New to blogging? There’s ALOT to do…
You’ve purchased hosting.
You’ve chosen a theme.
Then it’s time to … WRITE YOUR FIRST BLOG POST!
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
Writing your first blog post- “theoretical stuff”
There’s a few things to keep in mind while you write. It goes without saying that if you are a terrible writer, you’ll struggle here. People come to your blog to read what you have written, so writing well is gonna be key.
If you don’t know what kind of writer you are, have a friend (or maybe someone who doesn’t like you and isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings) read over your first work and give you a critique.
If your writing is terrible people will leave. (Not everything you write will be perfect… writing comes naturally to me, and I STILL write terrible stuff sometimes. Really terrible stuff. I read it and cringe. It happens.)
Note that blog post writing is different (in my opinion anyway) from other writing, in that it’s okay to sometimes write the way you would talk.
But some basic writing rules still apply:
- Don’t begin too many sentences in a row with the same word.
- Vary the length of sentences. (To prevent sounding painfully boring.)
- Don’t use a bunch of unnecessary words.
- Keep paragraphs short. Long paragraphs are scary to readers.
- Stay. On. Topic.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again in case this is the first time that you’re joining me here (in which case, YAY! Welcome!). A profitable blog is a resource, not a journal. Write something that will benefit someone, or you are wasting your writing time.
Not only that, but since our goal is making money with your blog, if you write all about you it will be very hard to monetize your work.
(Don’t distress if it takes some time to really figure out what sort of writing is monetizable – you’re learning.)
Writing your first blog post- “WordPress stuff”
→Log into your WordPress dashboard.
→On the left hand side, select “Posts” & “Add New” (1)
(Look – it’s a screenshot of the post I’m working on now! If you are not using the Divi theme from Elegant Themes, you will not see those purple Divi buttons. If you ARE using Divi, notice I am not writing using the Divi builder. Don’t use the builder to make posts.)
→You will see an editor box, similar to what an email writing box looks like. That’s where you write! (2)
→AND THEN EDIT. And then edit again. I can not stress how important it is to not have rampant spelling/ grammar errors all over your blog. No one’s perfect, and everyone will have some mistakes. But you need to avoid the avoidable ones.
→Give your post an awesome title. (3)
→You can preview your post, to see what it will look like once it’s published with the “preview” button. (4)
→When you are happy with it, and images have been added / categories have been selected, click PUBLISH. (5)
Some more important things to note:
1) This is where you go to add images to your post. (See below for more info on images.) After clicking that “add media” button, a new screen will open. Then click “upload files” in the top left hand corner of that screen, and find the files (from your computer) that you have created to upload. Once you have uploaded them, you can give them a title and description before clicking “insert into post”. It’s pretty easy once you try it!
2) That little link button is how you “link” to other things online or other posts/pages in your blog. Highlight the words you want to link somewhere, and click the link button. A box will pop up, and you can add the URL of what you want to link to in that box. (The broken link next to it is how you would UN-do the link if you change your mind.)
3) Here’s your permalink! (For more info on permalinks, read the previous lesson in this series.)
4) Clicking “save draft” at any point in your writing will save a draft of this post – but NOT publish it for the world to see.
5) Here is where your categories live. The only category your blog “comes with” is uncategorized. I strongly suggest creating categories and using them, as “uncategorized” looks unprofessional and it will make your blog disorganized.
Creating and adding images to your post
Images are so important, because these are what you will eventually use to represent your post on social media.
I started blogging with really, really, awful images. (I thought they were great at the time, and now when I see them they seriously bum me out. And they’re out there on pinterest, I can’t get rid of them!)
Right from the start, you need to be creating images that you will be proud to have online, representing your blog, and bringing people in to your site. You very likely found this post on Pinterest and clicked into it because of the image you saw.
If you’ve never done anything like this before, it might be a learning curve, and that’s ok!
You can either take your own photos, or use stock photos. There are tons of FREE stock photos available, just make sure they are legal to use. Photos that have been released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0 are always a good bet. Then you don’t need to worry about giving anyone credit for them or ever getting into trouble. Don’t know where to find them? Here’s a great list of sites to check out!
You’ll notice that none of my images are just images. They all have text on them, and that’s because I use them for Pinterest and Facebook as well. (I edit all my photos in Photoshop, because I already own it and know how to use it.)
There are FREE editing software options available for you however, and here is a great tutorial on the two most popular free photo editors out there – Canva and Pic Monkey.
Once you’ve designed your images, save them to a file on your computer. Then use that “add media” button I mentioned earlier to get them into your blog post. Easy-peasy.
Now go – start writing your first blog post.