I’m still a novice at blogging, but I have learned some things along the journey so far. I initially used a Google hosted blog, but after a few months transitioned to WordPress so I had more options on how it looked. Since then I’ve posted 101 blogs which converts to about a week straight of writing. That doesn’t account for the brainstorming, the planning, the researching, or making any headers, or going through photos. Just writing. I’ve spent a pretty good amount of hours in 2020 working on blog things so I’ll share a few tips on what this novice level blogger has learned in the process.
#1 – Make time for a plan. Blogs don’t just “happen”.
The first blog I ever wrote was because the mood struck me. I was in an Airbnb in Vermont with a friend and decided it would be fun to share. The blogs since then have taken much more intentionality and planning. Some weeks or months are more intentional than others, but it requires planning.
Back in December of 2019 I wrote out some themes and ideas for the year for posts. I started to sort them into themes and topics. We’re in August of 2020 and I’m still following about 1/2 of what I had planned at the beginning of the year. For this year, I’d call that a win.
Tip: Carve out time before a new year, then quarterly to work on the topics and themes for the upcoming posts. This doesn’t actually include any writing time, JUST planning time.
#2 – Actually make time to write.
The best version of me has about 6-10 blogs pre scheduled for the upcoming month. The not best version of me writes them the night before, like I am with this one. My current schedule for posts are twice a week at 5 AM on Tuesday and Fridays. This is a schedule that worked for me and I’ve stuck to this schedule all but three or so Fridays this year.
Tip: Be realistic. How often can you post? Twice a month? Once a week? More often? Less? Commit to a schedule that works for you where you can pre schedule things ahead of time. Figure out how to make sure writing fits in your schedule so you can keep the promise you set for how often you’d post.
#3 – Figure out the technology.
I did not know how to use WordPress before this blog. I still have only scratched the surface of the platform but I know more now than I did before. I have also learned how to use Canva, as well as a few other platforms like Pinterest to promote the blog. To me, this isn’t the “fun” part of blogging by any means, but it’s important.
Tip: Incentivize yourself to learn the dull part of the work. Order pizza and watch Youtube videos. Pour a glass of your favorite beverage and learn how to adjust your themes or set up a header. Make dull into something more fun.
#4 – You are responsible for getting your point across.
This is still a work in progress for me but I’ve learned a lot about written communication in this process. Book summaries as well as travel itineraries challenge me to take a lot of information and condense it into a 5-10 minute read. This is hard for me but so good. Working on my written communication in this blog has given me good practice for other writing opportunities.
Tip: Have others read your blogs and give you feedback. What was helpful or unhelpful? Did it add value? Was the point you wanted to communicated what they took away from the post? Listen and adjust.
#5 – Be willing to write a blog that nobody reads.
I initially started this blog for me. I wanted a way to document my travels that wasn’t a photo album or a video on my phone. I wanted something more tangible. I hoped that others would find value in what I wrote so I kept writing. My close family and friends read my blog and that made me excited. Then I had people begin to subscribe. And then I learned Pinterest and a some of my posts have been many more times than I could have hoped.
Tip: Be willing to put in the work when nobody’s looking and write the blogs when nobody is reading.