Top 10 Tips – Blogging for the Newb

DP Weekly Challenge

  1. Write what you know. It’s been said so many times it’s almost become a cliché but the fact of the matter is it’s hard enough to try and write something interesting, witty and intriguing when you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re about to embark on this possible long and definitely sometimes frustrating journey into blog land, the last thing you need is a handicap. Even if you’re creating a blog that isn’t oriented solely to your writing, your writing, even if they’re captions, matter.
  2. Brevity is the sole of wit. I cannot stress this enough. This is a society largely based on instant gratification, people do not want a five-page long synopsis leading up to your top 10 list, sista please! When I was researching this topic I turned off of so many pages precisely because of this. Get in, make your point and get out. Even if you are doing something a little more in-depth like a story make sure it’s organized and has structure. (If you are a writer and want to be among your peers there are blogs specifically for that, but again, if you can break your story /novel / screenplay down into short, concise sections you’re much more apt to keep people reading.) People not only bore easily but with this high-end electronic market there are a million distractions out there. It’s the “oh look, something shiny” era and if you start waxing poetic no one cares.
  3. Set a schedule and try your best to stick to it. A lot of “blogging advice” states that you have to do it a lot, all the time, every day. Come on, who has that type of time or patience or stuff to blog about anyway? In point of fact, if you can just blog once a week on a consistent basis, you’re more likely to be able to maintain a following and get people reading on a regular basis. By the way, my research indicates that posting in the early morning is prime time for posting and it’s best to launch a blog on a Monday morning.
  4. Do your research (and on the other side, consider your source). Now that you’re out there and you’re rampantly pouring over this plethora of information at your fingertips, be sure your research is thorough. Check facts, consider who’s giving you the information (I mean everyone has an agenda right?) and make sure to give credit where credit is due. If you are using information from another site, link to it. And don’t plagiarize that’s just tacky and repugnant not to mention illegal.
  5. No really, do you research! Adjacent to the do your research regarding your blog topic itself is do your research period. There’s a million sites out there talking about key words, RSS, SEO, spiders, etc. Know your terms, no what they mean as it pertains to your blog and know how to enhance these aspects on your blog. Perhaps advertising for you is the way to go if you’re trying to generate quick money. Perhaps you want to incorporate ad sense to your blog specifically to avoid advertisements on your page. Do you know who your target audience is? Figure out what’s important for you.
  6. Read, read and read some more. Read other blogs, find ones you like, figure out why and be sure to leave comments. People will often return the comment in kind or perhaps even link to your site. Instead of reading 1,000 of blogs, find a number of them that you like and subscribe to them. Again, be sure to make time to read them. Create a sense of community for yourself so if you get frustrated you won’t feel lost and isolated. Make friends and get to know people so if you get bogged down someone can throw you a lifeline and encourage you when you need it. Surround yourself with your peers, people trying to accomplish the same thing. A great thing to do also is to guest blog or have people guest blog for you on your blog.
  7. Whatever the purpose of your blog proof your work.There is nothing more off-putting than going to someone’s page and immediately stumbling upon typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical and syntax errors. Don’t get me wrong, I love swearing and isms, I’m a great user of slang and everyday terminology that’s not yet accepted as the Queen’s English but obvious carelessness, if I see it, man I am so out of there, so fast. Okay, nobody’s perfect and I don’t know about you but I still have issues with semi-colons and am prone to the occasional run-on (or fragment) sentence. However there’s no excuse today for spelling mistakes (and grammar check if you’re comfortable with this), most programs have them built in, use it! If English is your native tongue and you are writing in English on an English word processor all spelling mistakes can and should be avoided.
  8. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s really important to think big and have confidence but it’s also okay to make mistakes, maybe even colossally [swear]-up. At first I was totally nervous about doing things on the internet. People can see it, what if I make a monumental ass of myself? Well let’s be honest here, more than likely very few people are going to be looking at your blog to begin with and guess what? You can always start over. There’s really no excuse for not doing it. I thought at first the ‘plan’ would be to do research, get it altogether, get my ducks in a row – and then I realized, hey, that’s just procrastinating anyone can put things off. Don’t be afraid to take a great leap of faith and believe in yourself!
  9. A picture’s worth a 1,000 words. Even if you are doing a blog that you want to be based on the written form, people like pictures. These pictures can be based specifically on something to do with the post or perhaps it might be a picture to relay an emotion, or maybe even just one that was pretty that you thought might offset the post nicely. There really are no rules, no matter what people try to tell you, especially these know-it-alls with their top 10 lists, sheesh!
  10. Have a defined notion of what this blog is for and what it means to you. I have a specific notion of what my blog is for (well at least at this juncture, it could well change). I found when I looked into it ‘blog’ has become a very generic term basically meaning any hosted website, i.e. essentially any page on the net. (Well that wasn’t very [swear]ing helpful was it?) I then set down a very narrow parameter of what a blog meant to me and what that would entail and how I was going to go about it and for now that’s good. Having said that, this could all change as I continue to grow and learn. But you need structure and a rigidly defined notion of what you are doing or you will flail and flounder.

Be happy, do it for yourself, don’t be afraid of change, good luck!

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