The 3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Blog
Written by
Pat Roa-Perez
September 2014
Written by
Pat Roa-Perez
September 2014

This past Monday I finally launched my blog, When The Noise StopsIt took a while to get here, almost a year. The reason it took so long: I didn’t know much about what a blog was. When I look back, there are certain things I wish I’d known before starting and that would’ve made it easier and shortened the time to complete.

For those contemplating starting a blog, let me share the three things I wish I’d known before. 

1. How much do you know about what a blog is?

I thought I knew something, but after I started, I realized how little I knew. Creating a blog is like a building a house from the ground up. It requires bricks and mortar. WordPress, hosting, domain name, themes, HTML, design, content, and social media are some of the bricks and mortar required to build a blog. If you have never heard these terms before (like I did), you may want to learn a little about them beforehand. Here’s something to get you started from WordPress: What is a Blog?.

2. Author vs. Other

Not all blogs are created equal, and an author’s blog is, looks, and feels different than others. I learned this the hard way after having invested a lot of time and effort on designing my blog. In the middle of it, I had to start over. It was hard to do but I had no choice. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Learn what an author’s blog is first. Here’s an article on the subject from Jane Friedman's site, Why Design Matters for Your Author Website. It's worth a read!

3. Do you have a social media presence?

The driving force behind any blog is social media. Think of your blog as a car, and social media as the key that turns it on and allows you to drive it anywhere you want. Without a key, the car serves no purpose. It can’t move. It can’t take you anywhere. And just like a car without a key, a blog without social media support serves little or no purpose.

I could go on and on about this topic, but I’ll make it brief. If you don’t know social media, LEARN, and learn before starting your blog.

A little advice about SM: There are lots of free sources you can turn to in order to learn SM, and that’s great. For me, however, that didn’t work out. I was spending too much time going here and there and not learning much. I knew how necessary a solid SM knowledge was for my blog, and the free stuff was not doing it. I needed a single source to learn all (or most) SM platforms in a concise, step-by-step, able-to-measure-progress manner, and I found it through Social Media Online Classes. It’s not free, but their monthly subscription is very reasonable. For me, it was worth the investment.

Creating a blog that reflects who you are deserves a little preparation beforehand. Spending some time on these three areas will give you an advantage and make your blogging journey easier, more enjoyable, and rewarding.

What have your experiences been with blogging as an author? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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  • Buffy Griffin

    Yes, I agree with Pat as well. In the early days of blogging, I combined my business and writing site together. Then, I decided to re-brand which includes a new website/blog and I'm certainly wanting to do it better this time around (more focus on writing and public speaking). The only business that I will include will have to do with the literary world. 

  • Suzanne Hoffman

    I absolutely agree with Pat. Before I started mine, I carved out a niche in the local paper (with an international reach) and wrote a column that became quite popular. On average, it was (and still is, just not as frequent) 1200 words a week in the culinary, wine and travel space, but with a twist - I go behind the scenes in some of Colorado's top restaurants not as an observer, but as a worker bee.

    By the time I launched my blog, I had nearly 100K words and was well-entrenched in social media. Now the blog feeds off the social media. My end game is to get paid for my work in some manner - wouldn't we all love that - but also to use the blog to promote my upcoming book on the women of Piemontese wine families. 

    Bottom line, social media has been crucial to my blog's success and I agree with Pat that it's important to be fluent in its language.

    My blog certainly isn't perfect - my resources go to travel expenses for research - but I'm happy with the results thus far. I don't blog to sell ad space, but to give a different feel and uncluttered look to people who love reading stories, not lists a la HuffPost.