Apprehension is to kicking off a new blog as sleepless nights are to having a newborn. Many would-be bloggers believe that blogging is technologically heavy and challenging, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. If you want to know how to get a blog up and running in no time flat and with just a pinch of effort, follow these 10 tips.
1. Set a goal, know your goal.
What do you want to blog to say about you? What areas are you a subject matter expert in? Some people might be connoisseurs of their own lives, but possess a flair for describing the mundane in a comical or entertaining way that makes people want to read about it. Other folks may be armchair political analysts or business professionals wanting to share insight and experience. Before you pick up the pen, know where you are going to take your blog.
2. Know your audience, before they know they are your audience.
Think about who will be reading your blog. Are you gearing it toward consumers, enticing them to buy your product or use you company? Are you thinking about using your blog to network with other industry professionals? Know your audience before they even become your audience and write your blog for them.
3. Consistency is crucial.
You can’t sell a $32 can of eye shadow if just yesterday you decried the evils of paying over $20 for make-up. You have to be consistent with what you say and who you are across the board. A blog that is all over the place never gets off the ground. Segment and niche your blog around consistency and find yourself rewarded with reader loyalty.
4. Never give up.
Initially your readership will be exclusive to your closest friends and family. Blogs take a while before they get noticed. That doesn’t mean you should stop blogging. In fact, the opposite is true. You need to blog more. The less frequently you update your blog, the less useful and timely it is. Update your blog a few times a week to keep readers engaged with new, fresh content and attract new readers.
5. Use your social clout.
Involve your readers in the conversation either by linking a social media page to your blog or by giving readers a call to action at the end of it. Ask your audience a question at the end of each post and then respond to the most interesting answers or tidbits in your next post. This accomplishes two things: it shows you are approachable and human and it gives you fresh content for a new post all at the same time. Show your readers you appreciate their loyalty by acknowledging them, and challenging them to come up with great feedback if they want to be noticed.
6. Don’t be a secret blogger.
Visit other blogs and ask if you can do a guest post or feature. Use social bookmarking tools to get your blog out there, promote your blog on social media outlets and link to your blog in email signatures and forum posts. You have to be active and pro-active to build your readership. You can’t just expect to put up a blog and have it flooded with traffic tomorrow if you don’t put in any effort to promote it.
7. Use widgets and plug-ins.
Widgets are cool and people love cool stuff. That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to showcase all of the widgets available to you. Find the plug-ins most relevant to your cause. For example, if your blog is about politics, install a news widget with the most updated political headlines. This makes your blog look and feel professional and helps showcase your expertise on your selected subject matter.
8. Take risks.
Controversy sells. Chances are, you are not a bland person full of insipid opinions. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. It may not always be popular, but it will get people talking and sharing your blog more so than mundane posts ever will. In fact, you can increase you readership even if someone doesn’t agree with one post. Usually readers will check out more of your content and realize you aren’t so bad after all, and could just become a fan.
9. Stay up to date with your industry.
You need to be aware of trending changes in your industry –yes, blogging is an industry. Be prepared to change and adapt with the times and use new tools. If you don’t, you lose readers and all the work you have done to build your blog will have been for naught.
10. Be you, always.
If you put a fake persona online, if you are phony in your blog, eventually you will be found out. Be yourself. While you might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the best way to build your personal brand is to be authentic. Think about the most controversial personalities of our day and you will notice they all have one thing in common: they are never anyone but themselves. Write what you know and be who you are. The rest will fall into place.