Welcome back to my Blogger Series, where every Thursday I upload a post with information and tips for those who are interested in starting their own blog. This week’s post is about things you might want to know before starting your blog.
1. Time Commitment
Blogging takes Time Commitment
Unless blogging for you is 100% a hobby and you have no interest in expanding your readership, building networks and increasing engagement, then you are going to have to commit some time to your blog.
Spending 10 mins writing a rough post and flinging it up whenever you have a moment, won’t help you in the blogosphere.
A good blog takes time. Everything from researching, planning, writing, proofreading, to managing and maintaining the blog is going to need to be given time.
If you are trying to emulate popular blogs you’ve seen or want to get found in the endless sea of other blogs, then you have to dedicate time to it.
Your blog should have Good Copy
Connected to the one above, you need to write good copy. That means taking the time to check that your posts are easy to read, proof-read and make sense. I admit that in the beginning I wrote my blog posts randomly and didn’t often check them.
Not good for a writer who didn’t take the time to check her writing and make sure it was free of errors.
I blamed having little time (I worked full time, ran a part-time business and did a part-time degree) but in truth, if I had organised myself better in those early days, I could have still written good copy despite my time constraints.
People are giving up their time to read your blog, make sure it’s ready for them. Yes, we all make mistakes and I’m sure you’ll find some on my blog. I try and catch what I can and read my posts 3 times before I publish. So I fix a good number of mistakes before it goes live.
3. Quality vs Quantity
You should focus on Quality vs Quantity
There are many bloggers who write posts every day. However, most of these bloggers have had their blogs a long time and built up to that.
If you are new to blogging, focus on giving each blog post your time and attention and don’t rush to get as many as possible out into the blogosphere.
I wrote one post a week for a long time. I am now up to writing three posts a week and having a guest post but it has been years for me to get to this stage.
Even if you end up eventually publishing every day, you still want to focus on quality. People will soon get bored of a blog if they are bombarded every day with sub-par content.
Define your blogging Frequency and allow for growth
Thinking about your blogging frequency early on can help you define what you are capable of.
In the beginning, I highly recommend you start with a smaller blogging frequency. New bloggers can become overwhelmed if they try to blog every day or even just a few times a week.
Try for once a week – this is a good frequency to start with and allows for growth. Even if you keep this frequency for a few months while you get settled into a blogging routine. Or you could stay at once a week, if that works for you, stick with it.
Not to mention, a smaller blogging frequency means you won’t run out of ideas too soon. Even if you get stuck, you have time to come up with new blogging topics.
Have a Schedule for better blogging consistency
When I first started I blogged on Fridays only. But, I actually didn’t. Because sometimes I forgot and sometimes I just dumped a post up when I felt like it. It was a hodge-podge system and I paid for it with a drop in engagement.
Not really a surprise, people would have to either sign up via email to see my posts or randomly visit my blog on the off-chance I’d posted.
Having a blogging schedule not only makes your life easier, it helps your readers. They know when to expect something. Do I sometimes miss my days? Yes, but it’s very rare now.
So, pick a day of the week that works for you. Consider if you have enough time on that day (or the prior days) to get a post written, checked and uploaded.
I also recommend scheduling a time as well. I started uploading posts on Fridays at 18:30 (GMT/BST) because it was after work. I made sure to mention that at the bottom of some of my posts so people became familiar with when to expect something from me.
If you state you post at a time, do include the timezone. I know many of my readers are not in the UK and by letting them know my timezone, they are aware of when I am posting.
6. Original Content
Aim for Original Content and avoid plagiarism
Always make sure you write original content. This does not mean finding a brand new niche no one has ever written about.
For example, my blog is mostly on articles for writers – whether that’s writing tutorials, tips, marketing advice etc. This is not new, there are thousands of blogs that do the same.
Original content means you write in your own words, in your own voice – even if the subject has been covered a hundred times. We all have our own take on it.
What you should never do is just copy and paste another person’s article into your blog and pretend it’s your own work.
Firstly, that’s just bad. That’s plagiarism. Don’t do it!
Secondly, search engines do not like duplicate work. (This is why myself and other bloggers, who accept guest posts, want newly-written articles and not ones you’ve already got on your blog etc)
Reblogging via the reblog button is okay as it’s set up in a way that a) gives the original creator credit and links to them and b) doesn’t affect the search engines (I believe)
Grow your platform with Socialisation and engagement
Your blog does not exist in a vacuum and if you want to build up a readership you have to be part of the community.
No matter how introverted you are (and believe me, most of us are plenty introverted) you have to connect with other people.
That does not just mean sharing your posts. You need to reach out to other bloggers, be part of the blogger community by reading and following other blogs. This should not just be done in a way to get someone to follow you. Only follow blogs you are interested in.
Take the time to reply to comments. Remember how I mentioned time commitments? Well, here’s one of those things you need to consider. Taking the time to reply to comments you get. Taking the time to visit blogs and leave comments.
Not only are you supporting other blogs, you might just make new friends.
There can be a Cost to blogging
Depending what you want out of your blog, may mean that costs are involved. There are many different costs, here are just a few:
- Buying your domain name
- Paying for a paid plan with WordPress.com in order to benefit from the added customisation or monetisation options
- Paying for stock photos
- Buying plug-ins
If the expansion of your blog is something you are considering and a cost may be involved, plan for it early. Check pricing, start saving and understand that you may have to fork out capital for a while before you gain anything back.
To all you experienced bloggers out there, did you know all this when you started or did you, like me, learn it as you went?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
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For those new to blogging, I hope you found this useful and you are enjoying my Blogger series so far. Do feel free to reach out to me in the comments if you have any questions or just want to say hi.
I’ll be back tomorrow with another blog post. See you then.