Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on having a blog that’s good for your readers.” – Brian Clarke

There are a lot of things I wish I had known before starting my blogging journey that would have saved me both time and money. Quite honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing and, naively, I imagined that readers would flock to my blog because my posts were simply that  “awesome” (at least in my mind).  I am a little embarrassed by my earlier attempts and how they now seem to be a regurgitation of my ideas more than anything. I did not know the rules of the game, being a fledgling blogger.

Fast forward almost two years, there are things I would definitely do differently today. I made costly mistakes and wasted time on things that were not even helping me. I am still learning and changing things It is a process.

I hope that this blog post will help you navigate the blogosphere and provide some guideposts to help you in your blogging journey.  The following is a list of useful tips for new bloggers.

  • Be passionate about what you are writing about
  • Don’t obsess over design
  • Don’t have a confusing layout
  • Don’t blog just to make money
  • Don’t be cheap
  • Focus on quality writing over quantity
  • Don’t expect quick results
  • Don’t write about an unfamiliar topic
  • PÀromote with the right tools for your blog
  • Don’t blog about you

1. Be passionate about what you are writing about

I believe this is probably the most important tip. If you are not writing about something you love, why are you writing at all?  Our passion will show through our writing. Readers can pick up on what is fake or contrived and what us authentic. If you are not passionate about your subject, your blog will quickly become drudgery and you will have a very hard time, not only finding new topics t write about but also connecting with the needs of your readers. So, if you are not passionate about it, don’t do it.

2, Don’t obsess over design

Some bloggers spend a lot of time, and, might I add, money, trying to get their blog looking perfect. I have news for you – your blog design will never be perfect. As bloggers, we are constantly updating, enhancing and redoing our blogs, but spending too much time on the visual design can take time away from being able to create good content, and content is really the meat and potatoes of your blog. Don’t obsess over the visuals. Do your best and adjust when you can.

3. Don’t have a confusing layout

There is nothing that turns a reader off quicker than a confusing site layout. Keep it simple and easy to navigate. No one has time to try to figure out where to go on your site if it is confusing. Rather than have a menu for everything. limit your site to a few main categories (you can always tweak these later).  Make sure that links are working properly and lead readers to the appropriate pages.  Also, the visual layout should also be simple. No one wants visual overload.

“Done is better than perfect.'” – Sheryl Sandberg

4. Don’t blog just to make money

You will be disappointed.  To continue with point number one, and at the risk of being redundant, be passionate about your writing. Blogging just for the opportunity of making money will show through your writing and your blog.  For sure there are overnight successful bloggers, or so it seems. Truth be told, most of them have probably been writing for a long time in the background or maybe they are super obsessed about marketing an promoting. Blogging is first and foremost a conversation. Making money from your blog is a side benefit.

5. Don’t be cheap

I was definitely guilty of this one and naively so.  I thought it was all about writing good content on whatever platform and readers would come. Cheap begets cheap – you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for).  It is better to invest in a solid platform with a reliable hosting service. I personally use the Godaddy hosting service and have been very satisfied with their service, which is personable and timely. You will get more for your money and your blog will have a more professional look. When choosing a Word Press theme, I advise going with a premium theme rather than a free Word Press theme. It will make all the difference in how your site looks and performs.

6. Focus on quality writing over quantity

I made this mistake at one point and ended up deleting a large number of my “sub-par” posts. I wasted time spewing out content that didn’t really provide any value. I thought I was being productive, but I was simply wasting precious time.  In the blogging world, you will often hear the expression “Content Is King” and it is true. Content is what keeps readers coming back again and again. At the end of the day, it’s all about adding value to your readers. It’s about helping them and inspiring them in their lives.

“What you do after you create your content is what truly counts.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

7. Don’t expect quick results

This lesson is a hard one to learn especially when we are impatient and desperate to see results. it can be frustrating to see that after all the time we spend crafting our blog post to see that we have reached a grand total of 6 readers in the world!! We may wonder how this is possible with the billions of people on the earth that not more than 6 people were interested enough to read ur fabulous post. But a blog takes time. It is a work of art. It is built over time with the right tools and consistency.

8. Don’t write about an unfamiliar topic

A blog needs to be about a subject that you know a lot about or are very interested in learning more about. You can’t just jump in and improvise as an expert on something you know nothing about. If you do this, you will come across as fake  – a phony.  None of this suggests that you can’t learn about your niche. After all, no one is born an expert. We all begin somewhere. Blogging can reflect our journey of where we have come from, what we have learned and where we are going. The bottom line – be authentic and transparent.

9. Promote with the right tools for your blog

In their zeal to “get their blog out there,” many new bloggers promote and over-promote on every social platform available. But not all platforms are ideal for your blog. For example, Life Is For Living is a personal development blog, so Instagram is not the best platform to promote it (believe me, I tried). I have found the best one for me is the search engine Pinterest, which can cover a wide range of blog types. The bottom line here is, don’t waste time putting your eggs into the wrong baskets. Focus your time and energy on what will help you promote your blog efficiently.

10. Don’t blog about You

Blogging is not, nor should it be about you. Honestly, no one cares about what you ( or I) have to say about yourself (or myself). People do not read blogs to learn more about you; they read (or scan) blogs to find answers to their questions.  They are not interested in reading your autobiography. They do not have the time or interest in that. If you keep your readers in mind always, you will do a better job of responding to their needs and building your readership.

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Check out this blog post on 10 Killer Tips to Writing a Stunning Blog Post.