Note: in preparation for my upcoming workshop at the Highland Park Public Library on blogging, I’m updating this post on tips for beginning bloggers. I plan to add comments to the post if relevant to the discussion.
Are you thinking of starting to blog? Whether you are blogging for business, for pleasure or for a favorite cause, there are two major aspects beginning bloggers need to think about:
- Technical: What platform will you use to blog? WordPress.com? Blogger? Tumblr? Self-hosted WordPress? Or perhaps some other platform.
- Content and Readership: What will you blog about? How will you find readers? How will you get responses (i.e., comments) from readers?
If you are blogging to promote your own business or to sell affiliate products, then that is a third aspect for thought. This post will mostly talk about developing your content and readership.
• • •
I asked some of my favorite bloggers on Google+ the following question:
What is one piece of advice that you would give a beginning blogger?
I organized their comments into categories, and I added a few of my own comments.
Why are You Blogging?
Sustain your effort and understand why you are blogging. That is critical for personal and business bloggers. It takes time to build your platform and to find your voice. Give yourself the time to do so and understand that it is ok.
It is all about realistic expectations.
Blog for a purpose, even if that purpose is to journal privately.
Get Your Content on Your Blog
Bennett Ruda: be prepared to invest the time to post on a regular basis.
Praveen Rajarao: As a beginner myself, it was very tempting to achieve overnight success by signing up for all sorts of affiliate programs and try to make money fast.
I later realized that to be a successful blogger, I will need to write content which has NOT been seen or read elsewhere and try to get other bloggers to notice you and your blog.
Jacob Alonzo: 1. Focus on 1 piece of qualitative or quantitative piece of information. A blog entry should not be generic. A blog entry on a recipe on American apple pie can be identical to all others except maybe in how you make or decorate the top crust. But, the reader is left with a singular or valuable piece of information that will stay with them.
2. A beginner blogger needs to blog for themselves alone. Forgo any thought of a follow-ship/readership initially!
Haim Cohen: People like content, so if it is relevant to them, consistent, as well as informative, you should get an audience.
Jeannette Paladino: My piece of advice is make a commitment to blog regularly. Don’t even start a blog if you think you can just post an occasional article. There are literally millions of dormant blogs floating around the internet. You do your reputation no good if a new reader stops by and sees a post that was published six months ago. Blogging is hard work!
What NOT to Write
Catarina Alexon: Search engines record everything and forget nothing. So you should never write anything that you would not want all human beings to read, including your parents, boss or spouse.
Respond to Comments
Responding to comments on your blog is not only good etiquette, it can also expand your readership.
Emily Seuss: Respond to comments so that you can meaningfully engage with your readers.
Bennett Ruda: Following up on what Emily wrote, it is also important to engage with bloggers of similar interests:
- Leave comments on other blogs of similar interest.
- Link to posts of other bloggers and quote them by name.
Haim Cohen: If you want comments, make it as easy as you can for readers to comment on it, but obviously stay clear of just allowing anyone to post.
Choosing a Platform for your Blog
Note: choosing a platform for your blog (Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, etc.) is a topic for another post. I will argue if you are interested in making money through blogging, whether selling your own business products or services, promoting affiliate products or using ads, go with self-hosted WordPress.
Suzanne Fluhr notes: If you think there is any chance that you might ever want to self host your blog because you may want the opportunity to monetize it or make it seem more professional, at a minimum, buy a custom domain name and use it from the start (I did this on blogger eventually before I switched it to wordpress.org which let me import the content from the Blogger blog). Be aware that if you start out with a blogger or WP.com domain name such as JoeSmith.blogspot.com or JoeSmith.wordpress.com, you may find that the domain name for plain JoeSmith is already taken.
I leave you with one insightful comment on Google+:
Haim Cohen: Google+ at this point is about to take over for ease of use. Links are public, share able, and have great SEO, and engagement value.
In response to Haim’s comment, I would add that I find some intelligent, educational and inspirational conversations (and lovely imagery, too – many photographers have taken to Google+) occur on Google+. Also, as he notes, the search engine Google picks up the information on Google+ and it receives priority in search engine rankings. A downside would be it is not your own platform with your own name or brand, as self-hosted WordPress would be (or WordPress.com with your own domain name).
As an experiment, I decided to link to each of these people’s Google+ profiles instead of their blogs. I’m wondering if they will attract some new followers on Google+ as a result. If you would like to circle me on Google+, I’m Leora Wenger.
Your Turn, Please
If you are an experienced blogger, how would you respond to my question? Also, if you have any responses to the bloggers’ comments, I would love to hear those, too. What else might you tell beginning bloggers? Thanks!
More posts like this one:
Biz Blog Benefits