13 Tips to Starting Your Own Blog & Cultivating a Community
Have you just launched your website and brand new blog? This tends to be a very exciting, albeit nerve-wracking time. So much to do, so much to explore. Yet where do you begin?
We always suggest that you start slow and begin to cultivate a community that is founded upon the specialized knowledge that you have to share. When you share knowledge openly, in an authentic voice that is reflective of your brand’s persona, you’ll be golden. Here are some tips we’d like to share regarding starting your blog so that you and slowly, but surely, cultivate a community that matters.
1. Ignore the Numbers. It takes time to build a community, so don’t focus on the numbers as much as the quality of your readership. Remember that the quality of your relationships is key and should be your focus. We hate to tell you, but even if you optimize your keywords ’til the cows come home, traffic won’t come streaming to your blog instantaneously. Slow down, enjoy the process and lean into things. Carefully choose your words and ensure that each post fits into your brand’s persona. If you simply throw blog posts up willy nilly and hope things stick, you’ll regret it in the long run and your readers will smell something phony miles away. Build it and they will come.
2. Tell Secrets. Leave the fluff at the door. Make your blog stand out by disclosing “tricks of the trade.” Your audience will really appreciate your willingness to share valuable information with them. The more epic the post, the better! Our most popular posts are the ones where we share information about how to get paid, what we charge, and how to start an apparel line, for example. They are long posts that disclose information insider information.
3. Focus on your Niche and Nothing More. You are the expert at your craft, so concentrate on what you’re good at. When you attempt to offer advice on areas that aren’t exactly your specialty, your blog may become unwieldy. Stay in your own lane.
4. Captivate an Engaged Reader. You’re off to a great start…writing things that truly matter. While you’re doing that, you’ll want to simultaneously target a very special kind of reader, and that’s an engaged one. You see, as we’ve established, not all traffic is good traffic. No, what we care about is quality. So, take time to write posts that will build relationships with your community. You need to come to know and embrace the very specialized community that you have formed, which will be based on your niche.
5. Love the One You’re With. And speaking of numbers, it’s also a lot easier to maintain your audience than to go out and capture readers, so nurture the relationships you have gained. Take the time out of your day to respond to blog/social media comments/mentions and show your readers that you truly appreciate the time they spent to connect. The more you do, the more your readers will start to feel a tie to your blog and like members of your community. The more they feel that bond, the more likely they will share, return and excitedly tell the world about what you’re doing.
6. Listen. Pay attention to what your audience wants and show them you are listening. Whether you survey them (we use Google Forms) or take notes based on social media interactions, you will come to learn what kind of content they want to see. This is a really easy way to connect and respond to the readers who have helped to grow your community.
7. Get on a Schedule. Schedule out your time, so that your readers know when to expect new posts. Depending on your availability, you may want to post weekly or even daily – it’s up to you. Remember, however, that it’s the content that should drive your schedule. Before you commit, think about the time you have to dedicate to copywriting and the quality of posts you need to produce to build your community. Less is more at the end of the day.
Curate. Document. There is a time and a place for carefully curating your content, but we find that our community really loves for us to document the in’s and out’s of life here at Go Media. So, take time to let your audience in and show them the behind the scenes. And more importantly, always show reveal your authentic voice, as readers can see right through a fake in two seconds flat. Be yourself and your community will grow, we guarantee it.
9. Make it easy for them to return. Now that you’ve got them hooked, make it easy for your reader to find you again. Start an RSS feed, email subscription, Facebook group, or other easy way for your readers to not only connect with you regularly, but retrace their steps.
10. Create a few simple categories. Make it easy for your readers to navigate your site by creating a few simple categories, which will filter your blog material for them. The fewer categories you have, the more likely they are to click on one of them. How many should you have? Start with three and end at eight, at the very most. When creating your categories, make sure they are broad enough umbrellas that your material will fall under one of them, whilst making them compelling as well.
11. Don’t forget the tags! Tags are a vital element of your blog post and also make navigation an easy task. WordPress advises that you use no more than 15 tags per blog post, so that is what we have adopted for our blog. Since there are so many blogs, and so many folks tagging out there on the daily, the more specific your tags, the better.
12. Optimize for SEO. Use the power of SEO to get your blog in front of as many readers as you can. Install the Yoast SEO plugin if you’re on WordPress and follow our tutorial to get things cooking. It will be your best friend!
13. Install chat on your blog. We have chat running on our blog and have it running whenever we’re at our desks. (We use Olark and it works nicely for us.) This is another way to keep in touch with your readers, as well as a great way to see what posts your readers tend to have further questions about. We use this intel to help us formulate furture blog posts.
We wish you the best of luck. Please let us know how your new blog goes!