A couple quick lessons for new bloggers…
At first I was going to render this as some sort of fairy tale is teach a lesson about spending so much time on irrelevant things that the main character ended up missing opportunity.
But then I realized some things…
First, I am not all the great at fairy tales.
Second, I don’t think my point would come across quite clear enough…
If you start a blog to express your Love for Dolphins. Where does learning SEO come into play? Bottom line…it doesn’t. Blogging is about writing…not about WordPress…and SEO shouldn’t be your #1 concern.
As much as I love WordPress and promote it, the important part of blogging is doing just that. Bloggers by definition express themselves online – writing is all. People pushing SEO and content management and CRM down your throat are just trying to make a buck. Don’t get me wrong…once your writing is developed and you have a good 30-100 posts done and you’ve found your Mojo, maybe looking into self-promotion is opportune, but if you aren’t technically savvy, all you’re doing is wasting valuable writing time trying to do it yourself and to be honest, on the web…everything you get free is worth just that…nothing.
Even more importantly, get yourself stable on the blog you are using. I don’t mean to imply learn it from a developers standpoint, I mean learn how to use it properly. I’ll be using WordPress as an example (mainly because almost every other platform is either under-developed or over-priced).
Lesson #1 – Know where you’re going before you go there!
There are a lot of different places to land some free blog space. Blogger.com/Blogspot.com are both very popular blog areas, but they are almost secular with regard to the rest of the net, and can really be a minefield if your intent for the blog is professional in nature. Tumbler.comis sooo not a blog…its more like Twitter on crack than it is a blogging venue, although many many bloggers use it to advertise their posts.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two incredibly different animals. WordPress.com is a service that offers free WordPress blogs to people on the net. This version of WordPress this service uses is incredibly crippled and offers the user virtually no control or room to modify. Then there is WordPress.org, this is the actual WordPress website that offers the platform the big players use. Whats the difference? Simply put, if you become serious about your writing and/or blogging, there is a huge likelihood you will end up having to move away from WordPress.com at some point as they can get incredibly pricy for modifications to their service. That’s right, the blog only stays free as long as you don’t need any additional functionality, past that it’s a fee based service.
Lesson #2 – Find Your Red Dress! (quoting Jenny!)
Some time ago this awesome person did an incredibly inspiring article on..well…a red dress. In finding and digging on that red dress, she just gave everyone the impression she’d just finished living happily ever after in some Disney flick. It was that kind of happy! Now it’s not like I’m implying that’s my goal…as much as everyone would enjoy seeing it…busting out in a red dress isn’t my gig…but the symbolism in this was all too clear. Find your own groove. Do what makes you happy, and for Jesus-on-a-pogo stick write like you’re finding that voice every second. I have some reading suggestions I’ll put at the bottom of the article as well.
Lesson #3 – Mingle!
Check out some other people’s sites and start to reading, start looking at their site, are they a good read? Make sure and comment where you feel the urge, many bloggers consider comment activity a measure of how successful they are at reaching larger groups of people. Also by commenting on their blog, others might be drawn to read your blog (which is usually linked in said comment). Now you’re doing more than just checking out other sites…you’ve become social, and inso doing…you’ve started networking (even if it’s only a few people).
Important books you can read that will make you a WordPress Power User:
WordPress All-in-One For Dummies
This is pretty much everything you need to know. If you need something that this book doesn’t cover, chances are you need a professional to help you.
This is a good starter book as well. Highly recommended.
ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
This book is a must have for anyone looking to write blogs professionally. If you want to make money from your blog…read this book.
Now…there you have it. Enough quick advice and a few books to make sure you don’t completely drop the ball in creating your first blog or website.
Now for my last bit…some all-encompassing advice. There are a lot of people out there that own businesses and are real do-it-yourself types. A business website should be handled professionally, anyone can learn how to put together a rudimentary website with a few Google searches and a few more brain cells. Putting together websites that are designed to promote a business or product are a whole new animal, and while there is literature out there to help you, nothing beats experience and professional development when it comes to websites and making them successful. Advertisement and promotion can often break a bank, but only if you don’t shop around.
I offer hosted blogs for $50 a year as long as you don’t break 5gb bandwidth a month (which is a LOT…if you’re breaking that you’re already making $ from the site). Most of my competitors charge more than double that. These aren’t crippled blogs and you pretty much have your run of the site. I am just listing this as an example, because there are some really incredible deals out there.