Jul 122008
 

These ten tips for starting a new blog for writers are from my own experience; I created six “Quips and Tips” blogs on WordPress. Most of my themes were created by Solostream — they make great themes, and offer fantastic support.

And here are the top 10 things I’ve learned from creating my blogs. 

But before the tips, a quip! Substitute the words “starting a website” for “writing”, and you’ll see what it feels like to create a blog…

“Writing a book is an adventure: To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.” – Winston Churchill.

Your blog is just like your books or articles: monsters that you’ve wrestled with until you’re bloody and exhausted and limp as a dishrag…and that you’ve suddenly triumphed over and flung out for the world to see.!




To learn more about earning money with your blog, read ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett. 

And, here are my ten tips for starting a new blog for writers…

10 Tips for Starting a New Blog for Writers

1. Decide if you should hire a web designer. I like the idea of knowing how to add, change, delete or create blog buttons or widgets for my blogs. I like controlling my own ads and links. At this point in my writing career, I don’t want to hire someone to design and maintain my website because I like doing it! Plus, I like using my brain in new ways and learning what goes on behind the scenes of web design.

2. Schedule time to create your blog. Oh, is it time-consuming! Picking a theme (two of my WordPress themes are from Solostream), planning the layout, adding ads, writing articles, playing with the colors, adding your own logo or images (which I haven’t done), figuring out how you want your tags to look, learning about keywords….it’s not an overnight romp. Read Tips for Choosing the Best WordPress Theme for Your Blog for more info.

3. Research different WordPress or Blogger themes. There are dozens of free themes out there; I used free WordPress and Blogger themes in January 2008, when I first decided to create my blogs. However, I soon decided that I wanted to get serious about blogging….and that involved purchasing WP-Magazine Theme 1.0 from Solostream (featured on my Quips & Tips for Achieving Your Goals blog).

4. Check for website support. If you tackle web design on your own with something like a Solostream theme, find out if website support is included. This can include website forums with questions and answers, or even direct support from the website designer him or herself.

5. Scour website support forums for answers. When you’re starting a website, you’ll have a gazillion questions about everything from FTP to RSS – and the bloggers who’ve gone before you had the same questions! If you purchase a theme, you may find your answers in that forum, comments section, or in emails from the web designer. Read or search those website support forums carefully. I’ve also found it helpful to simply Google my question.

6. Pay close attention to the details. In the WP-Magazine Theme comments section, I noticed the same questions and answers several times. Installing your theme properly means that you have to do exactly what the instructions say. It’s precise work – which is why many bloggers hire web designers when they’re starting a new blog. Starting a website is easier when someone does all the “behind the scenes” work for you, especially if you don’t have the time or energy to do it yourself.

7. Keep neat notes. When I started my blogs, I didn’t keep notes. So far, it’s not a problem because it’s all fresh in my mind…but in six months when, for instance, I want to change my four 125×125 ads to a single 300×250 ad, I may be kicking myself for not leaving myself notes. Granted, the steps are on Pollock’s WP-Magazine Theme instructions, but sometimes even re-discovering the answers can be time-consuming. If I were to start a website again, I’d write everything down: “How to Install the Popularity Contest Plugin”, “How to Change the Number of Comments Displayed”, etc.

8. Get oxygen flowing in your brain. This tip for starting a new blog for writers involves getting yourself outside to keep the oxygen flowing and your brain healthy. Building a blog can cause frustration, anger, and sometimes even tears (though I never cried, I did yell at the cat a couple of times). When you’re drowning in oceans of code and feel like you can’t breathe, take a break. Step away from the computer!

9. Put the more difficult things aside until later. I was so excited about starting this website, Quips & Tips for Successful Writers, that I couldn’t focus on the top content box. So I deleted it. A couple days later, I realized that I really did want the box full of feature articles, most popular posts, etc – and I tackled it again. I installed it with no problems.  When you’re starting a new blog, put the complicated things aside until later, when you’re ready.

10. Think like a computer programmer. Left brained thinking — logical, analytical, sequential — when yuo’re starting a new blog is crucial. Every little detail counts. For more tips, read 5 Steps to Setting Up a Blog for Writers.

Michael Pollock at Solostream has been absolutely fabulous in answering all my questions. Thanks, Michael!

And, my websites are hosted through HostGator – their technical support is also amazing. They’re knowledgable, friendly, polite, and offer 24 hour support.

If you have any questions or thoughts on these ten tips for starting a new blog for writers, please comment below…

laurie pawlik kienlenI'm Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen (but I wish my name was Rosie Frost!). I'm a bookworm, travel bug, flute player, writer. My husband and I live in Vancouver, Canada with our cat and dogs.

Are you happy? My Grade 10 Social Studies teacher, Mr Merritt, always used to ask me that. And I am happy - despite a difficult childhood (schizophrenic mother, no father, foster homes), infertility, an eating disorder, and a chronic illness. The source of my peace and joy is God; I'm a Christian.

How is your life unfolding - what do you need? I welcome your big and little comments below, about big or little things. I can't give you advice, but writing can give you clarity and insight.

In peace and passion.... Laurie

  10 Responses to “10 Tips for Starting a New Blog for Writers”

  1. Hi Laurie,
    This article is simple and to the point. Thanks!

    I’m starting a new blog and would love if you can review it once: techathena.com

    I appreciate your wisdom in the blogging field. Your help and tips would surely benefit my new blog.

    Waiting for your response. You can message me to the email id provided.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Great tips, My favorite is “think like a computer programmer” the difference between Success and Failure is in the details.

  3. Yes, definitely willpower to keep going…..and an effective schedule that keeps us on track! Honestly, if I didn’t have my blog schedule, I’d still be a wannabee :-)

  4. Great suggestions. I find it important to find a blog software that is easy to use, and gives you the format you want. Also something I struggle with is keeping the passion alive for my blog and finding things to blog about. It’s that willpower to not give up, that separates the shakers from the wannabes.

  5. Excellent post with great advice. Another thing I would add is to get out there and comment on other blogs — that’s one reason I keep coming back to your blog. When there is a dialogue, it’s always more inticing to read the post. Thanks!

  6. Debra, the bright shiny end of the tunnel is in sight…only a few more tweaks here and there, and a few more tweaks there and here, and a little tinkering here and a little tinkering there there….everywhere a little tinker tinker tinker…

    Aw, let’s face it — a writer’s blog is NEVER done!

    :-) Congrats on going to WordPress, and I look forward to visiting your blog…

  7. This is a great post, and I think very appropriate right now, with the economy the way it is. Believe it or not, I found some interesting trends (http://www.odesk.com/trends/Tech%20Writer) that show freelance writing (inclusive of blogwriting) is steadily on the rise. Who would have thought that we’d be the ones thriving during these hard times. Very exciting!

  8. Laurie,
    I’d like to add, “Think like a blog reader.” Most people won’t create content, but they will react to via reading, commenting, forwarding, etc.

    To build your audience, you must make your blog as easy to share as possible. Content, writing, style, layout, programming, etc., all all important. But if that person has to open an email program, cut and paste your link into that email, assign recipients…the chances of a pass-along rate are pretty slim to none.

  9. I keep a running text file with all different code that I might need in the future.

    I put a title above each item.

    Then when I need anything I go to that file and use the Find feature to search for it.

    Also, I use solostream and I can attest that their themes rock! Support is great!

  10. Nice post. Congratulations on getting your two blogs up. It looks like you are off to a super start with this one. Good luck

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