So you want to be a social media butterfly? Tips on starting your own #blog

Starting a blog is a fantastic tool to join the online community. Follow these tips to ensure your blog is set for success.

1. Outline Your Goals

Before you start a new blog, it’s essential that you determine what you’re hoping to achieve. Having a plan will help to accomplish these goals. Are you an expert on a topic? Are you trying to promote your business? Do you simply want to connect with the community-at-large to share your experiences, ideas and opinions? Once you’ve determined your short- and long-term goals, write and market your blog to meet those goals.

2. Know Your Audience

Whether you’re targeting teenagers, mothers, sports enthusiasts, fashion community, etc., your blog’s design, tone and content should reflect the expectations of your audience. This is like creating a “brand” for your blog.

3. Be Consistent

Your blog is a brand. Your blog represents a specific message and image to your audience, which is your brand. Your blog’s design and content should consistently communicate your blog’s overall brand image and message. The more consistent you are, you’ll garner readership loyalty.

4. Be Determined

Publish, publish, publish! A busy blog is a useful blog. Blogs that are not updated frequently are perceived by their audiences as static web pages. The usefulness of blogs comes from their timeliness. While it’s important not to publish meaningless posts else you may bore your audience, it’s essential that you update your blog frequently. The best way to keep readers coming back is to always have something new (and meaningful) for them to see.

5. Be Engaging

Getting involved in social media means being social! Engage your readers/followers by asking them to leave comments by posing questions, and always respond to (valid) comments from your readers. Doing so will show your readers that you value them, and it will keep the conversation going. Share the social love by leaving comments on other blogs, inviting new readers to visit your blog for more dynamic discussions.

6. Get Noticed

Get out in the online social community by finding like-minded bloggers and commenting on their blogs, participating in social bookmarking through sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, and joining social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Blogging is not a rally of, “if you build it, they will come.” You must create captivating content on your blog and promote it in different platforms.

7. Take Risks for Rewards

If you’re new to the blogging community, don’t be afraid take risks and try new things on your blog. Keep things fresh by adding a new plug-in, holding a contest, or adding other supplements that will help to enhance your blog. BUT, don’t fall prey to every new fad that becomes available for your blog. Do your research and discover which tools will help to achieve your goals.

8. Ask for Help

Every blogger is a beginner at some point, and being part of a close-knit community, most of us are approachable and helpful people. Don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow bloggers for help. Remember, the success of the blogosphere relies on networking, and most bloggers are always willing to expand their networks regardless of whether you’re a beginner blogger or seasoned pro.

9. Never Stop Learning

There are always new tools available to bloggers. The Internet changes quickly, and the blogosphere is not an exception. As you develop and get more comfortable in your blogging routine, take the time to research new tools and features, and keep an eye on the latest news from others.

10. Be Yourself

Inject your personality into your blog and adapt a consistent tone for your posts. Determine whether your blog and brand will be more effective with a corporate tone, a youthful tone or a snarky tone. Then stay consistent with that tone in all your blog communications. They could read a newspaper for news reports. Instead, people read blogs to get bloggers’ opinions on the news, the world, life and more. Have a conversation – write like you speak. After all, you’re a blogger, not a reporter!

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