5 Success Tips for Every Beginning Blogger

Carol Tice

5 Success Tips for Every Beginning BloggerBy Brandon Yanofsky

I began blogging just as a way to keep a journal. But after one of my first blog posts received a comment from Chris Brogan, one of my long time idols, I knew I was on to something.

I then started a small business marketing blog, which got me many business consulting gigs. And lately, I’ve been helping startups launch and manage their own blogs.

All in all, my blogging has grown into quite a business.

If you want all this, you need to set yourself up for success. Here are the five lessons I’ve learned as I built my successful blogging business:

1. Write first, design later

While your blog’s design is important, it’s not nearly as important as your writing. Think about it: A horribly designed yet well written blog will always have more readers than a gorgeously designed yet poorly written blog.

So in the initial stages of beginning your blog, concentrate on writing articles. Once you have a healthy inventory of articles, you can begin concentrating on the design.

2. Read…all the time

Whenever you’re not writing, you should be reading. Read magazines, books, blogs, newspapers, newspaper ads, the backs of cereal boxes.

Not only will reading expand your knowledge, but it will improve your writing skills.

3. The only rule is: There are no rules

I get many questions along these lines:

“How long should my posts be?”
“How many images should I include?”
“Should I write in first or third person?”

There really is no answer. Some experts will say that a 500-word article is optimal, while others say it’s 750 words. To be honest, I’ve seen great posts as short as only three words and others as long as 5,000 words.

In blogging, there are no solid rules.

4. Perfection will kill your blog

Perfection is a myth. You could spend your entire life writing one blog post and it still won’t be perfect.

So don’t try and make every one of your posts perfect. Set a limit to the number of drafts you do. For me, I limit myself to three drafts. After that, I publish.

5. Know who you’re writing for

Keep your reader in mind as you write. Most writers will create an imaginary person they envision reading their work. As they write, they think, “How will she react to this?” Doing so helps writers write much better.

Do the same with your blog. Create your own imaginary reader.

Got any questions about how to get started blogging? Leave them in the comments below.

26 Comments

  1. letmebuzz

    I recently started blogging. I did followed first one but giving balance to each other, so I definitely follow all of them except 4th one.

    Whenever I want to publish something, I think 10 times like what are my mistake, does my post have enough information for reader to read, does it have grammar mistake and I check them until I think I It is perfect and guess what, next day when I read to make sure everything good, I find some more mistakes, So I think we should just write post and stop thinking about perfection.

    Great post for newbie!!

    • Brandon Yanofsky

      Thanks for the comment Narendrakumar,

      I had the same problem you are experiencing. I’d write an article and take over a week trying to perfect it. Soon, I realized I was making changes that didn’t even matter. Or worse, I’d make a change, and then the next day change it back, and then change it to the second day’s revision, and keep flip flopping.

      That’s why I started to force myself to limit drafts.

      Hope it helps you. Let me know how it works.

  2. Lucille Morgan

    Brandon – I started blogging early this year and instinctively I made my own rules which happen to be the same as those mentioned. But I don’t draft; I just let my thoughts tumble onto the page. I also never stress about length and, once in a way, you can re-write the rules.
    Rules are obstructive. I used to follow them but then my creativity suffered.
    My issue is how do I increase my readership and even make it pay? I have 3 followers currently.
    Do I monetize and sign up to Facebook / Twitter?
    Thanks for any help,
    Lucille (novice blogger)

    • Carol Tice

      Sounds like you missed my Webinar last month, Secrets of a Money-Making blog. I haven’t really been advertising this, but I have all my blogging seminars on sale right now on this hidden page: https://makealivingwriting.com/blog-secrets-on-sale/

      You can get like all 5 of the classes I did for the normal cost of one!

  3. Zero Passive Income

    These are grat tips! However, as a new blogger I find my self reading more than I am writing. Finding the perfect balance is something I’ve been struggling with

    • Brandon Yanofsky

      It’s definitely hard to find that balance, but it certainly is important. But it’s based on what feels right.

      You already know you should be writing more. So when you feel like reading, go to your computer and just start typing instead.

      As Seth Godin would say, your using your reading as a way to escape the fear (the lizard brain) of actually writing and producing something.

