To blog or not to blog, that is the question. Pretty obvious what I answered. But in starting this blog, I’ve found out quite a few things in just the first week. This post will try and distill a few weeks of research into a few hundred words. So I present my top 5 things about being a new blogger.
- Research — Black hole of advice, good and bad, but quite necessary Especially being an internet hermit for a while. But more than looking at others advice, just look at other blogs. Look critically at other blogs. Look at what their post topics are, the way its laid out, what works, what doesn’t. What do you as a reader like and what drives you bug nuts crazy. This may be easier for others, if you already spend a lot of time reading blogs it will be a piece of cake. For me, it was and still is difficult. I am constantly amazed at some of the horrible things that get popular, but it also gives hope. Hell, if they can be crap and still get traffic maybe I can actually make it work too.
- Themes — This was by far what I spend the most time on. I mean, I have to look at this thing for the next 15 years or so. Okay, so it can be changed, but I spent so much time fussing the first time, I don’t want to do it again. I am also a bit OCD somethings… Many times… I went through about 15 themes installed, about a hundred more looked at. Background was done by the universally awesome Richard and made him redo it a dozen times. I wanted clean cut, like black and white, but still wanted a little something to pop. I think it turned out okay in the end; not perfect but it has grown on me. Eventually might change the background, but the framework is solid enough to support whatever changes I do want in the future. That is the key really, don’t fuss forever, but find something you like that is changeable without too much trouble. You may not always like unicorn zombies, so go easy on yourself and don’t make it integral to the site layout.
- Who — Figure out who you are writing for. This will flavor your content immensely. Hopefully you didn’t put in all this work to lock it away, so I assume you do want some readers. In the case of a writing blog, are you writing for other writers or for potential readers. Writers will appreciate writing advice, where you’re finding good advice, what booze loosens the tongues of the muses on alternating Fridays Readers on the other hand want so much more. They want you, your personality, what makes you tick. I am sure they are crafting some voodoo magic with it, but if it sells a few books why not let them. They might like the occasional insight into the process, but will bore with the technical jargon. In my newbie baby blog of adorableness, I am aiming for both. For now, this blog is my journey through writing and blogging; the good, the bad, and the editing.
- Why — Similar to the who, but definitely its own thing. Why are you doing this? Find some motivation or will swirl down the drain. Are you writing for exposure to readers, as a journal, writing practice in itself, some narcissistic need to gloat on your accomplishments? No matter why you’re writing, it will shape your blog. While you don’t need to keep the same reason forever, being consistent will help your reader. Or maybe you don’t want to help your reader, you can consistently be inconsistent as well if it fits your reasons for doing this.
- What — What to write about? Why are you looking at me, I haven’t a fucking clue. I have been doing this a week and that’t the one thing I haven’t figured out yet. I had a dozen ideas before I started, but they slowly melted away in self doubt. Even what I have done this week I look back on thinking how it could have been executed better or another topic I “should” have written on. In the end though, personality is why I am here. And trying to get that to shine through is more important than talking about something profound. Everything on the internet has been done, but it hasn’t been done by you, with your voice. At the end of the day you just have to sit your butt in a chair and start writing something. Hold yourself accountable and get it done. Don’t throw crap at a screen, but do throw yourself out there. With all your passion and personality, you should be able to get something to stick.