As I have promised before, I will not only teach you how to blog using WordPress, but also help you how to “grow” it. After all, what’s the use of a blog when you are the only one, or only a handful of people are reading it.
We have learned the basics of WordPress blogging: We have learned how to register a WordPress blog, write a draft article and publish a post, how to link to other documents , and how to embed videos for Youtube.
Before continuing the series, let us learn some of the basic things that we should consider before starting to blog seriously. It is important that we know from the start what we want write than think about it later. Note, however, that I am no blogging expert. All the tips that I will discuss are from personal experiences in growing Mathematics and Multimedia. As you can see, Mathematics and Multimedia is only fifteen months old, but despite being a math blog (which supposedly has a handful of readers), it has reached about 200,000 hits as of this writing, so I suppose that I must be doing something right.
In the following discussion, I have used Mathematics and Multimedia as context. This will make it contextual and not too theoretical. Also, these tips are probably fit for academic bloggers, though, other bloggers may also learn from it.
1. Choose your topic and your audience
The first important thing to consider in writing a blog is your niche. Think of something that you are very interested to write, and things in which you are consider yourself ‘expert.’ Think of something that you can write for a very long time. Also, think about your audience. If you want people to come back to your blog often, try to focus on a specific audience. Don’t blog about a wide range of disconnected topics.
I have chosen high school (and some college) mathematics teachers and students as my audience. Before, I just want to blog about problems and their solutions, but after several posts, I decided that I wanted to teach mathematics intuitively.
2. Write quality content
Most people will come back to your blog if you write a content with quality. You can advertise your blog all you want, but if your content is just like others on the net, or if the quality is poor, then not too many people will revisit it.
3. Be unique and authentic
If there are 1 million people on the net who blog about the same topic, and have a similar style of writing, then, they have to share the readers. Write something unique, or at least, write something which only a few writers write about.
4. Write things that are related to your main topic that would interest your readers
Since my target audience are high school mathematics teachers and students, I wrote topics which I think would interest them the most. For example, one of the current trends in mathematics education is the integration of technology in teaching mathematics, and one of the popular software that emerged several years ago was GeoGebra.
GeoGebra is free, it is very user-friendly, and it has a lot of features, so many users would eventually use it, and, sooner or later, it will have more users than other commercial software. GeoGebra is used by both teachers and students, and I am using it very often, so I thought that I have a lot of potential audience. Furthermore, there are only a few sites that created GeoGebra tutorials, so I decided to create many tutorial series. Actually, in my blog, my GeoGebra tutorials are the most visited pages.
5. Keep it Simple
Take note that if you want to write about something, write about the basics — things that everybody, or at least a lot of people would understand. One of my main goals in writing a math article, for example, is to simplify the concepts so that non-math readers, or average students, would be able to understand it. If I wrote an article that is hard to understand, which can also be found in books, then why would someone spend time reading it if they can read it anywhere?
6. In the beginning, write a lot
If you have decided what to write, it is now time to compose your articles. If you are just beginning, try to write at least thrice a week. This will keep your readers follow your blog. Then you can slow down later (maybe after 6 months) if you have a attracted followers. Of course, the more you write, the more number hits.
The tips above are very practical. In later tutorials, I will teach you the technical stuff about promoting your blog like how to automatically post your blog to Twitter or Facebook, how to construct post tags so that search engines would easily see it, and how to make connections to other bloggers and more.
If you have started a blog, you can share to me and my readers what you think.