One Blogging Tip For A Beginner

by derek on November 18, 2008 · 23 comments

After sharing the announcement of my inclusion in the book Blog Blazers, I received an email asking me to answer a question in one simple sentence.
Yan from thou shall blog asked me the following:

I’d appreciate if you’d take the time to share your wisdom with us on “What’s one blogging tip you’d give to a beginner?” in one simple sentence.

Since this is quite similar to a question that was posed to me in the interview for Blog Blazers, I thought that I’d share my answer as a post for all of you to read. Boiling it down to one sentence, I am going to use an extremely popular slogan from a well-known company.
Just do it.
In the book, I did elaborate a little more than that, as I said:

I’m going to take a slogan from one of the most well known companies in our time, just do it. Don’t spend so much time worrying that everything about your blog has to be perfect before you get started. Let your blog be a living creature that you build and nurture over time. The important thing is to start writing great content and building a sense of community.

Hopefully you recognize a few points in that answer, as I had mentioned the same ideas the other day when we discussed the question about how much content you need to start a blog.
It is far too easy to get stuck in the mode of “analysis paralysis” or “paralysis by analysis”; basically you spend so much time researching everything and wanting it to be perfect that you never actually take action and get started.
While there are certainly some decisions that are best to think through before starting – domain name, hosting, blog platform – you won’t get yourself in too much trouble even if you make a wrong decision. You can always register a new domain name, get new hosting, or change blog platforms – assuming that you actually took that first step and got started!
Whether you are a new blogger or a seasoned professional, one thing holds true: none of your blogging goals are possible until you get started.
So yes, I have used a slogan, which some might say is a bit cliche, that many of us have been familiar with for years and years. Looking back to the time before I started my first blog, I remember doing a fair amount of research and then deciding that I needed to just take the plunge and do it.
As you progress from the earliest stages as a beginner, you might adjust this piece of advice to be “Just do it – and test.
Thinking about a change to your theme? Do it and then monitor the response. Thinking about introducing advertising? Do it and see what people think. Thinking about changing the placement of your ads? Do it and test each placement. Asked to provide advice to beginners? Do it and ask people what they think.
So…what do you think?

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew November 18, 2008 at 11:21 pm

I think that’s good advice since getting started is the hardest part. I would also add that I think a blogger needs to know why he or she is blogging. Is it to be big like Dooce or just have a place to write. Or any other reason that’s just as valid. Too often we get caught up in the number of hits or the number of comments and forget why we began blogging in the first place (hint, it’s probably not because of the number of hits or number of comments).
Matthews last blog post..Hell hath no fury like a mommy blogger scorned

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derek November 19, 2008 at 11:02 am

Matthew, thanks! That is a great point about understanding why you are blogging, as keeping that in mind will go a long way towards you being successful (however you define success).

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olly@ Best Laptop Deals November 19, 2008 at 5:31 am

I think this is good advice – really as long as you monitor results you can always revert back without too many issues – after all, as long as you aim to write content that is anyway valuable, this will always remain and this of course is the most important factor.

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derek November 19, 2008 at 11:05 am

Thanks Olly! At the earliest stages, you need to take the first step before you can take the second. As you progress, I think the best approach is to make your decisions and then test the results, as well as accept/consider the feedback of the community, to see how your decision pans out.

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Nicole Price November 19, 2008 at 8:27 am

Nothing more needs to be said. After listening and implementing your idea, your reader may think of KISS.

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derek November 19, 2008 at 11:05 am

Absolutely, KISS sums it up nicely.

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Ling@Uptake November 19, 2008 at 8:30 am

That’s right on the mark. Only way to learn what kind of blog you want is finding out by trial and error. Some posts you like may not get so much response, and vice versa. Only way to find the right balance is to just do it. Good advice. 🙂

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derek November 19, 2008 at 11:07 am

The comments here tie so nicely into other comments that I made in the book, as I was asked what I felt was my most successful post and it has been one that didn’t receive a fraction of the traffic of some, but had the most meaning to me.

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Dave Levie November 19, 2008 at 10:25 am

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derek November 19, 2008 at 11:07 am

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Nick November 24, 2008 at 11:50 pm

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Nicks last blog post..Code of Federal Regulations

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Ryan November 19, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Sweet… now I don’t have to buy the book 🙂
Ryans last blog post..Spies Like Us

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Nick November 24, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Actually, he just gave us 1 of the answers he gave in the interview for the book. Who knows how many other great words of wisdom from Derek are included…not to mention the fact that there are thoughts and tips from 39 OTHER big-name bloggers in the book.
This only makes me want to get it more!
Nicks last blog post..Code of Federal Regulations

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derek November 25, 2008 at 9:11 am

Right…anything that I have to share is gravy as the list of bloggers sharing tips and advice in this book is remarkable.

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Justin@Airsoft Guns November 19, 2008 at 6:29 pm

That’s a great tip for beginners, and not just for the blogging world. Many people hold off on starting businesses, and while a good amount of planning does need to go in to something like that, some people never actually do it, and that’s the most important part!
Justins last blog post..CM028 Airsoft Full Size Full Metal AK-47 Style Rifle

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Andrea November 20, 2008 at 8:34 am

speaking of advertising…… *laughs to self*

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derek November 25, 2008 at 9:12 am

Lol – I know why you’re laughing and I will most likely be posting about that tomorrow.

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M.S. Phillips@Cellulite Reduction November 20, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Those are the best three words of advice to give to anyone attempting to start a blog. Trust me, I’m not a techie genius, my blog is anything but pretty, and my writing style is long and rambling, but I just decided to get going and start with what I do know. I heard it put this way one time: “You can’t steer a bike that’s standing still.” Amen to that.
M.S. Phillipss last blog post..Can You Get Rid of Cellulite Through Diet?

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derek November 25, 2008 at 9:14 am

For those that are intimidated by the tech side of things, you don’t need to let that deter you either. You can decide to try your best and learn what is needed or you can turn to someone that understands the tech side, such as myself, to consult with and work together.

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Yan@Blog for Beginners November 22, 2008 at 12:59 am

Hey Derek
Thanks for the awesome tip. I’ll include you into my project and will keep updated on it later. I couldn’t agree more with you that “none of your blogging goals are possible until you get started”
Yan
Blog for Beginnerss last blog post..Google Tips on How to Improve Your Adsense Earnings

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Neil@Free PS3 November 24, 2008 at 5:37 pm

This is great advice, I have just begun a blog and think this advice will be invaluable

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