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Your First Week of Blogging – Write Compelling Content

Posted By Darren Rowse 16th of February 2010 Featured Posts, Writing Content 0 Comments

Update: this post has been updated and compiled with other similar posts into ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging – a week long guide into getting your blog going on the right foot.

Lets kick off our new series on what to do on the first week of a new blog with the most obvious task. Once your blog is set up and functioning it’ll need some posts for it to be truly live.

write-compelling-content.jpgImage by Brian Lane Winfield Moore

In many ways this task should have begun in the pre-launch stage of your blog as it is very handy to have a number of posts written and saved as drafts before you launch. This means that during your launch week you can free yourself up a little to focus upon other activities.

Types of Content for Your First Week of Blogging

The content that you write will vary depending upon the type of blog you’re running and it’s topic – however some of your early posts might include:

  • an introduction to the blog and what it’ll be about – his could double up as your about page.
  • your story – one of the best types of posts for establishing a relationship with readers is a post where you share your own story as it pertains to your niche. Again – this could function as a type of about page (or at least be linked to from your about page.
  • pillar content – most topics have topics in them that could function as a pillar type article for your blog. By this I mean topics that are central to your overall topic that will contain solid advice that you’ll be linking to again and again. Getting these types of posts written early is important as they’ll both show that you are tackling the important issues in your niche and they’ll give you something to point new readers to. For example – on my photography blog I set about writing posts early on on the central themes of good exposure – shutter speed, aperture and ISO.
  • epic posts/viral content – this can be hard to do when you don’t have a lot of experience with blogging but one strategy to get things kick started is to start off a blog with an ‘epic’ post that is written with the hope of getting attention. It’s hard to define this type of post but they’re the type of things that get passed around on Twitter, that do well on social bookmarking sites and that get emailed from friend to friend. These posts are often comprehensive lists, humorous posts, controversial topics or epic guides to topics.
  • a short series of posts – sometimes having a series of posts at the beginning of a blog can be worthwhile as it helps to create a sense of momentum on your blog. Someone new visiting is immediately given incentive to come back or subscribe because they want to see what you’ll be producing tomorrow that relates to what they’ve just written.

As mentioned above – this content writing task should really begin before you go live.

I would normally suggest launching a blog with 2-3 posts already live and another 5-10 posts saved as drafts. Having a range of posts ready to go as drafts means that you’re free to do other stuff but that you’ve also got a range of types of posts ready to go as the need arrives.

Establish a Posting Rhythm

Related to this task is that of thinking about the frequency of publishing (something you’ll want to establish early also).

The frequency that you publish posts in the first week will vary from blog to blog but I’d normally start with at least 3-4. If something that you publish does get some decent traffic try to publish another post that follows it up in some way the next day as it’s important to keep the momentum flowing.

It’s also important not to push too much of your content out too quickly. The temptation after launching is to just publish everything you have at once. This unfortunately leaves you with nothing in reserve. Be patient and establish the kind of posting frequency that you’ll continue with when your blog has been going for a while.

Further Reading on Blog Content:

Writing compelling content on a blog doesn’t usually just happen – it takes time to find your voice and establish a style of writing that connects and engages. However a lot can be learned early on with a little reading and lots of practice. Here are a handful of posts that will help you to get your mind into gear on this crucial topic:

What You Said about Blog Content in the First Week of Blogging:

Last week I asked readers what they advise bloggers do in their first week of blogging. Many of the responses so far have centred around this topic of writing content for a blog. Here is some of that advice from our readers:

“Have 7 or 8 posts written and scheduled posting for the next 2 wks.” – Rachel

“Write at least 10 blog posts – advice, lists, personal, a video – and add each one every day for the first 10 days.” – Andrew

“What we did right out of the gate was write out a series of post that all went with one theme for our first week, the 2nd weeks theme coat-tailed the 1st weeks theme and the 3rd week coat-tailed the 2nd… Next week we are going to be tying everything together…” – BrianJUY

