8 Tips for New Bloggers
I would not have the life I have if I hadn't started my blog in 2012. After writing over 600 posts, publishing a book, and moving across the country to live the laptop lifestyle, I've learned a lot.
And I want to pass what I've learned on to new bloggers.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
When I started, I didn't want to “blog.” I thought blogging was something 16-year-old girls did so they could write about boys and breakups. Instead, I wanted to call them “articles.”
I'd also never bought a domain before, and I'd never even heard of WordPress.
But over the last 6 years, I've come a long way. Lol, I couldn't have gone an inch backward, and I couldn't have known any less. But, here I am, in Cincinnati, Ohio, a thousand miles from where I started, and I make a full-time income from the content I create.
Can I share what I've learned?
8 Tips for New Bloggers
1: First Impressions Matter
Creating content is a delicate balancing act: make the best content possible while publishing before it's perfect (and before we're ready).
As bloggers, we tend to think “it's just about the writing,” but the truth is, we all make judgments based on our first impressions. I remember around the 2010 – 2011 timeframe, back before SmartPassiveIncome.com was pretty, Pat's site was pretty ugly. So ugly, that I didn't visit again for years.
When someone lands on your website, they will judge you. Spend some time making your entire website look great and function smoothly.
2: Improve Your Quality
If words are your tools, you owe it to yourself to make sure you know how to use them. And, you need to use them correctly.
Spelling and grammatical errors will undermine your authority, hinder the effectiveness of your message, and make you look stupid. Once someone sees a spelling error, they're going to hunt for more, and when they do, they stop reading for content.
HINT: Turn on the spell checker inside Jetpack. I show you how to do all of this in my blogging course 8 Weeks to Exit.
HINT: For the love of Mike, please check your work before you hit publish!
3: Write More Than You Publish
Writers write. If you want to be a writer, you have to not only love writing, but you have to write a lot.
I publish about 80% of what I write. However, I write, re-write, and edit far more than what I publish.
Related: Why I Always Come Back to Writing
Stephen King wrote Carrie, but he threw it away. His wife, when cleaning Stephen's office, noticed the stack of paper in the trash can. She pulled it out, read part of it, and brought it back to life.
Although Carrie was eventually published, Stephen was willing to throw away his masterpiece and start working on something else.
Writers write. Practice writing. And write more than you publish.
4: Write Something That Scares You
As a new blogger, I played it safe. I still worked for Dell, and I was constantly aware of what I wrote and how it could affect my job.
Safe is boring. Nobody wants to read boring.
When you're first starting out, a lot of things might scare you. You might not want to share about your personal life, or you might be afraid to say what you really think. However, until you do, until you're raw and real, your writing will be flat and emotionless.
No matter what you believe or how you feel, YOU WILL OFFEND SOMEONE. It's better to be disliked for what you truly believe than to be disliked for a persona.
5: Read (Almost) As Much As You Write
Some of the best writers might be outside your industry. I get a lot of inspiration from reading fiction. Lee Child, with his Jack Reacher series, has shaped my writing style more than almost any other author.
If you want to be a writer, you need to study writing. I highly recommend On Writing by Stephen King. Basketball players play basketball and study plays; musicians play instruments and write music. If you want to be a writer, you need to write and study writing.
6: Include a Personal Story
One thing my readers always say they want to read more about are my personal stories. Your readers will want the same thing.
Share about your life. Intertwine personal anecdotes into your writing, and you'll accomplish two things. First, you'll open up and let your readers in on a little bit of your life. Second, when you can relate your teaching to something in your own life, your message will have more of an impact.
7: Get Good Hosting
If your website goes down, people can't read your blog. And, you'll look unprofessional.
I use and recommend GreenGeeks for smaller blogs (less than 1000 visitors a month), and WPEngine for larger sites. I've never had a site go down on either host, and both provide amazing 24/7 support via chat or phone.
8: Learn From the Experts
Building a brand and business around your blog is hard work. There's a LOT that goes into a website in addition to your blog, and learning it all on your own takes a long time.
To help new bloggers get started faster, I created 8 Weeks to Exit. In eight weeks, I'll teach you what it took me two years to learn about blogging, SEO, e-commerce, and content marketing. An investment in yourself is one of the best investments you can make, so spend time learning from the experts in your industry.
If you're looking for other tools I use, click here to check out my Resources page.
Over to you: What's YOUR best tip for new bloggers?