Yesterday, I posted about using blogs to answer questions, and I have had a couple people ask me how to get started. Naturally, I am going to answer this query using my own blog post. While getting started with a blog is relatively easy, there are some things to think about such as what blogging site to use, setting it up, what to write about, and spreading the word about your effort.
I began this blog as part of a school assignment. We were asked to keep a learning journal and I opted to create a blog. I could have easily created this blog as part of the University of Wyoming Extension Web site.
Choosing a blogging site
There are many different blogging sites to choose from: WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Google+, and many more. You also must decide who will host your site. Personally, I have a personal account on WordPress.com. I elected to keep it personal because it started out as a personal activity, I have a lot of time invested in it, and I want to take it with me should I ever go somewhere else rather than start again.
You can also host the site on your company site, in my case the University of Wyoming Extension. If you decided to have a site that strictly supports what you do for work, you may want to consider this option. In our case, you would contact Ann Tanaka to get a site set up for you. On UW, we have been using WordPress, and that is also my personal preference.
When selecting a site or look and feel, you need to be comfortable with it. Look at other sites to get an idea of what you like.
Regardless of a site location, you will need to have the following information ready:
- Name of the site
- Purpose for the site
- URL that you wish to use (You need to keep it short
- Colors and theme you want to use
- Additional information pages you want to include
If you are going it alone on WordPress.com, here is a good guide to get you going. Here is a video tutorial of some of the basic tasks to get you started. Here is a learning guide I put together on blogging.
What to write about
Before you start a blog, I recommend having some ideas lined up to carry you forward over a couple of weeks. On my white board and in Evernote, I have a list of ideas ready to be written about. During my daily activities, I will write down a blogging idea as they become apparent. These may be observations of where operations can be improved, a new tool I have found that I want to share, frequently asked questions, and queries others have made. You may also want to piggy-back on trends you are seeing in the news that relate to your areas of interest. Blogs are also great vehicles to share presentations you have delivered, Webinars you have given, research that has been published. Blogs are fundamental tools for working out loud and showing others what and how you do things. Here are some other ideas to get you started:
- How To Come up with Great Ideas for Blog Posts, Every Single Time
- 101+ Blog Post Ideas
- 101 Fabulous Blog Topic Ideas
- Blogging ideas (My collection)
For your blog to be successful, you need to block out time to regularly write. You do not have to write novels but writing a few paragraphs about topics of interest will make it interesting for others to read.
Sharing your blog posts
Once you have started to write posts, you need to start sharing them. Here are some ways to get more traffic coming to your site:
- Always include an image. Images increase traffic to your posts.
- Provide good content
- Share your completed post on Twitter. You can have your site do this automatically, or you can use a site like IFTTT to automate this process.
- Share your post on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. Again, many of these processes can be automated.
- Use your blog posts to respond to questions. Use your blog posts as well as those of others as you write new posts. Include links to those posts and sites.
- Update all of your social media channels to reflect that you have a blog.
- Pin your blog post on Pinterest.
This should help get you started. If you have additional questions, add them to the comments below, and I will do my best to answer them.