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New to Blogging? Five Things to Consider Before You Jump In

David Marshall Posted by David Marshall, Vice President of Editorial and Digital , Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

David Marshall heads the editorial department, which is responsible for 40-50 new titles per year and 5-10 digital products or initiatives. 

 New to Blogging? Five Things to Consider Before You Jump In

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1. WHO is my audience and what do they want? People who read your blog must have a reason to keeping coming back. Decide what groups you want to reach and find other blogs that already communicate well with your target market. Make sure your intended content addresses the needs and desires of your audience.

2. WHAT should I write? Once you have your blog set up, post your first entries. It's best to grab that online traffic with insightful understanding and genuine thoughts. Pick something that you may have some unique knowledge about-something that brings questions or understanding to your readers' minds. If it moves you, then most likely you will bring to the table a topic worth reading.

Keep your topics fresh by attending to your blog. Some argue that blogging on a variety of topics is the best way to avoid getting repetitious. Others argue that picking a few niche topics and focusing on them solely is the best way to build your brand. Experiment and figure out what level of variety works best with your audience.

Watch the traffic on your site, because comments may offer new directions and also can reinforce your understanding of the interests of your audience. However, be aware of your expertise boundaries, because writing uninformed posts may lead to misunderstanding and loss of readership.

3. HOW do I grow my network? Your readers and contributors also have blogs, so be willing to link to other blogs and sites related to your interests. This creates a connection that allows visitors to bounce around the blogs via deliberate links, keeping the attraction high and the material fresh. Blog hotspots like TPM Caf ƒ © and Technorati garner blogger attention and energy. Joining these communities may inspire your own blog content and keep you aware of blog development. This also helps when people are searching for blogs on a topic, not just a particular author or book. Maintaining a list of blogs on your own blog is known as "blogrolling." Get into it.

4. HOW do I get the search engines to find my blog? Smart word choice can increase traffic to your blog site. You want to describe yourself using the same terms that a person Googling for information would use. The Google Adwords Keyword Planner tells you how many times per month people Google any given word or phrase; you can access this tool through any Gmail account, although it will try and trick you into purchasing a Google Adwords campaign (you don’t have to). For more details on Search Engine Optimization, see our article devoted to the topic.

5. How often should I post new entries? Keep your blog updated. Nothing is more disappointing than coming back to a blog you've saved and finding that it has outdated or superficial posts. Build an audience with a solid, consistent posting performance. Usually the best thing is to set a schedule for yourself, such as “every Monday and Wednesday.”