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Advice for the new blogger

I often talk to people who want to start a blog. Here are some of the things I try to mention always:

If you are serious about this, don't go with a free blogging site. Get a real domain and a real website. It doesn't have to be expensive, but the free sites just bury you in an ocean of anonymity.

Don't expect to make money with advertising. Yes, some of us do make significant money, but it takes time and effort. It's not going to happen overnight for most people. Many bloggers would be overjoyed if they even made a dollar a day. If you keep working at it, and build your traffic with honest content, the money will eventually come, but it could take years. Be patient.

Don't be afraid to show your personality and your failures. For example, there are plenty of recipe sites on the net, but few that write entertainingly about food. The ones that do the best include their disasters right along with their triumphs.

When looking for inspiration, look for relations. Taking that recipe site again, you could also post articles about shopping for food, about restaurants, about dieting, about cookware, ovens, refrigerators, utensils, gadgets and so on. It's all related, and you can write about it.

Search engines work from key words and phrases that humans type. The more words you have written, the more chance of a search engine directing someone to your site. That doesn't mean you should be writing long articles; people have short attention spans - keep it short and to the point.

Keep it fresh. If you can post every day, that's much better than once a week. People may visit your site a few times out of curiosity or by accident; if they don't find something new, they may not come back.

Finally, have fun. If blogging isn't something you enjoy, forget it. It's just not your thing, move on. This isn't the path to easy riches, so if you aren't loving it, what's the point?

Got something to add? Send me email.

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