I’ve been blogging every single week for over a year and a half and have been constantly egging my peers into jumping on the wagon. Within the last month both my friend Justin Davis and Francis Suarez started up blogs. I’m full of advise on the matter and have been happy to drop a lot of info on these guys. I figured why not share some of these tips with the world? Here’s my top 10 tips for new bloggers.
Avoid early burnout
One of the biggest mistakes I see with new bloggers is going super hard at the beginning and then burning out only a few weeks later. Don’t set an unrealistic goal like posting 3-5 times a week. Start with something more manageable like once aweek or even once every two weeks. Once blogging becomes part of your routine, then consider scaling up the frequency of posts.
Being consistent is one of the best pieces of advice I can give. Pick a day that you will write and pick a day that you will publish. It’s okay if they are the same day, just as long as you stick to that schedule. These days I blog and publish on Sunday with my weekly email going out on Monday.
Take the time to proofread
One of the worst things in the world is receiving comments about grammar and spelling mistakes. Shit happens but try to minimize it by taking the time to read and reread your posts a few times before publishing. I have a tendency to read over and make adjustments 2 or 3 times before a post goes live. I don’t use it often enough (waiting on a
vim plugin ;) but highly recommend using Hemingway to help perfect your posts.
Set up a mailing list
If you ask me, RSS is dead, so I don’t even focus on the stats anymore. Mailing lists on the other hand give you an easy way to get your content to your readers and gives you excellent engagement metrics. If you don’t already have a mailing list set up, head over to MailChimp and sign up right now for a free account. The free account should be more than enough for at least a little while. Utilize the RSS-to-Email functionality to automate the entire process.
Make it easy to subscribe
Now that you have your mailing list set up, we need a way for readers to subscribe. MailChimp provides widgets for subscribing but they are pretty boring. The best way I’ve found to collect subscribers is with SumoMe. SumoMe offers a ton of proven, yet still free tools for your blog. I leverage everything they offer to help encourage new subscribers and have seen measurable results.
Don’t give too much
Some people may disagree with this, but I like to encourage my users to get back to my site and click around a bit. Instead of providing a full post in your emails, give your readers a snippet to drive them back to your site. If you give them too much they may not ever make it to your site and never view other posts and content you have to offer. I use the same logic on my blog’s homepages. I like to keep the noise to a minimum and allow users to click on posts to see the full post.
Make it easier to share
Nothing pisses me off more these days than reading a fantastic article and not being offered an easy way to share the post. I’m officially boycotting the sharing of articles that don’t offer an easy way to share. I use a combination of AddThis for sharing widgets and SumoMe for things like Highlighter and Image Sharer. Highlighter allows your readers to highlight content and share the quote. Très bien.
Start a conversation
As often as it makes sense, I try to encourage comments on my posts. This usually includes ending my post with a question that helps open the dialog. Be prepared for some assholes to attempt to troll you and don’t feel bad about deleting those comments. I tend to jump on the flamebait but that’s just me ;). For quality comments and/or questions be sure to follow up with the commenter. Don’t feel obligated to reply immediately, but try to not take more than a day or two, especially if the commenter is seeking assistance.
Link to previous posts
I think this tip may have originally came from Noah Kagan on OkDork. Linking to previous posts will almost certainly drive a bit more traffic to your site. More traffic to posts potentially means more mailing list subscribers, comments and shares. One way to make it easy is to break articles into parts, always linking back to the previous posts.
1. Blog 2. ??? 3. Profit
Number 2 is never the same for each blog. Perhaps your revenue is simply generated from ads. Perhaps you review products and have affiliate links. Perhaps you have enough traffic to justify a paywall. Perhaps you have come up with another way to generate revenue. The one bit of advice I can give here is to throw a lot of darts. Since monetization routes are different for everyone, you may end up stumbling upon something that no one else has thought of.
The biggest bit of advice I can give is that monetization should not be your priority. Blog because you have words trapped in your head that want to get out. Blog because you’re passionate about something and want to share it with others. Blog because you want to become a better writer. Blog because it’s cheaper than therapy. Blog because you’re forgetful and want to document something for later. If you are doing something that you love, it will show in your writing and the rest will work itself out.
Got any tips of your own? Comment below! ;)