Recently I was reviewing archived notes from when I first started blogging with WordPress.
And it reminded me of when I helped set up WordPress multisite at Washtenaw Community College (WCC), where I worked as a web developer in the early 2010’s.
To help department staff get started blogging on their sites, I documented some helpful info from our Metro Detroit WordPress meetups.
Tips on blog organizing, creating content, publishing, engaging with readers, etc.
I was surprised many of the basic tips still applied. I updated my list of tips with some recent resources.
With the hope it may be helpful to other people, here are my tips.
10 Basic Tips on Getting Started Blogging
- Set the stage
Your first post is an introduction to your blog: who you are, what you’re writing about, and what readers can expect to find on your blog.
Don’t feel you have to provide a lot of personal information. Write about what you care about in a way that encourages readers to return to your blog.
- Write about you know
Share what you care about, what you’ve learned, including those failures when things didn’t go the way you expected.
Remember when you tried to use an online image editor? Only to discover it was so much easier to use than Photoshop? Plus, it was available whenever you needed it, not only on your desktop or laptop?
- Create blog categories
Make it easy for readers to learn what you’re writing about. The goal is to organize your posts in relevant categories.
Limit the number of categories you create. Trust me, they will increase in number over time.
You’ll likely find yourself needing to merge or delete categories in the future. And please consider changing your default category from Uncategorized to something more meaningful.
- Add meaningful tags to each post
This is the one area where I often see bloggers go to extremes. Either they have no tags added to their post. Or overabuse, by adding dozens of tags.
Think of tags as words or phrases your readers use to find content on your site. (Note: you don’t need to add every variation of a word as a tag.)
- Craft catchy titles
With so much content available, you need to create a headline that attracts people’s attention.
- Publish regularly
Whether it’s daily, weekly, twice a month, or monthly, set up a regular schedule for publishing your blog posts.
There’s nothing more disappointing than visiting a blog where the most recent blog post was nine months ago.
Not sure what kind of publishing schedule to set?
Consider a weekly blog post. Change your publishing schedule once you’re comfortable with how much you want to write.
- Change up your post formats
Craft more interesting blog posts interspersing different formats of posts. Longer posts with shorter posts. Perhaps, a favorite quote.
Or, add an infographic and provide the text version of the content, so everyone can access it.
Share a video or other multimedia (make sure it’s captioned and/or has a transcript).
I often use a tweet to lead into a blog post on a particular topic.
- Link to your own posts or pages
Internal links are links that take your read to another page, post, or resource on your site.
They help readers navigate your site and introduces them to other useful content on your site.
- Link to external sites
- Join the conversation
I’m an advocate for allowing readers to comment on your blog posts. To encourage readers to add comments, ask questions in your blog posts.
If you find yourself at the end of a post without asking any questions, ask the question in your summary.
It’s called the web for a reason. Websites are all interconnected by linking to other websites.
Perhaps you’re quoting a study by Nielsen Norman Group in your user experience post. When you highlight the results in your blog post, add a link to the study.
Use meaningful and descriptive link text that makes sense out of context, not “click here” or “read more.”
Getting started with blogging can seem overwhelming. Hopefully my tips will help you get in the mode of blogging on your website, sharing your thoughts and interests.
Have any other basic tips to add to my list? Share them in the comments.