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There are a lot of “How-To-Blog” blogs out there. Boy, did I read the heck out of them for a few years before getting up the nerve to start a blog. Everything I read led me to one conclusion. Nope. Not for me.
Don’t get me wrong. Blogging is fun and I love sharing what I enjoy with others. But it takes a lot of time away from book writing. That is something I hate. However, the thing which gradually wore me down toward choosing to start one was the fact that so many of the blogs written by book authors recommended it.
Yes, I know. Kind of a selfish reason to start a blog, advertising my books. Not exactly true though. I’m writing. Which is what I love to do. And I’m sharing the adventures which I’d be going on whether or not I was blogging. Might as well share what I learn, right?
There were a lot of things which those educational blogs I’ve read left out. Maybe it was just assumed that new bloggers would know these things. So here are five tips for the ultra noob to blogging.
- Tip # 1 – Get a dedicated email address for your blog. Decide what you are going to call your blog and have an email address which encompasses the name specifically for that blog. That’s right. The only thing you should use this email address for is your blog and blog related contact. Hosting, advertising, other bloggers, whatever business needs your blog has, use an email address just for that blog. You don’t want your business (or hobby) related emails getting lost in the clutter of the random crap you receive on a daily basis in your personal email.
- Tip #2 – Plan your blog. Before getting your email address, before typing your first post. Figure out what your blog is about. My blog might seem a bit of a Hodgepodge, but that is because it is about stuff I like. Specifically, about delighting Delilah, me. A lot of people don’t like that in the blogs they follow. Lots of readers like a specific topic. So, before you get all gung-ho, and buy a domain name and web hosting; figure out what you are all about. Write it down on paper (or something to keep track of it). Know how many pages you intend to have and if you need a store. Take a look at my Blogging Planner which I created specifically for helping to plan posts and other things.
- Tip #3 – Make sure you can actually have analytics on your site. (I was recently told that Google analytics is a free service which does not need to be used with a plug-in. A noob seeing the Google Analytics by Jetpack in WordPress plug-in store may be mislead into thinking Google Analytics can only be used with a paid account.) Some webhosting services include google analytics and will submit your site to google and other search engines for indexing. Some do not. The ones that do, usually only include that in the higher tiered business plans. When researching webhosting, make sure you are getting what you think you are paying for, and if analytics isn’t available through the site for the plan you choose, make sure it is possible to use analytics by getting it separately with that webhost. Don’t let yourself get stuck without the ability to analyze your traffic, advertising, and conversion rates. (Update: I recently tried the Google Analytics which WordPress said is now included with my plan. It did not work as advertised. Maybe I’m just having problems with the interface. But you know what? I’ve used Analytics before and it wasn’t very difficult. I’ll have to figure out what I’m doing wrong.)
- Tip #4 – Make yourself a damned glossary of the terms used in blogging. You WILL need it. ‘Nuff said.
- Tip #5 – Don’t blog to sell books, or any other business you have that you are trying to bring awareness to. If the sole reason you are thinking of starting a blog is because some website or blog told you it would increase brand awareness, just don’t. If you don’t want to blog. Don’t blog. You will likely come to resent the time it takes away from your preferred work. There are days when my traffic is low, that I hate blogging. I think to myself, “Over ten hours went into that post between the travel, the photos, uploading, writing, editing, and I only got X number of views? Argh!” If you aren’t a writer, and what you do is more visual, there may be a better way to attract new audiences than blogging. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube to name just a few.
Lastly, I have a bonus tip. This is the thought which originally inspired me to create this post.
Tip #6 – You don’t need an email list. Yes, email lists can help you to keep traffic from subscribers up with each additional blog post. However, and this is a big however, if you want consistent traffic it is more important for your blog or website to be indexed by as many search engines as possible and have quality back links from other websites to maximize traffic from web searches. How the heck do you think people are going to find you to begin with? If the people who find you via web searches like what you have to say, they are going to subscribe to your blog, they are going to bookmark your website. They will review your content over and over again. You know it’s true.
I hope this is helpful to you. Just a reminder. I am by no means an expert. These are just things which I have discovered over the admittedly short span of my blog’s life. If you like my content, please subscribe using the subscribe button bellow.
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