One of my friends just started a blog and asked for my advice. I still feel like a newbie (my blog isn't two years old yet), but here are a few things I've learned...
- Determine Your Target. Decide who you are writing for (or as my editor would make me say, "Decide for whom you are writing"). In my case, the middle of the bullseye is pastors and leaders from around the world. Beyond that, I'm aware that many others are reading it, including my church, my staff, an unchurched world, my wife and kids, my fans, my self-described enemies, and even my mom. But I'm always thinking about the bullseye as I'm writing.
- Write for the Traffic. My heaviest traffic is on Monday. So I save really important stuff for Monday. Tuesday is next, then Wednesday. Goes down from there. I typically blog leadership and church stuff early in the week, and save personal and family stuff for the weekends.
- Give Link Love. As often as you can, link to other blogs, articles and helpful sites when you post. Share the love, and others will share it with you as well.
- Don't Ask for Link Love. It's a blog world "no-no" to ask someone else to link to your blog. Write great posts that add value to people, and they will link to you. Write stuff no one is interested in, and they won't link to you.
- Don't Make Me Leave. When you are referring to something someone else said, don't make me leave your site to go read it. Just quote it in your post. Always include a link so your readers can find more about if it they want, but don't make them leave to get the heart of what you want to say.
- Post in Advance. It's my goal to post something helpful every day. There are some days when I can write three posts in one day...and other times when I go several days and can't post anything (either because of schedule or because my brain is empty). So I use a feature in Typepad called "Post On..." which lets me schedule it in advance. (For example, I'm writing this on Saturday, but scheduling it to post on Tuesday since I know I'll be on vacation with my family).
- Don't Criticize. This is a life lesson, not just a blog lesson. So many people have to validate what they think by cutting down someone else. Just don't do it. You can elevate what works, what you believe, what you think--without criticizing the opposing view.
- Use a Reader. Don't waste your day visiting blogs. Instead, use a reader like Bloglines to pull all the blogs you are interested into one location where you can skim them all. You can pick certain blogs (like LeadingSmart.com) to pull in the post everytime it is updated, or you can include search terms (like "Pop Goes The Church"), and you will be alerted anytime a blog or twitter writes about that topic.
- Just Jump In. Some of you reading this are on the fence. You want to blog, but something is holding you back. Just jump in. It is a great way to mark moments in your life and share what God is teaching you with others. Don't wait another day.
Tony had some great ideas here when I first began blogging.
What else would you add for a new blogger?