We can learn by reading and studying a topic, but nothing serves as a better teacher than experience. There comes a time in any endeavor when you are required to gain that experience by jumping in with both feet. I chose to jump this past July when I started Luke1428.com.
Last Friday, I wrote about the 4 things my first 50 blog posts taught me about myself. Today, I would like to share 6 things my first 50 posts taught me about blogging.
The Blog World Is Different Than the Message Board World. This may seem like an obvious difference but for some reason I had lumped all types of Internet posting into one category. I think part of my hesitancy and fear to starting a blog came from all the nastiness I’ve read over the years on message boards. I have found the blog world to be a place where people are writing to help one another, not to tear others down.
Even Part Time Blogging Is A Lot of Work. If you can’t create time in your schedule to run a blog and regularly post articles, then don’t even start. It is a lot of work, even for something I would consider part time. It’s more than just writing. To be effective, you also have to focus on things such as site development and maintenance, managing comments, reading other blogs, figuring out about making money through advertising (if you want to go that route), and building a following through other social media such as Twitter or Facebook.
Keep Your Life Balanced. Blogging takes a good deal of time and can even get addicting. I have to be careful not to let it interfere with more important areas of my life like my full-time day job (which I actually get paid for), my family, and my church activities. I don’t have to check my blog every 10 minutes to see how many page views I’ve received.
Plan Ahead to Save Time. Nothing creates frustration and pressure more than coming up with an idea for a blog post, especially if you are up against a self-imposed schedule (ex. posting every Tuesday and Friday). It is helpful to plan some topics well in advance. I would also recommend getting ahead by writing three or four articles in advance of their scheduled post date.
Develop Your Own Style. Everyone has his or her own style – there is no right or wrong way to write a blog. I like to incorporate lists when possible because they help organize my thoughts. I try to keep paragraphs to three or four sentences. I also am working on brevity for my posts, with a general goal to aim for 500-600 words. I think these things help the reader, in that it draws their focus to your points and cuts down on the time necessary to read your post. (I try to use a template like the one Michael Hyatt recommends in this helpful article.)
Intent and Emotions Are Hard to Decipher. I need to make it as clear as possible to my readers if I am joking, being critical or being sarcastic in a post. If they are unsure about my intentions, I may scare them off and they won’t comment. If they do comment and have misread something, then I will have to go back anyway and clarify a statement. This clarification may make them feel bad that they “misread” my intentions and therefore, hesitant to interact with me again.
Thanks to everyone who has stopped by sometime during my first 50 posts or who has followed me on Twitter (@Luke_1428) or at my Luke1428 Facebook page. I look forward to interacting with you more over the course of my next 50 posts.
Do you use any type of a template for your blog posts? How far ahead do you write your blog posts – 1 week…2 weeks? Ever had a bad experience because you didn’t understand what someone was trying to say in a post? What have you learned about blogging that you didn’t know before you started?
Next Post: Putting My Trust Where It Belongs