How to Start Your First Blog … The “Why” Will Follow Later

In the recent weeks, a few authors have contacted PPG to ask how and why they should start their own blogs in order to promote themselves and their books. They’ve also asked how YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Booktour ties into the success of their blogs … which can ultimately increase their book sales. This article will address the “how” part of this very valid question first. In subsequent blog entries, we’ll discuss various reasons why.

In order to answer this very important question, PPG sought out the expertise and guidance of one of our leading SEO (search engine optimization) writers, Rachaelle Lynn:

How to Start Your First Blog

Many people who know my writing and/or subscribe to one or more of my blogs have asked me how to start their own blog. I’m happy to help; googling “blogs” or “blogging” can make the process seem overwhelming. If you aren’t ready to start a freestanding blog, you might be interested in starting a blog or submitting articles on a website that has been developed for this purpose; I’ll cover some of those options in future articles. For now, here are some simple steps to starting a blog using blogger.com.

You need a Gmail account to start a blog on blogger.com, so if you don’t have one, sign up for one here first. Then go to www.blogger.com/start and follow the steps indicated there.

You will need to think of a name for your blog. If you have a theme for your blog, such as quilting, saltwater fishing, or stamp collecting, incorporate the theme into the name. The name of your blog will eventually be its web address, i.e. www.marthasquiltingtips.com; you can check to see whether or not your preferred web address is available at godaddy.com.

If you want to use your blog to market your business, choose a name that helps brand you (creates an identity for you). For example, a personal trainer might select www.robspersonaltraining.com as the name of his blog; the blog itself will link back to his business website (more on that in a future article). Don’t include the name of the business itself in your blog; that way you can transfer the blog if you change companies or the name of the company or want to use the blog for a variety of marketing avenues.

Don’t worry about making your blog perfect at first. Once you have the bare bones of the blog created, write an article. Otherwise, you could get bogged down in the minutiae of blog creation and neglect to enter content. Your first job is to get your writing out on the web, and the blog is a vehicle for doing that. Your readers will forgive a simple blog structure if you have interesting content, and you can expand the blog as you go along.

Your first article should be a simple treatment of your chosen topic. If your blog isn’t going to have a particular theme (I use mine to showcase the diversity of my writing projects), use an existing piece, which many aspiring writers have lying around, or simply introduce yourself and the purpose of your blog. (For an example of this, visit: Welcome To My Blog!)

If you are using your blog to market your business, it is best to start with basic topics in your field. This will help you use keywords that are best for search engine optimization (ranking higher in search engine results) without having to do much analysis. For example, the first few articles for robspersonaltraining.com might be:

• Achieving Your Fitness Goals with One-on-One Personal Training
• Achieving Your Fitness Goals with Group Personal Training
• How to Become a Personal Trainer
• Preventing Injuries while Achieving Your Fitness Goals

Each article should be between 400 and 600 words. Try to write two or three articles per week (if you want to optimize your site for search engines, hire a ghostwriter; two to three articles per week is the minimum for this type of marketing).

Three items to consider before publishing each article are:

• proofreading
• keyword optimization (making sure you have the right keywords, in the right places, to optimize your search engine rankings)
• two or three relevant links

Articles on the latter two items are coming soon!

The second part of blogging is publicizing each article, and it is just as important as creating quality content. There will be more on this in a future article, but to get started, set up profiles for yourself at:

• Twitter
• LinkedIn
• Facebook

Then send me [and PPG] a friend invite/invite to connect at each. This will allow you to piggyback off the SEO work I’ve done for myself and others and ensure that you don’t miss any of my blogging articles.

So that’s your first blogging lesson! There is quite a bit more, but this will be a great start. The most important thing to do is to do it. People put it off because they don’t see the value or due to simple procrastination, but once you get some momentum going, blogging will pay off in ways you can’t imagine right now.

Rachaelle Lynn
PPG’s SEO Writing Expert

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