I started blogging in 1997. Of course it wasn’t called blogging then. I was the Director of Sales for a team of people located all across North America. I also was responsible for providing training tips to staff in Europe and Asia. My vision was to build an online repository of resources to communicate tips, encouragement and information to my team.
There were no easily-accessible tools available to the masses, as there are now. I went to an HTML course and then convinced our company webmaster to give me access to the back-end of our corporate site so I could build an internal communication tool. It was my first blog.
It wasn’t until 2006 that I began personally blogging. My personal writings are an odd conglomerate of wild family stuff, my personal autism handbook, living with hard-core faith, business experience and random observations about sports, coffee and other tidbits that strike me.
I now earn a living through my writing work. As such, blogging gives me practice and a place to write about what I want to share when I’m not writing what my clients need me to share. I am frequently asked how someone should get started in blogging. Over the while, some of my posts will touch on blogging tips, based on my experience.
One of the first things I ask a wanna-be-blogger is: “What kinds of blogs do you read?” If the answer is, “None,” then that’s where I suggest she starts.
If you want to be a blogger, you have to be a reader.
You want to blog because you have something you want to share with the world. In other words, you have an interest, a hobby, a story, an experience, a skill — and you want others to know about it. The reason you blog about it, as opposed to journaling or personally keeping it to yourself, is because you want to build a following of people to learn from or who are entertained by what you post.
If your plan is to make a living doing something related to what you blog about, then youdefinitely need to grow an audience of people to follow your blog. To grow an audience, you need to know who you want in that audience.
Are you with me so far?
The audience is already out there, reading other blogs. You need to know where they are and what they are reading. The best way to find out is to subscribe to blogs who have a target audience that matches the audience you want to reach. That doesn’t mean the blogs you read have to do the same thing — but they should attract the same type of people.
For example, if you enjoy card-making and want to try to sell your cards online, you might want to start a blog that showcases a different product each week with steps how to make it. Your audience are women who enjoy crafty projects. You might begin to follow scrapbooking blogs, or blogs that are identified as “Mommy blogs.”
Get to know the readers, begin to make comments yourself on the posts. When commenting, be sure you register for a gravatar and provide your name and link so your comments are connected back to your blog. If your comments are relevant and interesting, people are more likely to click on your name and see who you are.
This is one way to build a following. Go where your audience is, get to know them, and let them see your name out there.
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