So you’ve been seduced by the allure of the Internet and while reading your favorite blogs, a light bulb struck in your head flashing, “Why don’t I start a blog!” Well, with over 100 millions blogs in existence, you’re in great (and crowded) company. Don’t fret my pet, starting a blog is a noble endeavor and there are endless resources on getting started, building traffic and raising your blog to be a strong social media force.
What’s Your Motivation?
Before you rush off to your nearest blogging platform, sign up and start posting, take a step back and ask yourself, “What’s my motivation?” Too many times people get swept away in the hoopla of blogging and believe they’ll become “overnight sensations” and make tons of money while drinking Starbucks and snapping outfit pictures.
Well I have sad news for you, if that is your main motivation for starting a blog you best turn round, ya hear! It’s not that those things aren’t byproducts of having a successful blog, but getting to the successful part takes a lot of hard work, ingenuity, great content and years to build. With that said, in starting your blog you can have many motivators: sharing your passion, promoting your business or just having a fun hobby. Whatever the reason, knowing why you’re blogging is key and will help to sustain you when the blog flames cool.
Get Niched: Finding a Topic
So I’ve managed to scare you witless, but you’re still ready to take on the blogging beast. That’s the spirit! So what’s next? Discovering what you’re going to blog about of course! The great thing about blogging is that your blog can be about whatever you want. If you love reading about indigenous cultures, start a blog about it. Passionate about fetish modeling; blog about it! The sky is literally the limit to what you can blog about it. There’s really only one prerequisite:
Blog about what you love!!!
Pick your Poison: Getting Set up
The beauty in starting a blog is that it’s so flipping easy. There are several blogging platforms for every type of blogger and set up is simple and quick. The “hardest” part is deciding which platform you should begin with. Check out the Platform Personality Test and pick your blogging poison:
Note: In just starting a blog, I do not recommend going the self-hosted route. There are so many free options to begin with and if after 6 months you are utterly enamored with your blog, than you can jump the broom into self hosting matrimony and become a full on WordPress groupie.
Blogger: “The Safety School”- This is the pick of most initial bloggers and it’s has the credibility of Google behind it so you know you’re in good hands. Also there are tons of themes and established blogs.
Tumblr: “The Party School”- Tumblr is the new kid on the block and the microblogging service is one big party! With following features, reblogging and a simple interface, Tumblr is all about sharing and having a fun!
WordPress: “The Ivy League” - WordPress is the big 10 school out of the group. The capabilities extend well beyond blogging and the themes and plugins are endless. Serious applicants apply
Typepad: “The Art College”- Typepad was pretty popular at the outset of blogging but has been a little lost in the sea of mega platforms. However, it’s still extremely capable and has a great niche with art and design blogs.
Blogs Away: Finding time to Blog
I think one of the most important things to understand in starting a blog is that you actually have to blog. I sure wish someone had told me how much time it takes to maintain a blog, create quality content and promote it. Sheesh! While your blog doesn’t have to be updated every hour on the hour, taking time to figure a doable posting schedule and how often you want to update it will help to establish your foundation.
Once you know how often you’d like to write, finding the time is crucial. Personally I blog in the mornings and late evenings, when I feel most productive. Work around your schedule, try to build a backlog of posts and don’t let your blog become a slave driver!
The 7 Deadly Blog Sins
Here are 7 Cardinal Sins of Blogging: Avoid these at all cost or be sorry!
1. Auto Start Music
2. No Contact Information
3. No Commenting Feature
4. Not Engaging with other Bloggers
5. Cluttered Design & Too Many Badges
6. Not Having a Clear Focus
7. Letting your Blog collect dust