5 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging Before I Started

Blogging is like most things you do in life. The more you practice it, the better you become at doing it.

Therefore it would not be surprising that if, after a few years of writing regular blogposts, you were to look back at your early posts, you might wonder “did I really write that rubbish?”

Wouldn’t it be great if you could go back in time to your younger self and say “here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the last few years. Take notice”.

Here are five pieces of advice you might be tempted to give your younger self.

1.      Establish a Pattern of Regular Posts:

If people like what you write about they will return on a regular basis, hoping to read more of your inspiration. If you write regularly, that gives them a reason to return to your site and they will make that into a habit. If, however, you only write in fits and starts they will think “ho hum that was nice” and move onto the next person’s blog.

2.      You Have to Work to get Repeat Visitors:

People might like a particular post you have written (possibly they found it while searching for some relevant key term), but that doesn’t mean that they are all that interested in other things that you write. You have to be continually producing material that actually interests people enough for them to want to return.

Of course there are some techniques you can use that will help the process along a bit.

One way to do this is for you to work on making your readers feel that they are part of a community. You can easily do this by encouraging people to comment below each post. You then need to make a point of replying to any comments they leave in such a way as to encourage further discussion.

One fairly direct way to find out what topics your readers would actually like to know more about is to put together a survey on your site, for example by using Survey Monkey. If people are prepared to go through the effort of answering your questions, they are obviously fairly keen to learn more.

It is often said that the golden goose of a blog is a list of email addresses. Statistics show that emails have a comparatively high strike rate when it comes to leading people to your website. Because the people on your mailing list had to agree to be there in the first place, they obviously are more likely to want to return to see what’s new. Likewise they are more likely to respond positively to any marketing in your eNewsletter.

3.      Don’t Write Too Formally:

People find it easier to read your blog if you write in a conversational way. You aren’t writing a formal academic essay. If people get bored they will click over to a picture of a cute cat or something they like more than your writing.

Have you ever noticed how a newspaper never seems to have more than three sentences in a paragraph, often only one or two? That’s because short paragraphs are easier for the reader. It’s the same for your blog, too.

Blog readers are generally not going to be impressed just because you know a lot of big words. Try and use words everybody will understand, and if you need to use technical jargon, explain it in simple terms.

4.      Get Active on Social Media:

Don’t exactly forget about your Google ranking – it is still important – but for your first year or so you are not going to get much traffic due to high search rankings. It’s the effort that you put into social media promotion that will bring you the best early rewards.

Make certain that you post regularly to Facebook, tweet about your site on Twitter (and constantly chase after new people… Don’t be tempted to buy twitter followers in your early days), and display the best graphics from your site on your Pinterest boards.

You actually need to spend time getting to know people online. Join Facebook groups related to your niche, and actually participate. Don’t just try to hawk your products.

If you are a natural introvert, now is the time to get out of your comfort zone and actually talk to people – hey you could be half a world away from them, so it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting around in your sloppiest clothes.

It’s well worth the effort trying some of the lesser known sites too. Stumble upon StumbleUpon. Dig the dirt at Digg. You too can try Tsu (and possibly even make a little money from referring your friends to this new social media site).

If you start retweeting tweets from more established people in your niche you may find that you can build up good traffic thanks to them retweeting you in return.

5.      Once Something is Posted Online it is There Forever:

You won’t write the perfect blogpost every time. Some of the posts will probably be quick pieces written to meet your content schedule. However you should strive to make your posts as good as you possibly can. Think carefully about what you write. Be very careful if you criticise other people, particularly if you do not have your facts straight.

Even if you take a post down there is likely to be an image cached somewhere that could come back to haunt you some time in the future. As much as you want to establish a regular posting pattern quality always beats quantity. Take time to think through each post carefully. Check your facts. Make certain you have a good read through of your post before you push the Publish button. Because once published, it is out on the wild west of the web, for anyone to see, comment on and criticise.

Hopefully your younger self learnt these tips before too much damage was done. If you are still here, after a number of years’ blogging, then you obviously must have been doing something right.

If you are new to blogging, or you are someone who used to blog but got discouraged and gave up, then remember these five tips as you plan your next post.

This article was provided by Steve Stretton (@Strettonmr) from Social Watch is a brand new Social Media Marketing Agency based from London, England. Be sure to get in touch with them if you have any questions about number 4 above – I’m sure they would be delighted to help!

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