These are the things that I’d pass on to someone starting a blog for the first time (with a little note somewhere that I’ve not been very good at following them all myself…).
1 :: Use WordPress.com to start with. It’s neater than Blogger, for both the writer and the reader. There’s less opportunity to over-fiddle with the design, and when you’re ready to upgrade to self-hosted WordPress, it’s a breeze.
2 :: Decide where you stand on anonymity. I’ve taken the view that people I know will come across me at some stage, so I don’t write anything that I would be unsettled if friends (or enemies) were to find it. And that means that I can feel more open about sharing photographs and personal bits. You might decide to go the whole way and actively promote your blog to real-life friends. Or you might want to go for complete anonymity. I think this stuff’s a fairly early decision to make.
3 :: Having a niche really does seem to make it simpler to connect with others, devise posts and build a following. I don’t feel that I have a niche, said I didn’t think I needed one and am now wondering if I was wrong about that.
4 :: Get into Twitter. It’s a great tool for connecting with other people, and it’s a good way of publicising new posts. I’m @girlbehind if you want to follow me.
5 :: Comment meaningfully on other blogs. This is one of the simplest ways of bringing people to your site, particularly when you’re starting out. It’s also a good way to start to feel a part of things on the blogosphere.
6 :: Find somewhere to keep notes and draft posts. I use Evernote and love the way that it helps me to keep all of my ideas categorised and stored for when I have time to work through them.
7 :: Keep a list of tweeks you need on your design / layout / header / badges etc. I can lose hours tinkering with my blog; keeping a list means that I’ve logged the task and can come to it when I have some spare time. But writing comes first.
8 :: Join in with linkup posts and prompts; they’re a great way of finding people who enjoy writing about similar things, they’re fairly easy publicity for your blog and they provide a pretty endless source of ideas.
9 :: Focus. Write things. Don’t procrastinate. As my wise and lovely partner said to me in the car on the way home this evening, if you’re not writing, there’s nothing for anyone to read. It’s as simple as that.
10 :: Be you. Allow yourself time to get into the swing of blogging and find your unique voice. You can bet that there’s someone out there just waiting to listen to what you have to say.
I wrote this post as part of the Summer Blog Social over at Four Plus an Angel. The prompt was “If a real life friend approached you and said, “I want to start a blog. Can you give me a list of helpful tips?”, what 10 (or more) things would you tell your friend?”
Mama Kat has also been asking a similar question on this week’s prompt list; “If you were to go back to the moment you decided to start a blog, what ten blogging tips would you share with yourself?”
I’m guessing I could come back to almost every one of these tips and write a separate post on each of them.
What would your advice to a new blogger be?