Guest Post by Poch Peralta
I encourage you to visit Poch Peralta’s blog, Plato On-Line, to get the scoop on just about anything… Poch is a regular visitor here at What’s On My PC and recently featured one of my articles on Plato On-Line. As a courtesy, today I am posting one of Poch’s articles about “Starting a Blog the Right Way”, which was recently featured on the site Million Clues.
During my first 6 months of blogging, I made a lot of mistakes which is just normal in my humble opinion. Just learning from them made me grateful. And I was lucky I didn’t make the really big ones! (user name, theme). So here is what I learned and my suggestions.
1. Finding the best blog platform or host
Before I found my current host, I left three from which I didn’t get a single comment! So do a research first. Decide if you want a ‘monetized’ or an advertisement-free blog. Some hosts allow monetizing, some don’t. So if you choose to self-host your blog, then it’s better to monetize it to cover your expenses.
2. Choosing your user name (or domain name) carefully.
Some blog platforms do not allow their users to change that so you might be stuck with what you choose. And changing a username is like changing a BRAND name –you’ll probably lose some of your followers who don’t want the change. I suggest you choose one as if it’s a website name because you wouldn’t know if your weblog might someday be a big website. A name which can be ‘verbalized’ is best. See how websurfers turned the proper noun Google into a verb? (It’s just bad that my own would sound bad if verbalized – pochpeed).
3. Choosing your blog Theme
There are specific themes designed for your niche or speciality.
4. Choose your niche carefully
This was my first mistake. At first, I started writing just about everything that floats my boat. Then I learned that you could monetize your blog at least to cover your writing expenses, time and effort. Some professional bloggers even teach that you shouldn’t spend on your blog or site until you’re earning from it. So decide if you want a monetized blog or not –then decide what your blog will be specifically about. Will it be about Technology, Science, Business, etc?
5. Continue search for better blog platforms
Most probably, your first blog host will not be the best.
6. Practice Ethics of blogging/networking
This is the continuing and maybe, the hard part. How do we make sure we’re blogging politically correct?
a. Your content
We have freedom of speech so it’s really up to you what you write even if it’s offensive; which of course I practice but don’t endorse. But if you will write a rant or offensive piece, target specifically so the innocents wouldn’t think they are part of it. You wouldn’t want your followers to think they are part of your target. If you’re after popularity or sales, then you wouldn’t want to offend everyone so be careful what you write.
One way to make sure your piece isn’t offending: have a kind-hearted person or editor read your article then ask if it’s reader-friendly.
b. Your comments
Now this is where most bloggers offend each other the most. I myself have offended through comments without intending to although one or two I admit were careless though innocent; and that is why I’m reluctant to write about this – it would smell hypocrisy. We just really can’t be sure how our words will be interpreted. And that is the reason why we should be extremely careful. Tips:
- Never make or reply to an offensive comment when you’re still angry. Most of the time, we will find that it’s not really worth our anger as time passes. What I do is ignore offensive comments if I want someone to stop sending it. You bet it works. We will even sometimes find we can learn something from the offensive comment. The offensive commenter might even become your fan if you befriend the person!
- If you think you have made an offensive comment, follow-up at once and apologize before you get a reply. The more time passes, the more damage the comment will do because it spreads.
This not only apply only to commenting but also to e-mail marketing. The rule is DON’T SPAM. What do you think your reader will do when the reader learns you spammed him/her? Of course the reader will spread the news which would brand you as a user of your fellowman. I suggest you use a blog host or platform that uses Akismet.
Now there are human spam comments that you really need to spam. Human spam comments are innocent and not dangerous right?
It can be an attempt to steal hits, comments, or hijack your weblog altogether which I have experienced. If comments are not related to the post, it is spam especially if it asks you to click a link. So check the link first before clicking.
A good way to block spam comments manually is this:
Go to your WordPress Dashboard and follow Settings –> Discussion. In the comment blacklist, enter words like porno, gambling, and whatever words, IP’s, and e-mail addresses you think should be banned. Be extra careful who you spam or blacklist!