Next month, I have a couple of talks on blogging scheduled (one's for a writing group in Palmer, PA (Sat, 27th), the other's a library-sponsored talk in East Brunswick, NJ (Mon, 29th)), so I've been busy working on my presentation.
I thought I'd share another of the tip-sheets I'll be giving out. It's called 10 Decisions to Make When Starting A Blog.
These are geared towards folks who want to develop a broad readership and, as always, are just my opinions, other folks might feel differently.
1. Decide you’re going to enjoy blogging.
Blogging takes time and effort. Whether or not you have fun with it makes a big difference. If you see your blog as a chore, so will your readers.
2. Decide you want your readers to enjoy your blog.
This might sound daft – of course you want your readers to enjoy your blog - but if you’re looking to develop a broad readership, then I recommend you always keep that in mind. What you blog about is important, but the way you go about it will have a huge impact on the number of readers you get.
3. Decide how much time you want to spend on your blog and stick to it.
The internet can become a drain on your free time if you let it. It helps if you decide just how much time you’re prepared to spend blogging per day/week/month. You can always adjust it later, if needed.
4. Decide you’re in it for the long haul.
Developing a readership takes time. If that’s your goal, don’t expect it to happen overnight.
5. Decide what you want from your blog.
If you know what you want to achieve from the outset, it’ll help you plan your blogging strategy (including what username you decide to go by,which blog host is the best for your purposes etc.), and keep you going when things don’t seem to be happening the way you would like.
6. Decide on your blog’s main theme.
On the face of it, having a specific theme for a blog would seem counter-productive. You might think it’s better to post about anything and everything, thereby casting a wider online net – if you’ll pardon the pun. Trouble is, there are so many blogs now (as of October 22nd 2010, Live Journal alone had 31.6 million journals and communities making over 150 thousand blog posts every day), unless you have a main theme, you’re just a lone voice in a very large crowd.
7. Decide whether you want to social network or social broadcast.
Social networking ie: interacting with people through comments on their (and your) journals has its benefits, not least of which are loyal readers and great online friendships, but it can take up a lot of time. Social broadcasting ie: talking at people rather than to them, is a perfectly acceptable use of your blog, but be aware that you’re unlikely to gain many new readers this way, unless they’ve already heard of you from somewhere else, and even then, without interaction, they probably won’t listen for long.
8. Decide how often you’re going to post.
How often you post is up to you (I try to post 4-6 times a week), but whatever you choose, I recommend you develop a regular posting routine and try to keep to it.
9. Decide to keep Mr. Cranky-pants and his cousin, Miss Bait-the-Natives, offline.
Quite aside from the hurt or offence you might cause someone else, one ill-considered blog post or spiteful comment can and will damage your online reputation. We all have our off days. We all say or do things we instantly regret. Don’t let a lack of self-control undo all your hard work.
I left #10 blank, what would you put on a ‘Blogging tactics – Decisions to Make When Starting A Blog ’ list?