I have had 5 blogs -- yes, 5 -- since the 90’s. My current one is the only one that survived. But with those closed blogs, there were lessons I learned that I didn't repeat with the next site, and I am here to share a few of them. Every day I learn something new with my website and blog.
I am 100% self-taught. I have built my knowledge base from breaking things and then figuring out how to fix them. Afterward, I am smarter than I was before I broke my blog. Blogging friends – you know what I am talking about. We have all been there. I found I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge, beneficial to those starting out or who those looking to take their blog to the next level.
Before we jump into the lessons, there is one thing to remember:
Your blog will always be a work-in-progress.
It will never be complete. There will always be a new feature, design, template you want to test... and that is good.
Image: Kevan via Flickr
That being said, your blog still should have a strong foundation. Here are 3 painful lessons that I learned from my years of blogging. I am willing to share these lessons and save you the headache down the line.Lesson 1: Keep a Blog Skill Wish List
Before you even dip your toes in blogging waters, plan out your blog. Some things to think about:
- What is the purpose of your blog?
- Who is your target audience(s)?
- How often are you going to post?
- Do you want your blog to generate income?
Investigate how other blogs similar to how you see your blog-to-be are operating. Get a feel for how they have set up their writing platforms.
Make a blog wish list of all the tools you want. Even if it isn’t in your first 3 versions, continue to grow your wish list. When you have time, tick off some items. It will get there.Lesson 2: Listen to Other Bloggers
If your research reveals that WordPress.org is better than WordPress.com, then follow the advice. Or if you find a trend of bloggers complaining about one host and moving to another, save yourself the drama and do what they say.
You may have to pay a little more for better quality. WordPress.com is free, WordPress.org costs money. However it will be worth saving you the time and aggravation of having to switch mid-stream. One blogging friend told me, “If you are going to blog, do it on WordPress.org.”
I didn’t listen but ended up there a year-and-a-half later. Same thing with hosting. I have found many bloggers buy their domain names through GoDaddy but host elsewhere due to consistency issues. After having my site down 6 times in one day, I switched to HostGator. The entire process took about 2 days, but my site hasn’t been down since.Lesson 3: Choose a Good Niche
Silver Linings, one of my failed blogs, was about finding the positive in negative situations. It was a great cathartic release at a dark period in my life. But suddenly – excuse the pun – the clouds parted and the sun shone through. Life was great – and I had nothing to write about.
Choosing a broad topic ensures there is always some aspect you can write on. That is why DIY and Parenting bloggers do so well. They always have another project to try, product to review, or story to share.
That is why my current blog is my most successful blog. The topics related to social media, branding, and blogging are endless!
Those are 3 blogging lessons you need to know when it comes to blogging. Remember: think, research, and plan. And finally, jump in and write.
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