I began blogging in February because I wanted to improve my writing skills. I learned a few lessons along the way that I want to share. These are aimed towards those just starting out with their blog.
It is important to realize which kind of blogger/writer you are and this may take some time to figure out.
Why are you starting your blog?
Viewers and likes?
To earn money?
To improve as a writer?
To share information about something you are passionate about?
To become famous?
To make people laugh?
I told myself that I did it mainly to practice writing, but deep down the increased traffic to my main blog made me feel good, it made me feel important. The validation in the form of likes and views and visitors gave me a rush, initially. I sat down and regrouped after about two months decided that my blogs (Medium and WordPress) would be focused in some way about writing or the creative process. It was time to stick to what I aimed to do, which was write short stories and eventually a novel. The purpose of my blog is to gain a following while continuing to improve my writing.
Focus on a niche
I began my blog by writing random articles about things I found funny or interesting. These articles got me some considerable traffic, but I later realized I wanted to focus solely on writing short stories and the creative process. The issue with writing about random topics is that your reader starts expecting a certain type of blog. If a lot of your traffic comes in through a funny article about superpowers, then they will likely expect similar content if they choose to come back. This is hard to deliver because you write about numerous topics. There is a reason why most articles on the topic of starting your blog focus on warning its readers against writing about every random thought that pops up in their head.
Set a schedule and stick to it.
This is perhaps the most difficult part and I did not expect to have trouble sticking to a schedule of producing solid content after only three months. The truth is, life happens and other interests and random occurrences spring up out of nowhere. For me, it was taking a week off of work, enjoying music festivals with my friends and losing a shitload of money trading cryptocurrencies. Here I am now, desperately trying to put something together to regain my love for writing and regain my daily habit. I don’t think it is difficult if you are passionate about it. If it feels like hard work or you stop enjoying it, you may need to reconsider. For me, it took looking at my idea notebook and realizing that I have at least 30–40 ideas written down for articles or short stories. Figure out how many articles you want to release per week, put down deadlines in a calendar and stick to it. I would recommend Google Calendar, as you can easily sync that your phone.
For more on organizing your writing/time, read one of my earlier articles.
Find reliable sources of traffic
Once you have determined the purpose of your blog, the next step would be to figure out where your target group hangs out on the internet. There are many options to choose from. Some places to start are:
- Quora — Just search for your topic and there will be groups dedicated to it.
- Wattpad (specifically for writers)
- Facebook groups
- Google Plus groups
- Reddit (every topic will have a subreddit devoted to it)
- Twitter — find people, companies, groups dedicated to your niche/topic
The key takeaway from this is that you need to also engage with your sources of traffic as much as possible. It is not about just spamming your content in various places and hoping people will come walking through the door.
Engage with like-minded individuals
This is perhaps the most important step of them all. Most people know that you must be willing to put in the time and provide value before you can demand or ask for it back. This is a tip you can use in any aspect of life but is very true for blogging. As a beginner writer, I like to read a few Medium articles a day and I occasionally go to #shortstories to read. One of the key things to remember is that you need to leave meaningful comments. Give them feedback, tell them how you related to the article, or tell them if they were wrong (back this up with facts, but do it in a non-confrontational way).
We all know the blogging world can be daunting, but by thinking about some simple rules and creating great content, the battle is half won.
Please share some of your tips for starting out as a blogger below.