- Internet & the Web
Starting a Successful Blog
How To Start a Successful Blog
Now some of you signed up for today dot com blog through my hub and I thank you one and all. Remember I promised to get on your case if you didn't post regularly? Well I have revised my promise - because some of you haven't posted AT ALL!
Maybe its me I had the some problem when I encouraged people to sign up for Constant Content: lots of you signed up, very few of you have sold anything, predominantly because you haven't written anything there!
Maybe its me: maybe my sales copy is missing the important bit: signing up is the START not the END
Lets talk about signing up for stuff. Hey I'm as guilty as anyone for signing up, having a look and moving on! Sometimes the site just doesn't work for me, maybe I just don't find that I get the results from it. I certainly don't advocate trying to do everything on the Internet that way lies madness and sleep depredation.
I made the assumption that most people at hubpages would have done some blogging first, like me, but I think I was wrong because from the questions I get I think a lot of people haven't blogged before and blogging is different from hubbing!
So this is a hub about getting the best out of a regular blogging gig: and how to develop a blogging habit.
Why Am I Blogging?
This is the first question you should ask: preferably before you sign up! If you are not sure why you are blogging your blog will go the way of my first one. That was basically a personal diary, and as a way to stay in contact with people back home. It failed on both accounts: I'm not very good at writing personal diaries and no one at home ever left a comment so I felt like I was talking to myself.
Here are some possible answers to the question of WHY:
- create short posts which promote my hubs and other sites to a new audience and lets Google know that another site thinks my hub is worth looking at (that's a backlink);
- a place to write short items which I may not know enough about/care enough to make a full-blown hub but I want to write a few words on;
- write short topical pieces that are in the news and I want to capture the public's interest in (trends blogging);
- have a blog for all those sites such as mybloglog which don't allow me to submit my hubs because they only allow blogs: a perfectly legit way around this restriction:
- if you are commenting and interacting with other bloggers sometimes its good to be able to have a link on your comment back to another blog rather than a hub
Now this is the tricky bit: commit to blogging, regularly, preferably daily, for at least 30 days. Only then will you be able to assess whether your new blog is working for you
How To Keep On Blogging
Now the good news is that you are not stuck with your initial idea of WHY you are blogging, your blog may evolve over time.
The most hilarious example of this I know of is Make Money online by Grizz - this started as an Adsense money maker - designed for people take one look at the "boring blogger blog" think yuk and exit via the ad. It turned out though he wrote too well and he got a lot of subscribers and it became a social blog - check out the number of comments!
That's the exception though - in general though its useful to have some sort of plan of
How Not To Run Out of Ideas
So you've committed to writing a daily blog for 30 days, what's next -the topics of each post probably. Many people come unstuck after 3 or 4 posts - they have done the obvious "Hello world" posts - not what?
Well this is my method - it works for me but I didn' t invent it, its copied from my local newspaper! I have a pattern of posts - notice how your local newspaper always has a travel section on Saturday and features IT and computers on Tuesday? Why - well its easier to run a newspaper that way and your readers know to buy the paper on Saturday for the travel supplement. I don't always advertise my format - and I don't always stick to it but so far if you want to learn about travel practicalities check on Thursday's and unusual hotelscheck on Friday's. Why did I choose those days - because as the week goes on I get more pressed for finding time to post so knowing the topic in advance helps a lot.
Your mileage will obviously vary - but having a plan definitly makes it easier for inspiration to strike!
How to Develop the Habit of Blogging
Well they say, all over the Internet anyway, that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. My experience is that I can stop eating chocolate for months and still take it up again in an instant, so I am not convinced.
What I do know, that just like anywhere it takes at least a month or so to start getting any traction at a new site. So the most important thing to do is not despair if you don't get any visitors initially, forget about it initially just get some content up so that someone will actually want to read when they arrive!
So just like going on a diet or a to the gym: don't give up before you have given yourself a chance! So for any blogging site - commit to blogging daily or nearly so for the first month before you evaluate your results and decide to continue on or not.
Write in Advance
Real life can ruin a blogger's good intention. You have to go on vacation, your child gets sick, you get busy, especially at this time of year. Problogger wrote an excellent post on why you should write your posts before you need them I am trying to do with sites that I am a paid blogger on so that one day a week I will write the week's posts. It works better for not very topical subjects obviously.
At today dot com I am a little wary of scheduling posts more than a day or 2 in advance because they may come by and approve and lock the posts- meaning I would lose the option of rescheduling. Instead I will write the post and save them as a draft - then I just need to pop in and publish them NOW or change the date stamp to when I want them published.
Summary of How to Start a Successful Blog
Focus on what you are trying to achieve for your blog: if you aim is to get backlinks it doesn't really matter whether you are on the "hot list" of top number of visited blogs, you still have the backlinks.
Don't compare yourself too much to others. In can be very depressing for us mere mortals. I'm not a natural blogger, I am much better at articles and hubs. Some people are are very good natural bloggers who seem to always have interesting material and can move give it that personal twist and relevant to others. I also read writer's blogs and think gosh - I could never write as well and as persuasively as that - well the reality is - I don't. I am however achieving MY aims and goals - and that's the important thing - for me!
Also it doesn't have to forever. I did a blog for a while for a contest: I haven't posted on it since June: it still makes me money and gets traffic. If you can get the blog off and running in the first month, you may very well not have to post on it forever, or at least not daily to continue to reap the benefits.
So in order to start a successful blog in three easy steps:
- define what "sucess" is for your blog;
- commit to the blog for a miminum of 30 days;
- evaluate after 30 days - decide whether to stop, change your posting rate whatever.
Its not very profund when you write it down like that; almost everyone can do it - but most won't! The statistics speak for themselves. I have added everyone who has posted at least one post to my blogroll on my today blogs - to date - so if you are not there - that's because you haven't posted yet!
Once you have posted at least once - let me know with a link to your blog on one of these today hubs and I'll add you - if haven't already noticed.
Photo Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid