Thursday, February 5, 2015

My 7 Secrets to Starting a Blog

I was asked this week - "I've started googling how to start a blog and I've gotten some answers.  But, what would you say?

Not that I even begin to feel like an expert in this category, but I guess if you write and you play and you try that at least gives you the fortitude to tell your why.  

So, as I wrote and shared with my colleague, I thought I might share my initial thoughts (probably more opinions) here-
    7 Secrets to Starting a Blog - my personal thoughts...Just Start. @bigpittstop #bigpittstop
  1. Develop - As much as you can do and develop before you launch, the better.  Really think through what your blog brand will be - equipping, informing, general discussion, food, style, parenting, couponing, etc.
    This is critical because you will create a following and then keep a following by consistency.
    If a fashion blogger all the sudden started doing a food special every Friday, you would think…”what the heck”!  Give your customer (aka audience) what they came for.
    c.  You don’t walk into Williams Sonoma and expect to find gym shorts…not gonna happen.
    Know your categories and what you are going to write about and write about them.  Then think critically over time about introducing a new theme. 
  2. Visual branding, name, tag line, think about what and where - you will have several elements of trial and error as you get everything in place, that is reasonable, but dont make it spring cleaning every month (at some point the husband gets annoyed when the couch moves everyday).
    I cannot begin to imagine all the things that have changed in my "blog crib" over the last 8 years.
    b.  Your blog corner of the blog-o-sphere will be different from my "lifestyle" blog.  My genre has a little more flexibility to always changing and trying something new as I learn it.  A leadership blog, an educational blog, a blog by a “personality” – they don’t have the same flexibility
    Do some research and experimenting in knowing “who” you are before you jump out there.  Otherwise, you will be re-branding yourself in 6 months and re-hiring graphic designers and blog professionals to fix it all.
  3. Research - Look at what other people are doing.  Look at what they offer, how they offer it, how it’s laid out.
    What do you like and what frustrates you, especially from a navigation perspective!
    Who are "top bloggers" and why - you may not be in this to be famous, but if you can't create and keep a following, what's the point? (and yes, just blogging for your own personal development is an appropriate reason to write….that’s how you got here!)
  4. Wordpress - from everything I know, this is the way to go to set up your blog.  This continues to be the personal battle that I have about my own blog.  I use blogger and its super easy and user friendly and has been for the last 8 years. But all of the support and the way more and more people are going is to go WordPress. 
    Just offering my “what I would do now”
  5. Subscriptions - Have a “search” and “subscribe” feature from the beginning. My friend Jacqueline at Do Good Work would tell you capturing your “followers” or customers is key to running your brand, yes even your personal blog brand!
    These are easy “gadgets” or “elements” you can add to a standard blog template
  6. Reveal - Consider your launch.  Think about a "soft opening" process for a restaurant.
    Who do you want to lay eyes on it first, can you handle their critique and feedback and adjust what you can.
    What does "going public" look like?
    Have planned content, maybe even start writing now so that when you launch you have something to offer.  Too often people put their blog out there and then spend lots of time “building” it that they offer their readers nothing and loose traction. 
  7. Professional - Don’t just take my free opinions, hire someone.  There are lots, and lots, and lots of people who can help you.    
If you don’t like these suggestions (which you would be silly not to!), then that’s what The Google is for.   But, research and then play.  Know yourself, but dont be scared to learn and develop and change.  It takes time, it takes wisdom, but most of all, it take experience!
Start. Just start somewhere. 

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