When I started blogging, I did everything wrong. There I admitted it for all to see. The upside to this point is that I learned a tonne of stuff about what should be done when starting and writing a blog. In turn, I, fortunately, was rescued by some amazing experts who generously shared a wealth of knowledge with me.
So I’m writing this post to pass on 10 1/2 points of what I learned about starting a blog. I’ve used 10 1/2 points because 11 points sounded horrible! Here goes.
1. Except for those of you who are blogging purely for therapeutic reasons and don’t care if the general public reads their blog, remember that nobody really cares about your daily trials and triumphs. (i.e. a diary type of blog) Everyone one has their own problems to worry about. You, your family, and best friend may think your life is fascinating but, unfortunately, most other people won’t. However, if you write about your life and the lessons you’ve learned in a way that is interesting, entertaining and informative you will be able to inform, help and uplift them.
2. Spelling and grammar need to be as close to 100% perfect as absolutely possible, every single post. No excuses. It doesn’t matter who you are, use a proofreader or grammar corrector of some sort.
3. Use images with every post. People are visual creatures.
4. Post on a regular schedule so that your readers can rely on this posting schedule. It doesn’t have to be often but on a regular schedule is good.
5. Your blog will never “succeed” if you stay insulated in the protective WordPress.com world. Loyal readers are out there in the big bad world, beyond fellow bloggers. The primary way to reach these people is through big social media platforms. It’s a fast, tricky, finicky, claw your way up world, out there, but it’s the only road to finding a faithful following. (By real audience I mean people who follow you because they love reading your blog not because you “like” their blogs in exchange.) Learning your way around the social media world in a productive way is a lot of hard work, but you can do it, just be prepared and wear knee pads!
6. Before you head out into the world of big social media with your blog make sure you have done all of your homework and are 100% prepared beforehand. There’s a tonne a stuff you need to have in place and better to get it all in order now than when you’re out there scrambling blindly.
7. Never listen to anyone who says they are a blogging or social media expert, guru or Ninja. The ones who actually are experts don’t brag about it because they’re busy successfully working at it. Check out people’s credentials.
8. This point I cannot stress enough. Always listen to your intuition and if it’s telling you something is not right, listen and then get a second opinion from someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy. It’s a bit like life eh? I learnt this lesson the hard way.
9. Visit other blogs outside of WordPress.com, especially blogs that are at least somewhat successful. What you’re looking for is the layout, colours used, categories, any unique features and the tone of voice that the blog has. An example would be; is it minimalistic or a full page spread, colourful or neutral, the categories that they focus on and if the posts are written with a fun-free or serious tone.
Like it or not if they are successful and their “look” works that is what you should be aiming for. Yes, it sucks if your taste is different, but getting readers always means giving followers what they want.
10. Last, but not least, you will need a proper domain name that matches your blog’s name. Example; maryskitchen.com instead of maryskitchen.wordpress.com, and the blog name would then be Marys Kitchen. This is just so much more professional, straightforward and easy to remember for all those new followers you’re going to be getting!
10 1/2. (You’ll also have to put a lovely real smiling picture of you on your blog.) Readers want to see who is writing the articles that they’re reading!
So hang in there, you can do it, with style and class. I can’t wait to see all of your stunning successes.