What do I wish I knew when I started to blog?
As part of being DIFFERENT in 2015 (my "word" for this year), I wanted to share some blogging comments and tips I have gathered through the years.
I've had this post in my drafts since January (January!). And now it is almost October.
This year has been a different year than any year in my life. My spouse and I, as a team, have faced new challenges, and my blogging has suffered for it.
As a result, I decided, a couple of months, not to enter any more blogging challenges (something I've done almost continuously since 2011). Yet, I feel I do need to give something back to the blogging community. I am not a blogging expert, but I have been blogging since 2009. I am continuously learning, and hope that, if you are new, some of these tips may be of value to you.
1. I wish I knew there was such a thing as blogging challenges when I started. If you want to grow your readership (and who doesn't want followers, for either personal or business reasons?), this is one of the fastest ways to increase your readership. By reading the blogs of those in your challenge, you will quickly learn what works - and what doesn't.
2. I wish I knew that consistent posting is key. I highly recommend daily posting, at least for the first month or two of your blog. Once you establish yourself, what becomes necessary is not daily posting, but, rather, consistent posting. If you don't want to post daily - and many bloggers don't want to, or can't - then it helps your readers to know that you have a schedule. Then stick to it.
3. I wish I knew there is no such thing as a perfect blog post. Perfection is not necessary. Passion IS necessary. If you don't like what you write, your readers won't, either.
4. But, you must know what your readers want. A blog is not all about you. It is about your readers. My readers seem to love pictures of snow (in the winter) and flowers (the rest of the year),
5. You must read your readers' comments. You must! Those comments are more valuable to a blogger than breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even good chocolate. For example, last week I wrote a blog about fall, which turned out to be a bit self centered. A couple of my readers gently reminded me that much of the world does not experience quite the same fall as upstate New York (where I live). My sin? I had taken my readers for granted.
6. Related to #5, I wish I knew how important it was to comment on, not just read, other blogs. Yes, don't be shy. Comment! And if you do disagree, which is fine, please, please, please, be respectful. There is a person, a living, breathing human being with feelings, on the other end of that blog post you like or dislike.
7. Realize you are an expert - on something. Then go for it. On the other hand, don't blog about something just because an "expert" tells you to.
Experts have good advice, but only you are the expert on you. (Say that fast, three times!)
If you love something, work that into your blog posts. If you couldn't care less about that topic, don't bother. Blog about something you love. I can't emphasize this enough. That dislike/boredom/lack of passion will show right through your writing.
Be real. Be you. It's not as easy as you think, but it is worth the effort.
8. Finally: appreciate your readers. Let them know often. I don't do that enough.
If you had advice to new bloggers, what advice would you give?