Iâ??ve been trying to come up with a simple and easy way to explain to someone whoâ??s never blogged before how to get into it in the right way. And, while I hate to add to the pile of 4P theories that have been knocked into our heads since college, this still remains an easy-to-remember device.
THE 4Ps TO STARTING A BLOG
For people coming in from out in the cold, participation is the key to understanding how the culture of blogging works. Potential bloggers need to visit other sites, read, comment and connect with the writers. The purpose of the participation phase is two-fold:
- To understand whatâ??s involved, gain a sense of the commitment and help the potential blogger develop their own style, which happens by reading a variety of other blogs.
- Participating is also like raising a flag to other bloggers to tell them youâ??re in the game. Essentially, youâ??re developing a network to connect with and lean on when you start, which is also good for loading up your blogroll when the time comes.
Now that you visited other blogs and see how theyâ??re organized, itâ??s time to start thinking about your own blog. This is the strategy phase. What will your blog be called? What URL will you secure? Which platform will you use â?? WordPress, Typepad, other? Start thinking about the tone of your blog. Consider your design, categories, tagline â?? everything that goes into developing a professional presence. Start writing your “about” page and your inaugural post.
At this stage, for the less technical, youâ??ll want to consult with a designer who can help you create the look and feel youâ??re after. Remember, your blog is a key element to developing a personal brand. Content is one thing, how itâ??s presented is quite another.
Once your plan is laid out, start practising. Become familiar with the blogging platform youâ??ll be using. Learn how to add categories, create links, edit, upload photos, import photos, and fix the little problems that come up from time to time. If you donâ??t know what those problems are, find a blogger on the same platform and ask. (Donâ??t worry, all this sounds more difficult than it really is.)
Start writing some posts and have someone critique them for you. And then keep writing. The more you write, the more your style will develop. Youâ??ll also find your bloggerâ??s mindset, so you can hit the ground running when you launch. In addition, youâ??ll have a bank of posts to choose from when youâ??re blogging.
Youâ??ve launched your blog. All the elements are in place. Now itâ??s time to get posting. Develop a schedule, decide on a minimum number of posts to make every week and try to stick to it. Then, once youâ??re in the flow of things, increase your frequency as you gain comfort.
The most important thing to note as you go through these four steps is that once you pass into the next P, the others never stop. Youâ??ll always participate, plan and practice, even when youâ??ve moved into the posting phase. Blogging is an ongoing process at all levels, so while you have to start at the beginning, donâ??t think of it as graduating to the next step â?? itâ??s more like youâ??re building in a new step when youâ??re ready.
And these, good readers, are the 4Ps of starting a blog: Participate, plan, practice, post.
â?˘ ProBlogger ran an excellent series asking other bloggers what they would do differently if they could start their blog all over again. Some great advice from some great bloggers here.
â?˘ LifeDev weighs in with The Best Blogging Advice Ever.