Now that I’ve been around the blogosphere for almost three years (Really? How did that happen?), and I feel like a little less of a novice, I think I’m ready to give a little advice to other bloggers out there — new and old. Here are a few things I wish I’d known when I started blogging.
- WordPress, WordPress, WordPress. I know we’ve been over this one before, so I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but seriously when it’s WordPress versus Blogger, WordPress dominates. I know Blogger is easy to set up, but switching over is a pain, and trust me, you WILL want to switch over.
- You can change your mind. You can say one thing and go back later to say something else. We change our minds about lots of things in life, so why should our blogs be any different? In the beginning, I made a lot of definite statements on how I felt about all things fitness and health related. For example, I said “No way!” to fitness classes. Then, uh, I found a few I liked and that actually gave me a good workout. So, what did I do? I simply admitted I was wrong, and moved on to post about my great experience with group exercise. Realize it doesn’t make you any less credible to change your opinion — it just makes you a little more human and open-minded.
- It’s OK if you don’t want to talk about your life — but it’s also OK if you sometimes do. Some people are amazing at weaving their lives into healthy living blogs. Others just don’t want to do it — and that’s fine! They either don’t want to talk about their lives or it doesn’t seem to fit with what their blog represents. I don’t talk about my life a ton on my blog, because I am speaking as a trainer and a fitness buff, and my social life just doesn’t really matter when it comes to exercise advice. However, there have been occasions when I’ve gone into a little more in depth because it tied in with the topic at hand or because it was something major that was affecting me. Either way, it’s fine! It’s your blog, after all, so do what feels right and feels like you, whether it’s spilling your guts or keeping completely mum when it comes to the details of your private life.
- You have different voices — don’t be afraid to use them. Sometimes I’m funny. Sometimes I’m serious. Sometimes I’m really super nice. Sometimes I’m a little snarky. But I’m always me, no matter my tone. In the same way that you can change your mind, you can change your voice on your blog. I’m not telling you to abandon the way you write, or to try to sound like someone else, but if you’re pissed off about Rush Limbaugh calling the first lady fat or if you can’t help but think women’s health mags are a little ridiculous, then go ahead and show it. Write in a tone that’s a little different than the one you use when discussing the scones you just whipped up. When I first deviated from writing in my normal nice tone, I was nervous because someone commented that I sounded a little angry. But then? Four times as many people told me how refreshing it was to hear me get a little feisty regarding something I felt strongly about. It’s OK to write with emotion!
- If one topic isn’t your strong suit or doesn’t interest you, don’t write about it. Hate running? Don’t discuss your several failed attempts then. Love oatmeal, but think writing about it is even more boring than watching your lawn grow (like Kristen)? Then don’t waste a post on it. If you aren’t interested, your readers won’t be interested — your apathy or disdain will show in your writing. I tried to do a few food-related posts in the beginning, but I quickly realized that it just was not for me. I hardly cook, and food doesn’t excite me. Why not leave that topic to people who actually care? And so I did.
- There are always improvements to be made. No matter how much your readers gush over how fantastic your blog is, you can always make it better. Add a new weekly theme, change your pictures, focus on improving your grammar…the sky’s the limit!
What did you wish you’d known when you started blogging? Has your blog changed since figuring these things out?