Monday, February 2, 2009

Getting started in blogging

I've been getting a lot of questions lately from friends and colleagues who are considering dipping their toes into the water of blogging, but who aren't sure where to begin. So here are some quick off the cuff pointers from someone who is NOT a huge techno type. If I can get started, then you can.
  • Determine a focus that you're passionate enough about that you'd have something to say a few times a week. Posting frequency varies from blog to blog, but your post frequency should relate to your topic. A blog with personal observations and experiences doesn't have a defined sense of urgency. If, however, you do a newsy blog you won't attract readers if you're not updating frequently.
  • Find a blogging platform that you're comfortable using. I use Blogger because it requires little to no knowledge of html and there are templates to work from. Wordpress and Typepad are also popular blogging platforms that you might want to investigate.
  • Think about how your blog is going to relate to your website. Is it your complete site, or does your main site link to it? One of the great things about blogging is that it creates fresh content for your website.
  • Once you've got your blog up and running, make it easier for people to find you. Register with Technorati to become more easily searchable and get set up through Feedblitz if you'd like an easy way for your fans to subscribe to your blog. Both sites have widgets that you can insert into your blog layout by cutting and pasting code that's already formatted for you.
  • Gussy up your blog if you wish with photos. Blogger can help you upload your own pictures into posts, or you can find photos at a photo sharing site like Flickr.
  • Read other blogs to get an idea how you might format your posts, and to see the "voices" that bloggers use to convey their points. Some are talkative, some sling mud from time to time, some are a bit cerebral - you get the picture. Comment on their posts and/or include links to their blogs in your own posts. Reciprocity can create online relationships with other bloggers and generate a cross-pollination of regular readers.
  • Participate in the blogosphere. Some blogs (like ProBlogger) have contests from time to time that help other site fans find you if you enter. There are also blog carnival sites where you can post alongside other bloggers by topic. If you attract a one-time reader with an awesome post you might just wind up converting them into a regular blog follower.
  • Consider recruiting a guest blogger from time to time to change up your content and voice. A "celebrity" contributer, whether it's from the blogging community or from your home town, can attract new readers for you.
  • At some point you'll consider whether you can make money from your blog. Google Adsense is a way to earn revenue from your blog, but it requires reader traffic to do much for you. Also consider other ways to connect your blog to your revenue stream. Mine is focused on clients and prospective clients, so the connection to revenue is a little different than some other blogs might be.

I guess that's about enough for right now. But if you're thinking of getting started and have questions on how to go about it, shoot me a note and I'll be happy to help as much as I can. Good luck!

1 comment:

Jim Poland said...

Excellent insights on both innovation and on anyone wanting to make a go at blogging!