How Bloggers Get Started
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

How Bloggers Get Started

  I'm taking the weekend away from writing to participate in some "giving back." My favorite charity is MidSouth Lions Sight and Hearing Service.  We provide necessary eye care and hearing aids to people who fall beneath the poverty line — all absolutely free. This weekend we are inviting Lions from all over our four-state area (AR, MS, MO, and TN) to come to Memphis, tour our facilities, and learn what they and their clubs can do to help our efforts.  While I'm leading tours, serving meals, and answering questions, I 'm going to let  you listen in on a couple of conversations that have been going on in my Books and Writers Group on LinkedIn.   

I've had several questions recently on how to get started in blogging.  Here's one example:  

Lately, I've had several people I should start a blog. Right now I'm doing some setup thoughts to start the blog on http://www.bookiejar.com . Great company and a great staff - awesome site with 800 readers. We are putting our e-Books there and enjoying the networking. Any ideas or tips on how I should shape my blog? Content that most people would enjoy seeing from a women with two decades of experience in publishing? 

I answered her e-mail this way:

The best way I know to start a blog is to start.  My first efforts were sincerely uninteresting, but I kept at it until I started getting some comments that let me know what my readers were interested in.  In my case, they wanted to know how and why I chose self-publishing after several books with established publishers.  Once I addressed some of the lessons I learned along the way, readership blossomed.  I just checked the figures on yesterday's blog and discovered that it received more hits in 12 hours than my entire blog got in the first two months. 

 I have found that one effective way of gaining readers is to do a guest blog for people who are already fairly well established on the blogging scene.  When I started, I offered my services to several writers whose work I enjoyed reading.  Most were delighted to allow me to appear as a guest on their blog.  Their readers read my article, clicked on the links I provided to my blog, and came back if they liked what they saw.  That's why I've seen my numbers soar.   

Then other readers chimed in. Nina wrote:  

There's a ton of great information on my blog, www.howtoblogabook.com, on how to get going with a blog. Although it's geared to blogging a book, the sections/posts on driving traffic will interest you. Plus, I've been posting information along these lines most recently. Ezine article marketing is a great idea. I've used this successfully, but I go a step farther and use an ezine article distribution service called Submit Your Article (http://www.submityourarticle.com/affiliates/idevaffiliate.php?id=1930). This gets me placement in many more ezines and many more links. Also use whatever social networking opportunities you can drum up--commenting in groups, posting your newly published posts to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter using services liked HootSuite.com. Twitter is a great way to get blog readers.

Ronald added the following tips: ·    

Blogging is great fun but also a lot of work. Best advice is, first of all, to stick with it. It takes a good 6-8 months before you gain a foothold. My first 5 months I only averaged 40-400 readers a month and now, 15 months after my launch, I am seeing 5000-7000 unique visitors a month.


·      Consistency with regular postings on same days of the week helps.
·      Publishing in article directories also helps, but wait 48 hours before you deliver a recent post to a directory so you retain first search engine ranking for the article. Also best to rewrite it a bit.


·      Add photos relevant to your topics. People like pictures; as the saying goes, "a picture is worth a 1000 words."


·      Weave in current news topics and be relevant in your discussions or posts.


·       Publish your best trafficked postings to article directories like EZineArticles.com and ArticlesBase.com 

 I would add one other point.  You can produce great content, have an attractive blog design, and write regularly — all without attracting a single reader.  The real key to starting a blog and keeping it going lies in your ability to connect with your potential audience.  You will need a network of social interactions.  Think of your blog, not as a monologue or a lecture, but as one side of a conversation.  

Read other blogs — lots of other blogs. Google <your topic> plus the word <blog> to find others who are talking about the things you are interested in. Follow the ones you enjoy reading. Comment on their content as frequently as possible. And when someone tries to open a conversation with you, respond to comments and emails quickly. Readers will come back to your blog again and again if they feel they know you as a person.