(This image was found on Todd Bonita’s Art Blog)
Hey y’all! It’s probably way premature to be publishing an article about blogging for a year when it’s only been about eight months but a lesson is still a lesson and that’s what I started this damn thing for; to figure it all out. I know there’s a million other articles out-lining the same thing but experience counts for something right? This is a list of how I started my blog and what I learned on the way. I still got a lot to figure out and that’s okay. Just like the song outlines, there are steps one must follow to get to the end. Picking up sticks and laying them straight and all that jazz.
Steps to blogging success (or at least to get started):
- Get the courage to actually start a Blog. It really is the biggest step. DO IT! You’ve literally got nothing to lose.
- Figure out what you want to write about
- Make a list of potential entries you’d like to write about
- Figure out which blogging platform you want to use. There are a ton of websites out there to browse. Start with a free plan and mess around with the different designs it offers. Make it simple and clean. Too many things to click on or too many colors is often off-putting and hard to concentrate on. I also find that having the article I want to read be the first thing that I see on the Blog is important for me. I will often read more on that site if I like that article. I can’t stand it when I click on a blog and I first see the”about the author” page. Then I have to find the article by clicking a billion other things. That’s an automatic turn off and I’ll leave immediately.
- Figure out what you want to call your blog and whether you want a separate e-mail for it or want it linked into your normal e-mail. I recommend starting a new e-mail so you can have all your blogging stuff in one place.
- Write a really good “About the Author” paragraph. Keep it concise and relevant. There will be blog entries where you can go in-depth with your life. DON’T do it in the “About me” section. We want a little snippet about you and what you’re writing a blog for, not the Adam to Armageddon speech about your own life.
- Figure out a schedule for writing your blogs. In my experience, Mondays are the most popular time for people to read blogs (Probably as a way to kick start their tired mornings while drinking caffeine) so it is the best time to post but whatever works for you will be great. As long as you’re posting!
- Figure out how many entries you want to write in a week. Don’t overwhelm yourself by committing to writing every day. You will quickly burn out unless you’re a super A-type personality. For those who are not, I recommend starting with one or two a week. You can also draft entries ahead of time and set them on a schedule to post to make it easier.
- Time to write!! It’s up to you whether you want to write a rough draft, then wait a few days to edit and publish or write and publish right away. I’m a procrastinator so I usually write my blog entry about whatever Writing subject I’d been pondering that day, do a quick grammar/spelling check and then publish.
YAY you published your first article! Congratz! You’re OUT THERE now in the interwebz ether. Your words are now there for anyone to read. How exciting!
- Explore the site. Look for other bloggers that write about your chosen subject. Search the platform for other things that interest you (variety is the spice of life!) Look at the featured articles. Read, read, read!
- Follow other people. This is probably the second most important thing you can do as a blogger. Following other people often times will get them to follow you back out of appreciation, which means more readers for you. If they don’t, all well. Someone will! Lots of other someones!
- Comment on articles you find cool or interesting or engaging. Nothing is more thrilling to a blogger than having people take time to comment on their article. It shows that they wrote something worth commenting on and it’s so very encouraging! Pay it forward, ya know?
There ya go. A tried and true list from a blogger who’s been there. Pretty soon you’ll be getting your first “like” and your first follower. You’ll feel like a million bucks and you should. You’re interesting enough for someone to want to read more. That’s what this whole thing is about after all!
Now, a warning. There will be slumps. It may take you a couple of weeks or months to get a follower. Some days no one will like your article. You may not get comments at all, three months into the process. (All of these have happened to me and made me feel discouraged. DON’T BE!) You may look on someone’s site and see they have two thousand followers and a ton of comments with every published article. Before you freak out and quit, look at their archive. I bet you anything they’ve been blogging for YEARS. Yes, years.
Keep in mind that the only way to get noticed it so market yourself. There are so many social media websites out there and I bet there’s a button for every one of them at the bottom of your blog. Tweet it. Facebook it. Instagram it. WHATEVER you use, market yourself! Ask family to subscribe, even if it’s only to boost numbers. Ask friends to like and share your articles. And when you get more comfortable being a blogger, e-mail other bloggers you admire and ask them if you can interview them or maybe you could write something together. Ask them for suggestions on how to improve your blog. The worst they can say is “No, thank you.”
Be proactive with your blog. You didn’t start it for nothing and you didn’t start it just to quit after a year. If you find that your current writing subject isn’t getting much attention, try branching out. I’m a writer at heart but I’m also a foodie and a crafter. Eventually I may add these kinds of articles to my blog to add interest and increase my audience base. But eight months in, I’m sticking to my writing because it’s the journey I’m most interested in right now. I have twenty-one followers and I’m okay with that. I’ll keep writing because it’s what I need to do in order to get one step closer to my dream of being Published and Famous.
Don’t give up! Gambatte!! (Fight on!)