Friday, December 4, 2009

On Being a Newbie Blogger

There are two types of newbie bloggers – those who are already pretty famous in the real world and those who are not. Like myself.

The newbie blogger type one does not need to worry about whether his or her blog will become successful i.e. whether people will make an effort and visit it leaving comments. Usually a few tweets is enough to direct all his/her friends and colleagues to the website.

Bloggers type two have a much a harder job to do. Entering the blogosphere is like entering a party in full swing where everyone knows each other and no one wants to talk to you. Probably because they are busy talking to the people they already know or because they think you are insignificant so why bother.

So what does a newbie blogger type two naturally do?

a)      leaves comments on VIP bloggers’ sites
b)      asks them for a guest blog piece

I have been a part of the blogsphere for a bit more than two months and I have to admit that it has been the most fruitful period in my professional development.

I follow blogs that I find genuinely interesting and useful. It’s not important to me how famous their authors are. What really counts is whether you can see someone’s personality through what he or she writes. Believe it or not but it is not that easy to find.

Leaving comments on blogs is another issue. So many comments I have read on VIP’s blogs seem empty. ‘It’s a great post!’ or ‘I agree with what you’ve written’ are so incredibly boring especially when written as an answer to a post that is, hmm, nothing special. To me, leaving a comment makes sense if you actually mean what you write and when by stating something you want to express yourself. As a result, although there are so many wonderful blogs I follow, I do not leave comments there because I have simply nothing to add.

Seeing comments appearing on your own blog is something every blogger wishes for. In a newbie type two’s case it is obviously not that easy. Some great stuff is being written every day by the less well known and too bad it’s not being read or discussed. How to direct people’s interest to your blog then? No idea. Maybe the solution is meeting the VIPs in person?


asking them  for a guest blog piece which I mentioned before. It has not crossed my mind yet and I do not think I will ever dare to do so. Some VIPs consider it cheeky or simply rude.

Anyway I have quite a lot of ideas of my own J I guess time will show whether the road I have taken is going to be the right one.


  1. Hi there,

    Just saw this on twitter. I think you're absolutely right about your "follow policy", it's what I do as well for my blog reading, no matter if I recognise the name or not.

    Well, directing people to your post via twitter is a good way of sharing, and eventually getting comments. It's what got me here!

  2. You've just created a WOW!

    A comment arriving after 9 minutes of having a post published :)

    Thanks for finding it interesting. In the end I learnt how to blog from the best :D

  3. I wholeheartedley agree with you Anita. The primary reason I blog and comment is to enter in the discussion and to share with the community.

    I hope others see and enter into dialogue on my blogs or comments because it helps me to develop. I also think I have something worth saying. With a completely clear conscience I can say I have never written a comment or a blog post for the purpose of self promotion.

    I also do not begrudge those who do this. I can think of at least one famous ELT blogger who has done this and become very successful very quickly.

    The Internet is a free space and we are talking about blog services that people can CHOOSE to follow and read. As I mentioned over on Gavin's post, no one should be able to impose their expectations on others as regards their content. If you don't like it, don't interact with it.

  4. I think my best work is in other peoples comment boxes
    ; P

    It's easy to get swept up in it all, but I'm trying to stay focused on why I started my blog - to work out a few things in my own mind, to meet people, to join the conversation. Not to get as many visits or comments as possible. On 'celebrity' bloggers, of course they can build up a readership very quickly.. but why begrudge that. For starters, people who are fairly well-known have usually done plenty professionally in order to become well-known BEFORE they start blogging. Even if their blogs are a bit ropey to start off with, they have generally earned the right to have their say.

    But anyway, most of the big-shots* have great blogs. Ken Wilson, for example, is entertaining and inclusive in his blog and always worth a visit. Lindsay Clandfield's blog is such a snappy idea yet often provokes really great debates.

    So, I'll keep plugging away and if anyone drops in for a chat, it's good enough for me ; D

    *I hesitate to call those two big-shots, but in our little world they are.....

  5. Nick and Darren,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

  6. Hi Bossy,

    I'm the bossiest girl who goes round telling everyone what's up with their blogs ;-), okay, no seriously- you have a major problem:

    this is a message that pops up when you enter your blog:

    The blog that you are about to view may contain content only suitable for adults. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about our content policies, please visit the Blogger

    You need to check in the backpage, settings, basic - perhaps you ticked yes in the box for adult content? (which is porn rather than aimed at adults), set this to a 'no' - as other people who follow the link here from twitter may turn away...


    NO, actually if you can avoid it, don't ask "bigger" bloggers for guest-posts, unless you really know them - yes, absolutely as Nick says, the blogosphere is about sharing and very much a community but if you think about it, it's also like a party that's started... so join in gracefully and helpfully... in general, if think about it, it really isn't fair to do this. Think about the hours they've put in on their pages and now you want to ask them to put in more hours but on your page...

