If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to share your voice with others through blogging, let me be the first to congratulate you! I remember the feeling of excitement and anticipation that came with publishing my first blog post.
200+ posts later, blogging has become something I look forward to in my weekly routine. I’m sharing a few blogging tips from my personal experience below and wish you much success in your writing.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog:
- What is the purpose of your blog? The first question to ask yourself is, “What message am I hoping to spread?” Whether the intention of your blog is to be fun and lighthearted, healing or educational (and it certainly can be all of these), stay focused on the message you want to send out to your readers. Your blog is a labor of love and you want it to be your voice!
- Do you have adequate time to devote to publishing content on a regular basis? Whether that be daily, weekly or monthly is completely up to you, but having some sort of schedule will keep your readership engaged and keep you on track. Factor in time to respond to blog comments and the emails that will undoubtedly arrive once you gain a loyal following.
- Have you weighed the pros and cons of various platforms? Although publishing on some hosted blogging services is free (in exchange for your blog URL promoting the platform, such as “.wordpress.com”), if you’re really serious about your endeavor, assess the pros and cons. For example, you may wish to purchase your own URL and pay the annual fee to your registrar and blogging host to use that instead. It will add polish to your blog and make it easier to share and remember. Or, you may decide to self-host with a wordpress.org blog, giving you more flexibility, control and room to grow.
- Who will design and set up your blog? It’s important to put careful consideration into the design and layout of your blog, and may be worth hiring the process out to a professional team or expert if budget permits. They’ll be more comfortable with the bells and whistles, and in making sure important details aren’t overlooked (such as installing Google Analytics and user-friendly RSS and email subscriptions).
- How will you promote your blog and grow readership? Do some research on growing your blog audience before you get too far into the process. There are many simple things you can do to drive traffic if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, including having a presence on social media. Remember that there isn’t a magic pill or formula; your blog and marketing strategy should be unique.
Once your blog has been created, ask yourself these questions before publishing your post:
- Does your blog post start with a compelling title? Doing so will help to draw your readers in. Don’t overlook creating an “About Me” page as well, it’s another opportunity to share more of yourself with your readers.
- Have you included photography? Photos add interest to your posts and help to keep your reader engaged. Always ask permission before publishing a photo or better yet, use your own! In a pinch? There are several stock photography websites to choose from, but know that your readers may recognize the photos from another website or the mailer they just received from their bank!
- Have you given credit where credit it due? Use credible sources and always give them credit for their input and include hyperlinks where possible. This is a must!
- Does your content pass the mother/supervisor/grandmother test? If you wouldn’t be comfortable with your supervisor reading your blog, remind yourself that it’s out there for the world to see before moving forward. It’s also best to delay hitting that “publish” button if you’re feeling too emotional or upset. Step away from the screen and revisit after a good night’s rest.
- Is your content clean and error free? Choose a few web-friendly fonts and stick with them. It’s especially important to carefully proofread your content before going LIVE with it. If you can have a member of your team (or a good friend) review your post beforehand, I’d strongly encourage you do so! Even the best of us (myself included) have let a typo slip every now and then.
- Will comments be open, closed or moderated? First and foremost, don’t expect hundreds of comments on your first (or 50th) post. It doesn’t always work that way, and that doesn’t mean people aren’t reading! But, it is important to evaluate how best to handle commenting in general, and to be prompt in your response time if you decide to leave them open or moderated.
Most importantly, enjoy your new blog! The benefits are numerous, whether they come in form of growing numbers, from the writing process itself or from something in between.
Yours in Blogging,