Avoid early online death: new professional blogger do’s and don’ts

ID-10064533Why start a professional blog?

Are you asking yourself this question?

If so, you might not have found the exciting niche topic you’re eager to tell the world about – yet.

Blogging works best as a platform to educate readers or to spread information about something you are very passionate about. There’s no point in starting a blog just because everybody says you need one.

Think: What do you love telling people about?

Dig REALLY deep

If you begin blogging with a vague idea, sooner or later writing will become a burden.

Boring articles are ones that show lack of enthusiasm. And long lapses between blog posts (just because you felt writing was a chore) will kill any online reputation you intended on creating – before it’s even born.

Long-term commitment

This goes for every kind of online presence. Whether it’s a FAQ site or a LinkedIn group, know that running an online community takes a lot of effort. And at first it will seem to take a long time to get readers and followers.

Building an audience who are genuinely interested in what you have to say takes a heck of a long time. If you want to blog successfully, you’re in for the long haul. If you cannot blog often enough, make sure you have a dependable line of guest posters or paid bloggers ready to fill the spaces.

Here are some VERY BASIC but HIGHLY PRACTICAL tips and tricks to make your NEW blog as READABLE and USEFUL as possible:

1. Know WHY you’re blogging

For businesses and professionals, a blog can be a place to tell people about their services and products in a friendly, informative, non-salesy way. An artist or a writer may want to connect with the rest of their professional community. A performing artist will want to entertain. Many want to convert blog visits to direct sales profits. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve EXACTLY?

2. Follow me!

Your hard core fan base will want to read every single word you type. Provide them with an easy way to follow you, from day one:

  • At the very least, include a ‘subscribe’ box where visitors write their email address and receive your blog posts or newsletters regularly as you post them.
  • Try to include share buttons at the bottom of every post: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Delicious and Digg, as well as email and print options are recommended.
  • Some bloggers like to include an RSS button.

3. Hone your tone

A blogger’s personality shows in a blog. The personality has to be in accordance with the topic and the nature of the business, however. If a blog is about stocks and shares, jokes are inappropriate.

If your passion is comedy, start a humour blog instead. Want to share your parenting skills? Educate people without being patronising. A good rule of thumb is to use a friendly tone that speaks to people on their level – neither beneath or above them.

4. Only post relevant content

If your blog is titled “New York Dog Grooming Trends”, then your blog posts need to stay on that topic. Some professional bloggers post personal information or talk about things unrelated to their subject.

If a visitor clicks on a Google search link that promises them “cool dog grooming ideas for city dogs”, then that’s what they will expect to find. If they don’t, then they won’t stay, nor will they come back, Tweet, Facebook or Pin your site. (Never mind bring Fido to your salon.)

5. Consistency

Some people say you must blog every day. This depend on who you are and who your audience are. Maybe your clients don’t want to receive posts from you every day. Relevant, useful blog posts once or twice a week work fine. Whatever you do, deliver quality, regularly. It’s better than posting meaningless fluff every day.

6. Include clear contact information

It’s remarkable how often people forget to do this. An easily found page that says “Contact” works best. If you include Skype links or an email form, test them regularly to make sure they work. If you can’t be reached easily, you’ll lose potential clients, readers or guest posters.

7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

As Winston Churchill said, “I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”  Ask any blogger who has been around for even a short time, and they can tell you about mistakes galore.

Spelling and grammatical mistakes are the least of them. Deleted domain name, lost databases, comments left open to spammers and trolls… you name it, someone’s done it. But don’t lose sleep over it.

Just go ahead and enjoy writing. Because that is, after all, what blogging is all about.

Convinced?

If you are still thinking about setting up a blog, bear the above tips in mind.  Writing is a calling. Lots of professional writers have a hobby blog or a hub site they love to write for, just for personal satisfaction.

Do you have any other essential tips for bloggers?

 

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

(Video courtesy of Tyler More, Youtube.com)

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