When you’re starting out blogging, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a ton of resources out there and it can be a bit difficult to wade through them all. However, if you’re just starting out, you don’t need to buy 20 different guides – here’s all you really need to know. 25 solid blogging tips for new bloggers. Let’s get started!
1. Use WordPress.
There are tons of other platforms you can blog on, but if you’re in it for the long-term, the only real choice is a self-hosted version of WordPress. You’ll own your domain and your work, which is invaluable as you continue to blog and create an online footprint.
2. Use the Genesis framework.
I use the genesis framework on every single one of my sites. You can get cheaper themes off of ThemeForest and other sites, but none of them come with the rock-solid code, responsive theme built in, and rock-solid SEO from the start. On top of that, you can add genesis child themes later if you don’t like the standard theme but still want the solid foundation to build on.
3. Install these plugins.
Yoast SEO (best SEO plugin out there). Gravity Forms (super simple form building). WP Super Cache (speeds up your site). You’ll thank me later.
4. Don’t worry about your themes.
Don’t tweak your theme forever. Get things to 80% done and then move on. If you’re already using the Genesis framework, you can probably skip this step altogether.
5. Find a topic.
Find a topic you want to write about and then write the crap out of it! Seriously, just go to town. And be specific. For instance, instead of just writing about nutrition, write about the paleo diet. Be specific and then be prolific. Make a Google spreadsheet of topics or headlines you can write about and then knock them off one by one. 10 minutes of brainstorming ahead of time will make life so much easier when you’re sitting down to write and (conveniently) you can’t think of anything to write about.
6. Find a theme.
If you can’t find a topic, get a theme to write about and tie all your topics together around that theme (that’s what I did with Impossible). That way, no matter what you write about, you can always tie it back to that one theme.
7. Create artificial limitations.
Write a post in 30 minutes. Start every sentence with an ‘A’. Make every post exactly 748 words. Create artificial limitations. It may seem ‘limiting’ at first, but you’ll find that creativity is born within a framework and that it can actually make writing easier.
8. Do something interesting and then write about it.
If you ever really do get stuck writing, then do this and it will fix all your problems. Life is way easier to write about when you’re doing something interesting.
9. Have a good reason why.
Figure this out from the start. “Making millions from blogging,” isn’t a good reason to start and you probably will get discouraged when your first check comes for $2.75. However, if your goal is to “get better at writing”, “reach out and meet interesting people” or “do something interesting and blog about it”, you’re much more likely to keep on writing.
10. Read, read, read.
If writing is like driving a car, then reading is like filling the tank up with gas. You can go for a while without reading, but sooner or later you’re going to run out of steam. Make sure you’re reading, people!
All the other crap in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t write. You can buy every theme out there, but until you put words onto a text editor and hit ‘publish’ – none of it matters. WRITE!
12. Get focus.
Block your social media, turn off the TV (and your Wi-Fi if necessary), put on some tunes and focus on writing. Make it the most important thing at that moment and it will be.
Write a list post. Write a short story. Have an experience and then write about it. You often don’t know what’s going to resonate with readers when you’re starting out, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try a bunch of different styles. Once you find one or two that fit, keep testing them out.
14. Be helpful.
Most people say “add value” – but that really doesn’t mean anything. Instead of “adding value”, be helpful. Ask people questions and then answer those questions. If you don’t know the answer, do the leg work to find out and then share your research with them. It’s 1,000 times more valuable than trying to “add value” abstractly.
15. Be useful.
If you can’t be helpful, then be useful. Solve their problems for them. Instead of walking them through how to fix things, solve problems.
16. Forget about writer’s block.
Writer’s block doesn’t exist. Sure, there might be times where you don’t feel like writing, but if you want to be a writer, you have to write. The simplest way to get past writer’s block is to write one way or another – even when you don’t feel like it.
17. Search out people you respect.
Find out the work they do. Read their archives and watch their journey from the start. Chances are they started out just like you. Remember: everyone had to start somewhere.
18. Reach out to people you admire.
Don’t spam them and don’t do it to anyone and everyone, but find a few select people you really value and tell them how much you appreciate their work. That’s how Sean Ogle got his start.
19. Be a freaking human being.
Too many step-by-step guides focus on technology or strategies on how to reach out and ‘network’ with other people. Forget all those pieces of advice and be a freaking human being. Talk to someone online like you would talk to them offline. You’re talking to a person, not a computer or a website – act like it.
20. Follow a guide.
Find a great resource on how to start blogging and follow it to a T. Learn from the mistakes of others and take some shortcuts so you don’t have to learn all the sad, terrible lessons yourself.
21. Gain perspective.
Realize there’s a lot out there to do in life besides just blogging. Resist the urge to get sucked into the blogging bubble. Gain perspective and make sure you check into the real world every now and then.
22. Don’t expect billions of dollars off the bat.
Aim for millions instead.
23. Be consistent.
One of the most helpful things I ever read about blogging was make a personal schedule and stick to it. Most bloggers give up in three to six months and most of the ones who ‘make’ it, simply last longer than the others. Make consistency your goal.
24. Be realistic.
Slow and steady usually beats fast and furious. Don’t set a publishing schedule of seven posts per week if you can’t realistically do it. Set a schedule of one to two posts per week and stick to it. Over time you’ll see it adds up.
25. Have fun!
Don’t take blogging too seriously. If you stick to it and work on your writing, you can meet a lot of really cool people and have a great time.
What do you think? What should new bloggers know when they’re first starting out?