I just noticed I have been running The Top 10 Blog for almost 12 months so what a good time to review, and share, the main lessons I’ve learned.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a technical expert so, while I know that there are many excellent blog advice articles out there, I hope that you may benefit from this simple common sense approach.
- Just Get Stuck In: I must have spent months trying to decide what to blog about before I actually got going. How I wish I had got on with it sooner. There are so many questions when you have decided to take the plunge. I sort of drifted into Top 10 with no clear plan of how to develop, but as my experience and confidence have increased it has taken on a life of it’s own. I never imagined, for instance, that Twitter would be such fun and such an inspiration and that it would take me off in a new direction. So the first lesson is plan by all means, but don’t plan for so long that you never actually achieve anything. Just get on with it and see where you go.
- Twitter: I am, as they say, no spring chicken and I thought Twitter was for young people with nothing better to do. I was wrong. I really enjoy interacting with people from all around the world and there is no doubt that it is a very effective way to promote what you are doing. So get involved if you aren’t already.Use the knowledge and experience of those who have already been down the Twitter path to make sure you get the most out of your Twitter experience. This post from Kathy Meyer is a great starting point.
- Be yourself: This follows on in a way from number 2. When I started to blog and Tweet I did so as ‘The Top 10 Blog’. I soon found that others respond to you much more if you show them that you are a real person, even if that means making a fool of yourself occasionally. (If you have seen the Twitter Singups you will understand what I mean)The same principle applies with your Avatar, I stayed with the blog logo on Twitter, Facebook and Disqus for far too long and I was nervous about showing my face to the world! Wrong again, I have had so much more fun since I came out from behind that logo.
- Interact: Really important this one! Again, when I started I was a passive observer. I watched the Twitter stream and didn’t dare say anything in case I made a fool of myself. I read great blog posts and wouldn’t comment. I now know that everyone, including I, loves to get feedback or to be recommended to others. The more you put out there you more you get back as long as you are genuine. Read blogs, and if you like what you read, or even if you don’t, then leave a comment and Tweet about it.
- Be patient: At first, blogging and tweeting can be really frustrating. Why is nobody looking at my blog? Why has nobody retweeted my wonderful Tweet? Nobody loves me! Nobody cares! Be consistent in interacting with other people, relax, have fun, give something to others and if you are patient it will happen.
- Make connections and value them: I have met some marvelous, giving people through Twitter and getting to know them has allowed me to connect with many others. There are too many to name individually here but you will find them all on my Top Twitter People lists, I value these people so much and I go out of my way to make sure I keep in touch with them and take an interest in what they are doing, follow these lists and you won’t go wrong.You can make connections in many other places than just Twitter by adding comments to other blogs. Commenting is a great way to raise your profile and I also find that it sharpens the way I look at my own blog by looking closely at and responding to what others are doing and saying.
- Content and presentation: Simple really. Have good quality content and a good, neat presentation with correct spelling and good grammar. (Yes, these are still important!) Try to be consistent with the way the posts look.Use images well. Find good quality pictures and make sure they are free of copyright or that you add an appropriate attribution. I find two good places to get free images are Free Digital Photos and Flickr. It can take a while to find exactly what you need but it’s well worth it to give you peace of mind.
- Don’t be shy: Let the world know how good you are. Tweet about what you do. Have a presence on Facebook. Stumble, Digg and Delicous where you can promote your own stuff and that of others’. Make sure that you add some decent ‘Share’ buttons. You don’t have to be a Tech expert (which I am not) as there are some great plug-ins out there. But don’t forget to continue to promote other people as well. You will soon find you have no friends if you only ever talk about yourself! (Applies to real life as well)
- Read and learn: It is vital to keep reading what other people are putting out there. There is a seemingly never-ending supply of good quality information. Don’t be afraid to try simple things but remember don’t save until you are sure as you can always ‘Undo” and also remember…..
- Don’t try to be too clever: I nearly learned this lesson the hard way when I deleted most of my posts by trying to do something that I really didn’t understand. Thank goodness I found that restore facility.Another lesson I have learned recently is to check everything you publish in a guest post carefully before you click ‘Publish’. A guest had put a link in a post about a prestigious competition for developers with a massive cash prize – that soon was picked up and started flashing round the world, unfortunately the competition ended 2 years ago!
The moral is: With everything you do take your time and don’t run before you can walk.
Tony Hastings is the man behind the Top 10 Blog, a place where you will find regular Top Twitter People, amazing guest articles on all sorts of topics, some of his own writings on his social media journey, fun interviews, and more.