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10 Steps for Absolute Beginner Bloggers

Posted by on 19th Oct 2007 | 26 comments

What is the absolute first thing that a new blogger should do? Here is a list of what new bloggers tend to do:

  • Sign up at Blogger or WordPress.com
  • Post a “Hello World” message
  • Join a blogging forum and ask for a critique
  • Write 10 posts then run out of energy

Seem familiar? :)

It is so easy to get caught up with the initial rush of enthusiasm and just start posting like crazy then burn out.

Each blogger needs to find their own voice and select a blogging style that suits them and their niche. For example

  • Newsy posts
  • Product announcements
  • Product reviews
  • Tutorials and tips (like this one)
  • Commentary and opinion
  • Linkbait

My advice for anyone thinking of launching and writing a blog is to first be a blog reader:

  1. Sign up to Google Reader and subscribe to a bunch of blogs
  2. Find blogs on topics that interest you using a blog search such as Technorati
  3. Make note of what you do and do not like in design, style, approach, content, length, etc
  4. Decide on a niche that you would like to pursue
  5. Find your favorite 10 blogs and bloggers you would like to get to know and learn from
  6. Sign up to Social Media sites such as Digg and Stumbleupon to find interesting articles, learn what other people like, and to start voting
  7. Notice what is successful in social media, in particular those that appeal to you and why
  8. Start commenting on blogs without dropping links, just start getting out there
  9. Notice which posts inspire you to comment and which leave you cold
  10. Follow links to new blogs and subscribe to them. Consider which links you follow and why, and which you end up subscribing to and which you do not.

I think being a reader, and being a conscious reader, first sets a blogger up to be more successful out of the gate.

What do you think of this advice? Let me know your tips for new bloggers in the comments …


A professional blogger and internet marketing consultant.

26 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Kevin on 19th Oct 2007

    I've seen a lot of new bloggers asking for critques way too early. As you say, they throw up a free template and write 4 or 5 posts and then ask what they should change. Infact, one of the biggest problems new bloggers have is they spend more time marketing their blog than actually writing content for it.

    I believe that commentating is a great way to get a new blog noticed but I've noticed some bloggers putting more effort into commentating than writing posts on their own blog. So basically my tip for new bloggers is, before you market your blog, make sure you have good content to market :)

  • Posted by Jay on 19th Oct 2007

    How do you get your blogs rated? Is it important?

  • Posted by Kevin on 19th Oct 2007

    In what context do you mean rated Jay? Do you mean rated at a social networking site or rated at a blog directory? Can you clarify what you mean by rated :):)

  • Posted by Jay on 19th Oct 2007

    :oops: After reading what both you and Chris have written……I think I'm better off doing what I'm doing….

    I'm a total newbie at this and I think I was falling into the 'eager to please' trap. I'm just used to writing diary type blogs and have decided (rightly or wrongly? We'll find out) to attempt to write a more (hopefully) informative blog.

    What I will ask is is it worth having the little 'Digg it' or 'Del.ic.ious' links on my blogsite?

  • Posted by Chris Garrett on 19th Oct 2007

    I see little advantage of having a digg link all the time from my own experience as there is a 12-24 or so hour window where you need to get all your digg votes, but delicious and StumbleUpon links can be useful as you benefit from those over time.

  • Posted by Jay on 19th Oct 2007

    Nice……..Should I just link from the main page or for each article?

    :roll:

  • Posted by Chris Garrett on 19th Oct 2007

    Always from the article :)

  • Posted by Jay on 19th Oct 2007

    Thanks guys :grin:

    No more stoopid questions from me for now :razz:

  • Posted by Kevin on 19th Oct 2007

    Don't be silly Jay, they're not stupid questions. The best way to improve in any walk of life is to ask about it :)

  • Posted by Michael Martine on 19th Oct 2007

    Solid advice, Chris, but most people won't see it or heed it! :D This is how almost everybody starts out. I'm beginning to think that we shouldn't worry so much about it because it is a tall order to really get somebody who just wants to get going to stop and do it right.

    If there's one thing we could impress upon beginners, maybe it could be this: think of your first blog as a starter blog, because you'll learn so much stuff that you'll want to throw it away and start another one using your hard-won experience and knowledge. Starter blogs can be on blogger or wordpress.com and are training wheels. When we are confident and ready for the training wheels to come off, we're in a much better position to take the steps you've outlined above.

    What do you think of that idea? I have been meaning to writ a post on this, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to suggest it here since you wrote about this topic. :D

  • Posted by Chris Garrett on 19th Oct 2007

    I think that is a really sound idea and I have said as much in the past about my own blogging evolution. There have been a ton of different incarnations of my personal blog, both hand coded and installed software. I learned a great deal even if much of it is lost to the mists of time and space :)

    Definitely worth a post Michael :)

  • Posted by Matthew Anton on 19th Oct 2007

    I've noticed lots of new bloggers don't offer anything new or have a particularly interesting writing style so they attempt to outproduce, (quantity) other blogs…see some nonsense posts on some blogs 5-10 new ones a day. I would much rather read one really really good post once a day or even month than just sheer volume.

