I was asked last week if I had any tips for starting a blog. My immediate reaction was “Heaven’s no, I’ve only been doing it a few months myself and I have to keep asking my own Blog Mentor what everything means.” However, on reflection, I must surely have learned something along the way, so I thought it would be good to get it out there so a) you will understand and forgive me if I’m still doing numpty things, and b) if you are starting a blog you can, hopefully, bypass all the mistakes I’ve made.
1) Understand in your own head why you are doing it. (Aside – Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk ‘Start with Why’ is one of the most inspirational presentations I have ever seen – google it). I started my blog as a way to distract me from the nitty gritty of my working day. Odd I know and you’re going to remind me that I blog about work, but I was lying awake at night thinking about budgets, buildings, staffing, reporting, HSW etc. now I lie awake at night thinking about my blog. (see? Problem solved.)
2) Keep reminding yourself why you are doing it. Of course it is lovely if people enjoy your blog and your followers grow in number, but if that is your only reason for doing it, you are going to run out of steam pretty quickly. When you start, stick your reason for blogging somewhere prominent. My fridge has got Jim Rohn’s quote emblazoned across it “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” This not only reminds me that I am blogging for my own wellbeing and enjoyment of writing, but also reminds me to stay out of the fridge!
3) Keep your blogs short-ish. My attention span on my own blog is limited, so I can imagine what my visitors are thinking. Don’t think you can maintain their curiosity with your sparkling wit, repartee and infinite knowledge of your subject (you’ll know I can’t).
4) Stick to a subject and style. This doesn’t mean to say that you can’t ever change, but try to be consistent so your readers know what to expect. I once wrote a blog that was so way out of the ball park that no one was ever going to catch what I was talking about. But I went back to 2) and posted it anyway – it still makes me well up to read it, even though the stats show no one else is interested.
5) Write it – post it – move on. I have looked back at my first blogs and they are already truly cringe-worthy. I’d missed a shocking spelling mistake in one and been a bit too heavy handed in another. Never mind. Learn. Move on. (a good mantra for most things in life.)
6) Don’t let it become a chore. Blogging can be informative, critical, instructive, educational, cathartic, but most of all it should be fun, for you and the reader.
So the most important piece of advice I can convey in my short time in the blogging world is this…
Don’t care what anyone else thinks, take a deep breath and just go for it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.