Five Tips for Starting a Blog
Blogs are great. In fact, you’re on one right now and you might’ve not even noticed (note – if you were ignorant to this fact and were under the assumption that what you’re reading can be found in a physical magazine that arrived in your mailbox, please seek help or alert Doc Brown to being in a confused state of time-warped delusion). Blogs allow you to explore your passions, share your opinions, and educate both yourself and other people about things that make you think intensely. They’re also great because they’re yours.
Before graduating from college, I joined Tumblr and started a blog rooted in sharing music reviews and playlists that I enjoyed, but it wasn’t enough. Lucky for me I found a like-minded guy who wanted to start writing and sharing his musings with folks on the interweb and after an endless number of phone calls, videos chats, and redesigns, here we are. The Bro Journey started simply as a place for us to offer guidance on what the hazy area between guyhood and adulthood was like, but there were no guardrails or demarcations along our road to greatness (hell, the name itself was only supposed to be temporary).
Two years later, our beloved blog is revving back up to its former glory and we’re excited to share some righteous news for you regarding the next chapter in our journey soon. But until then, it’s time to encourage you, young padawans, to take the first step in starting a blog yourself and with that jedi mindset to guide us, let’s begin.
Jump In Headfirst
You’d be amazed at how many folks tell us they want to blog, but don’t know how or don’t think anyone will want to read what they write. Our first TBJ post was a fictional recap of “The History of Plaid,” do you think anyone gave a flying f*ck about that? Of course they did, but that’s just because I’m considered to be the Chaucer of the 21st century (jokes, say ye). In reality, we barely got anyone to read our content at first. We launched during Movember 2011 and got so crossed up among mustache appreciation, trying to sound intelligent, and forcing things to be interesting that a lot of our most prized posts fell very flat. The best advice I can give you is sign up (Tumblr might be the easiest to start with), start writing, and see what you like and don’t like. Then, find a developer or designer to do all of the heavy lifting while you, the talent, lounge around and drink mai tais.
In this sense I mean quantity, not content-wise. One of the hardest things about starting a blog can be updating it regularly (especially after the initial luster’s warn off and Jay Caspian King still hasn’t reached out to you about joining the team at Grantland), but keeping the posts coming is absolutely essential when you’re first feeling out the blogging world and, even if your writing is shit, it’s still writing and it’s all about numbers when you’re still clueless about what you really want to do with your blog. If you want to write daily (good luck), then write daily. If you want to write weekly, and then feel like a boss when you get two posts up in a week, do that. Blogging is first and foremost for YOU, do NOT let other people get in your head when it comes to the message that you want to get out into the world.
Once you’re cranking out posts at a steady pace, start changing up topics (or approaches to your topic of choice), formats, sizing of images, and all that good stuff to see what you like and what you find to be most affective. Look to some of your favorite Web sites and start thinking about what you enjoy about them (quick tip – people LOVE lists, but that’s a whole other post). Talk to fellow bloggers and ask them for their opinion about post length and text arrangement, or don’t, it’s up to you, but sometimes getting someone who’s been there’s opinion can at least help spark new ideas and the key to keeping your blog awesome is always finding new things that make you think.
Develop a Style
Further down the line, or if you’ve been writing for a long time in a different medium, you’ll settle on your own unique way of writing. Whether it’s using citations, long elaborate parentheticals, incredibly minute pop culture references, or something else that Bill Simmons isn’t known for, if you keep writing more and more, you and a style will begin to harmonize beautifully. Sometimes this means your unique format or letting your humor shine at inappropriate times, but whatever it is, celebrate it and others will join in on the party soon enough.
Write About Your Passions
Most importantly, your blog should be a reflection of you and the things that make you who you are. I don’t necessarily mean if you’re an accountant you should blog about Excel strategies (dear Christ I hope that doesn’t exist out there), but it’s ok to share your love of something that people might not associate with you as long as your passion for it is apparent. Obsessed with Moroccan culture? Former pro sports franchises? Bell Biv DeVoe? That’s great! Tell us about what any of those things mean to you or why you find them fascinating. I recently wrote a post about Louis CK and what I think it takes to be a successful comedian in 2013. I didn’t think anyone would really care, but a number of people told me that they loved the piece because they could tell how into the topic I was and it’s that bleeding appreciation that will help ensure folks come back for more.
Now sign up, write something, and post. You can thank us later.