So You are a New Blogger?

What I would have given to have known so much when I began in the world of blogging back in 2004. Yep, you read that right… I’ve been blogging for 8 years. I started way back with Xanga and then moved to Blogspot after about a year. After 6 years with Blogspot {and several blogs later}, I jumped on to having a blog on WordPress hosted at my own site. I wouldn’t change any bit of this.

I actually still use Blogspot on a regular basis. I have 3 other blogs that I write and since Blogspot is free, then why not?

I will start by saying, you are going to make mistakes over the course of blogging but isn’t that how we truly learn something? I will tell you that I have made plenty, stuck my foot in my mouth on occasion and even quit blogging at one point because of a comment that was made.

So what do I wish that I had known when I started?

1. Not everyone has the same opinion as you. Be careful when you share opinions on hot topics. This is just a good rule of thumb for anytime in my thinking. Feel free to share but understand there are other sides to every situation.

2. Don’t let what someone says in a blog comment affect you. When it comes down to it, they are just words and you can always block an IP address.

3. Turn your moderation on to approve comments before they are posted. I do this and with WordPress, once you have approved someone once they can then post without moderation. This cuts out a lot of my spam.

4. Don’t use the Word Captcha! 90% of the time (yep, a made-up statistic- so let’s just say MOST) if a person can not figure out the Captcha on the first go, they will give up on leaving a comment.

5. Be consistent. If you plan on being a regular blogger, do it. Even if it is simply sharing something you did, want to do, etc. just log in and do so. Taking a hiatus for a long period of time can make you lose readers. I strive to blog 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and have a blog schedule that I have created for just that. It has changed over time but it helps me realize what I need to do.

6. Pictures mean the world. I’ve heard time and time again that a blog post with a picture will get more readers than just words. So find a open-source graphic even if it’s just from Google and on the same topic of what you are posting about. Make sure to give credit when it’s not your photo though. That’s expected and just kind.

7. Listen to your readers. If you get questions about the same topic over and over, take the time to blog about it. They will thank you for it more than you know.

8. Respond to comments left on your blog AND comment on others. Build those relationships so you are not a one-way street. Network people!

9. Set up an “About Me” page. People are nosy by nature and want to know a bit more about you. This is a great place to put contact information as well.

10. Use a Blog Reader to subscribe to blogs. Using a service like Google Reader {my fav}, Feedly, or Bloglines will save your sanity when keeping up with blogs. You can sort and organize blogs based on topics, date last updated, and even number of unread posts. I suggest subscribing this way rather than “Google Friend Connect” as it is something you can use on multiple platforms (Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, etc.)

So, are you ready to hit the ground running and write that next post? Take a moment and think about what your focus of your blog will be. Is it for your job, your hobbies, your family, etc. Make that known to others and yourself so that you know what the goal is each time you write. Don’t forget to sign up for the New Blogger Initiative to get motivation and support to start blogging today!

When you have ideas of what to write about, jot them down for the days when NOTHING comes to you. There will be days like this.

If you are interested in sneaking a peek at any of my other three blogs, you can check them out here, here & here.

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