Only thirty views and four likes?!
Sound familiar, rookie blogger?
This was me and my first post. I was devastated. I kept staring at the screen, mouth agape, oscillating between chucking my laptop out of the window and giving up on blogging altogether or writing another blog post.
But what do you write when your first post gets such abysmal response?
We are discussing the three pieces of advice for newbie bloggers this week on The Perfectly Imperfect Bunch Blog. My fellow bloggers Grabbety and Smita have already given you sound advice on the topic and I don’t know what else to add. I too have always maintained that when it comes to blogging, especially as a newcomer, you must adhere to the Three C’s (as I call them) – Content, Consistency and Contacts. And really, these three are the basis of good blogging at all times in your blogging career.
But since I am expected to bring something new to the table, I’ll instead give you my three biggest mistakes as a rookie blogger and you can glean from that what you ought not to do. They may not apply to you; you may have other problems or maybe a pro at blogging already, but these, along with the Three C’s formed my biggest blogging lessons. Even after a year of blogging I still have a lot of issues with my blogging, but I stick by these rules.
So here they are –
1. Never leave your ‘First Blog Post’ a blank page –
When I formed my blog through WordPress I had no idea that it would be such an exhausting exercise. There were themes to choose, introductions to write, menus to decide, pictures to upload…oh my god, that one and a half day was crazy! By the end of it, I was so exhausted and fed up that I didn’t want to write my first post. The result was that for a long, long, long time the day my blog went live, was the day it received the highest number of views, but since I had not bothered to post my first actual blog post till a couple of days later, NO ONE RETURNED when I actually posted my first blog post, except the four I mentioned above. Obviously, why will readers return to an empty blog which only has an ‘About Me’ page in terms of writing, and a few other half-formed menus that lead them to nothing?
Remember when you form your blog, there is a page that is very helpfully titled ‘First Blog Post’? Or have you ever visited another WP blog and scrolled down to their very first post and you find a blank page reading – ‘This is your very first blog post’ or ‘This is a post excerpt’? My point is, either you should have your first post drafted already before your blog goes live, and publish it around the same time when the blog goes live, or you delete that ‘First Blog Post’ from your pages, because it shows you haven’t worked out how WP works (which you haven’t yet, yes?). Do not let that page lay vacant for a long time. Of course, you should really work on your blog and figure out the kinks as soon as you can, but till you do that, let the readers have a reason to read something on your blog while you slowly start building up your blog, other than just offering them an ‘About Me’ page (no that doesn’t count as your first blog post).
2. Forgetting the promotion of your blog
It took me a long time to realise just how important promoting one’s blog was. Initially, I had only linked my blog to my FB profile, my Twitter account, my LinkedIn profile and a few other social networking sites, but I was not bothered about seriously promoting them there. If people came in through those sites, well and good. If they didn’t, I would compel myself to write another blog post. Somehow I was convinced that successful blogs publish more frequently. While that is true in one way, your content still tops that. If you have strong content people will drift in even if you only post once a week. But what really helps a blog grab more eyeballs is promoting it energetically (I still don’t do that). So go ahead and link up your blog to as many sites as you can; drop your link at appropriate places, and follow up on those sites. Create an FB page and regularly visit and update it, stay in touch with your readers and promote your blog even through word of mouth. It all helps! Just don’t be overzealous about it, which brings me to my third point.
3. Being desperate and Impatient
I remember when I had started the blog, I was practically glued to either my laptop or my phone, checking out comments and responding to them as soon as I received a notification. And if I hadn’t received them, I’d be worried sick about why I wasn’t receiving any likes or comments. I’m surprised I did not die because of multiple panic attacks at the sight of my dismal stats back then. Only after around a year did I learn to accept the fact that not every post is going to earn me a thumbs-up from readers. Conversely, there may be times when posting too much too many times in the day may affect my content quality, which never sits well with readers. NEVER.
I have also come across folks (well-meaning people) but very, very eager ones who hound other bloggers to visit, follow, like and comment on their posts, even if all they have on their blogs is one introductory post. And god forbid that you don’t, they will leave a comment proclaiming that ‘you did not visit’. Don’t be one of those people, please. If you find that someone does not visit your blog even when you request them to, leave it at that. Your silence and absence from their blogs will do them more harm than your comment, which shows you in a poor light instead.
Remember that blogging takes time and patience. One does not become a good blogger in a matter of days or even weeks. So have some patience. Concentrate on your content, consistency and contacts and keep tinkering with your WP blog, improving on your theme. It’s a great platform and has some amazing options especially for beginners. Take the time to nurture your blog. I promise that time won’t be a waste.
All the very, very best!