In the last few weeks, I’ve had a few different people ask me about any advice I have for people who want to start their own blogs.
One of them even said I’d inspired her to start her own blog, which was both super sweet and a little surreal because I don’t really think of myself as being a Successful Blogger, just a girl who’s here to rave and occasionally rant about video games and other nerdy things.
I like helping, though, so I sat down and started thinking of what advice I did actually have to give someone who wanted to start out just like I did a year and a half ago.
Here’s what I’ve got so far!
1. Plan ahead.
As evidenced by the fact that I wrote this blog on a Monday night after a long day at a conference for work, there’s really nothing like waiting until the night before your planned posting day to make your post sound panicked, long-winded, and a tad incoherent.
At least, that’s my experience.
For the most part, I try to plan my posts at least a week in advance. I have a half-assed content calendar that I go on sprees of trying to fill out months ahead of time, and I always have a looong list of potential future topics to pick from.
You know, for when I can’t think of things. Learned that lesson.
2. Set a schedule.
There are three big reasons to set a schedule for your blog.
First, it’ll give your readers a consistent day and time to expect your content. Eventually, they’ll know to come looking for it—which helps make sure your work gets out there.
Second, it’ll give you a consistent deadline to get things done. Without a due date for your blog posts, you’ll likely find (as I did with a previous blog) that it’s super easy to fall into the train of thought that “it’s not due yet,” and then weeks later, you realize you never actually did it.
Third, it’ll help you out with search results. Basically since the inception of search engine optimization, or SEO, it’s been a widely-known fact among marketers that a regular posting schedule is good for any website.
Search engines love new content, and giving them stuff to sift through on a regular basis can make sure your SEO trail doesn’t go cold.
3. Read everything at least twice.
When I first started writing professionally, I used to get caught up thinking that because I was so used to typing, and could generally do what I needed without typos (thanks, Mavis Beacon games of my childhood), I didn’t need to proofread my own work.
Pro-tip: Always proofread your own work.
Especially when you’re just starting out, it’s important to make sure you’re clear and error-free; it’ll make you look much more professional to visitors.
4. Brand yourself.
Even if it just means emblazoning a name across the top of your site in your favourite font, having a recognizable identity can help people in two ways:
- It tells them what you and your site are all about
- It familiarizes them with your brand, so they can recognize it anywhere
I know, I’m not really one to preach about this, because I’ve changed my logo and my website at least three times since I started last June.
But for example, if you look at my most recent rebrand, there’s a lot of logic to it:
It’s a style that fits what I am and what I do, and works across all kinds of platforms.
5. Have fun with it.
Blogging—or any kind of content creation, really—should be something you do because you love to do it. That’s what will make it fun and enjoyable for you and your readers, and that’s what will keep you going, even when you’re feeling less than motivated!