Blogging 101

bloggingI was over at the OneNaijaBlog and ran across a post about lazy bloggers. You can read it here.

I don’t know about lazy though. This checklist could actually easily apply to inexperienced bloggers too. For example, when I first started blogging I didn’t really understand a thing about inserting myself into a larger community.

I was too shy to comment on most posts. I didn’t think I had anything that great to say. I certainly didn’t reference other people’s posts. I was in fact overwhelmed by simply trying to get the content written, so I didn’t even make time to read other people’s blogs in my niche. Big mistake!

Plus, I had this fear that if I did that I’d send them all the traffic and not get any of my own. Another big mistake!

So I’ll sum up Babanature’s list because it is a very effective “Blogging 101.”

1. Write your content on a regular schedule.

I chose once a week for this blog because I’m pressed for time, handling posts twice a week for about 10 blogs. I didn’t want to create a schedule I couldn’t live with.

Notice he mentions not changing your day. I committed this blogging sin by going from Monday to Wednesday after I accidentally missed a week. I decided to just get back in the saddle after making this mistake, however.

2. Plan on pitching and attempting to write a guest post at least once a week.

This will feel like a huge time suck at first. You’ll send queries out into space. You’ll send out some bad queries.

And then you’ll hit on one or two that accept your posts.

And then you’ll eventually find yourself building enough relationships that people invite you to guest post, which is a pretty sweet situation to be in.

3. Have fun getting to know other bloggers in your community.

He mentioned that if you don’t post on your commenter’s blogs you’re being lazy. I’d contend that you’re going to be hard pressed to get comments at all if you don’t immerse yourself in the niche.

So read other people’s stuff. I like to create a “Blog Comment List” on Twitter, something I set private, to help me keep track of the places I’ve been. I want to become a regular, not a fly-by-night comment dropper, because I’m more focused on building relationships than backlinks.

Go comment. And watch as people start inspiring posts on your blogs as well.

As a side note, install Comment Luv. It’s amazing.

And use social media to build those relationships further. It’s amazing how well it will eventually work.

The rest

The rest is all technical, such as Babanature’s comment that you should be backing up your blog. There are little details to setting up your blog or theme that you should know. It’s nice to be able to take screen shots, and it’s a good idea to subscribe to a stock photo site that you like because most people don’t like staring at an unbroken wall of text. (I’m about as visual as a tree stump, so it took me forever to learn that one).

Finally, keep trying. Blogging is the kind of thing that only comes naturally after you do it for awhile. This is especially true if you’re an insecure introvert like I am. It’s going to take you some time to get into the rhythm of things. Don’t be afraid to write stuff that just isn’t brilliant from a blogger’s perspective. It takes a long time to realize that blogging is not the same as regular writing. Blogging is a lively conversation at the world’s biggest conference, and writing holds none of those elements.

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