So you want to start a blog

Sep 13, 2011

Thanks to an ever growing high tech world, thousands of new blogs are born each day.  Most of these blogs, however, fall by the wayside within months.  Seeing that Habit of Art is turning two this month (and this being my fourth year blogging), I thought it only appropriate to share a few words on the topic. Over the last few months, I’ve had several inquiries from folks particularly interested in starting their own blog.  The start up stage of a blog is always an exciting time, but it can also be fraught with confusion and frustration.  Before you jump into blogging, here are some questions to consider first.

1. What’s the point?  If you can’t articulate the purpose of your blog in one or two concise sentences, then you’ll need to go back to the drawing board!  Some folks start a blog because they feel like they should, or they are intrigued with the idea.  But if the passion isn't there, it's going to show.  A good gauge of your interest level is your running list of post ideas.  Can you easily jot down a few dozen things to talk about in one short sitting?   Habit of Art was born out of my passion to share art with others, something I had been doing in my prior careers as a teacher and shop owner.  Even after over 400 blog posts, I feel that I have only scratched the surface. 

2. Can you write?  You don’t have to be an award winning author to be a blogger, but good grammar and solid syntax helps form your credibility.  Take time to edit your posts, and consult Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style (my first book in college) from time to time.  Remember, posting on the internet is like writing in ink. It’s permanent!

3. Are you committed?  Blogging takes commitment.  And, to be completely frank, many of us have commitment issues.  A blog takes at least 6 - 12 months of consistent posts to start acquiring some kind of a readership base.  I tell new bloggers that they shouldn’t even bother starting a blog if they are not in it for at least a year.  For some reason, many new bloggers assume that readers will start flocking to their sites after a few posts.  But building an audience takes time!

4.  What the heck is html?  If you’re not familiar with computer lingo, then expect a high learning curve when starting your blog.  Even though blog platforms have become so much more user-friendly, it still takes some technical know-how to navigate the back end of a blog.  Just importing a photograph into a post, for example, can be a difficult task.  So be prepared to spend countless hours searching forums and help guides when setting up your blog.  And while you're at it, do some homework on feeds, domain names, and keywords.

If after all of this, you're still jazzed to start your own blog, then great!  Sounds like you've done your research and now just need a little push.  Writing that first post can always seem intimidating.  You think that millions of people will read your post after clicking the "publish" button.  The reality is, it's more like your mom and best friend, and only because you gave them the link.  Don't get stuck on having a perfect first post, or the right header design, or whether or not you want your profile on the right or left side of the page.  Just write, and everything else will eventually fall into place. 


ThisTinder said...

Some good tips and it's sooo true how people (me included haha!) expected to have a significant reader base right off the bat. Silly, silly :)

sara.k said...

i love that you referenced Strunk and White! The Elements of Style was like the grammar & style bible in my undergraduate program, and i still have my trusty copy on my bookshelf. i am now a PhD candidate and will probably make my students use it one day too!

i appreciate how honestly you laid out what a new blogger's expectations shouldn't/shouldn't be. i recently (within the past few months) started blogging to accompany my new Etsy shop and as a platform to share art and ideas, etc. i was realistic from the beginning with my expectations, but it can definitely be exhausting! i know that i won't develop a readership if i am not posting regularily, but it can also feel defeating at times writing posts that i know very few people are actually reading, aside from my mom and best friend and a few others who happen upon my blog. it seems like a long and arduous process, but i am hoping it will (someday) be worth it if i can stick it out and find a way to balance blogging with my other activities and responsibilites.

anyway, thanks for this :)

Cathy said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Keep at it, ladies!

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