I’ve been blogging for way too many years to count, and blogging regularly on this site since the summer of 2012. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and it’s high time I share the blogging tips and tricks that I’ve learned.
First off, write about what you want to write about.
You’ll see some blog advice saying that you should research what blogs are popular and then write about that. No! That will never work! Sure, home improvement blogs may be popular, but I have zero skills in that department. How could I ever write about that? No, write what you want to write about. Write what you would like to read. Write about what you’re passionate about.
Does your blog have to have a singular focus?
Well, no, but I think once you get started, you’ll end up settling in on a particular subject. My blog is mostly running and triathlon related, though I write about other things and events as they pop up. Why? Because I want to. That’s the joy of having your own blog. You can do whatever you want to do.
How often should you post?
Conventional wisdom says that the best blogs keep some sort of a schedule, be it once a week or once a day or five times a day. I aim for one post a day on the weekdays, but that doesn’t always happen. If life gets away from me, I miss a post here and there. If I’m out of town, sometimes I get some posts scheduled, sometimes they don’t. This blog isn’t my job and I refuse to let it get in the way of my life.
Should I post about EVERYTHING?
Well, if by that you’re asking if you should talk about everything in your life, then my answer is no. There is such thing as an overshare. And this is coming from a runner and triathlete who has had conversations with near strangers about poop. I think there’s something to be said about balance. And be cautious about talking about work. Not every employer wants you to talk about your job online. And if you do, make sure you only say positive things. I mean, we all have stressful days at work, and that’s fine. But talking about how your boss is an idiot (note – mine is not, and I say this not just because she knows about my blog) is a terrible idea.
What if no one reads my blog?
They will eventually. But you have to tell people it’s out there. Share your blog on Twitter (but don’t tweet your links constantly – that drives people nuts). Go to other blogs and leave comments. I know that I like to visit the blogs of commenters to this site, and most of those blogs end up in my feed reader as well. Check out linkups, which is where a bunch of bloggers write on the same topic and then post the links to a single place so everyone can read them.
But don’t have a blog just because you want readers. You have to want to write as well. For me, a big reason for having a blog was to track my training. I’m terrible about keeping a training journal. Ask my Coach. I’m still not great about the detail in my Wednesday Workout Recaps (which I haven’t posted this week, whoops). But at least with the blog, I’m putting some serious thought into my race recaps and talking about where training goes really right or really wrong. And it’s a great way for me to look back.
What are some good blogging resources?
I do my blogging on a self-hosted Word Press site. I like it because of the freedom it allows me. The hosting isn’t free, but it’s under $10 a month, and I think it’s worth it. You can also have a free blog on WordPress.com or Blogspot. Whatever is easiest for you.
One huge advantage to Word Press is all of the great plugins you can use. Some are free, some cost a bit of money, but they can make your blogging so much easier.
To help me with scheduling and social media posting, I use CoSchedule (affiliate link). I like the ability to move my posts around to fit my whims and to schedule social media links. I have a day job – I’m not on the blog monitoring things all day.
I use the Pixabay plugin to help me find images for the post, like that high quality image up there at the top. I know a lot of bloggers like to spend time personally crafting images for their posts. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Well… I guess they do. I don’t have time for that.
I like the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, which, as you can tell by the name, is what creates the list of related links at the end of each post.
I don’t love my current commenting system, but I haven’t found one yet that I do love, so that’s that. But there are a lot of options out there.
So that’s about 900 words on what I know about blogging. What are your favorite blog tips? Have a comment plugin to suggest?