So you’ve decided to start your new blog? In my last post I talked about finding a reputable hosting plan, choosing your domain name, and choosing your topics of interest. You’ve followed those steps and now you’re raring to go! Let’s talk about how to develop your blog or article.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
As discussed in “How to Start a New Blog” you need to decide what you are going to write about. This can be one of the harder things to do especially if you’re like me and you have a variety of things you want to blog about. That is how my website “No Magic Buttons.com” was born. Unless you are passionate about that one thing you want to write about it may take some time to narrow it down. You may end up doing a variety blog like me until you find that one thing you want to focus on. That is called a “niche.” We will discuss that in a later post.
What are your interests? Animals, gardening, golf, camping, travel, etc.? The list goes on and on and on. Now you see my dilemma? I decided to start with what I’m going to call a “Variety Blog” because I couldn’t narrow it down to one niche right away. I have since decided on a couple of niches and I have two other websites. I may share those later but right now I want you to focus on your topic. Grab a pen and paper!
Some people like to brainstorm for ideas or content. Get out your pen and paper and begin jotting down the things you are interested in. Keep thinking about the things you enjoy and would like to write about. After you have done that for a few minutes you should start getting a general feel for what you’d like to write about. Much like when you were in high school or college and you had to write a big paper but you had no idea where to start. Write down your ideas and what you’d like to convey to your audience. Do you have certain ideas that keep surfacing? Maybe these could be your topic headlines? Write at least four or five topic headlines down as bullet points. Once you have jotted down your topic headlines take a look at the other things you’ve brainstormed. Do you see ideas or similar thoughts that seem to fall under those topic headlines? If so, move those ideas under the topic headlines.
Some people like to use storyboarding. Storyboarding is brainstorming only instead of using a notepad you will be using post-in notes or 2×4 cards. As you begin to jot down your ideas you move the post-it notes or 2×4 cards into place and organize them. You will begin to sense a theme and you can use the notes/cards to build out your topic headlines and the ideas or summaries that will go below those headlines. If you have a large white board it may be easier for you to organize your ideas on the board under your headings, Choose the brainstorming way that works best for you. Once you have your ideas written down and your topic headlines you have started to formulate an outline. With your outline you are ready to begin writing.
Now that you have developed an outline, start writing. Whether you use a pen and paper of you use a computer it doesn’t matter just start getting your ideas down. You’ll watch your ideas start to spill out and land on your medium (paper or screen). As you begin writing you may think of other things that will begin to develop a fuller post, story or article. Are you writing about something in general that you already have some knowledge about? Do you need to do a some research to help fill in some missing links? If so, start working to fill in the areas that need to be worked on. If you start to feel sluggish or feel like you can’t finish what you are writing take a break and step away for a few minutes. Many times when I was writing in college I would get “writer’s block” and I couldn’t think of anything else to say but as soon as I walked away and started doing laundry, taking the dogs for a walk or something else I would begin thinking of all sorts of ideas to help finish my work. You don’t have to be a super writing hero just get a draft written up.
One of the things that I was reminded of in the training that I’m doing on Wealthy Affiliate and also learned this in college years ago is to first tell your audience what you want to tell them (your opening), write about what you want to tell your audience (the body) and then tell your audience what you just told them (the conclusion). This is a good habit to get into whether you are writing a blog, an article or a paper for a class.
One of the most important things to do once you have finished writing your blog or article is to proof-read. Always, always do a spell check and check for grammatical errors. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I can be reading someone’s blog post or an article or even a book and run across misspelled words, missing letters, transposed letters and other grammatical errors and it just changes my whole impression of that piece. If you want to write and post your work on the internet so that you become an authority or expert on your niche or topics of interests, please spell check.
Next you are going to post your content to your website. It is always a good thing to put it down for a few minutes and do something else and then come back to your work. Read it one more time before you post it. You want to make sure you caught all the errors. You may even come up with a little more to write about and add to your ideas. At any rate, when you take a break from your work you come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. You can proof it yourself or have a family member read it for you. It is important to have a good solid, error-free piece.
You’ve taken the first steps to developing your blog. You’ve taken the time to brainstorm and get some ideas written down and you’ve made an outline, added your ideas under your topic headlines, written your content and posted it. Now, you can sit back and relax and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Congratulations! You’ve posted your first article or blog. How does it make you feel? I hope it makes you feel like you can do it all again. Remember, decide on your topic, brainstorm, write, post and repeat.