The How To Be A Crappy Blogger series examines the mistakes and missteps that keep blogs like this from succeeding. Enjoy and learn from a look back at three years of unsuccessful blogging.
When you first decide that you want to blog, there’s this immediacy that comes over you. You have something you want to say or land on a topic you want to examine and the excitement just drives you forward. It drives you to register a domain, set-up a site and start writing that very day. You feel great, you feel passionate, but you aren’t ready.
This is pretty much exactly what I did and boy did it set me out on the wrong foot. While my kickoff took a week of pestering Danny Brown rather than a day, I still rushed into it. I was raring to go, had been reading other blogs and just wanted to get moving. That energy was unlike anything I had felt and it worked… for a while. But inevitably reality caught up to me. I hadn’t done my homework. I hadn’t though things through and I wasn’t ready to sustain the site when that initial passion started wearing off.
When your moment comes, when you’re raring to go, get started! Just don’t start blogging. Start planning. Start writing. Start doing everything you need to prepare. Take at least two weeks and get a feeling for how much content you create. If you’re already a practicing writer, you shouldn’t find it all that difficult to determine how many usable words you’ll manage to create in a week. If like me, you hadn’t written consistently in years, you need to take a few weeks to get to know your habits. This will not only help you get ahead on your content, but it should help you determine the frequency with which you should post (and don’t you worry, we will certainly be getting to frequency in this series). Keep in mind that you’re still on that “new blog” high and you’re production is bound to slow down. Over time, as blogging becomes more of a habit, that pace will begin to pick up, but there is often a significant slow down after that initial burst.
Go beyond getting to know your writing habits and make yourself a roadmap. If this is your first blog or if you’ve never quite found traction in your previous attempts, plan out your first three months’ worth of posts. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just take a calendar and start writing your post ideas on it. Rather than wondering what to write, you’ll already have the titles (or at least the general ideas) ready to roll. Looking ahead like this will also force you to see if you can come up with enough topics to keep things interesting.
If you really want to do this, prepare for the long haul. Forgo pouring all of that energy into your site and put it into the planning. Jumping in and putting myself out there showed commitment, but I paid for my impatience by constantly having to scramble for ideas and by attempting to write more than I was ready to produce. I didn’t know myself as a blogger at all and rather than learning my lessons in private, I was quickly frustrating my readers with disjointed and infrequent content. This turned out to not only scare readers away, but it quickly quelled my own passion for the project.
If you want to start, start now; just plan instead of publish. I know you’re anxious to get going, but if your goal is to still be blogging a year from now, realize that it doesn’t matter if you start hitting publish tomorrow.
New to blogging and just getting started? Are you at it a while, but perhaps started out on the wrong foot? Share your stories in the comments below and hopefully we can all learn from each others missteps.