Like anything worthwhile, establishing a blog takes time. If you’re contemplating starting one and wondering where to begin, here are a few pointers:
Firstly, do some planning. Decide what your objectives are – then implement your plan. Blogging software is reasonably straightforward, but to shortcut the inevitable learning curve, consult a pro. After two-and-a-half years of my own experience, as well as input from experts, I highly recommend WordPress.com as a free start-up platform for personal blogging, or WordPress.org for broader capability or business blogging. If you’re petrified, select a private setting until you’re ready to go public.
Most importantly, determine who you aim to reach, and why. Be specific. No blog has unanimous appeal – same as any product. You may want to integrate yours into your business strategy, use it purely as a means of self-expression, or bridge the gap somewhere in between. This decision will dictate the style and tone of your blog. Work out what spectrum of content to include and how best to categorize it.
Tap into your Passion:
Above all, choose subject matter that you love. Your passion will likely inspire your readers, and sustain your efforts while you develop a readership. In fact, you may well find that blogging promotes a more positive outlook, by encouraging you to view your world – or business – with fresh eyes, as you explore experiences to share. Still, realize that it may be months before you receive comments, or hits worth mentioning, so guard against unrealistic expectations and persevere.
Crucially, consider your audience. Reviewing countless comments reveals that if blog readers were to summarize what they’re looking for, the list would be something along the lines of “Inspire, motivate and move me; show, teach and inform me; allow me to connect, share and participate; help to solve my problems, fulfil my needs and entertain me – occasionally to the point that I’m ROFLMAO (Rolling On Floor Laughing My Ass Off).”
Sound like a big ask? That depends on how you look at it. Blogging is best approached like an offline social event. What do you do then? Generally, engage in conversation and build relationships, apart from eating. One of the best ways to expand your readership is to care about what other bloggers are saying, and comment meaningfully on their sites. Add some visual stimulation in the manner of an online scrap-book – virtual food – and you have a great recipe to begin your blog.
Once you’re more comfortable and gaining confidence, consider acquiring advanced advice, which could prove invaluable. My first choice, particularly for business blogs, is the Love Your Blog e-learning program by our great friend, Michelle Salater. It is specifically designed to expand your reach, maximise the marketing potential of your blog and pull customers into your sales funnel. As a highly successful blogging consultant, Michelle is perfectly positioned to provide this assistance, with her own blog recently being listed #17 on Technorati’s 100 Best Small Business Blogs.
Good luck if you’re starting out & please share any comments or questions below.