Starting a blog is a great idea but there are some things you should think carefully about before you start one. I have been working on this blog for almost a year now and it has been quite a learning experience. Each week I learn something new about blogging and wish I had started off with a little more knowledge about what I should have been doing. Here are a few pieces of advice:
- Do your research ahead of time. Prior to starting your blog find a great book about blogging and read it before doing anything else. The best book on blogging out there is “ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income” (amazon affiliate link) by Darren Rowse. Darren also runs an awesome blog by the same name. What you will find as you learn more about blogging is that there are a ton of great blogs out there, but they are far outnumbered by a whole bunch of crappy blogs. If you want to end up in that great column, you must do your homework, work harder than your competition, and be patient. Success will not come overnight.
- Host your own blog. I’ve gone back and forth on this issue over the last year. I originally set up this blog on WordPress.com and loved it for a while. But as traffic started to pick up and I started considering affiliate marketing options, I soon discovered that I could not earn any money from my blog because of the restrictions that WordPress.com places on you. There is a second reason to consider hosting your own blog – design and functionality. The sky is the limit when you host your own blog. You will only be limited by your own technical knowledge. Please learn from my mistake on this one. I am now in the process of migrating my blog over to a self hosted option. I am incredibly excited about the changes, but I sure wish I had realized this a year ago.
- Think carefully about what you want to write about. I have broad interests and whether I am talking about marketing or the latest business book I’ve read, I find that I wander a bit in my writing. You will want to keep your writing tight – stay on subject and do your best to maintain a tight hold on categories and tags. What are categories and tags? Every time you write a post in WordPress you are asked to identify your categories and tags. I would recommend keeping your categories limited to 4-5 items. You can be a bit looser with categories, but even these should be kept under control. The reason for this is that as you start setting up menus on your blog you will end up using your categories and tags as menu heading and subheadings. This will help you stay organized and, more importantly, your writing will end up staying on subject.
- Set up templates for your posts. You will want gimmicks and regular features on your blog. For example, maybe you will have a “weekly rants” column. Save yourself some headaches and set up a template in Word or on your blog platform (if it allows it) so you have some consistency with these posts.
- Break from your routine now and then. I have routines for writing. Without them, I would never be able to write six post a week. you life will have unique demands, but if you want to be successful, you will want to find specific times that you can set aside each week to dedicate to your writing.
Start planning your business blog today and take these five pieces of advice seriously. You will save yourself a lot of time and grief.