I just loved both of the prompts from Listable Life this week, I thought I would do both! So, let’s get on with it!
I started blogging in 2007. I’ve had quite a few blogs – some personal, some professional, some I built for work. Some flourished, others I just let fall off people’s Google Reader. The Kids Are Alright is my first real attempt to commit to blogging – not just spitting out recycled content. I’ve also helped my friends start another blog which is bringing more women into blogging and building a community. So for my 5 years of blogging, here are 5 things every blogger should know.
Be Sure To Ask Yourself Why Do You Want A Blog – if your answer is because everyone should do it, that isn’t the right answer. That isn’t to say that you don’t figure out the answer once you start, but without a clear direction your writing will be scattered and you may feel really vulnerable.
Post Regularly – I try to set a goal of at least three times a week. I’m a binger – meaning I end up usually writing quite a few posts at a time and scheduling them at regular intervals. If I run into a writers block or don’t feel like being so personal, I write about things I’ve found, seen, or read and how that relates to my life. Writing prompts are easy, but connecting with your audience isn’t…which leads me to…
Know Your Audience – if you have your purpose for why you write, figure out who that writing appeals to. There are two schools of thought – conform to the audience you have and gain readers and tweak your blog purpose or stick to your purpose and work harder to find the right readers. Neither are easy and my approach has always been a bit of both. I spend time looking at things like Google Analytics but also I research my readers and follow them on things like Twitter and Facebook. I want to know what they like so I can complement what they like to read already. At the same time, I work to find the audience that will fit through social networking. Twitter is my friend.
Design Means A lot – Ok, I may sound judgy here, but I know if I’m going to like a blog I visit within the first 15 seconds. If I like their design, I usually will hit subscribe and add them to my Google Reader feed. If they have too many moving graphics or colors that don’t appeal to me, I spend more time focusing on poor design and less on content. I don’t have it all figured out myself, but I know when I see something I don’t like.
We Are Here To Help – I think I spent the first three years of blogging jealous of other bloggers. It wasn’t until I found communities like The SITSgirls, ThetaMom, and sites like MomComm, KludgyMom, and DailyBuzzMoms that I realized we are all in this together. Forming a community and a conversation became my goal, not becoming the next big blogger turned TV host. Once I realized that, the pressure to be awesome lifted and the need to connect rose to its place.
There are so many great resources and books out there. I personally love these two e-books. They have helped me so much bring my blogging to another level.
This e-book just tells you everything you need to know if you have an established blog. His companion book, ProBloggers Guide to your First Week of Blogging is one I haven’t read yet, but have read great reviews. You cannot go wrong with any advice from Darrin Rowse at ProBlogger.
Remember when I said that design means a lot to me? Well this book really helped me focus my blog design and streamline visitors experience at my site. I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone looking to take their blog from good to great – also, who doesn’t LOVE a good DIY book right?