A while ago, I wrote a post about what I’d wished I’d known before I started blogging. You can read the article here; I’ll summarize the six gold nuggets I share with new bloggers:
- only reblog 10% of someone else’s post.
- hot links are bad.
- it takes a long time to write a post
- I need to be myself.
- it’s easier than it sounds.
- it’s harder than it sounds
I got a lot of responses to that post, with readers sharing what they wish they’d known when they started blogging as well as what they’d learned since. Which one’s resonate with you?
- I agonize over pushing the “publish” button.
- I needed more tools on how to blog. I wish I’d researched more.
- It’s a learning experience.
- Keep up a regular schedule of posts. This is the difference between 10 views and 100. Once a week minimally.
- I schedule my posts a week in advance, so it fits better with my life.
- The first time I blogged, I gave up because I did not know it took time to build a readership.This time, I’m ready.
- I like to think of blogging as using your non-dominant hand – it sharpens all facets of my writing brain.
- It is hard work, but anything worthwhile is.
- I wish I’d set up an email address just for my blog.
- Keep personal information private. It’s tempting to hang it all out there, but don’t. Being a digital citizen has rights AND responsibilities; one of those is to protect privacy.
- Respond to comments. Engage with your community. Yes, this takes time, but that’s what blogging’s about.
- I had no idea how much time I would spend connecting with other bloggers.
- Read other blogs and comment.
- Blogs cost money if done right. If you don’t use one of the all-in-one-free packages (like WordPress), you need hosting, a domain, problem solving, maintenance help, not to mention SEO guidance.
- Your voice is your blog. Don’t be afraid to let it out.
- Give lots of credit to others in your posts–especially if you use their material. Linkbacks are easy. Trackbacks bring your blog to the attention of others who might come visit.
- Blogging is fun. Make time for it.
- Push your blog posts out to your social networks.
- Be careful with pictures. If they aren’t in the public domain, you can’t use them without permission. A linkback isn’t sufficient!
- Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers.
- You’ll want to quit a hundred times as you wait to build readers, gain traction, accomplish your goals. Remind yourself why you started. If that reason hasn’t changed, continue blogging.
- Don’t expect to make money blogging. It rarely happens. Do it for other reasons.
- Today’s blogging is not yesterday’s journaling. Now, it’s focused, purposeful, and uses correct grammar and spelling.
- Work smarter by using tools that are available: editorial calendars, Hootsuite, Twitterdeck, Google Analytics.
- I wish I would have done my homework upfront to research the different blogging platforms and educated myself on the pros and cons.
- I had no idea about the communities, linkups, sharing and connecting available to help new and experienced bloggers.
- Be proud of what you blog about. If you aren’t, change it.
What would you add to this list?
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.
1, 8 and 23 really stand out to me. I would add that one shouldn’t try to oversell their blog to those who can’t quite wrap their heads around why we do it. Chasing that tail can be defeating.
You sound like you’ve experienced that. Me too–you are so right.
Yes, but learned not too far in that it is best to let those in our personal lives come to an interest all on their own. Less hurt feelings all around.
No one in my family follows my blogging. Every time I want to ask them to, it starts with, “Why the F*** don’t you follow your own sister’s writing, you ****!”
So I just shut up.
Yes, me too. 😦
Hi…so true! I add two points
1. once it’s written and proofread…publish it! No matter how great, if no one gets to read it until it’s perfect then it’s just a private journal.
2. along the same line, an old writing adage rings true: “the worst thing you ever published is far better than the best thing languishing in the queue waiting for perfection.”
Those are great, Patricia. At times, I find myself reading and rereading ad nauseum. I stop myself because if publishing a post becomes so time consuming and difficult, I’ll stop doing it. I don’t want that to happen.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Many of these ring true for me.
I am still new at blogging and I’m learning something everyday.
The one thing I would add….
Even though I researched blogging before starting my blog. I really did not start to learn about “blogging” until I actually jumped in with both feet.
My blog is not the blog I envisioned….but I like what I am learning and creating.
Thank you for sharing all this great information.
That’s a great addition, Tree. It’s true–the way I blog now is nothing like I imagined. Less journal-y, more focused, more serving needs than about myself.
I agree with all of these and I would also add that I wish I’d known just how much I’d missing doing it if I stopped for a couple of weeks, and I wish I’d had the confidence to start sooner.
Yes–there’s a lot more to blogging than publishing to the world.
I wish I had more technical skills. More time. Blogs need regular attendance, from the creator and the readers.
Thanks for a terrific list and all the advice.
You’re doing great on yours, Shari. You have a devoted following.
Hiya that’s very helpful thank you, I have been writing short stories on my blog for a few months now and I have already had views in the USA, Canada and Germany, I live in England so to reach people in other countries makes me very happy with myself, I only write for fun at the moment, but one day I would like to put all my short stories into a ebook and sell it on Kindle, Iam still not sure how to set up a link to my blog site as Iam not that good with computers and I use my phone for blogging, thanks very much for your tips. Oh and if anyone wants to read my blogs they are on andrewdavidblog.wordpress.com lol x
Thanks for the linkback. I love seeing what other writers are doing. Keep up the good blogging!
When I discovered numbers 5 and 13 for myself, it changed my blogging style completely—for the better. Now that I schedule posts in advance and read and engage with other bloggers, blogging has become SO MUCH FUN! 🙂
Thanks for these thoughts; they are well-written and helpful. I’m glad to know what you said about pictures. I wasn’t sure, so I’ve been erring on the side of only using photos I took myself. But I was wondering; even after reading some information about how to use public domain photos, I still feel confused. I think I’ll just stick with my own photography. It’s fun anyway.
Those two made a big difference to me, too. I love the blogging community. I’ve collaborated with fellow writers on marketing materials–I’m at a show and share their materials. I love the we’re-all-in-this-together attitude.
Photos–Plixabay.com has nice photos. But, even some posted as public domain aren’t, as you say. I gave up and signed up for a fee-based service that provides me 5 photos a day for $15 a month. I use them in all my blogs, marketing, everything, and feel less stressed that I’ve infringed someone’s copyright. Whew!
Reblogged this on The Write Time, the Right Place.
Thanks for the reblog, Mary!
Thank you for the great tips. They are very helpful, especially to me as a newbie. I only stated my blog in February and I wish I had had the courage to have started before then, as I absolutely love it. I’m still learning the ups and downs of the blogging world but it’s help from people like you which really give me inspiration to carry on. Thank you so much for posting this.
I’ve been blogging for a while and these are great tips to get you going, Hugh. I think they’ll make your job easier. Thanks for your comment.
It’s a really good list Jackie. You definitely hit all of my sticking points. I didn’t know blogging consistently builds readership. Frankly, my hits not continuing to increase made me stop blogging and get frustrated with the whole social media thing. Ironically, even though I have stopped being active on Pinterest may numbers keep climbing. lol
Blogging does seem to plateau, require something to move to the next level, but your involvement will get it up to 400-600 hits a day.
At one point I had like 5 blogs I was trying to use. Life, however, made it darn near impossible to have content for even one. I essentially gave up on them altogether. I’m trying to get my energy up to restart and this list will help!
Thanks, Rob. 5 blogs–you don’t have time for wife or kids or dinner with that many.
24 & 27 really speak to me lately, though I’ve really altered things to make it more my own voice. Definitely sharing this. Thanks.
It took me a while to settle on what really is my voice? I’m not even sure I know yet.