Happy new year to all the blogger friends, fans and subscribers of our blogsite. With this being the third day of 2015, some of you who are still to make it off the starting blocks may have included blogging in your new year’s resolutions. I have had the benefit of blogging for the last 5 years, and I thought I must share the 11 steps I used with my first blog post in October of 2009, to help get you started.
1. Decide on the objective for and style of blogging
This is an important starting point, and I recommend that you do not go past this point if you do not have some idea why you want to blog. When this has been achieved, adopt a style that suits your personality – be it personal or professional. Feel free to keep going back to this starting point as you get comfortable with your blogging journey. The crisper the purpose for blogging, the richer your published content will be.
Here is an example. Our corporate blogging style incorporates usage of facts and figures in the bulk of our content generation efforts. Thus, any topic we blog about with eNitiate as the author – whether it is in the areas of sports, business, education or politics – will (almost) always have some stats in it. You are welcome to explore our published posts to get a feel for our blogging style.[blockquote width=’100′]
RELATED POST: Comparing @Kaizer_Chiefs and @Orlando_Pirates reveals interesting insights[/blockquote]
2. Maintain a curious mind
Let me start by declaring that there is no shortage of sources for blogging inspiration. All your senses – feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting – provide abundant sources of such inspiration. Naturally some of our senses are stronger than the rest, use those that work for you. I have been blogging about topics in line with my objective based mainly on what I have heard from someone or on radio, and seen in my surroundings, print, and on the Internet and TV.
Due to my ability to maintain a curious mind, being inspired by the most unlikely experiences has become the norm. Try it and surprise yourself.
3. Come up with an idea for your first blog post
Use the inspiration above to come up with a blogging idea. The number of possible ideas is endless. However, you must use your objective and chosen blogging style as filters.
4. Write down your first topic to get your mind going
Craft a topic to help shape your thinking process.
I usually change my topic 3 or 4 times as my mind becomes clearer and my blog content richer – I changed the topic for this blog post at least 4 times by the time I published it. Thus, I am happy to write down an initial topic to start exploring my blogging idea and putting together relevant content, even though I am aware that it may change as I go.
5. Research your first topic
Always research your topics, and be amazed at the depth and breadth of available content already available in the blogosphere. some topics may be based on a subject matter you are familiar with and thus be less demanding of need for extensive research, while others are less familiar and thus need more effort. Whatever is the case, make time to scratch the online surface on your selected topic, and use the content you found in your blog post – just remember to properly quote your sources. The more you incorporate content and insights from other bloggers, the more you can demonstrate level of effort taken, and this will be rewarded with appreciation by both readers and search engines such as Google.
6. Start and finish your first blog post as soon as you can
This is where the rubber truly hits the road. Remember – ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN PROMISES. Until your first blog post is finished, steps 1-4 above are worthless.
There are plenty of free blogging platforms available in the online space. Just run a Google search and select the one you most prefer.
7. Get your first blog post edited
When you have gone through the first hurdle – finishing your first blog – get someone to edit it for you. The best such person would be someone whose opinion you trust.
8. Publish your first blog post
This is the second hurdle after finishing your first blog post. Depending on the type of person you are, it can be a bigger challenge because it may feel like you are putting yourself out there for criticism by sometimes faceless netizens. Here is an advice from my own experience – never fear what you do not know. Even if this happens, remind yourself that the number of people who are brave enough to “put a pen on the online paper” for all to read is far lesser than those who are out to criticise without contributing their own ideas.
With this step will be the time to “wear your heart on your sleeve”. Go ahead and be part of the counted few.
9. Review your first blog post at least once after publishing it
With the curious mind still running, take the time to read your first published blog post after a day or so. There is a 100% chance you will spot an opportunity for enhancing richness of content, or even spotting grammatical and syntax errors. Go ahead and effect the changes, a blog is live and real-time and has a much longer expiry date.
10. Market your first blog post
This is the final arbiter. When you start, you want feedback from mostly your friends and family. Actively invite them to read, comment, suggest improvements and share your first blog post with their friends and family. This is key as it will give an opportunity to gauge response. If you are active and have a decent following on social networks, be brave and invite as many netizens as possible to engage with your content and give you feedback. Tell them that this is your first blog post but do not ask for favours in requested response. More often than not, those who see your posted link with the honest declaration will most likely be generous with their time.
11. Learn from established bloggers
I deliberately put this point last. My belief in life is that we MUST first get started somehow, and enrich our own limited experiences through learning from the best. This way, learning becomes more practical, relevant and meaningful. Whether you may choose to look at stablished bloggers in the same area of your interest or not, best blogging practices are similar across the board.
Depending on the intensity of the topic and your readiness to take the leap of faith, completing the 11 steps above can take 2 hours – as was the case with this blog post, or can take days. It helps to commit to a deadline and do everything to meet it.
The process outlined in this post also applies to all your subsequent blog posts, in some shape or form. Feel free to use it as your standard guide to regular blogging on the journey on the journey to fulfilling your 2015 resolutions.
Share your thoughts on the 11 steps to publishing your first blog post in the COMMENTS section here below.