This post is inspired by something written on “Writing about books” called Sunday Salon: What I wish I’d known when I started blogging. Originally it was featured on my “Week in Review” posting but the post kept jumping to the front of my mind so I chose to not include it and to present it here with some thoughts of my own. The posting is a great list of what to expect (and, maybe more importantly, what not to expect) when blogging. It links to a great post about being burned out on blogging, so make sure you’ve got a few minutes to read both and then come back here are read what I have to say.
When boredom strikes me, or lately when the urge to scream loudly at idiots starts to overwhelm me, I like to browse through some of the “tag” searches on WordPress to see what’s new. Obviously “books” if the big one I look at, but every so often I search out another tag just to see what comes up. In doing so, I run across a lot of new blogs, and nearly every new blogger makes the exact same mistake: in their first post they say what they are going to do instead of actually doing it.
Instead of telling me you’re going to review books, go ahead and review one. If you say you’re going to talk about movies, or music, or knitting, talk about those things. Give potential readers a taste of what you’ll be doing. It takes very little effort for a reader to click the “follow” button, but as the blogger it’s your job to get them to do that or they may not ever see your blog again. And don’t think your post needs to be hundreds of words long either (a trap I still fall into even after years of blogging). If it takes 200 words to say what you want to, use 200. The key, in both word count and posts, is quality over quantity.
If you feel the need to make a “I’m going to…” type post save it for your about page. Seriously, make sure you have something there even if it’s just erasing the default page and adding a couple of lines, because that’s where people will go early on to see what you’re about.
As I noted above, I search “tags”, so tagging your posts correctly will make your blog available to be seen by more people. Now be careful and don’t flood your posts with tags, and make sure your tags match your post. Both can cause people to skip by your blog when they see it in a search. You want to make your postings easy to find and relevant to what people are looking for in your tags.
The best advice I can give anyone thinking about starting a blog is perhaps the most important thing about anything: have fun doing it. If you’re not having fun, readers will know it. Once it because a chore to write it becomes a chore to read. And in the end, that’s not worth it for anyone.