I’m writing this post as I get a lot of mails regarding things one needs to do to be a blogger. It has been almost a 3-year journey for me. I was very erratic in publishing my articles in the first year. I used to publish one article a month, sometimes not even that. I used to constantly question why anyone would want to read what I have to write. Am I adding any value whatsoever. In the last 3 years, I have given up on my blog too many times as well. It’s not easy to put yourself and your life out there. There have been occasions of complete writer’s block and panic. There have been times when I have received little response for the article I have poured my heart into and that’s the most heart-breaking thing. I have cried a lot over it too as I didn’t know anyone in the blogging world with no one to give me direction and I felt helpless.
I want to share a few things I wish I knew when I started my blog. I’m no blogging guru and whatever I’m sharing is from my experience and observation in the last 3 years.
1) Purpose – There has to be a purpose for your blog. Define that purpose as that’s what will guide and give direction to the content you plan to share. I started my blog with a purpose of inspiring people to pursue hobbies, passion and anything beyond their regular work life and parenthood. Even though I write about a lot of other stuff but that’s still the underlying theme.
2) Social Media Presence – You can’t have a blog and not build on your social media presence. You need to experiment and figure which platform is your strength and work towards building a strong follower base. But the thing to remember is to not overdo it. Don’t keep selling and advertising your work at every opportunity you get as that can be quite a put off.
3) Patience and hard work – A blog requires a lot of patience. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for people to start responding to what you have to say. The credibility takes time and effort. It’s a lot of hard work. Be prepared to spend a lot of time. At times, just posting an article and getting the aesthetics right, takes half a day. And then there are frustrating days and weeks when you can’t think of anything new to write. If you’re seeking short-term ROI, or a quick path to recognition, blogging is the wrong path.
4) Domain name and layout – Once you’ve thought of a name for your blog, buy the domain name and create a website powered by WordPress. I spent about 300 initially. There are a lot of free templates available too. I spent 5000 in buying a new template after a year or so when I started earning a bit from the blog. Having your own website and a good template offers a lot of flexibility to make changes as your work evolves.
5) Google Analytics – Sign up for google analytics and keep checking the numbers on a regular basis. It will help you gauge what topics your audience prefer reading. I will be honest that I don’t do it as often as I should.
6) Engage with your audience – Interact and respond to all queries and comments you get on your blog. I try to do that as much as possible.
7) Don’t force content – Even if it means not sharing or updating the blog for weeks, content should be original and not forced.
8) Try to be positive – advise that is easier given than followed. I have ranted multiple times in my blog but it is only through such experiences that I learnt ranting is the lowest form of thought there is. Even the most challenging things can be said in a neutral or positive manner. Also, there’s enough hate out there, a positive voice is a fresh perspective people want to listen to.
Having said that, the only thing that has truly worked for me in this space is being honest and that, sometimes, is the hardest thing to do. Everyone has something to say that the world wants to listen to as long as they say it from the heart.