a community. If you notice alot of the same people posting comments on a blog, check out if they have blogs, and start posting comments on those. You'll find that alot of bloggers all follow one another, and have formed several circles.

Bridget said...

Thank you so much for this post! I just started a blog and I'm still figuring out what to post on it, this will help. I think the song/band of the week is a good idea.

Daniel_8964 said...

@Ria- Good point and thanks. I know it is too dark to read, but slightly readable. I'll need to motivate myself to change my flawed mistakes on my blog. I can find visual, font and grammar mistakes on them and I can be lazy to not concentrate on the mistakes.

Britt said...

Thanks for the tips, I'm just like you for fearing to talk to people even online! I'm too scared they'll be like "NYUH YOUR TOO STUPID GO AWAY >:(" haha.

TwistedPrincess said...

I started my blog maybe a month ago and this is extraordinarily helpful :D
The notebook thing would come in handy considering random things pop into my head in the middle of school and then I write them down only to lose them XD
I'm absolutely TERRIFIED of talking to people, even online, so commenting lately on peoples' posts or responding to comments is nerve-wracking, but its helping me with my confidence ^.^
And also, the cure??? ahhhh I'm so jealous >.<

Amy Asphodel said...

I agree with Anon about pretty much everything. ^^

And hello, fellow shy people! I'm like Britt, I think people will be kind of like "what rubbish are you talking about?" but hell, the internet is not real life, and if I make a total prat of myself I can always delete it. >.<

Am really chuffed that people actually find this helpful! <3

Daniel_8964 said...

I also agree with Britt too. I can admit I have a fear of people who misunderstand me and say what I am on about, flame, be unpleasant or act elitist when I'm trying to explain my point across in a positive way. The internet has trolls and bad apples. It isn't real life as just what Amy clearly said.

Tenebris In Lux said...

- ignore any nasty bullies you'll find online
- don't make pictures too large and try to leave a disclaimer if one of your posts is "pic heavy"
- starting out your blog simple is better than overwhelming it with a music sidebar or unnecessary buttons/graphics/banners
- look at other blogs for inspiration but never steal
- followers aren't everything
- make sure you like the content you're putting out
- there's nothing wrong with short posts
- again, readable text is very nice!
- if your background is a tiled image make sure it works (like Amy's)
- you can get more activity on your blog if you post on other blogs or post links. If you follow someone, however, they don't always follow back.

I would totally follow a babybat's blog :-)

Just a few things I learned from being a blogger ..
- Tenebris

Tenebris In Lux said...

*and by post on other blogs I mean "comment." I've had declining health lately so commenting is much more easier than writing a whole large draft of a blog post.

Gothica Gothique Goth Blog said...

There's a free ebook you can get from some guy's website, I think it's from JohnChow.com, that I thought had a lot of good tips for blogging as well.

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Guys, guys. You're forgetting the most important part. CATS.

No one would read my blog if I didn't have cats. XD

Coco Bostick said...

I really like the way you present yourself. I find it so creative. I am so glad to be in here. :)

Elliy said...

I just wanted to post this comment and say that this article has really helped me. I was in the same situation as the reader who wrote you. :D And now...I think I'm actually going to write up a post. <3

So, thanks again. Your blog is amazing.

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