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Blogging Wisdom: On Authenticity, Giving, and More

A roundup of blogging tips, mined from recent interviews at Discover.

Photo courtesy of Infinite Belly, a blog we featured on Discover in March 2016.

At Discover, we share the stories of bloggers around the world.

Some of the best blogging advice we hear comes from you — the writers, photographers, and creators that make up the WordPress community. Here, we’ve compiled bits of wisdom from recent Discover interviews that we hope will inspire you on your own journey.

Parenting blogger Emily Austin on genuine engagement and meaningful commenting:

But the one piece of advice I believe we can all take to the bank is to leave genuine comments on other blogs and to take the time to respond to comments on our own. . . . Being a conscientious commenter has become more difficult — I’m eagerly anticipating the 26-hour day wherein I can comment on every post I read — but when I was building my online presence, I found that kind, authentic, encouraging comments were the best means to forging relationships with others who may or may not have a lot in common with me. We may call each other bloggers, but in the end we’re all just people who want to be heard and understood. Compassion and camaraderie go a long way, both in blogging and in life.

In the interview, Emily also talks about putting yourself out there: guest posting, cross-posting on platforms like BlogHer, going to conferences, and — above all — just writing, even if you think what you’re writing is boring.

If you’ve just started blogging, you might not know what a genuine or authentic comment looks like. But Emily puts it nicely: be compassionate and approach blogging connections as you would real-life relationships.

André and Adélaïde Zollinger, the creative team behind food blog Infinite Belly, on telling visual stories through food:

Vary it up a little and don’t just display pictures of food. Your environment, your house, your plates and cutlery, the nature or city that surround you — all of these things also nourish your site (in the strong sense of the word). Let readers into your living and cooking space and go beyond hovering over your plate.

You’ll find more food photography advice in our “Feast for the Eyes” series (parts one and two).

André and Adélaïde mix recipes, stories, photography, and design in a sophisticated way. Food might be the focus, but their exploration of place — the countryside of France — adds another layer to their site.

Illustrator Mark Armstrong on carving out a professional blogging space for your art:

Ask yourself if one of your goals is to attract prospective clients. If the answer is yes, tailor your blog to attract those clients. That means deciding who those clients are, researching their needs, and writing posts showing how your work can meet their needs and solve their problems.

You must then resist the temptation to feature inappropriate work, no matter how “good” you think it might be. You need to be your own tough editor — forbidding yourself to post lackluster work, or anything that would make you look unprofessional.

In the illustration category on Discover, you’ll find a mix of illustrators with different styles and goals.

Much of Mark’s commercial illustration work involves social media and content marketing and helping companies to build their brands. His blog, then, is a mix of professional and personal, and a space to attract the types of clients he’d like to work with.

Bestselling author David Lebowitz on blogging as a form of giving:

Nowadays, so many people start blogging and feel like they need to “get” something out of their blogs. But in fact, blogging is giving. When you write a cookbook, you are sharing recipes. With a blog, beyond recipes and travel tips, you are sharing more of your daily life with readers, and I think they appreciate honesty, rather than being talked to as if you are trying to get something out of them, like traffic or monetization.

Lebovitz, who started food blogging in 1999, offers simple advice on getting the most out of your blogging experience: Give. Share your life with your readers. Be honest. Similar to Emily’s insights on making meaningful connections, David encourages us to view blogging as human, rather than transactional.

For more inspiration, browse our latest Discover features.

