13 Tips From My First Year Of Blogging

First birthday Today marks the one-year anniversary of my blog. I’ve had this site for years longer, but this is the one-year anniversary of signing up for Blogger (which I used back then) and officially starting to blog. 201 posts later, I’m feeling as inspired as ever.

The Best So Far

Here are my personal favourites from the last year – my top five posts so far:

  1. How To Write A Good Communications Plan – Part 1 – An Overview
  2. 8 Questions To Ask Before Using YouTube As A Communications Tool
  3. 6 Ways To Make Life Easier With Delicious
  4. Enough With Blogger Strategies!
  5. 42 Top Social Media Tips And Tools

I’ve learned a lot over the last year from reading other peoples’ sites, reflecting on my own thoughts and absorbing other peoples’ comments on this site.

13 Tips I’ve Learned From The Last Year

For your benefit, here are 13 things I’ve learned over the last year that your blog should have:

  1. Goals – decide what you want to get out of your blog. Have a reason for writing other than “I think I should have a blog.”
  2. Purpose – if you have nothing to say, say nothing. Don’t write a post for the sake of it.
  3. Commitment – writing a blog isn’t all easy. It takes time and work to keep coming up with relevant, interesting content. Stick with it.
  4. Opinions – let people know what you think. I’d avoid attacking people or criticizing without being constructive, but don’t be afraid to have an opinion.
  5. Questions – it can be hard to encourage people to comment on your blog. Prompt people to think and respond by asking questions.
  6. Focus – decide what you’re going to write about and focus on that theme. Make sure you consider your audience – who it already is, or who you want it to be.
  7. Simplicity – unless you’ve consciously decided to focus on a knowledgeable audience, assume that your readers know nothing about the topic.
  8. Debate – make people think about what you’re saying. Provoke a reaction, not necessarily in a negative way.
  9. Conversation – if someone comments on your blog, write back. Take the time to start a conversation. It’s called “social media” for a reason!
  10. Limits – comments are great, but some people will come to your site with malice aforethought. It’s worth having a comments policy to fall back on when nasty situations occur. Mine is here.
  11. Checks and balances – if you’re reporting on breaking news, try to get a second source to make sure what you’re reporting on is true. I’ve fallen into the trap of not checking my facts in the past. Learn from my mistakes.
  12. Personality – make your blog personal. Give your take. Don’t just regurgitate what everyone else is saying. Heck, you don’t even have to write about the same topic as everyone else.
  13. Passion – Write about things you care about. If you don’t care, how do you expect your readers to?

These are some of the lessons I’ve learned so far; check out some other perspectives – Chris Brogan, Liz Strauss, Darren Rowse, Vandelay Design, Jason Falls.

What’s the top tip you’ve learned from blogging?

(Photo credit: missxyz)

  • One thing I’ve learned from blogging so far is that you can’t always predict the winners. I’ve written a couple posts that I just knew people would flock to and they didn’t produce anything – traffic, comments, nothing. I’ve written a couple thinking that it would only be interesting to a small percentage of my audience only to have them take off like crazy. In fact, one of those was featured on wordpress.com and is my most read post to date!

    Congrats on the one-year anniversary!

  • Dear Dave,

    I enjoy your blog and want to congratulate you on your one year anniversary. i particularly enjoyed your posts on communication plans.

    I’m new to blogging, having started in May. I’ve learned a lot and have a real respect for bloggers such as yourself who put out quality posts every few days.

    Thanks, and keep up the informative posts.

  • @David – very true. I’ve had what I thought were a few nuggets that just crashed and burned.

    @Cindy – Thanks! Glad to hear you enjoyed the comm plan series (I still owe everyone one more post on that).

  • #14 write lists. everyone loves lists!

  • Hey Dave,

    Congrats are defintely in order. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and have particularly appreciated reading this one as a relatively new blogger – March.

    You’ve given me a pretty good image of some of things that I’ve been thinking about and a few new ones to bounce through my head!

  • Happy bloggiversary, Dave!! I admire that you have consistently written thoughtful, in-depth posts with some terrificly valuable content. And your tremendous energy is a real kick in the pants to us “olde tyme” bloggers.

    I look forward to reading many more years of your good writing!

    Best,
    Connie

  • Dave – happy blog birthday. hope you’re celebrating your success!

  • Thanks for these tips Dave. I’m a new blogger and I need all the help I can get! Hope you are enjoying TFC.

  • A huge congrats! It will be a year for me on August 21st-how exciting! = )

  • Dave, Happy Blog-Anniversary! Your list is pretty comprehensive. I’d add honesty. If you’re not giving your honest opinion about the subject matter, why bother?

    Looking forward to reading the next 200 posts on davefleet.com.

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