Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to Start Blogging (From Someone Who Blogs Poorly According to Experts)

From the blog suggestions collection:

How would you suggest someone go about starting their own blog?

Well, here's the thing. I break a couple of the expert bloggers' blogging rules. While this probably means I won't be making money from my blogs any time soon, it does mean that most of the time, I enjoy blogging and would categorize it as a hobby far more than I'd categorize it as work. So I'm going to speak from my own personal experience and offer my tips.

1) Figure out what you'd like to blog about.
BLOG from Flickr via Wylio
© 2014 Christian Schnettelker, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Here's where I deviate most from the Rules of Blogging. Most people say you should narrow down your topic and focus on one thing that can draw a niche audience. I've tried that a couple times, but I typically get so bored and run out of things to say about just one thing and want to write about other things too. Granted, it's a little harder to draw in an audience when you just have such a sprawling collection of topics, but for me, having fewer limits on what I can write about makes it way more fun to blog.

Whether you want to blog about one specific thing or a huge spread of topics, it can be a good idea to decide this first, as you may want to think about naming your blog something related to it.

2) Set up a blog.

As you can see, I use Blogger as my blogging service and host, and I have for quite some time. It's probably one of the easiest blogging to get started with. The rest of my family and several of my friends use Wordpress. There are several others, but those are the ones I see most often on other blogs. If you're looking for something with a decent amount of customizability in terms of design, stay away from Blogger. But I don't really do a lot of fancy design stuff. I'm fine just writing and not tinkering with the way the site looks. (Another pro blogger no-no.) Do a little research to find the one that will work best for you.

3) Write things!

I do suggest having a regular schedule, whether that's once a week, every day, twice a month, whatever. This makes it easier for you to keep writing things, and it makes it easier for your readers to follow along and know when you update. But if it starts feeling too much like a chore -- and if you're not doing this with the intention of making money with it -- it's totally OK to take some time off.

BLOG IDEAS from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 Owen W Brown, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
As far as what to write, write whatever you want. This is your blog. Do what you wanna do. That's how I do it, anyway.

I also suggest writing things ahead of time as much as you can and schedule them to be published at a certain date and time. That way you won't find yourself desperately trying to pull together a blog at the last minute. I mean, what? I never do that. I'm definitely not trying to just finish this blog already so I can go to sleep which I should've done half an hour ago.

4. Share it.

You can link up your blog to your other social media accounts through services like (which I use). That way, it'll automatically post to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or whatever whenever you make a new post. It's a good way to keep people updated and let your friends know you blog. I have a lot of friends who blog but don't mention it much on Facebook, and while I would love to read their blogs, I often don't even know they have one until like three years after they've started it. So don't be afraid to plug your blog a little!

And, um, that's about it. Once you get going you can figure out what you like to write, what your readers like to read, and how people are finding your blog through Google. But to get started, this is all you really need. At least in my humble very-not-professional opinion.

Any other tips you guys would suggest? And if you have a blog of your own, feel free to post a link! I'll try to follow any of the ones I don't already. :-)

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