New bloggers start with an idea, a passion for something and a vision for how much money they are going to make as a famous writer. But many bloggers fail to get a good start. Here are some of the more common mistakes.
New to the blog? Subscribe to Fix, Build and Drive™ by Email today. That way you won’t miss anything important.
One of the cool things about starting something new is that you don’t have to be perfect. And with blogging you can screw up regularly in the early days because, honestly, no one sees your posts anyway.
Sad, but true.
Here are some ideas on how to be a better blogger.
When I first started blogging back in 2008, I wrote every day for 90 days on two different blogs. To establish consistency. And to begin understanding my own writing style. Something I continue to work on each time I open the MacBook.
So that should make you feel good. And take some of the pressure off your first few posts. You can’t screw up that bad, so don’t fret too much.
But if you could learn a thing or two before you get started, I imagine that would help somewhat. So here are the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Hope it helps you succeed. Whatever that means for you.
1. They mistake a blog for a future cash machine or ATM
I hear this all the time. “Why are you starting a blog?” I ask. Their reply? “I’d like to make a little extra money on the side.” Hm. OK.
If by “a little money” you mean “less than a dollar a week”, you are in for a treat. And you can prepare to surprise your kids with gum balls at the arcade.
But overall, very few bloggers make much money. Making money requires significant traffic to your site. And that takes time, timing and a lot of other things to come together.
And it’s not that you can’t make money, but it is a very poor reason why to start a blog. There is no instant gratification. You have to enjoy writing, be good at telling stories and enjoy interacting with those who (thank you!) take the time to write a comment.
2. They under-estimate the time it takes to write, edit and share their content
I started my first blogs while I was working full-time. I wrote from 5-7 in the morning and 10-12 on most evenings. That means 5 hours of shuteye assuming I fell asleep the second I hit the pillow.
I worked four hours a day on my blog and social media presence because I loved what I was writing about and really wanted to share my ideas and advice with others. And without that passion and internal drive, I would have quit many times when things got tough, when all I got was crickets on an awesome post I wrote or when I was just too tired to write.
But this should make you feel better:
You don’t have to write everyday. You can write once a week if you are reaching people with quality content, making them laugh, answering important questions or offering good advice for people who really need it.
3. They lack focus, write on too broad of a topic or on too many topics
There are more than 20 million blogs out there today. Do you think anyone will find you if your topic is “video games”, “child care” or “college sports”? Pick a sub-topic of a sub-topic and you might be able to carve out a niche.
Like “College Basketball in Southern California”
And how many people will keep following you if your content changes every week on a whim. Or if you simply run out of things to say on your original topic. Start with an editorial calendar. Can you come up with 50 blog post titles? If not, find a topic where generating a long list of topics won’t give you a headache.
4. They begin building their social media presence the same day they start the blog
If you know that you’d like to create a blog someday – but not today – begin establishing your social media presence now. If you can establish social credibility and following well in advance of your blog launch, you will have a place to share your content and some people to share it with. When the big day comes. When your first post rolls off the production line.
Establish a Twitter account with a user name (or your name) that supports your likely topic (you can always change it later without penalty). And begin micro-blogging on your topic. Follow others in the same topic area and make friends.
Now add a Facebook page and you are putting yourself out into the fast-moving part of the river. You can begin to attract people who think like you do. Today. Instead of the day you write your first blog post.
It is not very inspiring to share your first blog post with 14 Twitter followers and 6 fans on Facebook.
5. They pay too much attention to statistics
It has been a long time since I cared much about blog traffic. Sure it feels great when a post hits people between the eyes or answers an important question. And you know when you’ve created something good. Even if only a few people see it.
If you are writing for you and for the right people who need to read the words, it shouldn’t matter how many page views you get each day. But I remember obsessing about that in the early days. I remember the “big days” when I’d go over 20 views per day (insert fist pump here).
So as much as you can, keep your eye off the statistics and, instead, laser focused on your content. On building relationships with other bloggers in your space. And on creating a community around your ideas. No matter how small, look to engage as many people as possible.
I did a lot of speaking and networking (in-person and online) and that was so much more fun than checking and analyzing my blog statistics on a Tuesday night.
So I hope these mistakes help you think about how to begin your blogging career. So you are focused on the right things and ready for all the great rewards that come from writing.
And, hey, if I can help you get started. Whether for business or personal, let me know.
Thanks opensourceway for the image via flickr