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  1. David Lebowitz’s advice is a gem! I feel the same way as him, what I value the most is to be honest with my writings rather than getting traffic.
    Of course, I will be happy if lot of people appreciate my works. But still, it feels amazing if I can share bits of my life to my readers from other part of the world.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Most helpful re: giving without expecting to get. But I suspect that in practice this is harder to achieve than at first you might think? Bloggers are in some sense always in some sense calling attention to themselves otherwise they’d remain quiet – we might be handing out free information but what we want in return is someone’s attention!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. As someone who is relatively new to the bloggosphere, I found your post very helpful. You provided some terrific insights from different types of bloggers and I plan to put that advice to work.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. This is really good information. I have had several blogs of the span of about 16 years, and I’m not even 30 yet. LOL. I started with TeenOpenDiary.com and the of course Livejournal, Blogger, some self-hosting platform whose name escapes me now but is now defunct, and finally WordPress. I had a political blog that was actually so popular that I was interviewed on Canadian national television for my views of a particular political party here in Canada and well as my three month long travels in the United States to cover the Occupy movement , then a travel
    blog, and now a blog on my Buddhist practice. I only have a few posts up because I made the 50+ other posts private because it was initially my way of posting personal things to share with other bloggers and no one who actually knew me. I have since shared it with those who know me (just now, in fact) because it focuses on my Buddhism practice and I am eventually gong to incorporate other social justice themed writing in it and how Buddhism has impacted me, as well as my backpacking trip I hope to take to Vietnam in the late summer.

    Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. This is my first comment about blogging and I like what was said about being sincere about commenting and liking. I would like to invite whoever reads this post to check my blog gettinggravitysalesnet because I too am building my bogging audience and and welcome to any comments,likes,shares and subscribers I get.

    Liked by 8 people

  6. Being back in the blogging world really helps me organize my thoughts in print. I love doing it and give that credit to my wife, who used to blog, named labellanoire. I’m always looking for connection in this community so we can be of help to each other.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. Before I started my own blog, I had never commented on a blog post or anything other than a Facebook post. It has taken some getting used to, but I’m feeling more comfortable putting myself out there. The motivation to make connections also helps. I’ve also found that I read more blogs and have been able to expose myself to new writing styles, interesting stories, and further my love of learning. Happy commenting, everyone!

    http://www.accidentaliowan.com

    Liked by 8 people

  8. I went to Infinite Belly, scrolled through several posts, pressed the follow button, even subscribed so the box blocking the recipe for the gorgeous hazelnut/pear tart would go away. It didn’t. I hope it’s just a glitch that will soon be fixed because I intend to make that tart. Mine won’t be gorgeous, but it will be good.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you Cheri. The issue seems to have resolved itself. It may have been as simple as closing out of my browser and then opening it back up. Now I can make the pie/tart.

        Thanks for your helpful post and the great blog suggestions.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Keep it up. You must be successful.Never be nervous.Confidence is the way to go forward. okay …. make say yourself .. You are fine and confident.

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      Liked by 1 person

  9. I started my blog purely as a way to share my photography with people who would never have seen it before, but never did I think I would end up connecting with so many people from so many different culture’s. I think the advice of just give and don’t expect to receive anything back is the best advice on here. If you enjoy what you’re writing, showing and sharing, why does it matter that other’s do? recognition is nice sure but do it because YOU want to and ultimately you’ll receive much more out of it.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. I’ve had my wordpress blog for two years now but recently rediscovered it. It’s been my new outlet to express my inner self. My ultimate goal is to let other people read about my life in a nutshell and let them take something good out of it. The connection is what’s important and I hope to connect with new people in this journey. Thank you for posting this advice! It’s very helpful and the other comments are helpful as well. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  11. I kinda need blogging advice… I just started this whole “blog thing” so it’s good to know people have advice! And by the way follow me and like and comment and like my posts! 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  12. This is timely advice! After nearly 20 years of writing professionally within corporate settings and essay papers for college, I recently found myself having difficulty getting back to telling my story from my view while letting my personality shine through again. I just wrote a long bio on here and sat back wondering if I was not short and concise enough. Thank you this reaffirms my voice.

    Liked by 6 people

  13. What a great reminder! Truth be told I keep an online blog because its my diary of what I love. These days I am a hopeless romantic- who am I kidding I always have been and will forever be- but my new love is lettering and watercolor. SO yeah I have a journal of all of my projects and mostly the ones that really make me smile and sometimes they are not so “perfect”. I want to keep it real and I show revisions and yeah that is me. I posted about this on another approach. Right now I am learning but in the meantime I want to build an audience. If I can make others smile then the rest will all come together.

    Liked by 6 people