Are you all ready to start your new blog but a bit hesitant at the same time? Don’t worry. You’re like many other people who want to do the very same thing but aren’t sure whether they’re doing everything right. The first thing to know is it’s best to just get going and now be so concerned about all the details. You can easily tweak, adjust, and correct things as you go. The hardest part is getting started. So, take the advice that painting instructors often give their students and go forward.
After you dive in, it helps to work with a sort of checklist and slowly move through each item. The following mistakes, myths, and musts are an ideal way to tighten up your writing, focus efforts, decide about demographics, and avoid the most common pitfalls. Perhaps you’ve been at it a while and already learned a few lessons the hard way. Well, now is the time to take the easier route and simply jot down a few notes about how to proceed. Which of the following mistakes are you making? Which myths currently plague your perception of the blogging world? Finally, are you aware of the musts?
Mistake #1: Writing Term Papers
When you create a post, check to see whether it reads like a term paper, formal speech, or scientific journal article. If it does, scrap the whole darn thing and begin again. The trick to getting the right tone is understanding the number one contradiction about blogs: they are in written form but should sound and feel like spoken words. In other words, dispense with formalities and speak from the heart.
Avoid academic terms and formal jargon. Write it the way you’d say it. Some people have found a clever solution to this challenge by speaking their posts first, recording them, and then transcribing it all into written form. The big bonus of doing so is speed. There are several very accurate speech-to-text apps out there that can help you turn your recorded words into relatively error-free text.
Mistake #2: Being Too General
Compose specific pieces rather than general ones. Most of your readers will already know the wide-topic stuff about the subject. They want to learn specifics. So, if your site is about coin collecting, avoid the urge to explain how you got into the hobby or why coin collecting is so interesting. Readers who don’t yet know you don’t care about your personal history. More importantly, they already love the hobby and find it interesting or else they wouldn’t be reading coin blogs. What’s the solution?
Create specific items that deliver value and relevant details. For example, in the above example, you might come up with a title like “Why the New Coin Grading Systems are So Controversial,” or “How to Appraise a Morgan Silver Dollar.” Those concepts are specific and relevant enough to attract a decent readership.
Myth #1: My Site Will Pay for College
No, it won’t. That is unless you’ve been at it for several years and have built a huge readership. If you want to earn a college degree and earn some extra cash on the side, that’s a realistic goal. But don’t delude yourself by thinking a new blog will bring in enough money to pay major expenses like education, a car payment, rent, or mortgage. A realistic plan for students is to borrow from a private lender to pay for schooling.
That way, you can spend a few hours per day building up your readership, keeping up with studies, and working toward a degree. Private loans offer competitive rates, reasonable terms, and are a great way to pay for college so you can focus on getting good grades and blogging in your spare time.
Myth #2: 500 Words is an Ideal Article Length
The 500-word myth has been around a long time. There’s a long story about how it got started, but the important thing to remember is that is it wrong. In today’s cut-throat world of online content, if there is an ideal length for articles or posts, it’s in the 1,000 to 1,500 range, measured in words. The major search engine algorithms have changed in the past several years.
Longer content rules and that 1,000-word line in the sand is an all-important one to watch. Not only will longer posts attract more readers, but you’ll also get a lot more back-links, too.
Must #1: Comment
For every few hours, you spend creating content for your own blog, spend at least one-fourth that much time reading other blogs and commenting on them. Keep the area of inquiry to your own niche, but try to make multiple comments on sites that are similar to yours. Be positive, polite, and constructive when you comment, but be sure to include a hyperlink back to your own site so people will know how to find you if they wish. This is a relatively effortless way to bring in new readers who already have a keen interest in the niche.
Must #2: Post Content Regularly
People who peruse the internet in search of interesting content are drawn to sites that put up new articles consistently. Whether you choose to do a major article deluge once a week or add content every day or two, choose a schedule and stick to it. Once you build up a small readership, they’ll expect you to continue creating and posting new stuff regularly, based on what they have already seen you do. A simple solution is to use a free app that can schedule your posts.
That way, you can write 21 articles during a two-day work-a-thon and set the app to put one per day on your site for the next three weeks. Then, go on vacation and forget about the stress of running a topic-specific page.
Must #3: Use Images
People love images, and if you include at least one per piece, you’ll attract more attention to everything you post. There’s no need to pay because you can use any of the royalty-free resources on the net. Likewise, consider creating and using info-graphics where appropriate.
Readers share them, save them, print them out, and otherwise adore info-graphics.