10 things I learned about blogging at the Creative Penn workshop

You’ve read about blogging and now you want to create your own.

So how do you do it?

The first thing you’ve got to do is find out more information.

I found out about blogging and how to set up a free one from an article in the Queensland Writers Centre monthly newsletter.  

Not long after that I heard about Joanna Penn and her website the The Creative Penn from the Women’s Publishing Group and that was the beginning of my social media journey of discovery or as my husband would call it obsession!

Through Joanna’s blog @ The Creative Penn, I got hooked on blogging and social media and learning as much as I could about becoming a published author.

One day the planets aligned and Joanna held a workshop on on blogging on the one weekend I was in Brisbane and just before she left the country. 

Some workshops you attend you take away a little bit of information you can use, but Joanna’s seminar had so much usable information in it I knew I would be able to put in place most of her tools for blogging.

It was so exciting to be suddenly getting it!

It was like a curtain being pulled back to let in the light, suddenly I realised how all the various forms of social media could work together and what I could do to promote myself as an author for very little money.

Better late than never I’ve put together 10 of the things I learnt from the workshop and what every author needs to know about blogging and having an online presence.

  1. All authors need a blog.  Blogging helps you to build an audience you can market your work to. Offer them something valuable and they will be loyal to you. Whether you want to traditionally or self publish or become an indie author, you will need an audience!.   Before you start writing your blog you need to decide…
  2. What do you want to achieve with your blog? Your blog should be based on what you want to achieve.  Do you want to sell on-line courses, show-case your work, create a public-profile, make an income, blog for pleasure?  There are lots of reasons to start a blog you just need to decide on yours.   Then….
  3. Decide who, how, what. Decide who will arrive at your site? how will they respond to your information? and what do you want them to look at?  As a new blogger I have an idea that people interested in writing/blogging or social media will show up at my site.  These readers will want to get more information and I will want them to read other posts and to subscribe to my email list. To do this create a physical blog..
  4. Creating a free blog is easy.  There are lots of sites where you can create a free blog WordPress.com and blogger.com are just two of these. The sites are set up for beginners.  Wordpress has a big orange button that prompts you to ‘get started here’.  Click on it and you get walked through the set up of your blog.  Within minutes you can be blogging. You can check out my first attempt at http://nickyway.wordpress.com.  But….
  5. Hosted ones are hotter if you want your blog to become your business.  If you have any intentions of building a business from or around your blog the experts all say that you need to have a hosted blog like the ones from WordPress.org. My blog is hosted and it gives me control of the site, the ability to brand it with my own domain name like waycommunication.com.au, and I can add as many plug-ins as I like.  I can even sell ads and fully customize the site. Once you decide to go hosted you need to….
  6. Get a domain name and hosting.  Think about what you want to call your site it might be your name or something related to your passion.  Check whether the name is available with a company like godaddy.com and then register it.  You might want to register several domains.  Then sort our your hosting, Hostgator isused by many and they offer a number of plans to suit from about $7 per month for multiple domains.  Don’t make a rookie mistake like I did, paying $22 a month for hosting because I’d done no research.
  7. Get a professional to set up your blog.  If you’ve gone to the trouble of paying for a hosted blog you might want to spend some dollars for a professional like Joel The Blog Tech guy to set up your blog.  He does it every day and with a little direction from you he can set you up with a theme and plug-ins like opt in mailing list, spam filters, podcasting ability and social media plug-ins.  Once you’ve got your social media plug-ins start using them…
  8. Complement your blog by joining the three of the most popular social media sites.  Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are three of the more popular social media sites used by people all over the world.  Once you have the plug-ins for these sites on your blog you can link them and post to all three and help increase your readership.  But don’t forget you need to..
  9. Keep up-to-date with blogging trends, tools and techniques. Blogging, like any social media tool, is changing all the time.  To help you keep up with all the changes, there are lots of websites with great information like becomeablogger.com, blogs 4authors.com and problogger.com .  Subscribe to their newsletters, podcasts and updates and learn as much as you can.  But if steps 1-9 are freaking you out, take a deep breath, keep calm, carry on and….
  10. JUST START!!!  Don’t be like me, after setting up my free blog a couple of years ago I did very little with it.  I procrastinated, dithered,ummed and ahhed. I wasn’t sure what domain I should be using, what I should be writing and whether what I was writing was good enough.  Then I finally got round to setting up a hosted blog and now finally I’ve gotten moving.  In the last four weeks I’ve written more than I have in the last two years.  As Joanna says “Get started creating content now!”