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!