This is my second time writing this post because I didn’t save it the first time…so my first tip for the new blogger is save early and save often!
February 21 was my official 1 year Blogiversary. I’ve been celebrating all month by writing a blog series in February. Hopefully 5 Reasons I Blog and Why You Should Too has convinced you that you have a unique story to share with the world. Here are simple step by step instructions for how to start a blog.
There are a lot of mistakes and times when I have felt overwhelmed this past year. Hopefully these 10 helpful tips for the new blogger will save you time and prevent headaches!
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Write Down ALL Passwords
You know the common advice – Don’t write down your passwords? They were not bloggers. As you enter the world of blogging, there will be many, many username and passwords. Write them ALL down! Trust me, you won’t remember them. Start with writing down your BlueHost* and WordPress Admin usernames and passwords.
Set up your social media accounts
Once you’ve figured out the name (ex: Setting My Intention) and tagline (ex: Simplifying Life One Step at a Time) for your blog, set up your blog social media accounts. You shouldn’t try to be active on all social media accounts at once, but you do want to claim the names that go with your blog. The main ones are usually Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Choose 1 place to write all your notes and ideas.
I started blogging with a mostly unused marble composition book…then it became two. Now I have notes all. over. the. place! The problem was I was listening to podcasts while walking, or working, and didn’t have my notebook with me – so I wrote on post-it notes or a piece of paper. It’s out of hand.
I’ve finally printed out a blogging binder and I’m determined to keep all notes in one spot. I’ve found I needed a place to jot things down I learn from podcasts, webinars, or books I’m reading; blog post ideas; passwords; and monthly blog statistics. Most blogging binders have those pages and much more.
There are some really nice free blogging printables. I have a board on Pinterest specifically for free blogging printables here. You can print them out and put them in a binder so everything will be in one place. Tanya at Mom’s Small Victories has a lovely free electronic blogging binder for those of you who want to go paperless.
Spend some time envisioning who your target reader is.
I was first encouraged to do this by Kat Lee’s podcast – How They Blog. It was helpful to think through who I was writing for. Are you writing for moms? professionals? DIYers? singles? students? What is their life like? What problems do they have in their life? What will they gain by reading your blog? Your content will be more focused if you know who you’re writing for.
Focus on building great content.
This is stressed over and over again for beginning bloggers and for good reason. Don’t worry about the numbers of people who are visiting or how many comments you have. Just write great posts that help people in some way. You may help someone by giving them tools to start meal planning, by making them laugh, or simply by making them feel less alone.
I’ve heard people say they try to have 5-10 posts written before “going live” with their blog. I jumped in and hit publish after my first blog post. However, I didn’t let family and friends know about my blog until several months had passed.
6. Make an About Page
This is the place where you can let readers know a little more detail about yourself and your blog. Just the act of writing this page will help you to think through what the purpose is behind your blog. Throw in some fun facts about yourself and let your personality shine!
Be consistent in posting
Figure out ahead of time how frequently you can commit to new posts and let people know in your About Page. Don’t start out saying you’ll be posting 5 days a week and only post once a week. Start out with a conservative number and change it later if you find you’re able to post more frequently.
To share or not to share about your personal life
On Setting My Intention, you won’t see many photos of my family or their names and that’s an intentional choice. I’ve chosen to blog, but they haven’t. One of my sons is adamant about NOT being shown on the blog. I respect that. Figure out what feels right for you.
Limit the number of Facebook blogging groups you join
There are a lot of groups for bloggers. They are a great resource, but they can also be overwhelming and distracting! There are groups for asking questions and there are groups for sharing each other’s content.
I’ve found The SITS Girls, Inspired Bloggers Network, or Learn to Blog great resources for when you have questions for more experienced bloggers. Each of these groups has free resources that are SO helpful. It’s also a great way to make connections with other bloggers. Start with only one though! You’ll get overwhelmed if you join more than one when you’re just beginning.
Install Google Analytics
You can get a unique code here that needs to be installed on your blog. WordPress for Beginners has a tutorial to do that here. I happened to use a plugin which did it for me, because I did not want to mess with code.
Eventually if you want to monetize, you will need Google Analytics (GA) to know your numbers and figure out how much to charge based on traffic to your blog.
After a year of blogging, these are 10 tips for the beginner blogger. I’m constantly learning new things everyday – and that’s what makes blogging fun!
If you’re a blogger, what advice would you pass on from your first year?
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