Tuesday, January 15, 2013

10 on Tuesday: Tips for Starting a New Blog

This post could alternately be titled "Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Blogging"

A bunch of the students where I work are being encouraged to start blogs for their teaching portfolios.  I also have friends that see this blog and think that it's cool, but then comment that they "could never do something like that."  Well if you can type, then you can blog.  But here are some tips for getting started.

  1. Really think about your name/address. There are some times that I wish my web address didn't involve my last name.  Sometimes I wish that I was more anonymous with it.  But what's done is done, and I've never posted anything that I wouldn't share with other people in person anyway.  I know that I have to be real and honest with what I say because my real name is associated with this blog. There isn't a "right" answer here, but just put some thought into it before you get started.
  2. Think about your audience and your purpose. What are you planning to say and who will you being saying it to?  There are blogs for all different types of topics. Some people even have more than one blog-one for personal stuff, one for business stuff. At one time I had my personal blog and I also had a blog for the daycare where I used to work.  There's nothing wrong with that, just plan it out ahead of time.
  3. Plan how you'll organize things. Once you have your topic and audience in mind, decide how you will organize your posts.  One thing you can do is tag your posts for certain topics. I have tags with each of the kids' names, so it is easy to find all the posts about each child.  I try to tag recipes with the word "recipe" so I can find all of those things together.  I haven't always made good use of those tags, though and some things aren't as concise as I'd like. Every once in a while I go back and try to label things better just for my own personal satisfaction.
  4. Make yourself a schedule.  Currently, my goal is to write a post every day during the week.  But my blog is about my every day life experiences.  If your blog is about craft projects, you might only do a post a week if that's how long it takes you to complete a specific project.  Again, there is not a right answer, but you will do better going into it with a plan.
  5. Read other blogs.  Note what you find interesting.  Poke around at how they are organized. Decide what you like and what you don't like.  Most blogging platforms have specific templates you can use and tweak to your liking. Looking at other blogs will give you an idea of what things to look for in your host site.
  6. Follow other blogs. Whether you subscribe in a Google reader or follow RSS feeds, find a few blogs that you really like and find yourself wanting to come back to.  Some of the blogs on my sidebar belong to people I know in real life, while some of them are people I've never met, but find amusing or insightful, so I go back to them regularly.
  7. Comment on other blogs.  Especially once you've got your blog started.  There are blogging communities you can join in order to find like-minded bloggers and get new followers to your own blog.  Just like starting a new school or a new job, you want to make friends.  Comment on other blogs and maybe those writers will come visit you and comment on your ideas.
  8. Respond to comments.  I always try to visit the blogs of people who write comments on mine. It's polite and it's part of building community. It's also a great way to find other blogs who might want to follow.
  9. Be ready for criticism and make a plan for dealing with it.  I blog about my daily life. I try not to get preachy about things. I don't do politics.  Even still, I've gotten rude comments on my blog.  My personal policy is to delete and move on.  There are some bloggers that seem to thrive on the controversy.  They allow all kinds of comments and discussions and even sometimes personal attacks in their comments. There are even people who follow those kinds of blogs just to watch the drama! (I admit to having a blog train wreck that I follow, but I haven't been as invested in it lately).  I can't tell you what you should do, but think about it and plan how you want to respond to nasty comments you might get.
  10. Have fun! I LOVE blogging! It's a great record of my family.  Some people scrapbook; some people keep a diary; I blog.  I can see pictures of my kids from way back when they were little. I can re-read little anecdotes that I had forgotten about. I can even go look up when Frances lost her first tooth, 'cause you all know I didn't write that down in a baby book!! (*OK, I lied. I apparently didn't write down the exact date, but it was around her 6th birthday!)
Anybody else have tips for new bloggers?  Add them in the comments!


  1. This is a great list of tips!! They are extremely helpful! Especially the one about using tags! I never use tags, but I only have a handful of posts right now. I'm sure as I plan the wedding (and when I have kids and all of that cool stuff like you have in your life), I will have many more posts and I will want to find the old ones; good advice!

    Also, I agree and take the same approach to the rude commenters. Remember when I had a complete stranger on my first post say, "No one cares about you and Leonard"........rude!!! haha.

    Anyways, thanks for the tips! These are helpful! Blogging is FUN :-)

    1. I think some people just like to troll around the internet being rude. To be honest, sometimes I wish I had an anonymous identity where I could say everything I'm thinking, but I DON'T!! :)

  2. Great list! You could start a separate blog with an anonymous identity to say whatever you are thinking. Just a thought.

  3. I'm still pretty new to the blogging world and I must say, these tips are much needed. I may need to print your tips. Visiting from SITS, and so glad that I did!

  4. The only thing I'd add is to be yourself in your writing and create your blog the way you want it. If you don't like your blog it doesn't matter how many other people do; it won't be satisfying. And if you try to force yourself to be something you're not it will seem fake and people won't be interested. But great tips in your post!

    Stopping by from SITS.

    1. That's a good point, missrobin. I think people can tell pretty quickly when someone is being fake about their life.


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