Five years ago and three blog domains ago, at the encouragement of a friend I started a little blog. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and certainly no idea that a few years later I would be working in blogger relations and writing ebooks about blogging! But here I am, constantly amazed and inspired by the Australian blogging scene and a big advocate of blogging for both personal and business purposes.
As I look back on what I’ve learnt, I’m amazed that I’ve been able to navigate all the changes I’ve needed to make to get to this point. If not for the kindness of other bloggers sharing their knowledge, I would have been lost. I wrote How To Start A Blog because I wanted to make it easier for other bloggers who are going through the same thing by creating a complete, practical resource.
Here are five key things that stand out to me as things “I wish I’d known” that would have made the journey a little bit smoother.
1. More people you don’t know will read your blog than people who do.
This means it’s really important to consider what level of privacy you are comfortable with and how much identifiable information you include. If yours is a personal blog this is even more important and I recommend talking to the people in your life who may be affected, and making decisions that everyone is comfortable with.
2. Someone you wish didn’t read your blog, will start reading.
Following on from the previous point, there will come a day when you get that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach upon finding out that someone is reading your blog who you wish wasn’t. That uncomfortable feeling is much better to the feeling of horror you will experience if you have been writing about that person, or other people without their permission and you have to deal with the fallout. If you have an anonymous blog remember that nothing online is every truly hidden, and I strongly suggest that you be very careful about how much you choose to vent.
3. People want to make a connection but for that they need an invitation.
The most popular blogs are those that meet a need in the reader – they either provide fantastic, relevant information that is easy to access (hello Styling You!!) or they provide an insight into another life, are hysterical to read and leave you wanting more. It’s not the topic of the blog that makes them popular, it’s the way they are able to connect with the reader through their writing.
If you think about blogging as a conversation then this is pretty easy to work out. Most conversations include an invitation to get involved, they give you a chance to have your say – nobody likes the person who never asks anyone else a question! It’s the same with blogging.
4. I wish I had known what I was doing!
I really had no idea what a blog was when I started and have learnt a huge amount since then. Blogger, WordPress – what?? Comments, those are good but how do you find readers? So many questions, so little time!
That’s why I’ve written the ebook. I wish I’d had a simple tool to help answer my questions, explain all the basics and hold my hand through the process at any point during the first couple of years of blogging. The feedback I’ve had from those who’ve bought and read the book so far has been that it does just that for people, and that makes me one happy blogger!
5. The blog you start tomorrow won’t be the blog you finish up with.
Whether you put endless hours into setting up your blog or whether you do nothing other that click the “start a blog” button, the blog you start on that first day will change and grow as you change and grow. If you are worried that you don’t know how to do something, or are holding back because you haven’t been able to get your site perfect, it’s time to put those fears to one side and just go for it! Blogs are living, fluid things because they are an extension of their authors – you blog will evolve with you and be the better for it!
Are you wanting to start a blog? What’s holding you back? If you are a blogger, do you have burning question – leave a comment below and between Nikki and I we’ll point you in the right direction.
Most of all, go forth and have fun!
Editor’s note: I’ve read Louisa Clare’s ebook, How to Start a Blog, and it’s a perfect resource for me to recommend to people interested in starting a blog. It’s simple to read and easy to understand but it’s also information packed, stepping you through the technical stuff as well as offering concrete ideas on how to get the content ball rolling.
Louisa Claire is a Melbourne mum to 2.5 and happy social media addict. She is author of the ebook How To Start A Blog and writes at Louisa Claire and Brand Meets Blog. You can find her hanging out on Twitter and Facebook
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