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The Early Days, a Little History
I’ve been a part of the blogging world for four months now. I’m a newbie any way you want to look at it and will be for some time. In my distant past I did know something about the underlying structure of a website. I worked as a systems administrator for a large company and part of my duties were to set websites up for customers.
Blogging is no longer a new frontier, it’s matured since the mid-90’s. The technology has advanced to the point where you don’t need to have technical knowledge. Though I did have the technical knowledge of website software on early computers, it never crossed my mind that I could have a website of my own.
Early websites and blogs were functional but not pretty, SEO (search engine optimization) wasn’t an acronym for anything, and the internet was still little more than a curiosity. No Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat.
Web Designer Depot has a nice history of early blogging on their website.
So Where Do You Start With Blogging?
Step 1 – Get real with yourself. What are your motives for wanting to blog?
First of all, I want you to take a good hard look at why you want to blog. If your reply is simply “to make money” you’re probably not going to have much luck. You’ll most likely waste your time and your money. This is my bit of realistic, tough love. Blogging is not an easy “sit back and watch the money roll in” job. I’m not going to lie to you. Though the tools have vastly improved, it’s hard work from the start. Yes, money can and should be in the mix somewhere because you need a way to make a living while getting your message out to the right people. However, money shouldn’t be your prime motivator.
You need to have another motive to inspire you to put sweat equity into creating a blog or website and sitting down at it EVERY DAY to work on it. Do you have a message you want share? there a service or a product you can provide that will help people to solve a problem or introduce them to a new concept? Do you want to entertain people with your wit. Is there something you are passionate about in life that you want to share and that makes you happy and excited to get out of bed in the morning? These are all valid reasons to start a blog. To make a profitable, interesting blog, it must be about the people you’re trying to reach or it will never succeed the way you wish.
If your motive is simply to keep an online journal or to start a blog without a financial outlay, then hosted blogging websites like WordPress.com will get you set up and blogging in no time with little technical intervention on your part.
Step 2 – The Love of Writing, do you have it or not?
Blogging will absolutely fail for you if you don’t like to write or don’t want to put the time in to learn how to write well.
The only way to improve your writing is simply to get down to it and write! 500 words a day at minimum. If you think you don’t know how to write, then write ANYWAY. Open up your mind and do a dump of whatever you’re thinking at the moment If not on a blog post, then open a Word doc and have at it. The more you write the better you’ll write. The better you write, the more you’ll want to write. Read other bloggers who use words and sentence structure correctly. Read books by your favorite authors and see what it is that attracts you to the way they write. And For God’s Sake … learn the difference between they’re, their and there!!!
If you’re still unsure then invest in an English or writing class. There’s a great website with inexpensive online courses named Udemy. It has dozens of English and writing classes. You can find it here: Udemy. Community colleges also have good continuing education classes.
If you want to dip your toes into writing in a very non-judgmental community, then join Medium.com. Sign up, pick your interests and be ready to learn. It’s free. I’m amazed at how bright and articulate the writers/bloggers/poets/entrepreneurs are on Medium. I discovered this site last month and wrote my first story two weeks ago. You can find it here: Hello Medium. I’ve seen articles on Medium that in different venues would have attracted multiple flaming comments. In Medium, there is just a positive, supportive atmosphere and a lot of interesting and fun people. This website is how the internet world should work in my eyes.
Learn how to write compelling titles and great content. Find a message or something that you want to help your readers with and stay true to yourself and your message. Ask your readers a question or challenge them with a call to action.
Step 3 – Can you invest your time into blogging?
Blogging takes time at the beginning. It takes time to get your site set up. Once the technical aspects of your blog are set up and running smoothly, then you can turn more of your attention to writing great content.
Unfortunately, to create a blogging with compelling posts, time may need to come out of some of your other activities. For example, before blogging I spent a lot of my free time watercolor and acrylic painting. It’s been a necessary sacrifice so that I can concentrate on writing relevant posts. I do plan to go back to painting when I’m more a more established blogger. There are sacrifices that need to be made if you’re doing what you love.
You get out of it what you put in
Blogging is just that. It is what you make of it. If you want a quick daily journal, then find a hosting site and build a free or very inexpensive blog there. The same goes if you want to start a blog but not invest a lot of time into it. If you’re more ambitious or want to create a storefront, then a self hosted site is the way to go. Had I known about Medium, I might have gone that route to sharpen my writing skills before I committed to a full website with a blog. However, I am extremely glad that I just jumped into the deep end.
If you can answer the three questions above thoughtfully and the answers resonate positively, then you’re ready to get on your way . Share your journey with me!
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