Blogging is so popular nowadays that many people and businesses think they are perceived as “weird” if they don’t blog on regular basis. Truth is – blogging isn’t worth it if you have no idea why you do it or you don’t know how to make the most out of it. Here are a few tips for newbie bloggers just starting a blog:
1. Know the purpose of your blog
Do you want to share random thoughts? Do you want to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise? Do you want to promote your company’s products or services? Do you want to just help people be better at whatever they do? Do you want to inspire your readers? Doesn’t matter what the answer is. What matters is that you DO have an answer. Know what the purpose of your blog is – and you have made the first step of starting a blog successfully.
2. Choose your niche
It’s no longer popular to blabber online about what type of coffee you had this morning, where you are going for dinner tonight, or how depressed you feel because your boy/girl friend has left you. Don’t bore the world with your personal problems 😉 All successful blogs, personal or corporate, regardless their purpose, have one thing in common – they all have their niche, they are all topical. You may share your short stories there, or show your art and teach other people how to draw through tutorials, or do tutorials about how your company tool will help any business be better at what they do, or just sharing tips you’ve learnt from your experience as a marketer, lawyer, painter, writer, teacher, gardener, cook, whatever-profession-you-have. If I like to try your recipes, why do you think I will read your gardening tips? Being on topic matters – it is what helps you attract and keep readership.
3. Blog regularly
When you are starting a blog, you quite possibly will get overwhelmed with design tweaks, all those new visitors you get, comments to reply to, new ways to promote your blog – until you forget you have been doing so many things but not actually blogging, yikes! A key for creating and keeping readership is to create expectancy. Say you’ll publish every Monday and Thursday at 8 am and then keep your schedule. Make sure though you set your schedule right. You can blog once per week, once per 2 weeks, or every day – it totally depends on your availability and desire. Once you set it – keep it so that you readers know when they will get some fresh advice from you 😉 In a previous post I talked about importance of having a plan – yet again, having a blog editorial will help you keep things organized on your blog, as well.
4. Make it easy for your readers
Easy to read, easy to share, easy to comment… Formatting your blog posts is important for the overall impression and perception of your content. You might be a brilliant writer and have excellent tips and knowledge to share but if it is all a big chunk of content with no section titles, no bullets or number list, no nothing – well, there’s a pretty good chance no one will ever read it. Let the reader scan through your content and KNOW what it is about. If they didn’t have time to read it all, they will still get the most out of what you have said. And if they want more details, they will come back and read more later, when they do have time. Add commenting field – let your readers say what THEY think. Add share buttons – let your readers spread the love and tell their friends what cool content they have found. Add RSS feed and/or other subscription form – let your reader opt-in to stay updated with your news and blog posts.
5. Be there for your readers
I know we don’t always have enough time – there’s only so much time. But try to always reply to the comments in your blog. Let your readers sedn you questions, feedback and topic ideas through various channels – through a contact form, on the blog itself, through social media channels that you use – make yourself available. After all, we are all people – you just happen to know more about certain things so it’s only fair that we can all pick your brain about it, right? Being there is important when starting a blog 😀
6. Be an active member of the blogosphere
When time permits, build relationships – not only with your readers but with other bloggers, too. Comment on other blogs and add value to the conversation. Be active on social media and related forums where you can network with fellow bloggers – in your niche or other niches that interest you. After all, blogging is a form of self-fulfillment – so be good and help others self-fulfill themselves – just like they help you do the same 😉
Your turn now – tell me in the comments:
Jon Jefferson says
thanks for stopping by, Jon! Glad you liked my advice – stay tuned for more 😉
Great place to start. I would add to the blog regularly suggestion, set aside a regular time to write your blog posts. You can train your brain, this way, to get into blogging mode.
ah, right! This one is important but sometimes can be challenging… Thanks for sharing this tip with us, Carol 😀
Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com says
I so agree. I would add to include the Yoast plugin on your blog as a simple way to do good SEO practices. 🙂
right! I used to use all in one seo pack on all of my blogs but since i tried Yoast – yeah, it IS better, and it is easier and more intuitive and has more options. It is VERY easy for a non-SEO savy person to optimize their blog with Yoast. So now i am slowly migrating all the blogs i write and/or manage to it. However, note that Yoast is for wordpress only, right? Thanks for this comment, Susan!
Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com says
I believe yoast can be added to other platforms. 🙂
hm, are you sure? I googled it and only wordpress appears in the SERPs. Also checked their website – they say they do plugins for wordpress only: http://yoast.com/about-us/ – it would be lovely if you could give more info as of why you believe yoast can be added to other platforms. Maybe there’s a ‘work around’ or sister plugins with other names under the same company or something esle that allows you do that?
Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com says
I’m going on what my web guy said. I’ll ask him and let you know. 🙂
Dan Hitt says
I really like your last note. Making friends that regularly read your stuff is great all around. It gets new people comfortable because there are already some comments and interaction with your blog. Plus you get to meet new people that are probably awesome.
Very good idea all around.
cool, thanks for your feedback, Dan! Yes, now it is easier for everyone to ‘meet’ new people with common interests and make friends – beauty of internet, i guess 😀 And it is so true about new people feeling comfortable because there are already some comments on a certain post – didn’t think of that, thanks for adding it 😉
Ryan Richter says
Love your advice (and I should follow it regularly). I’d also add the importance of sharing your stuff on different platforms to attract readers – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
yessssss, sharing is important… puts you out there, doesn’t it 😀 I am glad you liked the tips and wish you good luck with following them regularly – i know how challenging it can be; i often catch myself not following my own tips – even though i know they work – hahaha. Stay tuned for more 😉
Good tips. I always come back to post like this for inspiration & instruction.
Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer! Glad to hear you find these tips useful. Stay tuned for more 😀
Sherryl Perry says
Great tips and excellent advice Diana. If I could add one thing, it would be to consider installing the CommentLuv plugin. (There’s a free version in the WordPress repository that’s a good fit for many bloggers.) That plugin works hand-in-hand with your recommendation to “Be an active member of the blogosphere”. By providing an opportunity to get a do-follow backlink, you’re almost guaranteed to start getting more comments on your blog. (BTW – I followed the link you left when you commented on my blog and that’s how I got here!)
Hey, Cherryl! Thanks for your comment and feedback. However, i strongly dislike CommentLuv – it is controversial but my belief is that in the long run, it’s more trouble than use, at least for the blogger whose blog the plugin is on.
True it may attract more comments – but hey, 1) it will attract also a lot of spam, and 2) more importantly – i’d like to attract comments with good content, not with the opportunity to leave a backlink.
From SEO perspective – it isn’t good either; primarily because i don’t have control over the outbound links on my own blog. I would prefer to put your blog in my blogroll in the sidebar because i like reading your blog – rather than give you a backlink through CommentLuv. And when i say “you”, i mean everyone, not you personally 😀
what else? Ah, being an active member of the blogosphere for me means networking with other bloggers and helping each other through comments, sharing content, asking questions, giving feedback – the act of networking is the important part, not the backlink which i get when i leave a comment on your blog (again, when i say “you” i mean everyone :D). Besides, there is already a link back to my blog under my name field – if someone’s interested, they can always check my site out – with or without CommentLuv… so, ultimately comments with added value are what will make people check you out, not the link to your last blog post, right?
Hm, maybe this is something worth mentioning in a separate blog post, huh? Thank you so much for this comment, Cherryl – it got me thinking 😉