Top 10 tips for new bloggers
Top 10 tips for new bloggers
Are you new to blogging and looking for ways to stand out to your readers? Wondering how to provide value in your chosen niche? Wondering where to begin?
I was there once too. I started blogging six years ago on a whim. I set up a free Wordpress.com site, and jumped in, knowing almost nothing about blogging, the community of bloggers and readers, or even the purpose of blogging.
Fast forward six years. I’ve come a long way and learned a lot, some by trial and error, some through advice from mentors, and some just by doing the work, finding my voice and rhythm.
As a new blogger, there’s a lot to consider: which blogging platform you’ll use; if you'll spend money on a designer or paid services to augment your site; if you’ll purchase your own domain name or use a free domain; if you’ll monetize your site; how you’ll define your goals as a blogger; identifying your niche; what timeline you have for growing your audience; and these are just the basic questions you’ll need to answer.
Beyond the initial decisions, you’ll work through the mechanics of launching your blog. But even after you’ve done all this, there’s still a lot to learn. As a new blogger, wondering how to offer value to your readers.
These are 10 best tips for writing and posting strategies:
1. FIND YOUR VOICE.
With so many high profile bloggers out there, it’s easy to get seduced into copying a successful blogging style in your chosen niche. Don’t do it! First, it’s always best to be original and authentic. Second, your work will be better if you write in your voice, rather than a copycat imitation of someone else. I can’t tell you how many sites I see that seem like clones of famous bloggers’ styles. Even if you’re unsure of your voice at first, eventually, you’ll get comfortable with the way you express your thoughts, instead of trying to sound like others.
2. AS YOU DEVELOP YOUR STYLE, WORK WITH WHAT FEELS NATURAL AND POWERFUL TO YOU.
I like to write in a conversational tone that sounds friendly and approachable. I don’t use slang or salty language...that’s really not who I am in person. But I also want the real me to show through, so I don’t hesitate to use examples that come from my life. Be real and sincere in your writing. It’s your personal style that will draw readers and create a brand uniquely yours.
3. BE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT POSTS THAT REFERENCE OTHERS.
Especially If you’re writing about family or relationship issues, think about what you’re sharing with the public. You may want to ask permission before you reference family or friends in your writing. it’s the courteous thing to do before you hit the publish button. Be thoughtful about sharing photos as well.
4. BE CAREFUL ABOUT ATTEMPTING HUMOR IN YOUR POSTS.
I like to think I know how to use humor in conversation, and I very occasionally post something I hope comes across as funny on my personal blog. In my opinion, humorous writing is difficult to do well. If you think your writing is funny, have a few trusted friends read your work and give you feedback. Humor done well is killer! Humor poorly done could kill your blog.
5. BE GENEROUS.
I often reference other articles I’ve read and springboard off a topic that’s caught my attention. I always include a link to the post, book, or reference. Not only does this provide additional info, but I’m happy to share any source that’s credible and useful. Always give credit to anyone who’s inspired you. That’s just common courtesy, and the right thing to do. I don’t mind sending readers to another site to share something that’s valuable.
Even after six years in the blogging / online world, there’s still a wealth of knowledge to absorb. If you hear a term that intrigues you, google it! I keep a running list of sites, terms, techniques, and processes I’m learning about. Sometimes I incorporate new skills into my blogging, my approach to building an audience, etc. Sometimes I check out something I’ve heard about and decide it’s not for me...too technical, or just a rabbit trail that doesn’t hold my attention. You’re not going to master everything in the digital world. As you explore and learn, decide where you want to put your efforts, what’s best for your blog, and the time and resources you have to commit to blogging. The more you focus your efforts, the more productive you’ll be.
7. CHOOSE TWO OR THREE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AND CONCENTRATE BUILDING YOUR COMMUNITY THERE.
Don’t try to be on every platform or master every tool to build a following or email list. You’ll be more effective if you narrow your approach. Pick platforms that feel natural and authentic to you. There’s strong data that shows which platforms attract specific age groups, and which platforms are more effective for specific purposes. Do some research so you’ll know where to spend your energy and resources, and how to target the audience you’re trying to reach.
8. CREATE A WRITING AND POSTING SCHEDULE AND STICK WITH IT.
This will allow you to be more consistent than just posting on random days and times. Posts can be scheduled for publication, so you can control when you publish, no matter what your schedule is like.
9. LOOKING FOR IDEAS TO WRITE ABOUT?
There are lots of blogging prompts you can subscribe to. Depending on your niche, you can find all sorts of ideas by doing online searches to see what people are asking about, related to keywords that link to your general topics. Think about what your readers need to know, wonder about, find interesting, or don’t know they need to know...any way you connect to your audience can provide value.
10. DON’T BE AFRAID TO DIVE IN!
The best way to improve and get comfortable in the blogging world is to be part of the community! The more you write, the more you explore the online world, the more you’ll understand about the way it all works.
I challenge you to get started, get excited to add your voice, and soon you’ll have a nice body of work to your name.
I still have my original blog, Grace and Life, a combination of mom and personal site, and you’ll find the types of posts that reflect that identity. I write about travel, birthdays, recipes, an occasional epiphany, some humor, and other random subjects.
After years of writing from a personal perspective, I’ve developed a professional presence as well. I launched Story Revisioned with a mission of providing a community for people intent on revising their life stories. I write posts to encourage and challenge perspective, overcome fears, obstacles and confront attitudes that lock individuals into negative mindsets. I also add links to information from other sources, and I invite readers to comment and post their stories of growth and change.
Good luck! Let me hear from you! I’d be happy to answer any questions or suggestions in the comments!
Guest post by Sheila Gibson