Ever since I first heard about blogging, the idea intrigued me. As someone who had always enjoyed writing, why wouldn’t I blog? Well, there were a few reasons:
1. I was afraid no one would want to read what I wrote.
2. I thought it would be too hard to set up/manage. I didn’t know what to do.
3. I was scared.
OK, so #1 and 3 are pretty much the same thing, but really, putting yourself out there on the internet where anyone could read it – that’s pretty scary! I knew I wanted to write about parenting/teaching topics. I wanted to share the funny things kids say and do. I also wanted to share things with other teachers or parents about things that have and have not worked with the kids I have worked with. Beyond that, I didn’t know what to expect.
I am lucky, in that my fiancée (Jason Strate) is an avid blogger. He forwarded a link to Brent Ozar’s blog. The post is pretty much Blogging 101. I found it VERY helpful! I also searched the internet for other information for beginner bloggers. Brent’s blog (and all its links) was the most comprehensive that I found.
Where to start
I originally wrote my blog on blogger.com. I was told by several people that WordPress is easier to use, and offers more themes. I switched over to WordPress, and have been very happy with it. Both sites are free, which is a plus. Using WordPress, I can check the stats, add or subtract widgets (the links and other fun stuff along the sidebar). I can put in pictures, change themes without having to re-do my entire blog, and more. It’s very user-friendly!
When setting up your blog, I’d strongly recommend allowing it to publish your blog to your facebook page, LinkedIn account, and Twitter. If you don’t, it is completely up to you to let people know you have a blog, when you post to it, etc. Using the social media you already use to advertise your blog is kind of a no-brainer. If you’re going to write it, you might as well let people know, right?
Here’s where some people struggle. Decide what the purpose of your blog is going to be. Are you going to write solely in one “niche”, or are you going to have posts on random topics? Do you want to share information, are you writing it for professional reasons, or is it just for fun? Is your blog going to be humorous, or serious? Think about your “tone of voice”. Would YOU want to read what you wrote? Is it something you’d forward to other people?
After you’ve set up the blog, decided on your style, and actually written your post, edit it.
I heard you just say, “Duh!” Truthfully though, save your draft, then preview it. Read through it slowly and carefully. If you read it too fast, you will read it as you meant to write it, not as you actually did. If it helps, read it out loud. It will make missing commas, periods, and grammar mistakes, obvious. If you want readers to keep coming back, the extra time it will take you will be worth it!
This is the easiest part of the process!! After your post is written, and edited, hit the Publish button. Check back occasionally, watch your stats, respond to comments… have fun with it!
One of the fun things about blogging, is that over time, it will naturally mature. Your topics may stray some from your original intent. That’s ok! Mine has strayed quite a bit, but every post is just as enjoyable to write! What matters is that you do it because you like it. Have fun!
Spreading the Word
As you are ready to increase your readership, search for sites that feature blogs on topics similar to yours. Many will accept submissions. You may even become a featured blog! Some sites, such as E-zine will publish articles on all sorts of topics. Companies can use those articles on their sites. The more places you can get your posts published, the more readers you will get. Just make sure that where ever your posts are published, they link to your site! Look for opportunities to Guest Blog. If you comment on other people’s posts, make sure it links to your blog. Get your name out there as much as you can. And please, sign your name to your site. Take credit for your work (and on that note, don’t forget to credit other people for their influences)!