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?
24 thoughts on “Tips for a New Blogger”
Such great advice! I love what you wrote about meaningful comments- so, so very important!
Thanks. I’m fairly new to this blog, so I’m still working my way through some of the points myself – I guess we all continue to learn through blogging.
The commenting thing really interests me; if comments are meaningful, it’s not just a case of putting tracks down and running off!
My favorite it: 10 :: Be you
I find that this work quite nicely 🙂
That’s my favourite too. I think bloggers are great at encouraging each other to be unique.
All very good points.
I’ve been blogging since January 2008 so pretty much an old hand!
My number one piece of advice for any blogger is your point #9. Write. If it sucks, don’t click publish until it doesn’t suck any more. But do write.
That has to be my top one too. It’s difficult to find time and focus some days, but I’m getting a little better as time goes by.
3.5 years in you must have worked through developing some great blogging habits!
I would love to use WordPress, but haven’t figured out how to use it yet. Thus, I’m with blogger. But it’s funny that over half of the people who linked up with MamaKat to respond to that prompt recommended WordPress…
I have a huge preference for WordPress. I actually used to have a Blogger blog myself, and it did help me with tweaking layouts, learning about style and so on. There are some great layouts on Blogger, but I think they’re more difficult to achieve over there.
I actually think that WordPress.com is simpler, but I know that it’s difficult to transition from one to the other.
Such a great tips. I’ve tried using wordpress once, but somehow I feel comfort with blogger.
Well, the most important thing is that you have some place that you’re comfortable with being. I think it’s harder to transition once you’ve made that first choice to go with one or the other.
The important thing is that we’re all bloggers / writers and enjoying what we do.
I’m all about a consistent voice trumping all. I think if you consistently write in the same way, your readers will read most any topic.
I find it really difficult to be the same all the time; I think that might be because I write about a range of things and haven’t managed to settle into a particular niche. So I feel that I sometimes need to use different posting styles, and I’m still working on that business of developing my own voice.
I really need to check out ever note!
Evernote’s great – it’s changed the way that I’m able to keep notes on all sorts of things. I use it for work, and for planning bits that I’m doing at the Toastmasters group too.
I was a bit uncomfortable about having to download the software at first (I think I’m so used to so many things being totally web-based), but I now have it loaded onto my home computer, work computer and laptop. It’s all set up so that an update on one device updates the others too, like magic!
I use a variety of writing styles maybe I shouldn’t..
I think it’s great to have a range of different styles, particularly where we’re writing on different themes. Just like in ‘real’ life, we all use different ways of communicating according to the situation we’re in.
I think blogging’s a bit like that and we have to work through different styles for different types of posts.
For me, it’s just about being authentic and being myself rather than trying to be something I’m not.
(Stopping in from LBS) I have roughly 110 posts (seems like a lot to me, even though I know it isn’t) so if I am thinking about switching to WordPress – should I be getting on it as soon as I can. I LOVE the look of your blog, it is SO much cleaner and more professional looking than mine!
I absolutely love this post! I’m fairly new to blogging and these tips are so helpful. I’m enjoying browsing through your blog! Happy Sunday!
Stopping by from Lady Bloggers Social Tea Party and thanks for the tips. I have been hearing a lot lately about how much better WordPress is than Blogger. I am starting to become a lot more curious about switching. I’m obsessed with EverNote! Such a good idea to keep blog drafts in there.
Love love the advice I am a newbie blogger and it helps to have some kind of info out there . I am doing blogger right now but I have a feeling I might be drifting into WordPress soon. I am a new follower hope you can come by and see how I am doing. Happy Friday!
A great blog and a really useful post, thank you. Wish I’d read your comments about wordpress.com before starting out last month, I’m finding wordpress less than user-friendly…
I do think, after a lot of trial and error, that it does depend on having a good theme (not for the look of the thing, but for ease of use on the back-end of things). I had some really difficult themes in the beginning and really struggled for a while.