Sometimes people ask me for blogging tips, so I thought I’d share some in this post. It’s not like I’m an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but in over four years of blogging, I have learned a thing or two. Sometimes it’s hard to just get started. Believe me, I know. I am one of the world’s finest procrastinators. So I hope I can be that little nudge to help someone out there get started.
If you’re a blogger, I’d love to hear your blogging tips. If you’re a blog reader, I’d love to know what you think, too, ‘cuz a blog without readers can get lonely. Nothing motivates bloggers like having readers!
1. Unsure about how to get started? Well, who isn’t/wasn’t? Just get started!
Sometimes the best way to get set up mechanics-wise is to ask for help. Get a tech-savvy family member or friend to help you, or else do some web surfing and learn as you go. Two most commonly used platforms are Blogger and WordPress. Or sign up for an online course such as, Should I blog?
2. Determine what your goals are.
Do you care about readership numbers? Do you want to monetize your blog? Do you see yourself blogging in one year, two years or further down the road? Are you blogging primarily as an outlet for yourself? Is your focus advocacy work? What do you want to accomplish through blogging?
3. Pick a topic and a name for your blog that fit with your goals.
Pick a title for your blog that suits the niche you want to be part of and clearly suggests what your blog is about. Be sure to choose a niche that you can be passionate about for the long haul. Brainstorming with family or friends can be helpful. Or not. Depends on your family and friends I guess.
4. Ask yourself, who do I want to read my blog?
This helps you focus on what your content will be and it’s related to #2, but it’s important and worth its own number slot. Determine your audience and then write for them. You can’t please everyone anyway, so choosing your target readers makes things easier and gives you focus.
5. Always post original content.
If you share quotes or content others have written, you must give credit. Treat other writers (yes, bloggers are writers) with the same respect you wish to be given. This goes for images and videos too.
6. Publish posts consistently, if you can.
I do once a week. When I started, I did two, but that schedule became too grueling and therefore not fun. Once a week works perfectly for me. Well, most of the time. Some bloggers do daily (though how I do not know), some do weekly, others do monthly. Do what works for you, but readers tend to fade away if you go too long between posts, at least in the beginning.
7. Comment on other blogs.
This is an absolute must, especially in the beginning. I call it the cardinal rule of blogging. And try not to just say things like, great post. Take time to write a comment specific to the post content, otherwise it looks like you didn’t even read it. And generally, it’s not a good idea to leave a link to your blog in a comment unless the blogger has specifically encouraged this in the post or it seems appropriate to do so. Reading their blog isn’t about you. Well, it kind of is, but you know what I mean, right?
8. Share quality images whenever you can.
Again, use original images of your own or from creative commons (non-copyrighted images available) sites. When using photos or images other than your own, always give credit. Check out sites like Canva for creating designs and upgrading your photos. That’s what I use.
9. Be sure you check for spelling and grammar errors and then check again.
No need to fret about perfection, but do proof read. Several times.
10. Keep a notebook handy at all times for when those blog post ideas pop into your head.
I like to keep a notebook or a notebook section just for writing down blog post ideas. Writing them down right away is super important because I don’t know about you, buy my memory is not what it used to be. I often have great ideas in the shower and by the time I get out, I have forgotten what they were. So, the sooner you write them down the better.
11. Reading other blogs is a great way to get ideas for what to write about.
Never copy, but you can certainly express your thoughts and opinions on the same topic, and be sure to link back to the blog post that inspired you when you do.
12. Encourage discussion, even disagreement, by validating all viewpoints.
After all, it’s nice to learn what those who disagree with you think, isn’t it? I actually love it when a good debate gets going in the comments. Respect is a two-way street, and I’ve only had to delete two or three comments over the years due to the disrespectful (in other words name calling) tone. I always try to validate the opinions of others, even when they don’t mesh with mine.
13. A social media presence isn’t mandatory, but it’s helpful. Starting an email list is a good idea too.
I blogged for six months without being on Facebook or Twitter. But once I jumped onto the social media bandwagon, it was a whole lot easier to share and have my posts be shared. But don’t try to be everywhere on social media or you’ll go crazy and/or get nothing else done. At all. Trust me. I know. Try to use image sizes the sites prefer. For example, Pinterest likes ’em big and vertical, which is why you might have noticed I’ve been updating some of my images.
After a few years in, I also started an email list. This way subscribers have access to all your posts. You and readers have control, not Facebook and other social media venues. (I should write a post about this sometime – where’s my notebook?)
14. Don’t worry about word count.
I have read that longer posts do better on Google. Then again, I’ve heard the opposite is true too, so yeah, don’t fret about how long your post is or isn’t. Like usual, quality matters more than quantity. And sometimes less is more. I am always working on trying to be less wordy.
15. Determine your boundaries.
Don’t share every detail of your life, cancer or otherwise, but do get personal, at least once in a while. Readers love personal stuff. They want to know the person behind the words. I want my readers to know me. I want to get to know my readers. Blogging is a two-way exchange.
16. Have fun with it.
If you start stressing out too much, what’s the point?
17. Share. Share. Share.
There are some popular bloggers out there who never share what others write, but I think it’s poor blogging etiquette to never share what others write via your Facebook, Twitter or other accounts. Blogging is all about community and that means sharing.
18. Provide a mix of content so your readers never know what’s coming next and you won’t get bored either.
I try to write personal experience posts, news-type posts and informational posts. Also, the name Nancy’s Point gives me “permission” to write about whatever I darn please. Not that I need permission. You don’t either.
19. When I feel hesitant about posting something personal (and I have many times), I remember the words of my online friend, Jackie Fox, author, blogger.
Jackie once told me, “Nancy, don’t ever be afraid to write what’s in your heart.” Best writing advice ever (thanks, Jackie).
20. Finally, if you stay true to yourself and share your cancer truths (or whatever your genre is), you can’t go wrong.
In the blogoshpere that I know and love, no one is looking for perfection, but they are looking for genuine-ness. So be that. Be genuine.
Be real. Be you. It’s enough. It always is.
So, go ahead and share your story. Start blogging!
Because everyone’s story matters, including yours.
If you’re a blogger, what tips do you have?
If you want to start a blog, what questions do you have?
If you’re a blog reader, what suggestions do you have?
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