Online with Dock Line

By Dock Line Social Media Team

We really enjoy your emails thanking us for the tips and hints we include in our articles each month. It makes us happy to know you are enjoying them!

A question came our way recently asking us about blogging, how to get started, what online blogging software to use, and how to gain exposure. We’re all too glad to help.

So how do you get started? First you want to choose a blogging platform such as WordPress.org, WordPress.com, wix.com, tumblr, Blogger and many others that are available on the Internet. Most blogging sites have decent basic blogging services for free and some offer additional services for a fee for items such as advertising and customizing tools. For beginners, simplicity is always best. We recommend that you start with a free platform such as WordPress.com where you can customize your blog using their standard free features. WordPress.org is also good for business blogging because it can be upgraded later on. In the link below, WPBeginner provides a thorough list of online blogging software ideas as well as a specific breakdown of each platform’s features, pros and cons. This webpage is an excellent resource for personal and small business blogging.

http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-choose-the-best-blogging-platform/

In order to grow your audience of followers or subscribers and reach your goal of exposure, you need to have a good topic of interest, such as stories of your travels, DIY how-to information, food (cooking, restaurant reviews, utensils, etc.), music, your business, financial tips, parenting hacks and so on. The list is infinite but it is important to remember that no one really wants to hear about our daily life or routines. It is also important to keep fresh content posted daily on your blog to maintain your audience’s attention. Relevant graphics are crucial to drawing attention to your blog, and remember if the blog platform allows for you to upload images to their site you should only use images that you own personally to avoid copyright infringement.

The best way to begin building your audience is by simply sharing your blog URL with your current list of friends on your social media platforms and email, as well as making sure once you have created your blog page that you leave it open to the public. You can announce that your blog is live on those platforms or via email and invite your friends to subscribe to your blog for regular blog entry updates. Most blog platforms have an email option so your subscribers can receive your new posts via their email inbox. Some platforms may even have you add key relevant words when you set up your blog so that others can easily find you in the search option on their platform.

Some key factors in writing a blog and maintaining a strong blog following is to write content that is relevant to your blog’s subject matter, engage with your audience by allowing them to post comments and be sure to reply back in a timely manner. Replying to your comments once every few weeks is impersonal and could cause you to lose some of your subscribers. Try your best to reply individually on a daily basis. It is also very important to always use good grammar and spelling. Nothing throws off a good read like a misspelled word or too many exclamation points. Keep to the subject of the blog and build on that. Should you decide you would like to write about another subject of interest, start a new blog and cross-share it in a post on your current blog to help build interest for your new blog page. Subscriber counters aren’t necessary but are often standard on some blogging platforms. If your online software allows for the removal of a tracking counter, it’s best to not have one shown publicly on your blog. Set a goal of 200 or more followers before you go public with your counter (when applicable). People are more apt to follow you when you look more popular. The more subscribers you have, the faster your follower base will grow. The theory is, no one wants to be the last to know about anything.

When you’re not working on your blog, hang out on social media platforms. Join Facebook groups with common interests and like, comment and engage with other people’s posts often. Ask a lot of questions and give kudos to other blogger’s posts. “Treat others the way you want to be treated” and you’ll be surprised how well you can create a personal fan base before you even share your first blog with these groups.

Let people find you. Update all of your social media accounts to reflect your blog’s URL. Add it to “where you work” and in your “About Me” tabs. Add some searchable hashtags wherever you can and Google search “hashtags bloggers use”. You’ll come across a lot of hashtags that you never even thought about. Just be sure to use only the ones that apply to you. You don’t want to be misleading. Adding a few hashtags here and there can be very helpful. Hashtags help people find you without even looking specifically for you through relevant content in their search.

Also, don’t forget that LinkedIn account you haven’t looked at in forever! Find that lost password and accept all of the legitimate requests you’ve received. Look for people with common interests and connect with them. Check out your notifications and congratulate people on their new job positions and promotions often. Once you’ve established your LinkedIn personality, share your blogs under the “Articles” tab. Don’t share the entire blog, just snippets with a “continue reading here” link which takes them to your site.

It doesn’t matter how they find you, as long as they can. Don’t rule out exploring social media platforms you are not familiar with. When you get overwhelmed, and yes, it will happen, be sure to step away and focus on something else. You always want to be your authentic self when blogging.

Do you have a question, comment or a suggestion topic for our next article?

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