So you want to start a blog?

Today, I thought I’d share a little bit about my experiences as a blogger.  I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but I would like to share what I have learned over the past year!

Considerations before starting your own blog:

  • Determine your audience. Who are you writing for — your students?  fellow piano teachers?  Music teachers in general?  Stay focused on one target audience, rather than trying to combine. Find your niche and start generating ideas for what to blog about.
  • Choose a focus/goal. What kind of topics would you like to cover?  What do you hope your readers will gain from your blog? Brainstorm ideas for blogging for the long term.
  • Think long-term. What are your goals in having a blog?  How long do you see yourself blogging?

Tips for successful blogging:

  • Post original content. While it’s great  to share links to great sites and blogs where you’ve found great resources, you don’t want to be constantly directing your readers away from your site.  Posting original content is what will keep them coming back!
  • Keep yourself on a schedule. How often do you plan to post on your blog?  Every day?  Once a week?  Think realistically, make a plan, and stick to it.
  • Keep an “ideas” notebook. Are you bursting with ideas for blog posts?  Capture all your ideas on paper, before you forget them!  Later on, you can return to this list and continue blogging even when inspiration is low.

Appearances are everything:

  • Choose a blogging platform. It may be best to start with a free blog through WordPress or Blogger (there are others, but these two are probably the most popular and user-friendly).  If you want your own domain name (i.e., without the “wordpress.com” part), you can purchase a year or two’s worth through sites such as Name.com and JustHost.com.
  • Find a theme you like. If there aren’t many options, you may be able to find other free themes online.
  • Use photos. Spice up your blog posts by including images.  Be sure to use only images that you can legally use, versus taking any photos you find using an internet search. I like to take my own photos, or I find public domain or creative commons copyright photos using openclipart.org or search.creativecommons.org. You can also buy stock images at affordable rates from stock image sites. Be sure to credit the photo to the owner each time if the copyright requires it.
  • Be careful about ads. Putting ads all over your blog might not be the way to go when you are first starting your blog; it may turn your readers off.  You don’t want to give the impression that the only reason you are starting a blog is to make money.  I once read somewhere that you should not consider putting ads on your site until you have at least 100 subscribers.  It’s something to consider!

Getting the word out:

  • Encourage readers to subscribe via email or RSS reader. Make it easy for them – add a widget in the sidebar so they can easily subscribe to receive updates in their RSS reader or directly in their email inbox.
  • Provide widgets that make sharing easy for readers. …with links to social networking sites like facebook, twitter, etc.
  • Create a fan page on facebook. This allows readers to receive blog updates right in their facebook news feed.
  • Connect with other bloggers. Comment on their posts, and send a quick email introducing yourself.  When you get comments on your blog, always try to return the favor.

If you have more tips and ideas for new bloggers, I’d love to hear them.  And if you’ve recently started a blog, please share the link in the comments below!

Next: More About the Logistics of Setting Up A Blog

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darksidex/ / CC BY 2.0

PG
Joy Morin is a piano teacher in Perrysburg, Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. ColorInMyPiano.com serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1113 posts here.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted 4 January 2011 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Hi Joy,
    I really enjoyed this article! My 2011 New Year’s resolution is to regularly funnel creative juices into my very own blog. As of 1/1/11, the name and the blog are set up. Now i just need to write my first post! :)

    Even though my blog explores my other life, my non-piano teacher interests, your tips are still relevant.
    Rachael

    Ps I love, love, love your blog. I have found much inspiration in it for my piano studio.

    • Posted 14 January 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Best of luck with your new blog, Rachael! One thing that helps me with blogging is to think of my blog as a journal of sorts, documenting my piano teaching experiences or whatever music-related things are rolling around at the time. As selfish as it sounds, I blog for myself first, and if others are able to benefit from what I write, then it’s an amazing bonus! Having this attitude makes blogging much easier I think, because you don’t have to try to please anyone. Just put down your thoughts. =)

  2. Posted 5 January 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I am a piano teacher in Canada, and I recently found your site and have enjoyed browsing though it. This post was especially great as I just recently started a blog. There are still many things I hope to add, and I still have a ways to go, but you are welcome to check it out and give me some advice! :) nickel-notes.blogspot.com

    Thanks for all the great resources, keep them coming!!!

    • Posted 14 January 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      You have a great start on your blog! I’m adding you to my Links page and my RSS reader. =)

  3. Posted 21 November 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joy,
    I just found your website through a Facebook forum. I love social media connections! My blog is only 3 weeks old, so very early stages. I am currently doing my PhD and specialise in teaching adult piano students so I am gearing my blogs towards adult piano students and teachers of adults.
    Your site is very inspirational! And to see that you have been established since 2009 is very impressive. I hope to build over time as well. Your blogs on how to blog are fabulous! I have just liked your Facebook page as well.

    • Posted 22 November 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Leah! It’s nice to “meet” you. :) Your blog sounds great — I will definitely check it out!

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