Monday, August 10, 2009
The 5 Things They Didn't Tell You When You Started a Blog
In the beginning, it always sounds like a simple idea. I want to start a blog. Anyone can. But, there are some things no one tells you. I will tell you what I learned.
The "five minute installation" at wordpress is not "five minutes" but more like a four hour torture session. It's designed to check if you are serious about this blog thing. After four hours, I found the fantistco button on my cpanel and I was up and running. No one shared that helpful hint with me. I just saved you four hours.
Your theme is more important than you imagine. It is your reader's first impression. More importantly, it's not easy to change after you have posted for awhile. Spend more time on a theme than I did.
Traffic analysis tools like google analytics are required but I will issue a warning. It is the first person in the morning to tell you that you have no friends. Don't even think about visitors. Here is how it works. You wake up hoping that someone found your site in these early stages. Maybe they will subscribe too. But the stats say three visitors. They also spend less than two minutes on your site. It's more like a drive-by stop. Google analytics should just say "good morning, you are still a loser today. Why don't you write another post for you and your mom."
How many times have you heard "write content and the readers will follow". It sounds easy. In the beginning ideas flow on the blog. But, finding good ideas to write about everyday is not easy. I let search traffic guide me. Isn't that how the Google algorithm finds the best site. Hopefully, I can do that and convince new subscribers and at least one-third of my current subscribers( my mom) to return and read because the posts are good.
Another axiom is "contests are an easy way to get traffic". Who wouldn't want a chance to win a free prize? Don't count on a thousand visitors. But, isn't that what John Chow did. Then a week later the two people who signed up for it are laughing at the fifty-fifty chance at your free prize. The funny part is that you had to tell your mom that she can't enter. Now, you have alienated one third of your subscriber base already. One thing that helped me was that I found contest blogger. It's a great site that features blogs and their contests. It's one of those great sites. After you are done visiting, you kick yourself for not thinking of it first.
Author: Mike Gentleman writes about current hot search topics with a sarcastic tone at his website Whassupjack