We live in an amazing time when anyone can publish their thoughts, ideas and projects online for the world to see. I assume that the Gutenbergs would be totally amazed! If you are a startup blogger there are a few best practices that you will want to remember to make sure you have the right foundation. Trust me, these will save you time and energy later.
Sure, you can begin publishing your thoughts online, like a private journal turned public, but most people aren’t going to want to read what about what you had for lunch, where you are going, or how crummy your day was. Instead, sit down and think about what your mission with your blog is and write from that place on every post. This will make it easier to decide when to scrap or publish a post.
You won’t know, at first, who is going to be reading your blog until you start publishing, but you can begin by thinking about who you would like to have read your blog. If you are really into design or fashion, you would gear articles towards that audience. If you are a happy vegetarian and are publishing recipes, you would write to other current vegetarians or would-be vegetarians. Think about writing each post with the reader in mind.
People want to learn something new, feel better about themselves, or get excited about a topic when they read a blog post. Your blog needs to be informative, inspiring or affirming with each post. Don’t worry, at first, if your blog posts are too long or too short, but remember the average attention span gets smaller. Consider bite-sized information in short paragraphs that tell a great story!
Blogging isn’t a competition. Everyone has value in the blog world and your voice is appreciated and needed. Get in the game and be friendly with other bloggers! It is a pretty welcoming community and if you want to guest post, share content on Twitter, or get to know other bloggers and introduce yourself. Even the bigger bloggers take time to help newer bloggers.
It isn’t enough to just write and hope they will come! You have to promote your blog posts online and off. Join an online blogging community and share your posts, tweet about your new blog posts, pin your photos on Pinterest, have your blog printed on your business cards, go to blogging conferences and get involved in your local and regional blogging communities. A quick search online or on Facebook will help you find groups of people blogging about similar topics. By joining these groups you can promote one another and grow your audiences. People who write about gardening also read about it and you will have found your built-in audience!
Being current about a topic is always a good time to publish. Did a celebrity just say something really demeaning about his mom? Is there a new trend in your field? Are new colors coming out for the season? Having an opinion about those things will more than likely get your blog post read.
You can’t always react to trends and you don’t always want to be controversial on your blog because readers get tired of that and want to know your own ideas. Remember, your blog is open for the entire world to see and what you publish is available for anyone to read. Don’t get hotheaded some night and write a flaming open letter that you are going to regret someday. Exercise the “wait a day” rule when you are publishing something that might be sensitive or difficult!
Tell your own point of view on your blog, but remember you do not own other people’s stories. If you are writing about sensitive information about your family, local community, or even the world around you, be careful that you don’t assume you have permission to tell someone else’s story. This is particularly true of children. Think about how they will feel in 20 years when they see unflattering pictures of themselves online from when they were kids. Ask permission, don’t share real names, and be sensitive to how others will feel with their story broadcast worldwide.
You can’t just blog. You have to actually do interesting things in your real life to have topics and ideas to blog about! Step away from your computer and plan something fun and blog about that. Your blog will remain fresh and fun if you are balancing a real life with blogging.
You aren’t a huge publishing house. You are a person; please blog like one. It doesn’t matter if you are blogging for your business or writing a personal blog, write like a real person. What makes blogging so interesting is getting to know the real people behind the blog. Your story is what is most important; not how slick you can write an article.
Don’t let the idea that you aren’t a great writer, photographer, or have the perfect idea stop you from blogging. The more posts that you write the better your writing will get and the better your blog will be. If you wait until the perfect time you might just be waiting forever.
Now is the perfect time to start a blog and the blogging world is waiting to hear your voice and your story. Get started and share what know with the world.
Featured photo credit: Blogger. Man holding chalkboard with word Blog written on. via shutterstock.com
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