10 Tips for Starting a New Blog

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.

how to start a blog for writersTo 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. You can never learn too much about blogging

If you’ve already started a new blog but don’t know what to write about, read How to Know What to Blog About. If you haven’t started blogging, you’ll soon find that knowing what to blog about is one of the most time-consuming and important parts of blogging! Here are my ten tips for starting a new blog for writers; feel free to share your thoughts below.

10 Tips for Starting a New 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!

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

Keep neat notes

10 Tips for Starting a New Blog

10 Tips for Starting a New Blog

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.

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!

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.

Think like a computer programmer

Left brained thinking — logical, analytical, sequential — when you’re starting a new blog is crucial. Every little detail counts! This may seem counter intuitive for creative writers who want to blog, but it’s very important.

My latest blog is Squeeze Us, Jesus! Practical tips and encouragement for believers who feel squeezed by the world.

Related to Your Search

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

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14 Responses

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thank you for your thoughts on my tips for starting a new blog! I especially enjoy seeing your blogs, and what you’ve created :-)

  2. Ashutosh says:

    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!

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

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    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 :-)

  5. Tracey says:

    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.

  6. 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!

  7. Laurie PK says:

    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…

  8. Becca says:

    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!

  9. Jon D. Wilke says:

    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.

  10. Kris says:

    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!

  11. Dean says:

    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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