Top tips for blogging success and longevity.
Thang Ngo, publisher of noodlies, Sydney food blog shares the tips that helped him to overcome the persistent inner critic that says ‘stop’.
I’ve shared with you my some of the amazing lessons I’ve learnt from 17 years of blogging. I wish I could tell you that I was strategic in building up noodlies as a blog. I wish I could tell you I started with a plan for success. That would be gilding the lily. At the beginning it was 95% luck and 5% skill. But over the years, that ratio changed as I learnt, through trial and error, the recipe for blogging success.
One of the biggest obstacle you’ll face when starting a blog is that critical voice in your head, telling you why you shouldn’t start. If you want to know how to stop the self-sabotage and overcome procrastination, read on…
In 2000, as an elected local government councillor, I started a blog in MS FrontPage to update Fairfield Council constituents on council activities and what I was up to. I’d thought about starting a personal blog. I talked about starting one for years. But that didn’t happen until October 2009, when I started noodlies. All those lost years…
I had a long list of excuses.
As sensible as they might sound, they’re just elaborate excuses to procrastinate. Do any of the ones below sound familiar?
I don’t have time.
“If you want to get something done, give it to someone who’s busy?”. It sounds counter-intuitive, but in my experience, it’s 100% right. We’re more capable than we give ourselves credit for. If I had nothing to do on the weekend, I’d sleep in and generally waste time. But some weekends, it’s back to back social activities and somehow, I always manage to fit them in.
It’s the same thing when it comes to work. Give me one project and I’ll stretch it over a day. Give me five projects and I’m likely to get them done in the same time.
Another way to look at it is is that blogging develops you personally and professionally. So saying you don’t have time to blog is like saying you don’t have time for self development.
No one would read my blog.
It’s also natural to be modest, especially about something you haven’t done before. Of course it’s understandable to doubt that anyone would be interested in what you have to say. My advice is to be frank with your readers. You are starting the blogging journey and, of course, there will be room for improvement.
You might think people aren’t interested in what you have to say. The numbers contradict that. There are 7 billion people in the world, if your blog is read by 0.1% of them, that’s 7 million potential readers. Be less worried about not having readers, worry about how you’d attract and keep them.
I’d love many hungry readers to visit noodlies, but that’s not my major motivation. I blog as much for me as for anyone else. The personal rewards are astounding. I love going back and reading over my posts and enjoying how my digital writing style, tone and voice has developed over the years. Having readers is a welcomed, added bonus.
What if they don’t like my blog? What if they leave nasty comments?
Early on, while you’re building readership, it’s unlikely you’ll attract thousands of readers. It’s unlikely you’ll get any comments at all, let alone negative ones. In the unlikely event that you do, just remember, it’s just their opinion. When I write op-ed pieces for mainstream publications like SBS, SMH and the ABC, my partner always reminds me that there is a diversity of thought out there. Don’t expect everyone to agree with you, no matter how well you argue your point. Think about our political system, sometimes, governments can be elected with less than 50 per cent of the primary vote. Yep, at least half the population didn’t agree with them.
Develop a blog comment policy, which is up front about the ground rules. Set your blog settings so that all comments are moderated by you prior to publication. This allows you to approve or and delete comments using your policy as a guide. Unhelpful, personal attacks can be deleted.
I’m not publishing until this post is perfect.
Perfect is a subjective thing.
Many budding bloggers have successfully used this excuse to never start. Some write multiple drafts only to convince themselves the blog is still not good enough. It sits in the draft folder for months and eventually, they lose interest. It’s never published.
Others delay starting a blog until they’ve found the perfect blog publishing platform; blogger is too simple, WordPress too complicated, tumblr doesn’t have enough themes, Medium is too text based, Squarespace isn’t free.
Some worry that they haven’t found or taken the perfect picture or video to illustrate their post. If only, they could find that perfect photo…
Think of your blog as a work in progress. Sure, rest your writing over night to edit and tighten the next day. But you need to release your baby out the the big wide www world. And then move on to the next post. The more you write and post, the more experience you’ll gain. Conversely, the less you publish, the less you’ll improve.
The common thread is to start. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards.
Blogging Your Interest Workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre.
If you’ve ever had an interest in starting a blog or have a blog that’s been inactive, you may benefit from my Blogging Your Interest workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre on 19 August 2017. I’ve heard all the objections, experienced the highs and lows of blogging.
- evaluating the right blogging platform for your style/content
- key steps to publishing a blog – from research, preparation through to developing a content strategy
- how to stay motivated and inspired
- ways to attract readers using free but powerful online resources including social media and google analytics
If you want to kick start your blogging journey, I’d love to see you.