Blogging is all the rage recently. Are you thinking of starting a blog? Great! But there are some things you need to know before you begin. First of all, very few people should start blogs. Instead most individuals should stick with websites. Why? Because blogs need to be updated regularly whereas websites can be updated only sporadically. Most blogs get abandoned within the first month of development. That’s proof positive that blogging is not for everyone.

Tip #1 - Preparing for a blog is somewhat like preparing for a baby. No competent parent would wait until the birth of the baby to purchase all the necessities. A good parent puts in months of time in preparation for the delivery and life after the delivery.

The same holds true for a blog. Don’t start a blog right away, simply because you like someone else’s blog, for example. Spend several months reading and researching before you embark on the blog journey.

Tip #2 - Blogs are similar to newspapers in that the content must be kept fresh and updated. A blog whose content is not changed regularly is like a baby whose pamper is not changed regularly. Stale blogs stink and they won’t hold the attention of visitors/viewers.

Tip #3 - If you are going to be away for awhile, WordPress has a special feature which allows for articles to be pre-set to appear on your blog. Just plug in the dates on which you want certain articles to appear.

Tip #4 - During pregnancy, parents tend to read everything they can find on the subject of babies. Likewise, before or while your blog is in its development stage with a designer, you should surf the internet reading every article and book that you can find on blog development and implementation. You need to read about what makes for a successful blog.

Know the language of the blogosphere:

What is a pingback?
What is a trackback?
What is a hat tip?
What is a link exchange?
Etc…

Tip #5 - The most important thing you need to do long before your blog is complete is determine the overall goal and focus of your blog. What will be your blog’s “flavor”?

Tip #6 - You should write a mission statement---and don’t proceed with your blog until after it’s written. Even if you don’t post it publicly, have it for yourself to refer back to when you become sidetracked.

My mission statement for HickTownPress.com is as follows: "HickTown’s goal is to promote common sense, thought provoking, commentary from a conservative perspective. We strive to spotlight both breaking news as well as back-burner topics that need to be brought forward, analyzed, and discussed."

The point is clarity. A mission statement should be brief, clear, concise. Visitors to your blog should know exactly what to expect and the mission statement helps in clarifying what you are about.

Tip #7 – If you are thinking about starting a blog, but wavering back and forth, do this. Pretend that you already have a blog. For the next 30 days, research and write articles. Commit to writing 20 of the 30 days (give yourself weekends off). Write a minimum of two articles and/or snippets per day (some of the articles will need to be longer than a snippet and will need to have real substance---substance is what causes lurkers to become subscribers/members of your blog). Save each article or snippet to your computer as though you are posting them to a blog.

At the end of that 30 day period, be honest with yourself. Did you enjoy doing all that research? Was it fun to search out breaking news stories? Did you actually find the time and energy to do all that writing? If not, don’t start a blog. You’d do better to start a regular website that you can post to from time to time.

Blogging should be fun, as opposed to drudgery. And for goodness sake, if you insist on starting a blog, knowing that you don’t have the stick-to-it-ness, use a free blogging service such as Blogspot.com. Don’t spend any money hiring a designer if you know in your heart you may end up abandoning your blog.

Tip #8 – Failure-to-thrive Syndrome – Some newborn babies suffer that syndrome and die. Likewise, most blogs suffer that syndrome and die after the first few weeks to a month. The true secret to successful blogging is enthusiasm. And I say that in spite of the fact that this is my first post and I don’t yet have a readership! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this blog will thrive. Why? Because in spite of how busy I am, I manage to find the time to research, write, edit, etc. And it’s fun for me. Never a “chore”. Also, my husband is supportive and while he is watching t.v. or doing something else, I’m at the computer writing. I also write when while dinner is in the oven or when he is not at home. Where there is a will, there is a way!

Tip #9 – Prior to your blog’s arrival, you should already have lined up the search engines that you plan to submit your blog address to. You should already have pinpointed the websites you plan to trackback to. You should already have a list of favorite blogs for your blogroll. You should already be familiar with TheTruthLaidBear website and Technorati. You should know all about the benefits of putting a Sitemeter on your blog. All that should be accomplished prior to your blog coming into existence. And if you don’t want to do the research to find out about those things, that’s hint #1 that you probably should not start a blog.

Tip #10 – Stay focused and professional – I’ve seen arguments all over the “blogosphere”. I’ve seen name calling and blog attacks. Don’t get involved in any of that---even if some of those involved are people you truly admire. I’ve tracked some arguments that ended up in people starting their own blogs. That’s to be expected. Blogs are created by humans and we are dealing with human nature here.

Tip #11 – Establish a set of rules for your blog. Post those rules and stick to them. Visitors need to know what is and is not acceptable to you, so establish your tone from the beginning.

Tip #12 – Once the “baby”---your blog, arrives, remember that people will only get out of it what you put into it. If you post to it once a month, visitors will get nothing out of it. If you post a bunch of fluff, visitors will learn nothing. Post well researched, interesting substance and you will have a winner. Let the fun begin!

Author's Bio: 

Lynn Green has always loved to write. She Started http://www.christianwomen.net in 1999 and recently started http://www.Hicktownpress.com , a conservative blog.