5 Tips for the New Blogger
A friend started a new blog and asked for some insight into how StealingFaith works for me.
I have written about the process of blogging before, but I have more to say! (Me, have more to say? Unbelievable!)
Her questions: “Can you give me some of your favorite blogs you like to read? How do you know what to write about or come up with some of your great posts?”
(“Great” was her real word. Yes, I swelled with pride.)
(Notice she asked two questions and I responded with 600 words. Sigh. She’ll never ask me another question again.)
1. Who to Follow. I find the blogs by following other people’s recommendations or looking through facebook links. Sometimes I follow for a while, a few I love forever. Most bloggers will have a “blogroll” that lists their favorite bloggers, and Circle of Moms recently published the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs so I have a few new ones from there. (My blogroll for StealingFaith is up on the header – enjoy!) Most of the ones I follow religiously have modest followings. There are some “megablogs” out there that I get a giggle out of but don’t follow regularly, like Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, Scary Mommy, Rants from Mommyland, Momastry, and such.
2. How To Get Readers. The best way to get readers is to publicize your blog through your current platform (facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, etc.), friends, and family, and ask them to share with their “tribe.” It’s network marketing at its best!
Another way to expand your circle of influence is to comment on other blogs in a “meaty” way. A comment like “good post!” gets a C for effort, yet a comment that continues the post “conversation” is much more likely to get the attention of the author and any random reader to click through to YOUR blog and read your writing.
Also, link, link, link. Bloggers tend to be a generous community, so linking to any posts you find useful, funny, or noteworthy is a good way to spread the blogging joy.
3. Define YOUR Success. Decide what your hopes are for your blog. Be realistic. There’s no “right” or “wrong” goal because it’s all about your perspective. For me, instead of focussing on the numbers of viewers, I need to spend time thinking about whether what I’m writing is useful to the reader… for a laugh, for insight, or for life function. The reader is my boss.
4. What To Write. I fly by the seat of my pants! When I get ready to post I sit down and think about what has happened that day. I’ve gotten comments from readers that they like stories of the kids and dogs best, so I usually search for ideas in those topics first. (Yesterday that meant I wrote about the dirty underbelly of pregnancy!) If that draws a blank, I cruise facebook, news feeds, Pinterest, and try to find something that strikes my fancy. Then I build a post.
I spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half on StealingFaith each night. Some days I KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO WRITE, RIGHT NOW!!!! Others… Take…. Time…. And… It… Is… Painfully… Slow.
There are bloggers who plan their posts out weeks in advance (people like Michael Hyatt and Confessions of a Homeschooler are two examples I can think of off the top of my head.) If you’re a planner, I just saw a cool set of blog planning calendars you can print for free here. It’s very pretty, and that makes me happy.
5. When to Write. Decide how frequently you’re going to post. Anything from once a day to once a week is good for growing a blog. (Tom Basson posts once a week. Every time he posts it’s good stuff, so he’s building trust and loyalty from his readers with his writing.)
Just make sure you’re up for the challenge of consistency. Readers will hit your blog and check your publish dates. If they see a consistent pattern they’ll have confidence in coming back. Whatever you decide, just stick to it!
Final Thought: Don’t give up. It’s easy to feel like you’re churning out words and no one is listening, especially when you don’t get comments. But keep practicing your writing, stick with the schedule, and don’t stop. Jon Acuff writes about how his first blog was a failure – but provided the training ground he needed to become successful with Stuff Christians Like. Tentblogger put out a post this week about sticking with a blog up to — and through — the critical mass of readership. Two GREAT examples of why you “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Go read them!
Do you have any advice that has served you well in the blogging/writing world? Do you agree or disagree with any of these points? I’d love to hear it in the comments!
*If you like this post, would you please share it with your “tribe” via email, facebook, twitter, etc.?*
This post was originally published April 27, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!