[tweetmeme source=”helpmerhonda11″ only_single=false]I love blogging, and apparently 200 million other people do too. Anyone can have a blog…but suppose you want to write a blog that people will read, and Google will notice? Ten steps to get you started:
1. Find and read other people’s blogs. Use lists of popular blogs in your field (Technorati, All Top, or other “best of” lists) and find a few top blogs you like. Start following and reading them.
2. Develop your blogroll. Once you find the blogs you like, check out the author’s blogroll for blogs that they like.
3. Comment. Social media is called social for a reason! When you find a blog you like, develop a relationship with blog authors and other blog readers, through your comments. By commenting on other people’s blogs, people will find your blog. Paydirt!
4. Subscribe. You could bookmark all the blogs you like, but that would be so…2006. Instead, subscribe to a reader (that orange thing-y that you never noticed before) and subscribe.
5. Develop your positioning. You need to answer two questions: “what is your blog about”, and “who is it for”?
The answers may seem obvious, but there are many nuances, from using a blog as your own personal soapbox, to being more generally helpful to your audience.
My point is: you must determine the message/POV of your blog — whether your goal is to create a source of useful info, or opinion, or something else — before you begin.
My friend Rob Peterson writes about developing a creative brief when you start a blog, and that is good advice. Decide on your audience and your positioning, and don’t start blogging without putting some thought into it!
6. Be clear about your goals. People blog for lots of reasons; be clear about yours:
- 1) readership and traffic
- 2) building your reputation
- 3) creating content for other social platforms
- 4) getting noticed by search engines, etc.
This is not an exhaustive list. Knowing your goals – what your are trying to achieve—will help you figure out the strategies and tactics that will get you there.
7. Develop an editorial plan. Once you decide on your audience and what you want to blog about, you have to sit and write the thing! Great advice can be found in this article, from Social Media Examiner.
8. Design your blog, First, name your baby, then give it a home. Time for more homework…do your research!
Research WordPress (dot org and dot com), vs. Blogger vs. other platforms, what features you want to have, how it should look: Here’s what I chose to get started: a WordPress.com template, with some basic widgets (Blogroll, social sharing icons, categories, archive, etc.) for sharing and subscribing. Tons written on this, and your blog can be as elaborate or basic as you like, depending on your goals.
9. Share. The fun part…post, tweet, facebook, linkin….unleash your inner social marketing diva!!! Learn how to list your blog with webmasters and blog lists, and develop a social media plan for sharing your content with the rest of the world.
10. Mature and Grow. My blog is just a toddler…WAH! I started with the basics, and this baby will grow and mature as I go along. A year from now, it will look very different. The key for me was to get started!
Take these steps — no shortcuts! — give it time, and you will be successful. By the way, if you have a blog you want me to notice…leave me a comment!