I was reviewing some of my very first blog posts today and while I winced a little at my sometimes gauche overtones and blogger missteps, I’m still pretty proud of my blog. More accurately, I’m pretty proud of what my blog represents.
It’s not a literary masterpiece, and while I dream of Julie & Julia-like blockbuster success, that isn’t the goal of my blog.
It is, in essence, a very public, very personal diary. Writing is cathartic, and being part of a community of writers with similar goals and struggles is extremely empowering. All by itself, empowerment is pretty important, especially for women, but writing every day is a great way to reflect on our own life and our own struggles. Blogging allows us to gain the valuable insight of others too.
I still consider myself to be new to the blogworld, but I’ve learned a couple of things about blogging and the blogging community that I wish I’d known originally.
1. Good, readable posts often include lots of photographs. People like to read, but they like to read more with visuals. Plus, pictures can help me to overcome writer’s block – they can outline a post and create the framework behind the writing. But they are not required. Too many, or ones that are irrelevant or hard to look at can detract from post (especially if it slows down the page as it loads).
2. Read other blogs. Comment on other blogs. It’ll help you to learn the basics of the blogging world and also create some visits to your blog. Blogging is reciprocal. If you’d like to hear from others about what you are writing, you’ve got to do the same for them!
3. Be authentic. No one has to know your real name, picture, address, etc – so they won’t hunt you down and vilify you. However, if you aren’t being real, it’s usually pretty apparent in your writing.
4. Pick a name and a theme that represents you – and then change it. And then change it again. I’ve changed my theme numerous times, and I’m still not sure if This is Thirty is the right name for my blog.
5. Don’t pay someone to design your blog for you, at least at first – wordpress.com allows you to create a free blog and you’ll learn what your blog is about as you create the different components. Once you’ve established your concept, you might decide to have someone professionally design your blog later, but the “creation” part of your own blog is critical to creating your blogging identity initially. Your blog becomes personal, and I believe you need that creation process to make it real and relevant to you!
There are TONS of “creating a blog tips” posts out there – and my ideas are in no way unique – but I think the benefits of blogging are pretty universal. If you aren’t doing it already, DO IT! And if you are, what tips do you have for new bloggers? If your blog also brings in revenue, how is the best way to do that?
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