Depending on how on fast you read. Succeeding as a blogger is pretty much like succeeding at anything else.
The Secret? Plan, work, leverage whatever natural skill and talent you have, and, yeah, work.
The first step to getting in shape is getting started.
You need to say, “Okay, I want to do this.” It’s not a commitment to going to the gym today, it’s a commitment to going to the gym regularly.
Starting a blog follows the same general mindset; you don’t become a power blogger until you commit to spending the effort and exercising the discipline. A blog is not a one-off project, it’s hard work to start, and then, at the very least, the result of careful maintenance afterwards.
We (the people at First Site Guide) could (and have) written entire books about how to start a blog/site, but given the venue, we’ll be focusing on the habits that make a good blogger.
Today, though, we’re going to focus on the commitment.
3 Quick Tips for Getting a Blog Started
- Do your research, don’t rush the planning stage!
- Clearly define your short and long-term goals.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many great resources out there.
Choosing a Blogging Schedule
To keep a schedule, you need a routine. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. One of the most common beginner mistakes when it comes to getting in shape is jumping in with so much gusto that they either hurt themselves, waste energy by not allowing time to recover, or making the workout so miserable they eventually just give up.
Bloggers do the same thing. They assume it will be easy to churn out loads of quality content, and that the gains will be instant. They won’t. Writing articles, running podcasts, and all the things bloggers do are skills, so they get easier with practice.
Pick a schedule you can meet, and stick to it to maximize your gains.
3 Quick Tips for Building a Blog Posting Schedule
- Consistency is more important than frequency; posting once a week is better than posting four times a week, one week a month.
- Put together a post bank before you start. Prepare for the unexpected.
- Be realistic, know you’re going to feel burnt out now and then, and plan rest days for recovery.
Focus on Gains, not Strengths
Any time you’re learning something new, you’re going to find stuff that works for you, and stuff that doesn’t. There a million ways to waste your time, and you need to avoid them. Automate everything you can, create a plan, and stick to it long enough to figure out if it’s working.
More than anything else, though, identify weaknesses.
Look, we all like doing the things we’re good at. Me, I hate running, and I like lifting things. I’ve never been in better shape (and vice versa) than when I was training with a friend who loved to run for hours, and could barely press the bar. She pushed me to run, I pushed her to lift, and we both got stronger and faster.
There’s a place for specialization, of course, but our competence is, in many respects, measured by the level of our weakest important skills. So, in the beginning, it’s important to name weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
3 Quick Tips for Focusing Your Blogging Efforts
- Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses, do whatever it takes to make up the deficit.
- Have clear goals. It’s much easier to get somewhere when you know where you want to go.
- Remember that every expert started as an amateur. Believe in yourself.
Sticking To It
“Stick to it!” is the sort advice that’s easy to give, easy remember, and often painfully difficult to follow. Measured against the amount of hours in a week, maintaining a blog is a trivial time commitment. Life tends to expand to devour all available free time, though, so it’s often easy to let things slide.
Like most things in life, this is going to come down to discipline. Write enough to get ahead, so you can still post on a day when you don’t feel like writing. Or, if you don’t have spare posts ready to go, write one anyway.
One of the most reliable predictors of a blog’s success is whether or not the owner maintains a schedule.
3 Quick Tips for Sticking to Your Blog
- You don’t have to be the best right out of the gate, you just have to keep getting better over time.
- Never stop pushing yourself to get better. Complacency kills you slowly.
- At the end of the day, whether you succeed or fail is going to come down to how talented you are, how smart your plan is, and how hard you push. The first two criteria have innate limits, so guess where you need to make up the deficit?
Now Get to Work
And that’s it. Well, obviously there’s a lot more than I give you in five minutes. Hopefully this gets you going on the right path, but there’s no substitute for hard work. Knowing where to apply that hard work will take you a lot farther with the same effort.
Anja Skrba has been blogging for over five years. You can find her at FirstSiteGuide.com where she shares tips on blogging basics and trends.