  • Posted by cmanlong on 19th Oct 2007

    I hear you on the early marketing of new blogs. I actually fell into that trap a bit when I was first starting. This is a good reference for the new blogger.

  • Posted by Travis on 19th Oct 2007

    Chris, I definitely agree on being a reader before being a blogger. I started reading many, many blogs long before starting mine, and that helped me tremendously in knowing how to go about it.

    I still had a ton to learn once I started (and still do!) but I think it helped me start with much more confidence.

  • Posted by Wayne Liew on 19th Oct 2007

    When I first step into the blogosphere, I did all the bad things stated except the run of of energy.

    I blogged on Blogger for 5 long months and decided to host my blog under my own domain and I've found the good of it. Being a blog reader with my own domain definitely helps.

    I don't know why this happens but people seems to give you more respect if you have your own domain rather than blogspot inside your domain. On using the RSS Feed, I still find directly visiting the blogs is better (my bookmark list is long). :mrgreen:

  • Posted by Karen Zara on 19th Oct 2007

    Finally I found a different set of tips for beginners. Those "for newbies" lists all look the same. By suggesting that a beginner should be above all a conscious reader you've offered one of the most valuable pieces of advice a new blogger could find.

    This technique is something I've applied myself, and I'm still working on it before I try to go pro.

    Each blogger needs to find their own voice and select a blogging style that suits them and their niche.

    Let me ask you a couple questions: in your opinion, should a blogger stick to only one of those blogging styles you mentioned? Or could they be mixed on the same blog? If so, how could this be done?

    I'm glad you've included "commentary and opinion" on your list, because nowadays this blogging style isn't even considered valid by many "problogging advisors." They insist that you should always write what they personally classify as "helpful" articles… as if a well-written commentary couldn't be of any use at all.

  • Posted by Courtney TURTLE on 21st Oct 2007

    You hit the nail on the head. If you read the faq for any forum or newsgroup the advice first given is to lurk then lurk some more. You then get a feel for the personality of the community and what tact to take to be most readily accepted.

  • Posted by Dakota Lifestyle: B on 24th Oct 2007

    This was very helpful, thanks! I'm hoping the niche I chose will eventually become a resource for other people, and this gets me started.

  • Posted by zparacha on 29th Oct 2007

    Chris, thanks for your tips. I am just starting in the blogsphere and can certainly use these tips. Any recommendation for a good blogging forum?

    "Join a blogging forum and ask for a critique"

    Regards,

  • Posted by Chris Garrett on 29th Oct 2007

    There is a forum right here :)

  • Posted by Dakota Lifestyle: B on 29th Oct 2007

    Thanks for the e-mails. I do have more questions now.

    A fellow blogger said one of the best ways to increase page views is to produce. He said his site has posted an average of 70 posts a week. Is that average or necessary for a good web page?

    I've also noticed that as I get more blog reactions to my site, it seems harder to find my on a google search for North Dakota Bismarck blogs. Is there a correlation here, or is it all in my mind?

    Thanks!

  • Posted by Dakota Lifestyle: B on 29th Oct 2007

    Also, I've been posting for about two months now. When is a good time to ask for a critique?

    Thanks again!

  • Posted by Chris Garrett on 29th Oct 2007

    1. never commit to a posting schedule you can not maintain! Most blogs with many submissions a day have a team of writers (like this one)

    2. Search rankings can decay over time unless you keep growing the number of inbound links. Comments are unlikely to reduce your search friendliness

  • Posted by Chris Garrett on 29th Oct 2007

    Best to ask for a critique when you have a good archive of posts and at least one post in each category – basically enough to represent what the blog is and will be

  • Posted by Derrick Mathis on 14th Apr 2008

    Hey,

    I just want to let you know that several months after your post 10 STEPS FOR ABSOLUTE BEGINNER BLOGGERS, the article is still making a very much appreciated impact. I just came across it today and I was thrilled. Mostly, because I've been already doing a lot of what you mentioned in your article (and that makes me feel like I'm on the right path) and also excited to receive sage advice from an established veteran who is simply sharing his experience.

    I don't know who it was in an earlier comment that said most new bloggers will never see the post. Whoever he was, he was wrong. New bloggers who are excited and passionate about their impending unchartered adventure as a blogger will be scouring the Net, much like myself, to find out as much information as possible to create a successful launch.

    Thanks again for your article. Please keep creating pieces like that. They're needed and taken seriously by serious newbies:)

    Best,

    Derrick

  • Posted by Tanning Freak on 24th May 2008

    Nowadays, HostGator provides hosting for only $0.01 for the first month so newbies could sign-up and try to earn more than $10 to pay for the second month's hosting.

    WordPress should be the platform of choice due to the versatility it offers. Typepad is also pretty good, but Blogger sucks big-time.