11 Tips for New Bloggers
I can’t tell you how many times somebody has emailed me, messaged me or mentioned in conversation something along the lines of, “I am not a computer ninja at all. There is no way I could live the blogger life.”
On the other hand, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard somebody say, “Six months ago I knew nothing about computers, now I am writing my own programs and my own blog!”
Whether you are a seasoned blogging pro or a n00b blogger, the list below is for you. It is a relatively simple list of some things I wish I knew when I started blogging, along with some of the things I need to constantly remind myself now.
Without any further adieu, here are my 11 tips for new and established bloggers.
1. Read other people’s blogs and leave comments
Reading and commenting on other blogs creates connections with fellow bloggers, especially if you read and comment on blogs within your own blog’s niche. The blog owner might just return the favor on your blog, along with telling everyone they know about your new blog. Additionally, the readers of that blog will see your comments and be enticed to visit yours.
Some keys to commenting on other blogs: make sure you are honest and provide thoughtful remarks. A lot of people leave “Great post!” and it doesn’t really help, although always appreciated. I like to think of commenting on blogs as a conversation. If you agree with the author, say so. Provide an intelligent response. If you disagree with the author, be respectful and provide your own thoughts and ideas.
2. Post regularly and consistently
Set a realistic posting schedule and stick with it. That gives your readers some consistency and something to look forward to. If Mondays are your posting days, then post every Monday!
*Hint: Find a time where you can sit down and write as many blogs as you can in one sitting. On a Saturday afternoon, you can easily get four or five articles ready to post. And if you are a once a week publisher, then you would have an entire month’s worth ready to go.
3. Focus on your blog and only one social media platform at a time
Keep the content on your blog post at the highest quality you can muster. Remember- the goal is quality over quantity (within reason). It only makes sense- if your posts consist of great content that really touches a lot of readers, then they will come back. On the other hand, if you post an article every day based on the size of your dust bunnies under your couch, then there most likely will not be much interest.
As a general rule of thumb, I would recommend keeping your social media presence limited to one platform at a time until you have mastered it. What does mastering it mean? That is up to you. Regardless, as your followership grows, you will see how difficult it is to keep up with one platform, let alone multiple platforms AND keep time in your daily schedule to write for your blog.
4. Use pictures and other media.
Yes, I know. We shouldn’t have to rely on visuals when blogging. 99.9% of the all-time greatest books don’t have a single picture in it. But adding pictures does add a bit of visual appeal to your blogs.
Watch out for licensing and copyright issues. If you don’t want to pay for your media, make sure the pictures fall under the creative commons laws and specifically tell you that you are allowed to use them. A good place to start is www.pixabay.com for free pictures that fall under the creative commons licensing. You can modify the pictures (add words, reduce transparency, modify colors, etc.) all for free. If you use a lot of their pictures, be sure and donate a few bucks to them every once in a while.
5. Pace yourself.
If you have a full-time day job along with maintaining your blog, make sure you are setting your priorities correctly. Most likely, in the beginning, your blog is just a hobby and should be treated as such. However, when it starts picking up steam and starts making money, then it becomes a side-hustle. And in turn, you should treat it as such.
I think a lot of new bloggers get out there and pump out great articles while burning the candle at both ends. Eventually, since that pace is impossible to maintain, they slow down, lose motivation and ultimately give up. Pace yourself.
6. Stockpile your blog posts.
Before you launch your blog and tell your entire family along with your entire cadre of friends and coworkers, I highly recommend growing your blog arsenal to about 6-9 posts (more if you can muster it). That means you will have 6-9 posts in your queue ready to go over the course of the first few weeks while you are writing more. Keywords: “while you are writing more.” That will start you off and keep you ahead of the power curve.
Also, if you have a handful of posts under your belt with a feeling that you haven’t scratched the surface of your blog topic, then you know you have chosen your topic wisely. If after building your stockpile of posts you find there is not much else to write, you may have chosen poorly.
7. Keep going!
You just spent a lot of money on a website and maybe a fresh and snappy WordPress theme. Get your money’s worth by sticking with it. Blogging success does not come overnight. It takes time, persistence, and grit. You will pour your heart and soul into your posts, only to find zero comments and zero visits. You might feel like it just isn’t worth it. After six months, you may not have made a single cent from all of your hard work or have just a handful of followers.
Believe me when I say, “Stick with it.” All the great bloggers had their moments of doubt, but they kept going. So… Don’t stop, keep going!
8. Settle into the fact that you are not the only one blogging about your topic.
That is totally fine. In all honesty, you really want a lot of people blogging about your topic. That just means it is an “in demand” topic. Get creative in setting yourself aside from everyone else. Try and hit your topic from a different angle than everybody else. Find that special niche and keep to it.
9. Set some rules for you to follow.
Sounds crazy, but by keeping your rules enforced, it keeps you pointed towards your blogging goals. My rules? Well, since you asked…
- Never blog about yourself, unless you have a good reason to.
- Keep the posts to a 2,500-word maximum, but shoot for around 1,500. Most people won’t stick around reading a 20-minute post.
- Publish your blogs on Saturdays, unless you have a good reason not to.
- Add Jen (my lovely wife) into every post to keep her reading them. Creativity points in adding her are a must.
That’s it- those are my rules. I stick with them, to include putting Jen in every post in some way or another. Some posts I mention her directly. Others there is no mention of her, but she is there. You just have to look harder. That is my favorite rule, to be honest. It is a game for her to find herself in my posts and it always guarantees that I will have at least two readers for every post I publish. The other one being my mom, of course (hi mom!).
10. Drink from the firehose (and like it).
There is a lot of information out there on blogging. You have to take it all (including this advice) with a grain of salt. But most importantly, you have to be willing to absorb as much as you can as quickly as you can. And remember, just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Constantly learn, constantly adjust. The perfect formula for you is out there, you just gotta wanna find it.
And remember, this is supposed to be F-U-N, right? So it should be exciting when you are researching, drafting, writing, deleting, rewriting, deleting, pulling hair out, rewriting the rewrite, editing, deleting again, editing, editing, editing, editing, and then finally… Publishing. (Then going back and editing again…)
11. Mistakes will be made.
Learn from them! Nobody is perfect and nobody expects any blogger to be, either. It is human to error. They’re will be grammatical errors. There will be speling errors. Find them, fix them and move on. Don’t kick yourself too hard. The bloggers that make a gazillion dollars a year have mustachioed, fancy, English accented, tea-drinking editors. Just stick with focusing on your topic’s quality, the rest will fall into place.
Other mistakes may not be obvious until later. That’s fine, it simply goes back to what you read earlier- constantly learn, constantly adjust. If you don’t like the outcome, then change the formula! The only way to fail at this game is to give up. Everything else is just modifying your outcomes to make them how you want them.
So that’s it- the 11 things I wished I knew before I started blogging, along with a few things I constantly remind myself of… I hope the thrust of your blog remains high, even if (and when) the vector changes. Regardless, go out there and publish a good post for the Gipper.
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