Tips and Advice for Starting a Blog

Most blogs don’t make any money. And if they do, it took them multiple years to get there.

A lot of bloggers, even successful bloggers, are shitty writers.

Until you’ve written hundreds of thousands of words, you have no clue what you will enjoy writing about or what other people will enjoy reading from you.

  • Study branding and basic marketing. Even if you’re a fiction blogger. Even if you have no intention of ever making money off blogging. Even if you’re writing erotica about dwarves and elves. Understanding branding and the basics of marketing (finding a niche, differentiating yourself, unique selling points, etc.) will go further in helping you establish an audience than anything else you can do aside from better writing.
  • Writing first, design second. Download a nice-looking free WordPress theme and just run with it until you get a decent-sized audience. Then worry about making your site look beautiful later. Unless you’re blogging to a entrepreneur/professional audience, design really doesn’t matter much. As a blogger, you will live and die by the quality of your writing and the quality of your message. Design is just the cherry on top.
  • Read books, not other bloggers. I know I keep saying this, but most bloggers are not good writers. Most of them have built popular blogs off of a brilliant brand or because they are solving a clear problem. I.e., they’re popular because of smart marketing, not smart writing. Definitely read successful bloggers to get ideas about branding and marketing. But when it comes to writing itself, you need to be reading writers. Find the best books in the genre or subject you want to be writing about and then pay attention to how they write. Practice mimicking their style and their tone. Read the classics of your genre. Read the greats like Hemingway, Dickens, Tolstoy. Try to figure out what makes them great. Then practice mimicking them. See how it feels. Steal a few stylistic things. Leave others behind.
  • You want quality traffic first, quantity second. That means no spamming, no black hat SEO nonsense, no viral-baiting a million 10-second visitors with a goofy cat video. Do your work. Put it out there. Then wait and see. Traffic is nice, but you’re looking for engagement, for subscribers, for followers, for people who care.
  • At first, the only people who will care about your blog will be your friends and family. If even they don’t care, well, then you’re way off-track. Start over. When you finally get something good, not only will your friends and family care, but you’ll start noticing friends of friends, old acquaintances, co-workers, etc. popping up. This is a good sign. The better your blog gets, the more the degrees of separation will expand outward.
  • Set a word goal each week and then attempt to keep it for a year. When I started, I promised myself at least 3 posts of 1000 words each week. I kept that up for almost three years. Sure, a lot of those posts were crap, but man, did it pay off. I improved a lot. I got much closer to finding my voice. And I discovered a lot about what people did/didn’t want to read from me.
  • Proofread. Multiple times. Typos and bad grammar hurt your credibility and hurt the reader’s experience. Take pride in your work. Be a perfectionist.
  • Have fun. At the end of the day, you need to enjoy writing/blogging, otherwise this is just going to be a vanity project that you’ll scrap in a month. Blogging is a very lonely profession in many ways. It can also be stressful in weird ways. Like anything else, you really have to have a natural passion for the work if you’re going to make it. You have to be in it for the right reasons. So try it out for a few months or a year, and if you still aren’t excited to be posting, then perhaps chalk it up as a nice attempt and then go try something else.

3 IDEAS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

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Author of #1 NYTimes Bestseller ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’. OG Blogger. Psychology Nerd. I enjoy cats and whiskey. But not at the same time.

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Mark Manson

Mark Manson

37K Followers

Author of #1 NYTimes Bestseller ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’. OG Blogger. Psychology Nerd. I enjoy cats and whiskey. But not at the same time.