Have you ever considered starting a blog? There are great reasons to do so. There are also a few challenges. Your hesitation is understandable. But the challenges can be overcome. You might even be surprised to discover that the challenges ahead are not necessarily the ones you fear. For a long time, people worried about the time it would take to get started, the skill level required, and the up-front cost. Today, those considerations are a thing of the past. Getting started is the easiest part of starting a blog. Here are some things to consider before writing your first post:
What Kind of Web Host Is Good for Beginners?
Not all web hosts are created equally. Some are strictly for beginners, but don’t leave you any room to grow once you get the hang of it. Then, it becomes a matter of how easy it is to port your efforts to something a bit more substantial. If your concern is that a more serious web host would add too much complexity for your skill level, that is not necessarily the case.
Even premium services like HostGator emphasize aspect such as ease of use and low prices. Though such shared hosting services cater to professional web designers, they also promote available drag-and-drop site creation tools such as Weebly: a well-respected, template-based site builder. These are not the line items that interest professionals. They are specifically targeting amateurs who do not have a presence on the web yet. In other words, even premium web hosting companies are a good choice for people who are new to blogging.
Something to Say
The first, real challenge you will need to think about is finding something to say. It can be a very sobering thing to realize that the mic is on, and that you can be heard by everyone in the world with an Internet connection not censored by their government. Blogging is no less a broadcast medium than writing for a newspaper or magazine. In fact, blogging is like owning a newspaper or magazine. The biggest difference is there are no editors fact-checking your work for accuracy. No one can tell you whether you should or shouldn’t publish that piece.
Before hitting “Publish”, you have to decide these three things for yourself:
- Is it worth reading?
- Is it something for everyone, or just your friends?
- Is it accurate?
- Is it something you want to have attached to your name for the rest of your life?
If what you want to do is share your feelings about the latest episode of The Voice with a few of your closest friends, that may not be full-on blog material. That might be better done through Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. Think about your blog like a magazine or newspaper. Is it something you would want in the local newsstand? Is it the kind of thing a total stranger would want to pick up and read? Then it is probably worthy of a blog.
Consistency is the Key
I once had a job where my only measure of success was showing up everyday. My best friend at that job worked in a different section. At least once a day, we would cross paths. Rather than the usual greeting, we would say, “I’m still here.” There was a lot of turnover at that job. Blogging is a lot like that. Until you have garnered a sizable audience, you can ignore all the metrics accept one: are you still blogging?
You will not gain a following because your subject matter is so compelling. Lot’s of people can write a great, one-off piece. But a lot of the people you hope to attract will not even discover your blog until the tenth, fiftieth, or even hundredth blog post. In this world of easy come, easy go blogs, success is more about being consistent than being great. It is not just a question of whether you have something to say. Rather, can you keep saying it every few days over a long period of time.
Failure Is an Option
Don’t be like the entrepreneurs who declare that failure is not an option. Their wrong. Failure is always an option, an a pretty good one, at that. Blogs are easy and inexpensive. You do not have to be married to any one idea. You can try a lot of them, and keep trying, and keep trying. Each failure informs your next attempt. You can even try several at once to find out what you really enjoy. I’m not promising that your blog(s) will succeed. But you have practically nothing to lose by trying, and trying again.