How to get started writing blog posts
How to get started writing blog posts
My followers will know that some time ago I committed to writing a weekly blog post. In fact, I have now been producing weekly blog posts for over four years and have rarely missed a posting. But let’s break that down.
I have to find 52 subjects each year to write about. It sounds simple enough, until you try it! I also do a lot of research on the topics I write about. A lot of what I write is about my experiences and what help, support, and advice I can offer you, but when I write about any subject, I feel it is my duty to make sure that the information I share is accurate. Even though I, too, make mistakes from time to time.
And talking of subjects I could write just for the sake of it, but I know that you don’t want that. You want to be informed, entertained, and engaged and I don’t want to deliver something that doesn’t have some value. I would love you to tell if there is something in particular you would like to hear my thoughts on.
For now, though, I thought I would tell you what little I know about writing blog posts which are worth reading. After all, that is why you are here.
So, you need a good heading and from what I have learned, it always helps to have a question as part of that heading. Just think about what you type into Google when you are searching for something you want to find out about. How? Where? Why? Which? When? What? etc. are the kinds of queries you need to use.
Then you need to think what to write. Well, it should entertain or inform. People are not interested in your walk in the park or your visit to the chiropodist unless they have a personal interest in you, the park you walk in or need help with their feet, but that is a very narrow market and if you want a following, these are subjects people are not likely to want to read about through your blog!
Before I started, I spoke to other bloggers and was advised to write about what I know, tending toward the informing of people. I readily admit that I am not an expert, but I do know some stuff. I read all kinds of books, I love to investigate technical data about paint and art products, and I talk to lots of people who share their knowledge with me, which I then pass on to you. If you are excited by a subject, that will come across in your blog and people are more likely to want to read it.
I was also advised to keep it chatty. I am sure you already know that the attention span of the average human being is eight seconds, less than a goldfish (which, apparently, has a nine second attention span)! So, I need to make you want to stay, read all the way through, and enjoy what you have read. You need to do that, too.
I know that people can make money from blogging. How? Well, by collecting the email addresses of people like you who read my blogs and then using that information to contact you, grow an email list and then provide you with advertising content (which the advertisers pay for). I don’t do this. I am still not saying that I never will, but I haven’t done it in the past four years, so I think I am unlikely to do so in the future. Still, never say never, eh?
However, even though I am currently in 32nd position on the most popular art blogs in the UK, I don’t have enough people following me directly via my website to be interesting to advertisers and really, don’t you have enough advertising bombarding you every day? I don’t want to add to that.
And, honestly, I don’t know how to set it all up. Thankfully, I have children who are absolute wizards at social media, but I am woefully lacking in these skills. For now, that continues to be to your benefit.
The final thing I was advised to do was make my blogs visually interesting and colourful. I do this by sharing the artwork I produce and things which interest me. When producing your blog, you need to make something which excites you. Making art really excites me but I also realise that I need to be aware of social media, that unless I have a presence, people who might want to buy my work won’t even know that I exist, so I am continuing to learn. Four years on and my focus has continued to be on creating good content rather than increasing my mailing list. That doesn’t excite me. Giving value does and I feel confident that through the network, people will find me when the time is right for them and for me.
If you are still reading this, be aware that these days I am only a couple of chapters ahead of you in the book of knowledge, like many schoolteachers who are only ever one chapter ahead of their students. But I have learned a lot over the past four years, I love sharing that knowledge with you all and I plan to continue doing so, even though finding a subject every week can be difficult sometimes.
There are loads of experts you can Google and learn from on the net. Most of them will give you lots of good, far more in depth and technical details than this. Information about setting up, publishing, and making money from your blog, with lots of tips and very often a course you can sign up for where they will give you all the tools you need to be a seven-figure success. Really, though if you are just getting going, you are dipping your toe in the water and until you are ready to commit – and it is a big commitment – my basic, no frills, how to get started blog is all that you need for now.
So just start writing, get a catalogue of subjects ready and then worry about setting up website blogs, hashtags, SEOs etc., etc. later. Until you know that you can really commit to writing on a monthly, weekly or, God forbid, daily basis, then take it in baby steps. That way you will not waste your money until you are truly ready to get going.
You have to learn to enjoy the process of blogging. You need to know that you can commit to it, and you will have to find subjects which amuse, entertain or educate others whilst, more importantly, keeping yourself happy and engaged.
As for me, I started in a very ad hoc way posting once a month(ish) and received no engagement until I realised that I could commit to a regular spot. Publishing regularly is key. People do look out for you each week and at a specific time. They tend to ignore you if you pop up on a different day to the one they were expecting. The algorithms love to see you show up regularly, too, and they also like it if you can write over 1,000 words each time. If you are starting out don’t worry too much about that. If you can make one in every four pieces 1,000 words long, that will get you noticed. I have found over the years that the more I write the more I want to write and if you love your subject, you will probably find the same, too. But baby steps to begin with are just fine.
Something else I have learned over the years is the importance of hashtags. If you don’t have any hashtags attached to your blog, you will vastly reduce the chances of someone finding you. I keep it pretty simple, using the subject I am talking about and referencing a few areas which are closely related and might pull people in. Do make sure to use different hashtags every time, otherwise your post will look like a bot (a type of software that can autonomously perform actions such as tweeting, liking, following or direct messaging other people’ accounts) and probably won’t get shown at all. So, for this piece I will do #howtostartablog #writingablog #gettingstartedwritingablog etc.
Something I didn’t do at the beginning of my blogging journey was get my work properly edited. My husband writes extremely well and is great at picking up mistakes (especially mine) but he is often too busy with other things and really isn’t that interested in what I have to say about the art world, so I was fortunate to have an old friend step up (less of the old, please? Ed) and take over the responsibility. Without my editor, much of what I write would be, in his words, bollocks. Apologies for the language but that is what he has been known to say. However, I do greatly appreciate his input and the effort he puts in, too. I couldn’t do it without him now. Thank you, Ed.
Anyway, I hope that I have not put you off, that you will ease yourself into this fun activity and that each week you will find one little gem from me, which inspires you to come back next week, to find out more about me, my work and how I look at the world.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, please like and follow me and please share it with people who you think might be interested. I am always on the lookout for new artists to feature as I know how much everyone enjoys reading about other artists. Also, if you think there is a subject you would like to know more about and would like me to write about, I will be happy to consider it. Sharing, liking, and following my blogs increases the number of people the algorithm shows the blogs to, so please share. Thank you in advance for supporting me this way.