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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Blogging: Your First Five Steps

Here are some ideas to help you get started with blogging and keep at it.

1. Blog often and write the best posts you can.

Try to blog daily or at least several times a week. This will get you into the habit of writing and you'll get more of an idea of what your blog is about. The more content you have the easier it is for people to find your blog.

It doesn't matter what you blog about as long as you are comfortable with it. Try to have more original content than quizzes, videos, and similar material. Items like these can be useful when you have writer's block but don't rely on them too much. You should try to add an opinion or anecdote to such items.

2. Leave the blog design alone until you have the time and the confidence to do a good job with it.

The basic template designs may seem boring but they are adequate. Some bloggers spend more time playing with the template than they do blogging. They either make a bad mistake and lose content or end up with a nice design but no content. If playing with the design interrupts your blogging too much stop tinkering for a while.

I have come across a number of dead blogs with great designs and very few posts.

3. Comment on other blogs and respond to comments on your blog.

Comments are a major part of blogging. When we comment or respond to comments we are having a conversation with other people. Comments turn 'writing on the Internet' into blogging. Getting comments tells you that you are being noticed. You aren't alone. Responding to comments makes your visitors feel welcome.

In Blogger I allow anyone to comment and I don't use comment moderation. I do use word verification to stop comment spam. These settings have worked fine for me.

4. Practise good blogging behaviour.

As I said before blogging is a conversation and like any dialogue it has rules.

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated.
  • Credit your sources of information.
  • Don't 'hotlink' to images or videos - that is bandwidth theft.
  • Don't use anyone's content without asking permission. Content is copyright protected even if that fact isn't stated.

5. Learn more about blogging.

Blogging may seem a bit overwhelming at first. There are so many ideas to consider and many options to choose from. Things can get frustrating at times but if you are patient and willing to ask questions everything will work out.

There are many forums, blogs, and websites that can help a person out. If you approach these sites with an open mind, and some common sense, you may learn a lot.

Your greatest sources of help are other bloggers. Most are willing to help if they have the time and the right knowledge. You may be expected to help them at a later date. When I help another blogger I always do so with one condition: that the person I help be willing to help another when the time comes.