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 ton of stuff about what should be done when starting and writing a blog. Also, fortunately, I was rescued by some fantastic 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.
The following points are perhaps small things but they can make a huge difference and are often not mentioned in traditional “How to start a blog” articles.
Ten (Plus) Points For Starting A Blog:
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 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. You don’t have to post often, but doing so 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 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 social media with your blog, make sure you have done all of your homework and are 100% prepared beforehand. There’s a ton of 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 blogging or social media experts, gurus or Ninjas. The ones who are experts don’t brag about it. 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 knowledgeable and trustworthy. Is it 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 on the blog. 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 have 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 not what you like.
10. Last, but not least, you will need a proper domain name. Example; maryskitchen.com instead of maryskitchen.wordpres.com, and the blog name would then be Mary’s Kitchen. This example is just so much more professional, straightforward and easy to remember for all those new followers you’re going to be getting! UPDATE; This is no longer a necessity. It’s a nice touch, but search engines do not penalize for subdomains these days.
10 1/2. You need 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, not a logo.
So hang in there, you can do it, with style and class. I can’t wait to see all of your stunning successes.