I started blogging again this January. So far, so good. I’m enjoying where my blog is going and, based on traffic and subscriber metrics, you readers out there seem to be enjoying the material and coming back.
I’m certainly not an expert on blogging and have a lot of learning (through testing and trying things) to do. But someone recently asked me for my thoughts on what I’ve learned about blogging so far. As someone who has tried blogging a couple of times in the past, I thought maybe my thoughts on what I’ve learned from my recent attempt might be interesting.
So, here are 10 things I’ve learned about blogging so far in my exploration. How does this align with what works for you?
- Don’t worry about making posts perfect. Just write something. A little trick I like is to go back in the archives of any blog on the web. Go back to the very start and take a look at the posts when that blogger started out. You’ll find a vast difference between the post quality then vs now. Its a process, a journey – everyone figures out what works for them somewhere along the way. You will, too, with time.
- You’ll have times / days when you’re really into the blogging thing and others when you’re too busy/etc. Use those periods of motivation to write a bunch of posts and schedule them out into the future to keep a consistent schedule. Break up long posts into series / multi-day posts. You can get a lot of mileage out of large encompassing topics and multi-part discussions.
- Let your audience guide you. Some people use Twitter to “trial balloon” topics, by seeing how people react to specific thoughts they’re considering writing posts about. Whether you do something that formal or not, pay attention to what posts really engage your audience. Write more of them.
- Pay attention to what you enjoy writing about. After all, if you don’t enjoy it, it will become a chore and you’ll either stop all together or stop being authentic.
- Throw out the rules. Your blog should be an exploration of different topics that interest you. Don’t let it get too dry or predictable – try out new things and mix it up a bit. Again, you don’t want it to become a chore – you want it to remain fresh and interesting to you personally.
- Lists work really well. Make a list of things and expand on it. My list of startup accelerator programs is my most popular, most discussed post.
- Find yourself giving similar advice to folks? Did a friend ask a particularly insightful question? These kinds of conversations prove extremely fruitful for posts, I think. Start to notice what you’re talking about, and let that become part of your bogging discourse. Jot down a list of ideas for topics. Add to this as you have ideas. I use EverNote to collect links, data, etc for future posts.
- Tweet your posts when people are awake to read them. There have been some interesting posts about when the optimal time to tweet your posts is. Late morning / early afternoon Pacific time seems to be the most common response. Regardless, it makes sense to let people know you’ve written something when they’re awake to see it. Restrain yourself and queue up the tweet to go out later. (By the way, this is implied, but it’s worth mentioning: Use Twitter to promote your posts and get thoughts. Most of my traffic comes from Twitter now vs. RSS feedreaders.)
- Start by taking an article/other post and link to it and give your reaction. Good way to get into a post. And take a point of view. Middle of the road, generic posts don’t draw any interest or comments. The blog should be your side of a conversation that you care about.
- Have fun. Trite, but true – if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t post.
Anyway, those are some things that have worked for me. What works for you?