“If you’re really serious about building a blog for the long term, I think the most important thing to do is create a posting schedule. Be honest with yourself and don’t overestimate what you can do, but do commit to a schedule. This has helped me through little dips when I lacked motivation.” – Peter

“In the first few weeks of a blog, I would suggest you concentrate on creating 10 to 20 awesome posts.” – Tee Riddle

“Post to your blog! No matter how excited you’ve made people about the launch of your blog, they’ll stop visiting if new content is too infrequent.” – Laurajr

“Create valuable content at the very beginning. Include several pillar posts and content that engages the reader and creates a impact.” – Mathew Day

“Before even you setup blog, create rough drafts of atleast 5-10 original posts you are going to write.” – Harsh

“My advice is to launch into writing a series of posts. Something with a timeframe like ‘every day this week I’m going to explore a different …’ or ‘every Monday I will put the spotlight on …’ or ‘every month I will interview a well known …’ and so on. It puts the pressure on a bit but it’s great for motivation!” – Kerrin

“Write something EVERY DAY. Writers write. You don’t have to *publish* everything you write – the ’save draft’ button is your best friend. But scribble in a notebook or keep a draft word processing doc; write something. Set aside some time – 15 minutes, a half-hour – and write something. Your writing muscles (and that elusive voice everyone keeps talking about) only develop if you use them.” – Pat

“Take your time to craft a couple of really great posts. And enjoy being able to do so without feeling pressured to churn out content (you’ll have those chomping-at-the-bit readers soon enough!) Never think that it’s a waste of time to produce your very best work at the start of your blog’s life: you can link back to these early posts as your blog grows.” – Ali

“Don’t burn off a lot of time writing a first post that basically welcomes readers. You’d figure the initial post — the hello, world! part — would be among the most important assignments you give yourself. You’d be wrong. Instead, put your energies into a brilliant on-topic post that’ll have great shelf life — a so-called tentpost article.” – Glenn

In coming days, as part of this series, we’ll talk a little more about content. In the mean time – feel free to add more of your own tips and experiences. What type of content did you publish in the first week of your blog?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I totally agree, it always take a little more time in the beginning to get some sort of momentum going with a new blog. People should understand that when you have a new blog you have to add content, great if unique to increase chances of being found for your own keyword phrases.

    Marketing comes next which is now easier I think, with all the social networking going on and rss capabilities.

    Blogging is fun and if you stick to it, it can be profitable and enjoyable.

  2. This will be a very helpful series for new bloggers.
    Especially the advice not to publish all arcticles you have in the first days is very importantn in order to have a steady flow of articels.

  3. Thanks for mentioning my quote.

    One thing to add specifically about content – don’t rush it. NEVER think ‘that will do’.

    Take your time over your blog posts and spend as much time as you can afford. Your blog will gain many followers as a result.

    Andrew

  4. Ironic that this series comes up as I am in the first week of a new blog (not ready to officially launch it just yet and it’s aimed at quite a niche audience). Always good to get back to basics after having run other blogs for years, and I will definitely be doing some things differently on this one.

  5. I believe in starting a new blog with a Pillar Article. Write something different (not the usual stuffs).

  6. Being a new blogger myself, this series is really going to help me.
    Creating a posting schedule and having draft posts ready to go has definately helped me, and given me that extra bit of time needed to promote my blog.

    Most blogging platforms have the ability to schedule posts and so make use of that too – for example, i have posts scheduled for when i’m in work.

  7. Remember those days of blogging when I just started and yes it was your advice to blog on regular bases and to maintain a rhythm … It has surely helped me a lot during those days and even now. Thanks

  8. Ya, not publishing all the content in the begining was hard :)

  9. I told my personal story. I wrote about what inspired me to start my blog. I created some cool inspirational videos. One of the things that I did in terms of how to articles was made a list of all the things I knew how to do and decided which ones could make interesting blog posts. One of my favorites was “How to get free drinks and get treated like a VIP everywhere you go”

  10. I have 5 posts in 2 weeks. I guess that’s a bit on the low side.

    Also, I don’t have any posts kept but just write about things as they come up.

