Blogging… For normal folk

Anyone can write a blog these days.  It’s easy.  There are so many different blogging platforms available and the good news is that a lot of them are free.

Find your topic

Before you even think about how or where you’re going to blog, it’s helpful to know what you’re going to blog about.  Will it be a purely personal blog about your day to day thoughts and musings or will it be related to a specific topic?  Will it be a mixture of both?  Will it have multiple topics?  It really doesn’t matter which road you go down but it will make life a lot easier if you stick to that path so thinking ahead is fairly important.  If you start a blog about programming computers and you write a post about your love life, chances are that you’re going to lose readers whereas a personal blog that features occasional posts about programming is probably OK.

The big difference there is that topical blogs are mostly followed and read by people interested in the topic and personal blogs are read by those interested in the person.  Yes, there are exceptions but successful examples are rare.

Set your goals

Even with a personal blog, it’s good to have goals.  What do you want to get out of your blog?  Are you trying to improve your writing skills?  Maybe you are blogging for a cause or an organisation and want to increase awareness.  Maybe you’re looking for feedback on something you are doing.  Setting goals will kelp you keep your blog on track.

Writing for your readers

A lot of blogging “how to” guides tell you to write for your readers.  In some cases this is important.  A professional blogger, for instance, will probably need to keep the numbers up and growing but that’s not actually the case for most.  For personal blogs, the numbers don’t really matter.  This, of course, depends on your goals.  For personal blogs, it’s almost certainly best to write your way and gain readers that like your way of doing it.

Find your platform

This is quite daunting for most people that have never blogged before.  There are almost too many choices but in my opinion, you can’t go too far wrong with a personal blog by using something simple like Posterous or WordPress.  I use Posterous for almost everything I post online these days because it’s just so easy.  WordPress is a little more powerful out of the box but can be a little confusing for someone with no previous blogging experience.

Get blogging

Hopefully, you’ve now got a better idea of how to get started.  There’s no definitive right or wrong way to go about it, just do what suits you best.  That’s all I do and it seems to work for me!

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