How Do I Start Blogging?
One of the most difficult parts of blogging is starting. Blogging can be intimidating, because it involves new software/technology, possibly new skills (writing), and the perception that you need to learn programming (Don't worry ... no programming required).
There are easy choices for blogging platforms and software that can have you up and running in under an hour, with no instruction book needed. Sure you can make it more complicated with fancy designs or features, but you don't need that to start. If you want, you can add fancy design later, or pay for a template (they aren't very expensive) that loads a design for you, like a frame around a picture.
The biggest hurdle is just to start. Here's how:
- Choose your topic: It's easy to think that with the millions of blogs out there, all the good subjects are already taken. While there are close to 100 million blogs, very few are current. Most were started and dropped, or only add new content every few months. Chances are you can still gain visibility in your subject matter expertise, and the more specific it is, the easier you'll find an audience. Blogs are about finding a niche - so there may be many blogs about marketing, but very few about digital marketing for hospitals. There may be many blogs about finance, but very few about specific types of transactions. There may be many blogs about real estate, but few about condos in a specific suburb/neighborhood. The narrower your field, the easier it will be to be a relevant voice quickly.
- Look at related or competitive SME blogs: Learn who the major players are and contact them. You'll find that many bloggers see value in collaboration, and welcome helping noobies - In addition to the good karma, in blogging you help yourself when you help others in your field. Google rewards collaboration. Look at topics, tone, frequency, as well as design - get an idea about what you like and what you don't/
- Choose a platform: When you are starting out, I recommend keeping it simple and basic. There are many free options out there. I recommend Blogger - it's easy, free, there are lots of options and support, and it ranks quickly on Google (because it's a Google product). If you are a programmer, a professional developer, or have a budget to invest in slick design Wordpress is another good option - it's more complicated, but there are more bells & whistles so you can do more with it. I recommend choosing one of the 3 major platforms - you're investing your time and you wouldn't be happy if your blog platform went bust.
- Choose a title that has something to do with your SME: Calling it "Bob's Blog" or "Fashizzle!" might strike you as brilliant, but it won't help your audience find you. Make your title unique enough that it doesn't sound like the other competitors, but yet still relevant to your SME.
- Plan: Create a simple spreadsheet with a production plan, to plot out some potential titles, how often and when you'll post. Publish at least once a week. If you want to gain relevance quickly, publish daily. Very few blogs publish daily (I've heard numbers like only a few hundred thousand), so if you can publish that frequently you'll climb the charts quickly.
- Republish other's content with permission: You can republish other relevant content you find on the web. This helps those who aren't comfortable writing themselves, and those who don't have the time to write original content each day. Important - make sure to get permission and give links back to content you republish. It's not only the right thing to do (you wouldn't want people stealing your content, would you?), it also keeps you legal. Most authors are happy to have you republish their work as long as you give authorship credit and links back to their site - it helps their Google ranking ... and it's a compliment.
- Schedule time: If you're searching for a job you're busy. Starting a blog is easy to postpone, so put it in your calendar.
- Content is more important than design: Early mistakes many bloggers make is to wait until the design is perfect before adding content. When you start, only you and your close friends and family will be your audience. You'll gain an understanding of what you want your blog to say and what you want it to look like as you go. Content is king, design is a pretty wrapper. Google doesn't rank based on design, it ranks on links and content.
If you've gotten through all the prep, take a deep breath ...
.... and start.
( Continued ... How Much Time? )
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