Everything I learnt about blogging I learnt by trial and error. Which was fun, but not necessarily the most time efficient way of going about things. And while the learning process has been a whole lot of fun, there are all sorts of things new bloggers could learn from my idiocy. These ten ideas for new bloggers are just the tip of the iceberg really.
1. Get Self-Hosted
Self-hosted is just a fancy word for having your own domain name and hosting. The free option sounds all well and good either on blogger or wordpress but you just know that in the long run you are going to want your own domain name. Save yourself the time and hassle of transferring and do it from the start.
2. Nothing You Write Is Actually Anonymous
You might think that your mum or your sister or your neighbour has no way of finding your blog but trust me, they’ll find it and get offended by something that you wrote when it was midnight and you weren’t thinking straight. And you’ll end up with a whole lot more drama than you ever intended. Don’t write anything about someone that you haven’t already said in person. Because eventually your in real life world and your online world will collide.
3. Choose Advertising Wisely
Not everyone wants advertising on their blog, but if you do put it up from the start – even if you have negative page views. When picking an advertising network make sure that they are not going to be putting any advertisements on your blog that you have ethical issues with (or if they are that you have the option of rejecting them) because nothing says alienating readers like some really inappropriate advertising.
4. Comment More, Expect Less
It’s easy to feel frustrated with how few comments you get on your blood, sweat and tears blog posts in the beginning. And to be honest, I still don’t understand why some posts get a high amount of comments and others none. But regardless of how few comments you might get, the answer is always to comment on other people’s blogs. If you are not a loyal, engaged reader then you can’t expect anyone else to be either.
5. Ignore Your Audience
I don’t actually mean that. I have a deep and abiding love for my audience (yes you!) But what I mean is, you have to write for yourself, without being influenced by who’s reading or what they might think of you. Authenticity does shine through, even online, and if you are not being yourself that will be obvious too.
6. The Written Word Isn’t Made To be Abbreviated
Yes, you want to write as though you are talking. Conversational style is fantastic for blogs. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using complete sentences, appropriate grammar, proper spelling and avoiding abbreviations. Yes, I’m a word geek and I’m not ashamed to say that I will stop reading your blog if you use texting type language in a blog post.
7. Lose the Dark Background
Whatever mood your going for in your blog design, if you go with a dark background it makes it difficult for people to read and they will tune out. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to read, engage and comment on your site. Not harder. A clean design will make people want to stick around.
8. What Kind of Blogger Are You Anyway?
Decide from the beginning what you are going to be doing – are you a personal blogger or are you a parenting blogger? Are you mostly going to be sharing bits and pieces of your life or are you going to be providing resources and sharing your knowledge? Knowing what you’re about at the start will make everything easier in the long run.
9. If You Don’t Promote Yourself, No One Else Will
Don’t be shy about promoting yourself. If you don’t put yourself out there, you can’t complain when nothing new happens. So compartmentalise your modesty and promote your posts and put your hand up for opportunities. Never wait for somebody to offer you up something – you’ll be waiting for a very long time.
10. If You Aren’t Having Fun, You Are Wasting Your Time
Blogging is supposed to be fun. If it sounds more like work than fun, then you might be in the wrong place. The blogging journey should be an absolute blast, regardless of what your long-term goal is. So dive in, have fun, meet some awesome people and have a great time.