About six months ago I started putting together a “Be a Blogger” series of posts that recorded some of my thoughts on starting a blog, writing for the web, etc. As I said in the inaugural post, I’m certainly no expert, but felt perhaps others interested in blogging could learn from my mistakes. In the last several days I’ve received a few messages from people looking for guidance on starting a blog, naming their project, and marketing their work. Seemed like a good time to put together a consolidated post of my previous “Be a Blogger” entries.
I’d like to start sharing these “Be a Blogger” posts again on a more regular basis as I’ve learned some new techniques (and made many more mistakes). Look for future posts on weekends, or when I feel like a break from the personal finance stuff. I realize many of you are not bloggers, but I hope that it will inspire some of you to take the plunge, or at least be entertained by a sort of behind-the-scene look at what it takes to run a blog.
Be a Blogger Top Ten
- So You Want to Be a Blogger? This one started it all. Kind of funny to read that I used the 100 subscriber milestone to kick off the new series. Since then, about 3,000 of you have joined, and I’m honored to have each of you following me here at Frugal Dad.
- Identify Your Target Audience. The advice here is geared towards writing for the web, but as I’ve learned from offline writing assignments since, identifying your target audience is a key element in any writing project.
- What’s in a Name? Of all the tasks required in setting up your blog, this one may be the most important (and is often the most difficult). There are all sorts of factors to consider, from search engine optimization, to offline marketing, to online branding.
- How to Write for the Web. As I mentioned earlier writing for this blog, and for a couple other online spots, has opened the door for a various offline writing projects. I found out quickly that writing for the web successfully required the ability to condense things to a few major points, and make use of formatting strategies differently from offline projects to make important points standout.
- Set Your Post Frequency. Early on, I settled into an every day routine here at Frugal Dad, but I am not as dedicated with other projects. If I had more time I could probably crank out two or three articles a day on a range of topics, but full-time work and family obligations still require the majority of my attention. If you aren’t able to put something out every single day, don’t worry–there are some arguments floating around the blog world extolling the benefits of a three-times-a-week or similar reduced posting schedule.
- Lessons Learned From a Traffic Surge. In March of 2008, with Frugal Dad barely off the ground, I received a mention from LifeHacker.com on my square foot gardening article via Being Frugal. With over 14,000 unique visitors overnight things really took off here at Frugal Dad, and long-time readers often refer to the square foot gardening article as they way they discovered me (which is funny considering I didn’t have much luck with gardening). Lynnae at Being Frugal and I still keep in touch and she has developed one of the top frugal living blogs in the personal finance niche. I owe much of my early success to her linking to that article.
- Selecting a Hosting Service. Besides selecting a name, deciding where to host your project is probably the second toughest decision when starting a blogging project. There are a myriad of choices out there ranging in expense. Being the “Frugal Dad” that I am, I went with the cheapest option early on. While I have had to make a few upgrades to compensate for increased traffic, I have been pleased overall with the service from my host.
- Five Cures for Writer’s Block. By this point I had been writing every single day for four months, and I was beginning to suffer from a bit of writer’s block myself. I went on a search for inspiration and found some unique ideas to generate article topics. I still use most of these methods today when inspiration doesn’t come naturally.
- When Inspiration Hits. The opposite of writer’s block occurs when ideas for articles are coming faster than you can write them. This post deals with creating a system to capture these ideas for later use, either on the go or at home.