    Hope that doesn't sound harsh, trying to explain why it's "cheeky."

    Offer instead... (I have a running series on the She-in-ELT and welcome pieces, Alex Case regularly posts gues-pieces as does Shelly Terrell)...

    ya know that old "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you"...

    Seriously, that's what I did - no joke, I made it a daily task to visit 3 to 4 bloggers every day, on one hand to learn from those who were "doing better" than I was, on the other hand to get the experience of commenting sensibly and also in the hope that maybe some of them would follow my name and come on to see what I was doing...

    Which Anita, is pretty much how you grabbed my attention!

    Don't forget that many bloggers have been blogging for 5 years! They've seen people come and people go (usually 3 -5months mark) so it's sort of like friendship, if you're going to start a relationship with another blogger you kinda wanna know that they're going to be around a while.

    Which takes us back to the "guest-post" idea again too--- it's a big thing writing an article for someone else -(whenever I do I spend 4 - 12hrs on a post) - so you also want to know it's not going to be for someone who's only going to write a handful of articles and decide that actually, blogging is too much work... one of the first things I noticed is that despite your "newbie-ness" you've written 25 articles already - shows you're in the game!

    ANYWAY... I really hope all this advice was useful, looking forward to seeing you around the 'sphere!


  7. Karenne,

    I'm really happy to see you here :)

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and advice. The Content Warning message has been bothering me for a few weeks or so and I didn't quite know how to change it. But I guess it's gone now!

    Thanks a lot for the warm welcome :)))


  8. Hello, Anita
    I came across your blog because I saw sabridv's twitter message. I have been an Argentinian blogger since 2007 . I write about technology applied to language learning because I am interested in that topic and because I love writing.
    How to become a famous blogger? Well, I think that bloggers just write for the sake of writing and sharing, not because we want to be famous... I think that bloggers want people to read their/our posts for the sake of sharing and blogging is a fantastic way: cheap and free.
    As the previous bloggers have said, I try to keep on one topic. I love receiving comments, event if they are short because that is a way of saying: Hey I have been around reading your post, lurking at your blog...Of course I feel happier when the comment is really enriching.
    Well, keep on blogging!

  9. A very good way to be noticed is to visit somebody's blog and leave a comment there. People are curious so they always try to check who the commentator of their post is. Then if you have anything interesting to say people just come back to read you. Or add you to their blog roll as I did. Go and check :-)

  10. Hi Anita,

    Just came upon this post while doing my blogging homework, and it echoes so much of what I was thinking before starting my blog and in the first few months of writing it.

    Sticking your neck out is always going to be somewhat of a risk. Do I have anything interesting to say? Will people come and read my posts? Will they actually interact with me and leave a comment, or will they just go 'Hmmm' and then on to another blog? Those are all questions I asked myself over that time.

    As for becoming a famous blogger, I'm certain that's not really something I'd ever wish for. BUT what is cool is the fact that there are other people out there who you find that are interesting and interested in what others have to say and that is what makes blogging such a blast =)

    I think how I got started is kind of how Karenne suggested - start sharing with others (in my case doing some pilot lessons for J Keddie) and then starting on my own lesson creating skills and having something to post on a blog. That helped to get started. I had a moment or two when I thought I might jack it in, and that's when guest blogging helped to get a focus to what I write about. I think that's the key for me - sharing of experiences, and that's why I've learnt so much in this time.

    I hope it continues and that people like you continue to be a part of that learning =)

  11. Hi Anita

    Came here via the Hidden Gems series via Mike's Homework post and I enjoyed re-reading this post again. It's full of great practical tips and it generated a whole wealth of great comments.

    You have definitely taken the right road in your blogging path. Long may it continue!

  12. I am a a fairly new blogger, although the blog I'm currently writing is not my first. Previous blogs have been with fellow teachers at my college or with students, and we have generally kept these private within ourselves.
    I started my latest blog as a place for my ESOL teacher trainees to develop a CoP outside of the classroom and as a space for them to reflect collaboratively. We have had a few discussions about the public nature of these posts and there are certainly mixed feelings about this.
    As for my own blog, one of the things I am certainly considering is who am I writing for, my inital response is to and for myself as I am interested in the impact of using twitter and blogs as a CPD tool for myself. Is it possible to do an action research project on examining your own web 2.0 activity???? I certainly don;t think that I write anything interesting enough for others to read, and I'm always consciously aware of this even on my short Tweets.
    So for wanting to the a blogger, or a famous blogger - not sure that I'm up for either.
    I also found this thought Mike Harrisons Hidden Gems - and it has certainly given me food for thought.