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Advice for New Bloggers

January has rolled around again.

The start of the new year got me thinking about all the people who might have ‘start writing a blog’ on their list of resolutions, intentions, or things they hope to do in the next 12 months.

Which in turn got me thinking about the advice or suggestions I’d offer to anyone just starting out on their blogging journey. untitled by K. Sawyer on Flickr

It sometimes seem as if you need to learn all the rules about how to blog, to absorb all the advice, and follow all the ‘shoulds’ both spoken and assumed.

That can leave you tongue-tied and wondering just which way to turn.

Yet blogging is also an audacious act.

Yes, it’s simple, (often) free and easy to get started.  There are no barriers to entry.

But if you stop and think about it (best not to, in fact) the very notion seems presumptious.

Audacious.

Sharing your thoughts, perspectives and ideas with the millions of people who are using the internet.

Then sitting around waiting for just one reader to turn up.

Yes, it’s a conundrum indeed and although I don’t like the idea of ‘rules’ I do think we can help each other find the way, and that seasoned bloggers have lots (and lots) of valuable experience, lessons learned and practical advice that it would be good to share with those who are just starting out.

Pointers for New Bloggers

As a starter for ten, here are mine:

1. Link Out

Get into the habit of linking out to other bloggers whose work you enjoy.  Most bloggers are curious (with just a touch of ego!) and will follow the link back to your site.  Do this organically and naturally and it’s more likely to work (slowly).  Link to bloggers who are a bit bigger or better established than you - but not so big they’ll never have the chance to visit all of those who link to them. I learned this lesson from Mike Sansone in this post on how to avoid a dead (arm) blog.  It was a real ‘aha’ moment for me.

2. Visit Other Blogs

Don’t spend all your time at your own place getting it just right - go out and about visiting.  That’s the way to pick up ideas, learn, get inspired, and connect up with people you want to talk to (through linking and commenting, see above and below).

3. Comment

It’s the best way I know to get to know other bloggers and build relationships.  Plus if you leave a thoughtful comment, or even a kind one, other people may follow your words back to your blog.

4. Get Free Advice

Soak it all up.  There’s lots of it, and it’s all free.  Problogger is the best place to hang out for new tips (and a great archive)

5. Experiment

There’s no ‘right’ way to blog, so experiment till you find what works for you.  (Not just for new bloggers!)

6. Keep Going

I think we’ve all hit dips of wondering why we’re doing this and if it’s ever going to work.  The trick is to keep going even when it seems like it’s not working.

7. Don’t Worry

If you realise you want to change direction after a while… don’t worry.  You learn from writing.  You learn from blogging.  It’s  natural to shift, change and grow as a result of that.  Plus you’re much more likely to stick with it if you go where it feels natural, easy and fun.

8. Trust Your Instinct

Yes, soak up all the advice… but not to the extent you feel rule-bound.  Trust your own instincts.

9. Keep It Short

Internet readers have a short attention span.  Unless you can write spectacularly well you’ll save yourself time and bother if you keep your posts on the short side.  If you’ve got one big fantabulous idea that needs to be shared with the world try breaking it down into a series of short posts.  That way more people are likely to read it.

10. Just Start

If you’ve already got going - well done!  If you’re thinking about it… don’t worry about learning all the advice first.

It could paralyse you and get in the way of you doing what you want to do.

You’ll learn as you go.

Yes, you’ll make mistakes, but that’s the best way to learn, and to find what works for you.

If I had to pick just one, I’d pick the first.

Link out.

There’s nothing worse than writing wonderful stuff and not having any visitors.  Link out intelligently and they will come.

Now It’s Your Turn

What advice would you give to new bloggers? Do you have a tip or suggestion that someone gave you that saved your blogging bacon? What helped you most in the early days?

Photo Credit: untitled by K. Sawyer on flickr

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Comments

  1. Recommended reading for writers - January 2009 | Write for Your Life says:

    [...] What Advice Would You Give to New Bloggers? | Confident Writing This is a very useful post for us beginners and it’s one of those where the comments section is as useful as the main event. [...]

  2. Alexander says:

    Again, Thanks for your posts! Though I am semi-new to blogging I only have one advice for new bloggers. That is to learn from every possible blogs out there that help you learn about blogging. And to be yourself when blogging. A lot of us tend to fall into the trap of blogging to make money or writing about things that have no value to us or our readers. OK, maybe I had two advice.

    Alexanders last blog post..Through The Dark Times We Must Overcome

  3. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Alexander, making two points is just fine… and they’re both very good. If I had to go for one of them… be yourself. Always.