7 Tips for Beginning Bloggers
As a fairly new blogger, the how to of getting started remains fairly fresh in my mind. So after a few friends asked me questions about how to begin a blog, I thought I’d post some tips that I learned when I was just getting started. After all, blogging is about sharing. And I’ve learned from others that creating blog posts from questions you’ve been asked is one of the tricks of the trade. Here are my top seven tips.
#1: Pick an overarching theme. Decide what your theme is going to be and articulate it clearly in a place where visitors will see. Ideally, your theme will be specific enough to keep you focused. But broad enough to encompass a variety of topics. Pick something you’re either researching for yourself anyway or that you are genuinely interested in learning much more about. My theme is described in the second paragraph after my profile photo. And then I go into more detail in the Contents section. That’s what seven years of working at magazines will do to you.
#2: Be predictable. Blog on the same day every week. Or blog every weekday. Or choose whatever schedule works best for you. The most important thing is that you post regularly and that you keep up with it. Your visitors will appreciate it.
#3: Find blog role models. There must be blogs you enjoy visiting or I’m guessing you wouldn’t be thinking about starting your own. Having just three or four inspiration blogs will do. Read and watch what your favorites are doing and then pick and choose the elements you like the best…like look-and-feel or mix of topics. Pull the various elements together and then put a different spin on it and make it your own.
#4: Practice makes perfect. If you’re having difficulty deciding what to blog about, begin a practice blog until you find your groove. Marymaru.com is my third blog attempt and finally feels just right.
#5: Follow the pros. There are many excellent blogging ‘how to’ sites that cover everything from SEO to how to write several blog posts a day to CSS tips. Find a couple you like and sign up for their RSS feeds to educate yourself. I especially like ProBlogger, Social Media Today, and Chris Brogan’s site which is marketing focused and includes lots of great blogging tips.
#6: DIY. Choose one of the easy-to-use do-it-yourself blogging platforms like blogger.com or Tumblr.com. These kind of platforms make it easy for you to craft your blog without having to worry about programming. Kind of similar to using a word processing program, but easier because you have less choices to make.
#7: Get started! One post is all you need to get started. And it can be as simple as posting a photo of yourself and making a brief introduction to the world. Some say it’s a good idea to have several posts written or at least have several ideas for posts up your sleeve at all times. I carry a notebook around with me to jot down ideas as they come. Or I email ideas to myself on my Blackberry.
I actually email myself all the time. The trick is resisting the in-box on my Blackberry until I get home. Ah, resisting the ping of the in-box. I think that may be a post for another day.
Getting back on topic, what tips would you add to this list?