I was recently asked to put together and deliver a presentation on “Blogging Basics” for the library where I work. I certainly don’t see myself as a blogging expert, but I do enjoy putting together and delivering presentations, and I would consider myself pretty knowledgeable in the field of social media endeavors, marketing, and web 2.0 and library 2.0 kinds of things. I agreed… then I forgot about it and procrastinated until the day before.
I think I did all right. #Nailedit
Without further ado, here is said presentation:
I really enjoyed this, though I had a small crowd. For one thing, I always enjoy presenting much more than I think I will. For another thing, organizing my thoughts this way helped me sort of review my own blog and renew my passion to write and share my stuff.
What will your blog be?
1. Pick a topic or niche for your blog. Ask yourself:
- What do you want to write about?
- What are you passionate about?
- What blogs do you enjoy reading?
- Who is your audience?
- What do you want your audience to know?
2. Pick a name or title for your blog. Ask yourself:
- What describes your blog?
- Is your potential name memorable and catchy?
- What are similar blogs called?
- What are keywords your audience might search for?
- What does your potential name look like on screen and sound like aloud?
3. Pick a platform for your blog. Ask yourself:
- Are you willing to pay for hosting?
- How much flexibility, customization, plug-ins do you want?
- Do you want to host, install, and configure on your own, or rely on a service to do that for you?
- Do you want to monetize? (Keep in mind monetizing isn’t easy with some blogging platforms)
Some popular blogging platforms include…
WordPress: WordPress is available for free with limitations or pay for a full-on experience and tons more options. It is extremely customizable, plug-ins are available (if you pay for the service), there are more than 1,000 themes. WordPress is one of the most popular blog and website creation services.
Blogger: Blogger is a Google service and is available for free. Several templates and backgrounds are available. While there isn’t as much freedom as far as customization it is easier to monetize with Blogger, using Google’s AdSense service.
Tumblr: Tumblr is a free social network that allows users to share content and create original posts. Tumblr is sort of a mix between Twitter and Facebook, and could be considered a form of micro-blogging.
Medium: Medium is a free platform that allows users to focus on writing. There are no plug-ins, sidebars, ads, etc. The focus is truly on writing, and the idea is that users will share their own stories and ideas and read others’ as well.
Marketing Your Blog
Get the word (your words!) out there!
1. Write good content.
- Use proper grammar and punctuation.
- Write what you know and be confident in what you’re writing about.
- Be original and interesting.
- Use quality images, videos, and other sources. Many of your readers are visual consumers.
- Let your readers get to know you.
2. Establish your blog.
- Create a few good first posts. You want to have content (not an empty shell of a blog) when you start getting visitors.
- Create an about page and determine how you will use your sidebars and menus.
- Consider adding an email subscribe button or an RSS feed subscription button to your blog.
- Consider creating a Facebook fan page and other social media network pages for your blog.
- Always respond to questions and comments on your blog and emails you receive via your blog. You want to establish not just your writing, but also a relationship with your readers so they’ll keep coming back.
3. Share your blog.
- Tell your friends and family you’ve started a blog. Ask for support.
- Consider (again) creating fan pages or accounts through various social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.).
- Share your content on both your fan pages and on your personal social media networks.
- Tell people about your blog in-person if the opportunity arises naturally.
- Don’t be annoying with any of the above. Don’t beg.
4. Take advantage of what’s popular.
- Use popular hashtags and keywords when sharing content.
- Blog about current events and other popular topics.
- For blogging ideas Google “trending,” or check Twitter, Buzzfeed, and Yahoo for what topics are currently trending. Share these topical blog entries you’ve written soon, while that trending topic is still actually trending.
- Consider being a devil’s advocate when blogging about what’s popular. It stirs the pot and gets attention.
5. Do some detective work.
- Search for content creators and consumers that align with your blog’s niche.
- Join Facebook groups, subreddits, and message boards that revolve around blogging and your blog’s nice.
- Follow other bloggers and interact with them.
- Search Google or other search engines for “[your blog’s topic] blogging groups.”
Maintain the Momentum
Don’t run out of gas!
1. Create and work to achieve blogging goals. Some goal ideas:
- Write ## blog posts per week.
- Increase your email/RSS subscribers by ## each month.
- Update your blog’s Facebook fan page or your Twitter feed ## times each week.
- Comment on other blogs or message boards ## times each week.
- Link to ## other blogs each week.
- Spend ## hours each week marketing, sharing content, and networking with other bloggers.
2. Do something your readers will remember. Try these ideas:
- Create a series of posts (part 1, 2, 3, etc.) or numbered lists (i.e. “top ten canning recipes”).
- Run a contest and offer a prize.
- Flatter your readers by writing about them.
- Guest post on other blogs, and invite other accomplished bloggers in your subject area to guest post on your blog.
- Write about something popular or even controversial. Playing devil’s advocate always attracts attention.
- Refer to or link back to your existing content. Try reviving old posts by creating a post about previous posts.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed researching ways to make my blog better. A few resources I used are:
Starting Your Blog: http://startbloggingonline.com/, http://www.ehow.com/how_2045008_start-blog.html, http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Blog, http://wordful.com/how-to-name-your-blog-what-makes-a-great-name/,
Blogging Platforms: http://mashable.com/2014/05/09/16-minimalist-blogging-platforms/, http://www.edudemic.com/minimalist-blogging-platforms/, https://blog.shareaholic.com/best-blogging-platform/, https://blog.shareaholic.com/best-blogging-platform/)
Marketing Your Blog: http://startbloggingonline.com/how-to-promote-your-blog-and-get-visitors/,
Blogging Goals: http://blog.osmosio.com/101-blogging-goals-grow-blog/, http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/blogging-goals-types-of-goals-to-set-for-your-blog/, http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/8-different-tips-for-promoting-your-blog/,