Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

The year was 2007, the theme was a cheap-looking Blogger skin and the writing amateurish.

My foray into the world of blogging was the result of the blogging bubble that started at the height of Adsense craze and paid posting.

And then, Google pulled the plug. Lives were upturned, PageRank was taken down and Indian spammers were reported. It was over.

I closed my blog for five months and lived a happier life; or so, I thought. Several years later, and here are the six things I wish I knew before I started blogging:

It’s OK to be a beginner
Your idols, the greatest people who have walked on this planet, have all started as beginners. Let that sink in.

It doesn’t matter if your writing sucked at the moment, or the design of your blog looks like something straight from the 90s.

Continue to read. Explore. When you find the blog that speaks to you, whether the writing, the design, or simply the way the ads appear obliviously in the page, observe and copy it.

In the blogging world, to “copy” means to put your personality or twist on a certain topic. Not verbatim, because that’s just uninspired and tacky.

You’ll be wasted and all over the place (in the first 12 months)
The Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none curse is no myth, especially in the blogging world.

Some girls may have chosen to blog about cosmetics exclusively, until, obliviously, traces of clothes and the latest on a certain Hollywood starlet’s sordid affairs make their way to the blog.

Guys may claim they will focus on gadgets and cars – until NBA or the latest in Marvel’s The Avengers, proved to be too good not to get featured. It’s always a tough battle.

Soon you’ll come to a point where you’ll focus on that one subject (that stood the test of time) as you outgrow other topics you fancied at the beginning of your blogging journey.

For those who can’t decide which topic to focus on, organize them under menus or tabs.

After honeymoon, your muse will act as though you don’t exist
The first two months of blogging will be full of daily posts, Merriam-webster visits and unauthorized use of Google images.

You’ve read about Writer's Block and how much panic it causes to certain people. Unbidden in your mind, you called them names for being such pussies.

Life was great and your Alexa traffic has been climbing faster than a girl untagging herself from an ugly picture in FaceBook. And then one day, you wake up and find the PC and keyboard alien. You have the idea, but translating it to words seems like a daunting prospect.

Maybe you just need a breather to get you going back on track?

You hang out with friends, visited your grandparents in the correctional, streamed the latest Game of Thrones episode. But still, the feeling lingers. Was it fatigue or have you become busy with the mundane stuff?

There are lots of writing exercises to get you out of the rut. Google them. Sometimes it’s about forcing it. What I usually do is summon my mightiest and start writing, even when it reads like a homicidal teen writing a love letter, until I get past a hundred words.

After that, my writing is back to its Shakespearean groove.

Cliche’ coming: quality vs quantity
When I first read about a blogger who spends 6-8 hours writing a single blog post, I thought he was some kind of phony prophet trying to rewrite Genesis.

I visited his blog and read some of his entries. Before I knew it, I’ve spent an entire afternoon learning, cackling and discovering powerful ways to capture an audience ala Kim Kardashian. Keywords: write epic shit.

If ever you’ve bothered to look at those articles being shared in your FB or Twitter feed, you’ll notice they are brimming with personality and killer headlines, overflowing with cool factor (wit, usefulness, etc) where sharing would be the only way to deal with being awe-stricken by them.

Before you publish, ask yourself if you love what you just wrote. If not, toss it, because your audience won’t, too. Welcome to reality.

When all else fails, accept guest posts
I don’t really mean that.

I'm too invested and protective of my ‘baby’ to even entertain the thought of accepting guest posts, and let strangers usurp the show. It’s a personal opinion, though.

There are many benefits of accepting posts from guests: new content, reader engagement and building relationships that someday could lead to more lucrative deals.

Make sure the content is screaming with quality that echoes coolness, and ultimately appears sincere to the senses.

If you’re still not convinced, return to entry #1 
Enjoy blogging!