Many of our readers here at Project Inspired have expressed interest in starting blogs of their own. Ten to twelve years ago, blogs were the new face of the Internet. Now, thousands of blogs exist to provide personalized information on every topic under the sun. What makes blogs attractive over online magazines and news articles is their personal nature; they reflect a person’s individual experiences and opinions. Since each person has a unique story, it’s no wonder so many people want to start blogs of their own!
At the writing of this post, I have been blogging for over 11 years. What started as a hobby all those years ago eventually led me to my life as a freelance writer. If you’re interested in starting a blog, here are five things to know before you do.
1. You Don’t Have to Know Your Niche Right Away
I didn’t know what I wanted to write about when I started writing. Those first 40 or 50 posts were on all sorts of topics—cooking, crafts, coffee and poetry being just a few! It took years of writing to figure out what I was most passionate about and what people wanted to read from me.
While it’s helpful to know your blog’s direction from the beginning, it’s not absolutely necessary. It’s better to start writing, get practice and figure out your direction through trial and error than to never write at all. You can even make a blog private if you want to start writing in secret until you’re sure about your blog’s direction.
2. You Don’t Have to Write Every Day
One big misconception among new bloggers is that you have to write and post every single day. This is not true. You will definitely improve your writing if you write something every day, but don’t make it your goal to publish something every day. Good writing comes after reflection, taking time to sit with a topic, rewriting a few lines and tweaking the language. Though I plan out my blog posts months ahead of time, I don’t publish posts every day. I work on them a little at a time and only publish two a week on my own site, with only a few more than that published here on Project Inspired.
3. It’s Not About the Numbers
This is the most important takeaway for new bloggers: Writing is not about page views. From a technological standpoint, page views don’t actually mean that much. You want returning readers, not just one-time visitors. So don’t get sucked into the numbers game! It took years for my writing to be recognized and even longer for my following to grow. What matters is your commitment to your topic, to quality writing and to educating yourself about how to improve. The longer you go unseen, the longer you have to become even better at your craft.
4. Quality Is Key
Speaking of betterment, smart bloggers shoot for quality, not quantity. This is another reason you don’t need to post every day. Work on fewer, better posts—posts with good grammar, clear content and engaging topics. Think about what your readers would find most useful or entertaining. How does your personal experience intersect with those topics? What are you an expert on? What can you teach people?
It’s always good to have another set of eyes on your work. If you have a friend who is a “grammar nerd,” have her read over a few posts before they go live. Grammar and spelling are very important if you want to be taken seriously as a writer.
5. It’s a LOT of Trial and Error
Lastly, blogging is a lot of trial, error, failure and getting back up again. I’ve deleted a lot of old posts on my blog that were just terrible! I had to learn the hard way in so many things, and I’m constantly learning new lessons as technology changes.
Blogging is not easy, but it’s very accessible to those who want to jump in. It’s free to begin—try WordPress or Blogger to create and publish your blog (WordPress is the most popular platform). It only takes time, dedication and creativity. Give it a try!