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Blogging for Beginners

Write like you mean it.Last week at the PASS Summit, I had several conversations with several different aspiring bloggers, and found myself saying the same things again and again. Of course, these were the things (a) I was told when I was an aspiring blogger, or (b) I wish I had been told as an aspiring blogger. Mostly (a).

There are a lot of really great reasons to blog. It helps solidify your own knowledge, it gives you a home on the Internet where people can come a-knockin’, and it can open doors and have a positive force for the good. Getting started really is as simple as signing up on WordPress* and changing the title on the front page.

So what’s the big issue for beginning bloggers? Confidence. It’s hard to put your writing out there on the cruel, cold Internet…especially when superstar authors and speakers are already out there, blogging their knowledgeable little hearts out.  So let’s go ahead and have this conversation, right here:

“I don’t know what to blog about.”

Blog about darn near anything (in this case, anything tech). Later, you’ll refine what you want your blog to be about; in the early days, it’s all about getting in the habit of writing.  I’ve been surprised again and again by the positive response when I blog about simple, throwaway, “darn-I-should-already-know-this” little tips. Try…it costs you nothing.

It’s all been done.”

Yes, and no. Other bloggers haven’t written about your particular issue, whatever it is, from YOUR point of view, for one thing. For another thing, not everybody will see Mister Big Author’s blog post; but they might see yours. Don’t be afraid of beating a dead horse!

And if you’re worried about unintentionally stealing someone else’s work – we call that plagiarizing, pard – then don’t! Don’t steal, I mean.  When in doubt, ask. “Hey, I read your blog on stats, and I wanted to quote that cool bit about the widgets. Do you mind?” Most often, we don’t. We just ask you to link back to the original post, and off you go. (In my case, all my blogs are Creative Commons Attribution, so you don’t even have to ask me…just link back in your post!)

“Nobody will want to read this.”

Bull.  If it was interesting to you at all, it will be interesting to somebody else. If nothing else, you’ll wind up finding it again a few months down the road, and re-teach yourself the same thing. And remember, you’re a baby blogger.  Give yourself some time to develop into the Super Awesome Funhouse Blogger Woman/Man that you know you’ll someday be.

“So, what about [blog related thing].”

There’s a ton of other stuff that you hear the experienced bloggers talking about – stats, rankings, SEO, brand, and all that jazz. When you’re just getting started, my advice is not to worry about any of that. Just get yourself writing, develop your interests, develop your voice.  Honestly? I’ve done a bit in the branding and marketing arena, and I have a stats plugin…but that’s about it. I’m not blogging for money, I’m blogging for myself, my career, and – yes – my readers.

Post your comments and questions below…the more the merrier!

-Jen

 *Though you’ll eventually want your own URL, of course…that can wait.

Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. This is a nice post. One thing I wanted to add was that sharing your posts is very important to getting readership. When I first started my blog I had just a few people a week reading my posts. I got by blog syndicated on SQLServerPedia, got it up on SQLServerCentral, I share my posts via Twitter (to my 14 followers LOL!!!), and through LinkedIN (including the groups). Sharing via LinkedIN groups is a great way to increase readership. Additionally, use Bing and Google Webmaster tools to make sure your site is properly indexed so people can find it through search engines.

    I could not agree more with this statement “It helps solidify your own knowledge” that is an excellent post!
    Thanks for taking the time to address this important and often neglected topic.

  2. Jen McCown says:

    Good point on syndicating. That’s kind of Blogging 201 though…first, one must start!

    Thanks for commenting…

  3. kerany says:

    Hi james ,

    thanks so much for the interesting tips about blogging , as a junior B I developer , this idea will surely refine my technical skills , a deep knowledges around sql server and related features , to be closest to SQL Server community like SQLServercentral.com or MSSQLtips.com

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