Saturday, 11 December 2010

Some tips for new bloggers – my first two months in the blogosphere

This blog is now two months old and I am proud to have readers in 23 countries, so my motto of ‘tomorrow the world’ is beginning to ring true!

Finchers Consulting blog has covered a variety of topics ranging from NHS restructure, USA healthcare reforms, drug therapies and preventative medicine. I have even allowed myself the indulgence of a rant about the world cup and a musing about the Royal engagement. As a passionate and committed blogger. I hope that any aspiring beginners out there will find my tips and observations of value. If you love writing, you will love blogging. It’s fun, addictive and challenging. It gives you a chance to express yourself across the globe. Blogging has broadened my horizons as I increase my awareness of current affairs in search of health related topics. Because this is linked to my professional life and can be accessed from my website, I must make sure that my statements are as accurate as possible and my opinions backed with reasonable argument.

So here are my personal top tips for beginners:

·      Consult the experts before you start. Read a good book about blogging. This will be time well spent and really give you a head start. ‘Problogger’ by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett is perfect. I won’t repeat all the tips in this book as they are many and wide reaching –my best buy for a long time.
·      If you are technically challenged, get a friend to help. Starting a blog is incredibly easy, and you are bound to have several friends who could help you with this.
·      Make sure your blog looks good. Especially if this is linked to your professional life. The design should mirror the content.
·      Listen to advice from friends and family. Another perspective on design and content is always worthy, especially from those who know you well.
·      Get someone to check your first few postings. Pressing ‘publish post’ is incredibly nerve-wracking if you really care about your blog. Ask someone you trust to be your editor in chief – this takes some of the pressure off. Once you find your natural rhythm this won't be necessary and you will find the words start to come much more easily. My daughter proof-read my first few postings and I still run blogs past her if I have doubts about the content or quality.
·      Be careful. Not everyone will share your views – in fact a good blog should promote ‘healthy’ debate – but try not to offend or upset people unnecessarily.
·      Be careful again! Stay within the law, and make sure you do not print anything libellous, defamatory or inciting anyone else to break the law. (I had to reword my posting about Sepp Blatter and FIFA with this in mind!!)
·      Write about what you know. And stick to your natural style. This will save you a lot of heartache and means that your postings will ring true and will be of value to your readers.
·      Try not to get obsessed with the stats. I originally planned Finchers Blog with the UK and USA in mind, and became increasingly excited every time I saw that a new country comes ‘on line’. I will admit to having a world map in my office showing my global reach so far, but the key to a successful blog is content….
·      Content is king. Use the stats to help you understand the best times to post your blog, the type of title that attracts attention and the content that generates most interest and comment.
·      Don’t be shy to promote your blog. There are some very useful tips about this in Problogger. I still have a lot to learn, but I emailed anyone who may be interested when I launched, which was a good start with a friendly audience.
·      Twitter is fantastic! I am getting to know some of my readers and it is a wonderful way to keep in touch with the blogosphere in general.
·      Trust in karma. Be generous in promoting others’ blogs or websites and you can be sure you will receive good in return in the long run.
·      Don’t stress about every posting. You are only as good as your last posting, but accept that they won’t all be perfect, and you can over-edit to the stage where you won’t even use the posting. Likewise, if you publish something that you think is exceptional, accept that it won’t be seen by all your readers and will be archive fodder before long.
·      Stay true to your beliefs. I am very aware of the diversity of my readers and if I tried to please all of them all of the time I would be in serious need of medication! So I stick to what I know and what I think will be of interest to the majority of my readers.
·      Enjoy. If you enjoy writing your posts, your readers should enjoy reading them. When it ceases to be a pleasure, time to walk away from the pc.
·      Don’t let blogging rule your life. Well, not too much anyway..


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