February 22, 2014

How to blog

I've heard it a million times, "I can't start a blog, I don't know how." I decided to write a simple how-to for helping people start a new blog.

1) Write about what you know

There are no boundaries. There is no ideal word count. You don't need to try to find your niche. Don't write for a particular audience. All of these things will find you. If you can't find your voice, just pretend you're writing an email to a friend. If you're 70 years old, make that a letter to a friend. There's no excuse why blogging isn't for you. Blogging is self-expression in public. It is a place for exhibitionism. Sometimes, your commenters and followers may affect what you choose to publish. This is ok. Your blog will change as you do. Don't try to force yourself into your blog. Let it flow with you throughout your journey.

2) Engagement is everything

Build your brand and interact with your readers through Facebook and Twitter. Whatever you are writing about, someone will be interested. From your brand's perspective, share and discuss with your people. They want nothing more than to talk to you. You're famous and they are your adoring fans. As long as you're accessible, it's ok to be the leader of your brand. Trolls will try to cut you down, but as long as you are honest, you will get what you desire. If you are old, engaging with readers will teach you how the internet works.

3) Guest post

If your goal is to build a following and increase readership, writing a post for someone else's blog is a great way to find new readers. This is especially effective if your blog is related to the blog you guest post for. The readers of the other blog will see your byline and check out your page if they like what they see.

4) RSS Feed

Have a box on your blog where readers can type in their email address to be sent automatic updates whenever a post is published. This way, they don't need to remember to check your url hoping for new content. In a world where Facebook status updates and Twitter scrolls at lightspeed, your followers will never miss a post.

5) Answer comments

If readers took the time to write to you, respond thoughtfully. Trolls will write nasty things. If you choose to respond, don't write anything that will get you in trouble in court or that will make your mother blush.

6) Title provocatively

Your title doesn't have to be descriptive of the post. It is a call to action saying CLICK ME! Good titles take time to write at first. Bounce ideas off of a friend. A brilliant post means nothing if your readers never got past the bad title.

Write a post, put it on Blogger, and watch your community grow.


  1. I would like to emphasize the importance of number 1. Too many blogs are out there existing just for ad earnings, and it makes the web so polluted already. Write about what you know, and what you're passionate in, and people would read your work.

    Congrats on this blog, by the way. You're so prolific. I wish I had a fraction of your energy to blog. :D

  2. Thanks! Blogs should be taken lightly, and not treated with dread by their authors. I know many feel the burden of their followers. I have had my share of time where I haven't published anything for some time so I wouldn't have to deal with the comments. Writing posts has never been a problem for me. I can wake up and put out a post or three and be excited about the day. Writing can be a form of day lubrication, like a morning workout or a heavy injection of caffeine.

    When I first started the blog, I was publishing posts daily and it grew my following fast. Then I decided to slow down the frequency and have posts appear once per week to take the pressure off of needing to constantly write new content. For now, I have about a dozen posts in the pipeline, just waiting to be published.

    That's funny you mention ad earnings. I think this is a silly goal... to earn money from a blog. Even in the third world, where money goes further, ad earnings are not enough to make a dent in one's expenses. Engagement can be monetized much better than through ads which I see as a cheap and dumb attempt at earning. Much more valuable is a following that cares about the blogger. They will buy compendiums of blog posts, eBooks, or even a subscription if you decide to put up a paywall. Engaged readers are a get-out-of-jail-free card if you get in trouble. They are a community that, if nurtured, are worth much more than what measly ad sales can bring.

    Putting out contests to gain likes and unengaged followers is a clear recipe for getting sponsored posts where I think the real money is in blogging, but it is also somehow dishonest. There is an integrity that is lost in playing a game for fake followers and blogs simply written for adwords.

    My blog is just a place for me to express myself and to make my family feel connected.