A friend of mine is considering beginning a blog, so I passed on some tips for the warmup lap, so to speak:
“As with all of my advice, it is unsought, possibly unwanted and unnecessary, but it comforts me to distribute it.
I am a bit of a natural teacher/preacher. And of course it is entirely possible to be a naturally bad teacher – all’s I’m saying is that the impulse to pass on info is there.
You are in the pre-launch era.
But you can start straightaway with gathering content – your words, your pictures
You can never have too much.
It becomes like a library so that you are never beginning with a blank screen, a blank page and a blank mind.
Write down somewhere your ideas for topics – develop them as much as possible. It’s useful to have a phrase, it’s better to have 100 words already written.
Collect snippets you’ve written to friends or others which can be seeds of longer articles
Every now and then do word searches on the internet – or just potter around – and find interesting articles or topics – immediately bookmark them so you can find them later
Potter through your photos, pulling out ones you like, putting them into a folder you can draw on
Go to youtube and search for videos on your subject area – bookmark these
Physical resources: get a box file (preferably in some pattern or colour that makes your heart sing) and keep throwing into it articles in magazines, papers which are of interest (you obviously research updates on what is in them, at the time of writing, so the info is current).
The choices of theme/layout are immense and bewildering – as you potter around other people’s blogs, worth keeping an eye out for features you like on a blog page, or even a whole page layout which you would like to emulate. Note these down. Then when you’re faced with a thousand choices of layout, you will have your guidelines to help.
Is there a trade show or exhibition on your chosen topic, so you can visit it and include in your blog/instagram? Practice blogging it. Do you have the tools you need to blog? Or is there some tools you can buy to help you work easily on the trot?
Have fun with making content. Know that it will take time and won’t earn you money right off the bat.”
Start listening to podcasts by Problogger
This can take you step by step through the whole process from the beginning of an idea to monetizing it, with a healthy readership/followership.
*On 10 January 2018, Problogger begins a free course on starting a blog – so if you know someone considering blogging, this is a great time to link in with Problogger. Details of this course and podcasts on their website.*
It covers all your decisions, and gets experts to advise.
Problogger was begun and still runs via Darren Rowse – an Aussie guy who has got the right mix of warmth and expertise to deliver useful info pleasantly and in that Australian twang that makes it fun. He is easy to understand and doesn’t use unnecessarily technical language.
He has recorded over 200 brief podcasts (about 20 minutes each) on how to blog well, so far, and counting. The earliest ones are how to get a blog running well in 30 days.
Confession: I haven’t listened to all his 200 podcasts, but I aim to get through a fair few as time goes on. The ones I have listened to have taught me a huge amount of what I know. They’re also amazingly brief and concise – you can learn a great deal just from listening for 20 minutes, making notes and then doing the actions he recommends.
He made it into a major business – but it did take him 12 years to go from beginning, through hobby to part-time then to full-time paid work. He now employs a team to work for him.
Check out Melyssa Griffin
Melyssa Griffin is a social media phenomenon – she began blogging while also working full-time and frankly found it hard work with little reward. She also tried some ways of monetizing her blog, without success – so worth hearing her wisdom on that particular area. Her goal was to earn her living by blogging – and she has accomplished that.
One of her key insights is that you can use Pinterest as people use it as a search engine – so run a Pinterest page and anytime you write a blog article, create pins from it – this gives yet another place for people to find and engage with your blog content.