Writing your first blogposts

So you're ready to start your blogging. You already have hosting, or you have selected your Blogging Platform. You know your URL, your username and password. Right?

By the way, if you see a survey, please take a second to answer it.

[poll id="2"]

The steps:

  • Hide it
  • Give me 6+4
  • Link out
  • Pick a schedule
  • Rinse and Repeat

With all the tools in hand to get started, the first thing you should do is block search engine access to your site. If you know how you might even put the website behind a password. I'll tell you more about that later.

Hide your Blog

First lets hide the blog from search engines. This is done so you can work on your content and your links, allowing you to make changes until you're satisfied before the engines add you to their index.

We're using WordPress here, In your WordPress settings, Under the Privacy settings, set your blog to:

I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors

This should prevent the search engines from indexing your content and links until you are ready. You should not let the engines index your site until you've given some thought to your structure, and content. For this reason, you won't see a step to "unhide" your blog in this post. I'll tell you when its a good time, it is coming in the next two or three posts. Stay tunned.

Write 6 and then 4

If you want to get started and start writing, Go for it. Just be warned, this is the part where I loose 90% of those enthusiastic people that want to blog, and want to do it right now ((Also, since I don't have step by step tutorials for some of these, you'll have to follow along and figure some things out for your self. Please leave a comment and I'll be happy to help you though)). Most people find that they simply weren't ready to blog after I ask for this. You need to write 6 articles ready for the public to read, and have 4 more as drafts. Some people say 10 or more is better, I'll explain.

The first few weeks of a blog are critical, when you begin inviting people to see your website, you want people to interact with the site you have put out there for them, you must give them a reason to stick around for a bit. It is important that they remember your site, hopefully even bookmark it or tell their friends about it. The best way for this to happen is to have enough content to keep somebody busy reading or looking around for a few minutes.

You see, its all about content. If you go to a website and you have one great article, it is likely that the visitor that just finished reading is now looking to read something else you have posted. What would they read next if you don't have at least a few posts to show? When I help someone with their blog, the first thing I ask for is at least 6 blog posts that are ready.

Write 3 - 4 generic articles about your niche, your topic, write 1 - 2 more specific articles that relate directly to the general articles and when you're done with those you should write 4 more. At the very least, these 4 should have titles and drafts for the final content.

Writing articles and stockpiling them serves two purposes; it gives you enough content to compel visitors to come back and share your website, and it helps you gauge how much time and effort it will take to do this on a regular basis. The 4 drafts ensure you have enough ideas to keep going after you go live.

When you save the 6 articles, flag them as pending review. Save the other 4 as drafts.

When you write the articles, keep Categories in the back of your mind, but don't categorize the articles just yet. This isn't very critical to do immediately but it is important to do it right the first time. Think about them, consider alternatives to your first choices, think about categories AND subcategories. Try to future proof them in your head, so they cover most of your content now and the content you want to provide in the future. Do you need hierarchical structure or just flat, do you even need to categorize your content for now? Just keep the cats in mind, for now.

Schedule your posts

Next up, you need to pick a schedule that will work for you. You don't have to be super strict about it but you do need to be consistent. Whether you're choosing to do a daily post or a weekly post, or somewhere in between pick something that is a little challenging but not so much that it will throw your schedule out of whack. That's a recipe for disaster.

Using the schedule you selected earlier, begin scheduling the posts you have ready for publishing. Use the option on the edit view to change where it says: "Publish immediately" (top right area) and enter the date and time when you're going to begin publishing. I would schedule 4 to be posted at the same time, and each of the remaining 2 should be automatically published according to your schedule, e.g. the following Thursday, and then the Thursday after that if you're doing this weekly.

In between your first posts, and the next ones scheduled you should work on your drafts and get them ready for publishing. You should queue them up for publishing by the time your 5th article has been posted. Keep in mind that if you get visitors quickly, they might inspire you to drift away from your initial posts with comments or feedback. Do it! so long as you stay within the realm of your niche, then you should address ideas and questions or posts by your visitors if they tickle your interest as well. These posts are more important than your drafts because they're directly addressing a visitor's interest. Remember to ALWAYS reply to valid comments, especially at the start of your blog.

Rinse and Repeat.

When I have done my observations, and some research, then I usually follow this cycle: Think it, write it, blog it. After I've decided to write about something, I write it down. I forget about it for a short period of time (1 hour to 2 days). I then proofread it, finalize research, and blog it. ((This whole process sometimes takes a couple hours, sometimes it takes more than a month)) The difference between writing it, and blogging it is like this: When I write it, I simply write, I use lists, drafts, and I write a lot. I only "blog it" when I begin adding links to other websites, other bloggers love links to their website from your original articles, I also add images if I think they're relevant, I gather quotes and quote when necessary, then I fine tune the category and tags, and then I can blog it.