It’s easy to start a blog, believing that all those brilliant ideas rumbling around in our heads will successfully make their way into a blog post BUT (usually) that’s not how it goes…instead, ideas get bogged down in the flat language of "expertise" or worse, fail to be realized. Writing a blog takes commitment.
- Have a Plan
What does that mean? It means figuring out why you’re writing a blog. What’s your goal? Do you consider yourself a specialist in a particular area and want to share what you’ve learned? Are you there to promote your business? Whatever your goals, it's important to figure out why you've decided to be a "blogger" and deliver relevant and entertaining content. Remember who your target audience is, as well as what you want to achieve.
- Make Your Blog the Big Easy (Easy to Read that is)
Forget the fancy fonts, they’re annoying and hard on the eyes. Instead find a font that’s easy to read. Simple enough. The “pizzazz” should be your content, not the size and style of your font. Forget writing half of your blog in CAPITAL LETTERS, it looks like you're screaming and is downright scary.
Don't write everything you've ever thought about your subject in one single blog post. Take your time, break it up and share your insights in a couple of manageable posts instead. Focus on the longevity of your blog and understand that it's a marathon. Reread your posts and check your spelling. If you have grammar questions, Grammar Girl can help with her "quick and dirty tips."
- Where Ideas Come From
Are you stuck? Suddenly, can't find anything worth writing about? Fear not. Think of it as a rite of passage. Find blogs you like, check out what those bloggers are writing about. Are you interested in a particular blog post but want to dig deeper? Go ahead!
Use Goggle Alerts to set an alert with a few key words related to your interests. Answer a question about your industry (remember you're the specialist). Interview someone you find fascinating. Figure out what topics will encourage interest in your business. Ask a friend what subjects they want to know more about. Think about a problem that your readers may have and come up with solutions for it. If all fails, get outside and hit some balls. Or wing it.
- Images, Icons and Creative Commons
Use images but remember to do it the right way. Make sure you're not infringing on copyright laws and if you find a "free" image, make sure to give credit where credit is due. Three resources to find "free" photos include Flickr (search the creative commons licensed photos/images and double-check the terms), USA.Gov and Wikipedia Commons. Many of the images range from public domain to Creative Commons. Need an icon? You can find royalty free icons and clip art at Icons, etc., among others.
Whether you're writing a blog post for your small business or writing about a subject you're passionate about, these tips should, hopefully, get you started. We'll have more tips later and if you have blogging tips that you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you.