New Blogger Checklist

When I started blogging, I jumped, nay, DIVED, right in without looking. I didn’t have much of a choice at the time. I started blogging right at the tail end of the wave just before blogging really exploded, and at that time, there wasn’t much information on doing it well. You just did it.

Not that there is some manual on how to blog. When it comes down to it, all you need is a blog account on the platform of your choice and then type away.

But if you want to do it well? Now, that is different.

What does it take to do this blogging thing?

This thing that everyone is addicted to?

Here is a basic run-down. It is by no means inclusive of every detail, but it is a good solid list to get you off on the right foot.

Decide what and whom you are blogging for.

{This is also referred to as finding your niche.} Are you blogging to share with family and friends (that is the way most of us got sucked into it)? To make money? To promote your business? Consider this first, because this will help establish the tone and voice of your blog. This can always change. But if it changes drastically (ie: switch from writing about family to mainly promoting your business) you may need to start a new blog altogether.

Think good and plenty about what you’ll name that blog and what you’ll go by (if you’ll use your real name or a nickname).

You’ll be glad you did. For every Bossy and ProBlogger, there are people who are stuck with names that were created at a frat party. It’s not always a simple change, if you decide to go by something else. Remember what happened to new Coke? Change confuses people and sometimes irritates.

And make sure it doesn’t just identify that specific time of your life. My First Year of Underwater Basket-Weaving School may be appropriate now. But some day, you may be an underwater-basketweaving school dropout. And then what?

Draft your posts in reader friendly formats.

If you want people to stick around and read your blog, please please please consider some visual basics. There is more to creating a reader friendly blog than just a nice design. One very simple suggestion is to break your text up into smaller paragraphs. Seriously.

When a post is written in one long paragraph, only your mom will stick through to the end. And she may have to bandage her eyes after doing so.

(For info on the design aspect of your blog, see my post on Basic Blog Design Principles.)

Provide a way for readers to contact you.

Comments only go so far. Sometimes, people may want to contact you and ask something behind the scenes; maybe just a sincere “thank you” for something you wrote. It’s just nice to have that available. Create an address dedicated solely to your blog if you are worried about spam.

How will you deal with comments?

Eventually, you will have more people reading your blog than just your mom or BFF. And when that happens, you’ll be glad you have some sort of commenting policy in place. Will you delete comments by trolls? What about people who disagree (vehemently) with a point you’ve made? Don’t wait until something happens to determine what to do.

Along with this, how will you respond to comments? In the comments? Or via email? Remember, blogging is a lot more fun when you can create a sense of community and be an active participant in it.

Once you get yourself set up and ready to go, enjoy the ride.

Blogging is fun; there is no doubt about it. If it’s not fun, consider your reasons for continuing. Or just scratch what you are doing and start all over. You may not be the next blogging rock star. But is that really the only benefit to blogging? It’s so much more than that. I’ve seen blogging open up all sorts of opportunities for people off of their blogs. (hello, HP? Disney?)

For a very thorough article on beginning blogging, be sure to read The Blogging Starter Checklist on Squiddo.

Comments

  1. Great tips/advice!!

    ~Tidymom

  2. Excellent post! Thank you :)

  3. I am so glad you addressed the name thing. That has plagued me from day one. I started out with my initials (HRH), but then couldn’t get onto twitter, stumble, etc. with them so I had to come up with something else. I switched everything to Texasholly but that doesn’t really relate to my main blog (Oh well!) and finally will probably be blogging under my real name in the future. UGH. What is a blogger to do? Who knows what the answer is.

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