Lets say you’ve decided to start a blog to help get the word out about your business, art or philosophy on life.
You’ve got some decisions to make about where your going to do that. By that I mean what blogging software/platform are you going to use?
Where will this be hosted? Will it be a free blog at blogger.com or WordPress.com, or will you have it hosted so that you can have a greater control over its look and it’s destiny should anything go wrong at these 3rd party free blog providers.
No matter where you blog, or what you decide to do with your blog, there are some ‘must do’ steps as follows:
- Make sure you’ve configured everything correctly. There’s nothing worse than having done 99% of the work, only to be let down by the final 1%. To ensure you’ve got the best fighting chance to get the best attention for your blog, you should fill in everything that you can. This includes any profile settings, and in the case of WordPress, any plug-ins or other information that needs to be completed – many plug-ins and themes require some work to make them usable.
- Pick a design theme and stick with it…at least for a few months. Radical design changes can upset your readers, especially if you haven’t alerted them to this in advance. Changing your design theme in WordPress is a breeze. Making your blog stand out from the rest is a major step in retaining traffic. More importantly, if you make it yours, the you’re more likely to work on it more often. Changing away from the default theme in WordPress has other benefits as well. Although the default theme is rock solid and very customisable, it does make your site look like just another WordPress blog. Another thing to consider is that if you update your WordPress software to the latest release, this can sometimes break or delete any customisations you have made in the default theme, as quite often the theme itself is updated with new versions of WordPress.
- Write some content. Try to write 5 or 10 blog posts in advance before you tell anybody that you are blogging. This way when people start to turn up, there will be a good amount of valuable content ready for them to read and to make sure they return you should plan a blogging schedule.Tell your readers what this is right on the front of your blog if you want. This will keep you accountable not just to your readers but also to yourself. If your goal is to build a strong following, then I suggest you try to do a lot of writing at the front end of your project. Daily posting isn’t too much if you can manage it; its certainly what I try to do here on 4 donkeys. You can scale back later when you have a bigger archive of material for your readers to engage with.
- Promote your content – once you’ve got a nice stock of content up start promoting your blog. Consider using your posts on article sites, get active on related forums and share your wisdom and of course links back to your blog. You’ll get more traffic if you diversify, so remember to add your site to bookmarking sites and make good use of social media to spread the word – and, encourage your readers to do so too.
- Be authentic; if you don’t know it from experience, don’t make out that you do. It doesn’t mean that you cant write about it, but its better to speak from experience and its better to be just you, don’t try for any fancy image or to change your personality into something you are not. By saying it from the heart, you will be more encouraged to continue when you start to get positive feedback from readers…and if you are genuine…you will get feedback.
Blogging, ultimately, is about making connections with readers and will help you to build a reader base to discuss your work and share your ideas with. It allows you to express yourself, make valuable contacts and to showcase yourself as the expert you are in your field.