Whether you have just begun work on drafting your first bit of writing, or have been letting it bide its time in a hidden file on your computer for months already, preparing to go live with your first blog post is a nerve-racking time for anyone – no matter how much experience you have in writing content for the public. What’s more, even if you take your time, it can still feel like a rush to the finish line.
To help get you on your way, we have put together five things you must not forget to consider before you make your first post public. Read more below.
1. Can You Ensure Consistency?
If you are happy for your blog to represent little more to you (or your readers) than a fun pastime, then there is nothing wrong with taking a spontaneous, laissez-faire approach to posting.
If, however, you are serious about garnering and growing a strong readership, and ensuring that your blog is made visible within circles that will prove most valuable to it, then blogging consistency will be key. Posting, say, once a week will be ideal – and ensure that your readers know you are series.
2. Success is Never Instantaneous
As much as we may try to convince ourselves otherwise, the first few times we publish our blog to the web will inevitably precede a few hours’ worth of obsessive refreshing, checking, and, of course, a rapid spiral from gratification to extreme self-doubt.
With all the will in the world, you are unlikely to avoid even a small hit of deflation after a few days pass by and your hit count doesn’t soar into the thousands – or even the hundreds. But, for anyone who has grown a successful blog, social media page or site from the ground up, the story is the same: success comes in dribbles, and you cannot expect to flourish out of a handful of posts, however good they may be.
3. Design Matters
The first thing visitors to your blog will see will be the non-written content; the design, aesthetics, images, logo, etc. What this means is that even the greatest story ever told will flounder if it is presented via poor design choices, a muddled layout, grainy images, or a clumsy, clunky user experience that drains the user’s patience (and sense of intrigue) within seconds.
Unfortunately for newcomers, however, the standards for strong sites are constantly being raised, and what would have passed muster a few years ago will not fall flat. What’s more, building something from scratch is, to put it mildly, time-consuming and technically-demanding.
For that reason, one of the best resources any new blogger will have at their disposal is a purpose-built website builder, which will enable full customisation and personalisation via easy-to-use features and blog templates, in a way that does not necessitate a degree in site design.
Do not let your carefully crafted words go to waste on a site that would deter even the most eclectic of tastes.
4. Proofreading is Not Optional
When it comes to the internet, written content is unlike any other form of digital media. When it comes to image, photoshopping is optional but, increasingly, the decision to post photos in their rawest and most candid form is often celebrated by those who view them.
Writers do not have that luxury. The rawest and most candid form of writing is the one that has not seen even a blink of attention from the proof-reader’s eye – and, unfortunately, spelling and syntactical errors are nowhere near as endearing as the slight imperfections inherent in any unedited photo.
Readers are all too easily turned off by typos, and their presence will undermine even the best writing. It can be difficult to proofread your own work, so you may consider outsourcing this task to a ready-made service as your blog gains traction. Until then, cross those Is and dot those Ts, for the sake of your own writing.
5. Do You Have a Social Media Presence to Match?
These days, it is not enough to simply publish a wall of text once every week or so. The most valuable audiences are those who want to get to know the individual behind the post, and to find someone with whom they can relate and indirectly bond, so you will want to ensure that you have plenty of scheduled posts lined up for the days and weeks that follow your debut.
What’s more, social media will likely prove to be your biggest ally when it comes to attracting readers in the first place. Hashtags and trends can be utilised – where it serves your niche, of course – in order to attract the attention of people who already stand to find value in your chosen subject.
Locating and generating your ideal audience on social media is, once again, the work of months and years rather than hours or days, so set about your own research (and nabbing those social media handles) well before you go public, so that you have a strong foundation of groundwork readymade when you do press ‘post’ for the first time.