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25 Blogging Tips For New Bloggers

25 Blogging Tips For New Bloggers

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.

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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.

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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!

11. Write.

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.

13. Experiment.

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.

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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.

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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?

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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