    • Carol Tice

      Oh man….I do that too!

  4. Samar

    Excellent tips Brandon and I would gladly have paid money to have someone tell me that when I started blogging almost 3 years ago.

    The thing with blog post length is that it all depends on the topic and how much you have to say about it. I’ve read 1500 word posts that were so packed with info that you couldn’t have cut off anything to make it smaller.

    I’ve found that testing out various lengths works best. Your blog audience might not appreciate longer posts or respond more to them. You won’t find out till you try out various length and test them out.

    As for finding out who you’re writing for, an imaginary reader isn’t necessary anymore. You can find real, live ones today through Facebook and twitter. Eventually, you’ll come across a fan who loves what you write and tweets all your posts.

    Make it a point to interact with them. Get to know them and make them your ideal reader. Because who doesn’t want a die hard fan to write for? 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Samar —

      Thanks for noticing that this IS a guest post by Brandon!

      I liked your linked post there but couldn’t find a way to easily share it on Twitter FYI…you need social sharing buttons for that girl! Rather than just the ‘follow me on’ button.

    • Brandon Yanofsky

      Thanks for the comment Samar,

      I love when someone adds to my post like you did.

      I definitely agree that post length depends on audience. But for beginners who don’t know their audience yet, it’s great to get in there and just start experimenting. Try out short posts. Try longer ones. See what your readers like.

      As for the second point, you definitely can find a real person to write for. On one of my blogs, I write for my mom, even though she never reads the blog. But it helps me get my target audience.

      On my other blog though, I use an imaginary person that has bits and pieces of all my readers combined.

      I guess it is kind of a preference. But thanks for adding this. I should have pointed it out in my article.

    • Samar

      Hey Carol, I noticed that a lot of people didn’t realize this was a guest post but then I’m one of those blog followers who reads every word even if I don’t comment 🙂

      As for the social sharing button, I have them! I think. Lol. I use the Digg Digg plugin that places floating sharing buttons on the left of the post. You didn’t see them? Maybe that’s why none of my posts get as many tweets as I’d like!

      Gonna go add a RT button and an FB like button at the top and bottom of the posts as a back up.

      Thanks for pointing it out!

      Brandon, the best posts are those that leave something for the commenter to bring up. I love your idea of combining bits and pieces of all your readers.

    • Carol Tice

      You know, I’m glad you bring that floating left-hand thing up. What people using it need to realize is I CAN’T SEE IT.

      I open my browser in a pretty small window, and that’s always cut off.

      People using mobile devices I’m betting also can’t see that.

      I’ll go look again — but just a warning to all who use that widget…I’m against it.

      Well, I’m back…I opened my window wide as it goes, and I still couldn’t see it. Consider Wibiya at the bottom instead, that seems to not get lost.

    • Samar

      Thanks for taking the time to help me out Carol! A tweet and facebook like button has been placed both above and below my posts. Hopefully no one will miss those!

      Thanks for the heads up!

    • Carol Tice

      No problem, Samar. I know some very big bloggers who use that tool, and I think it’s a mistake. I think people don’t realize how problematic it can be tucking it on the left-hand side.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Links of the Week: April 8th-14th, 2011 » Rob Farquhar - Writer - [...] 5 Success Tips for Every Beginning Blogger While I’m technically not a beginner – I’ve been posting personal updates…

Related Posts

You CAN Write a Query Letter That Gets a “Yes”: 5 Resources

Freelance writer getting a gig after learning to write a query letter.

Love them or hate them, queries are one of the most important marketing tools for any freelancer who wants to write for magazines. And the skills you learn from writing a good query letter also help business writers and copywriters pitch their potential clients.

If you’ve been sending queries off into space and never getting a reply, you may think it’s impossible to break into new magazines. But it’s not true! Editors are always looking for new talent.

To help you learn to write a query letter that will get you the gig, we’ve pulled together a collection of five of our best posts on pitching:

Can’t Write? Try These 9 Ideas for Writing Motivation

It’s the bane of every freelance writer’s life: You know you need to sit yourself down and get some writing done, but nothing happens. The writing motivation just isn’t there. Sometimes, you can't even make yourself sit down with the computer -- even if you...