Regardless of what many people have been saying, the blog isn’t dead. Sure, Twitter’s been soaking up all the buzz but Twitter is like a headline in a newspaper. It only gives you an inkling of what’s going on. Blog posts, on the other hand, supply the detail and the depth.
And regardless of what you might think, there’s probably something that you can add to the sea of voices in the blogosphere. Even if you have only a couple of hundred or a few thousand readers, you could influence some or all of them. That, to me, is a major goal for a blogger.
It’s not hard to get started as a blogger. You just need to do a few things before posting to the wider Web. Here’s one path that you can take.
Come up with a subject
A blog should be focused. One subject and one subject only, be it writing, gardening, MMA, animal husbandry, whatever. In each of those subjects, there’s a lot that you can mine. Finding a subject can be fairly easy. Focusing it can be difficult. That could take some time, and could happen while you’re finding your feet as a blogger.
But you also need to be passionate about the subject. Don’t latch on to the latest trend only because you think it will draw traffic to your blog. If you’re interested in it, if you lack the passion, it will show. Your enthusiasm for blogging will quickly wane and your audience and appeal will peter out.
Think about the subjects that you’re passionate about. Think about how you can approach writing posts on that subject. Then …
Research the competition
You need to see what’s out there. Not to ape established blogs, but to better understand what’s been done on the subject that you’ve chosen. And doing research will give you an idea of how you can add your voice to what’s being written on the subject.
Don’t worry about whether or not others have more experience or know more about a subject than you do. That’s always going to be the case. Unless you lack imagination and drive, then you will always have something to say.
Choose a platform
That mean blogging software. To be honest, I don’t think that the blogging platform that you choose be all and end all. It’s useful, but there’s no one blogging platform that will make you a better blogger. It’s all about content. The platform is just a way of delivering that content to readers.
My platform of choice is WordPress, specifically a version of WordPress that I control. That said, I know people who swear by Blogger, the hosted version of WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous, and Movable Type.
Consider getting a domain
I could write quite a bit about this, but why not check out this post and then come back.
Done? Let’s move on …
Create a schedule
You’re almost ready to go. One thing that you should do, which a number of bloggers don’t, is create a schedule for publishing posts.
There’s nothing worse than a blog that’s not regularly updated, or one that’s updated in spurts and left lying fallow the rest of the time. Sticking to a schedule can avoid this.
At first, try following a reasonable schedule — once or twice a week until you get your bearings. Then, maybe, gradually increase the frequency at which you post to three times a week. But remember to post on the same days.
Be careful, though. I used to post six times per week on my company’s blog but that became hard to sustain. I’ve found that posting two or three times a week is good — aim to publish posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That’s a predictable frequency which readers will get used to very quickly.
Write a few posts to get the ball rolling
Just to be safe, and to get into the habit, you should write a few weeks’ worth of posts before making your blog public. That will get you going, and give you a little buffer just in case you don’t have time to prepare new posts.
Most blogging software allows you to schedule posts for publication. You can front load your blog with content, and let it drip out at scheduled intervals. From there, you should be able to get into a rhythm of writing and publishing on your schedule.
That’s only the start
There’s quite a bit more that you can do. Things like getting advertising and sponsorship, doing promotion, getting guest bloggers, and more. Maybe I’ll cover those in a future post.
Thoughts? As always, your comments are welcome.