It has been a year of blogging for me and no I’m no expert in the subject. Still have a long way to go…..so many things to learn. This post is my take on blogging, my experiences that could be of use to anyone who is toying with the idea of starting a blog.
So, if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or renewing the focus of/ revitalizing your current blog, first question to ask yourself is;
- What are you going to blog about? What are you going to focus on?
- Whatever it is, do you feel strongly about it? How much of the ‘topic’ is part of your daily life now?
- Is your interest in the field so strong that you will stick to it no matter what?
If the answer is YES to all of these then you have to decide (or at least have a general idea) on how many times a week you will post. Yes, doing all this ground work before you actually zero in on a platform or registering the name of your venture will help you out in the long run. The frequency of posting depends on your time and comfort level.
The moment the blog idea hit me I knew that I wanted to post all five days of the week. Why? Purely based on my experience as an avid blog follower for the last 3-4 years.
My policy as a reader is, “If you have got me hooked then you have to keep me hooked”. And most of the prominent bloggers have set a precedent of posting 5 days a week. So once I’m fed on a diet of 5 posts a week and I visit another blog where I read the same post from last month or even from 2 weeks back I’m devastated. You check a blog to see what is new.
To me it is like checking the newspaper the first thing in the morning and seeing the same old news. I wouldn’t want to see that in my newspaper so I decided 5 days was the right schedule for me. I know a lot of folks do not agree with me. That is ok. All I’m saying is my opinion. Also, it is just hard for me not to think with my Marketing cap on. You know, I was just a course short of a dual major in Marketing (with Finance) for my MBA. Reading a new post every week day (I think on weekends folks are usually too busy with their activities to check blogs) becomes habit forming pretty soon akin to reading the newspaper. This in turn translates to repeat/loyal readership.
Then comes the most important task. In an excel sheet jot down your list of first 100 (yes, you read that right 100) posts or 3 months worth of post inventory if you plan to blog less than 4-5 times a week. This is actually a litmus test. If you cannot come up with 100 post (3 months of inventory) ideas then you will have to go back to the drawing board about your topic and pick something that you really really feel passionate about. Yes, before I went live on New Year’s day 2012 I had made a rough list of my first 100 posts, all the way till March end. I still have running log of post ideas for 3-4 months down the line.
Once you have your list think of a name that best summarizes your blog’s ideas and goal. Now it is time for all the technical stuff like choosing a platform, deciding on whether to self host or hosting it elsewhere, design template etc. More on that later (in a different post).
Another thing that helped me a lot was to write the posts for the first few weeks ahead of time (before you actually launch the blog). My repository of posts for the first month was a boon as I did not get overwhelmed with all the work in the beginning itself and I had enough time to work on projects, photos, and write posts for the next month.
When you are writing your posts, pick the tone and style that you are most comfortable with. For some, it maybe formal (supposed to give a more authoritative feel), semi formal (like in an editorial), or informal (the way you speak). As you have guessed by now I’m most comfortable writing exactly like how I would speak to you if you were in front of me.
One thing to understand from the start is that as much fun as it is, blogging is a lot of work. A lot of work! More than you can imagine. It is almost like having another baby. So if you want to be good at it then you will need a lot of commitment.
Ready to start your own blog? Or are you happy just reading through my experiences? Check back tomorrow for my list of don’ts once you start the blog. 🙂
You can read the rest of the Blogging 101 series here.
Blogging 101 – Part 2
Blogging 101 – Part 3