You know you should do it. You know other people who Blogging Kit does, and they make it look so easy. And yet, you can’t think of anything more intimidating than staring at a blank page and a blinking cursor. You can find reasons all day long to rationalize why you haven’t yet started your blog, but none of those justifications are going to help your business grow. It’s time to stop being your own worst enemy and start understanding why the excuses holding you back are all in your head.
1. I’m not a writer.
So you’re not a writer – at least not by trade. Big deal! Neither are many very successful bloggers. They’re entrepreneurs, artists, community activists, foodies, moms, and even CEOs. Instead, what they have in common is passion. A blogger’s purpose, first and foremost, is to entertain and engage. If your punctuation is less than perfect or your sentence structure leaves something to be desired, no one is going to report you to the grammar police. But if there is no conviction behind your words, no one will invest their time in reading your blog week after week.
Your writing style should be easy and informal. Don’t approach the task of creating a post like you’re writing a research paper. Instead, imagine you’re sitting down to dash off a quick e-mail in response to someone who has asked you a question about your chosen topic. Keep your entry brief and conversational. When you’ve finished writing, read your post aloud to yourself. If you trip over words or phrases because they feel unnatural or clunky, go back and simplify them.
Always keep in mind that what you have to say is far more important than the mechanics of how you say it. No one is grading your blog with a red pen in hand—authenticity and personality count far more than perfection any day of the week. Just loosen up and let your voice come through. Not only will this make your writing more approachable, but it’s also the very foundation of building credibility and trust. After reading one post, your readers should feel as if they’ve met you; if they continue to follow your blog over time, they should feel as though you’re a familiar friend.
2. I’m not a designer or a programmer.
Stop right there. Nope – not another word.
Can you use a word processor? Can you open a web browser window? Can you attach a file or a picture to an e-mail? If you answered “yes” to all three of these questions, then congratulations, my friend, you have all the technical and artistic know-how you need to be a blogger! There’s no reason to let technophobia hold you back from reaping the benefits of blogging – not when you can take advantage of user-friendly, do-it-yourself tools like Google’s Blogger.
Blogger is designed to give anyone the power to publish. The interface is so intuitive and easy to navigate that you can have your blog up and running in just minutes, and best of all, it won’t cost you a dime. Choose from an assortment of templates, select your preferred combination of colors and fonts, and away you go.
Creating posts is easy, too, and you can even enhance them with links, photos, and video. You also can assign each article to a subject category of your choosing to help your readers find related content according to their specific interests.
Of course, you’ll get an even greater return on your time and effort if your blog is hosted on your website since your visitors can read your latest entries and peruse your archives without ever leaving your primary site. Still, there’s no cause for concern. Simply partner with a good web development firm that can help you integrate your blog into your existing website in a consistent way with your brand and provide a content management system that’s just as easy to use as any of the free do-it-yourself tools. No matter which approaches you to choose, you’ll be surprised to find how simple it is to get your blog up and running and how little time it takes to publish new content.
3. I wouldn’t know where to begin.
One of the best things about blogging is the fluidity and flexibility of the medium. As a blogger, you are your writer, editor, and publisher. That means that there are no hard-and-fast rules to which you must adhere. Think of your blog as a blank canvas that’s waiting for you to add color, shape, and texture.
There are many different ways you can approach blogging – each one is just as valid as the next. You might choose to use your blog as a platform for reporting industry news and forecasting trends, providing helpful advice and how-tos, or journaling your personal experiences to help others trying to achieve similar goals. Some trendy blogs like Catalog Living are nothing more than an ongoing series of images with funny captions.
One of the best ways to get started is not by writing at all. Instead, it’s by reading. Suppose you’re seriously considering starting your blog. In that case, you should make a point of reading other blogs every day – blogs that talk about subjects that relate to your business and industry, blogs written by your competitors, and even blogs that have nothing to do with your particular field but that you find enjoyable and entertaining regardless of the subject matter. Subscribe to the RSS feeds for these blogs and set aside a few minutes each day to scan through the latest posts. You don’t need to read every entry, just the ones that strike you as most attractive.
Look for commonalities among the blogs you read daily for pleasure. What do you enjoy about them most? When you find an article that you can’t stop reading, please take a moment to analyze why it is so compelling. Is it the writer’s voice, their unique approach to their chosen topic, or the way they’ve organized their argument? Pay attention as well to the headlines that catch your eye and think about what makes them captivating. Over time, as you assimilate these observations, you will achieve clarity about what you want your blog to be and how to craft posts that will keep your readers hooked.
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