  11. Besides learning to write quality content on a regular basis, scheduling posts to publish days in advance was also a huge help. This greatly reduces the stress to post daily.

  12. Start is always the most difficult part of any launch. Getting to the point as quickly as possible is the best strategy according to me. If you have an about page, where you described your background, your interests, why you started this blog, there is no point in stating same thing as a part of first post. Instead you can write about latest thing you did (movie you watched, book you read, latest gadget etc. based on your niche). You can also write about your journey in setting up blog for the first time (if it is not already part of About me page). Getting that first post out definitely takes some burden off your chest.

  13. My advice for starting would be to come up with a subject area and write. Write every day or every week, keep a regular schedule that’s not too strenuous. Just settle in and write.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about making the posts perfect, just get better as you go along. You’ll find that some will do surprisingly well and others will do surprisingly poor. No problem, not every song is a hit.

    Probably the most difficult thing for me right now after three months is that I’m not getting much search traffic. I try not to let it bother me and just keep writing… because I know in the next three months or so it will improve significantly.

  14. Hi Darren,

    I’ve created a glossary that consisted of all the major terms that are required in my field. Then I created a PDF and offered it for download. This was excellent for two reasons:
    1. I learnt a lot when writing the glossary.
    2. I have a very useful glossary to give out to my readers.

    Regards – Ami

    • Ami – sounds like a good approach – those articles are the type of reference content that people keep referring back to and that you can keep linking back to again and again.

  15. THis is an awesome tutorial Darren. I totally agree with the content writing task beginning before you go live. :)

  16. Some thoughts:

    Write for your audience. When I first started my real estate blog 5 years ago,I wrote for me. Every post was an advertisement and it was awful. Write content that is truly useful for your readers.

    Set up a folder for ideas and partial blog posts. Mine is in Google docs. The great ideas come when you are doing something else – save them for a rainy day.

    Your two best sources for posts are FAQs and the answer to the question a neighbor asks in the grocery store “what’s new with you?”. Every question you hear and every discussion you are part of in your field should be a blog post. If people ask Google their question, your blog should be there to give them a great answer.

  17. One of the first things I did when I started my blog was to implement a special blog post with a free niche research every Friday. This special feature brought lots of followers, and also lots of links.

  18. I have started a new blog for SMS text Messages the domain in old near about 8 month but i have just startrd posting on it from last 7 days how much time will google crowle my blog any time idea?

  19. This would have help in my early days of blogging.

    Now I do a series of things on the first week of the blog launch. Content is the first and most important thing to do.

    Writing the pillar posts in the first week is I think the most important, as the content is the basic and fundamental of the blog which ever your niche is.

    Of course finding out the related keywords or relevant keywords will certainly help in writing your content, and rank yourself in search engines.

  20. Very inspiring post for a blogger like me, . Actually following problogger since a long time and getting the results.

  21. Every time I write more than one post in a day I tell myself that I should reserve them in case I don’t have time the next day but its so hard to hold back! It does seem that having a constant posting schedule helps an awful lot. My blog’s only a couple of weeks old and I notice dips in traffic on days without posts.

    Well if you call going from 50 uniques down to 20 a dip!

  22. Really nice and has a flowing narrative. Thanks

  23. The hardest thing is to resist publishing all your posts at once, and also to resist publishing all your *favourite* posts first.
    Don’t expect to go viral at once, you will have low traffic in the beginning, people will not stick to your blog so easily if they see it’s new and half empty.
    It would also be a mistake to fill it up with boring stuff — so keep the balance of important posts and “secondary stuff” —and just stick to your schedule and to your plan.

  24. I wish I would have had this post back when I started I did completely the opposite of all the things you say to do. I am excited to see this post to because for new bloggers this is great help I have not read any post on your first things to do before you start blogging like you did. Good stuff I will be watching you… thanks

  25. Timely series, as I just got my blog started. I do wish I would have waited another week to promote it. I’m thinking about running a “What’s Ahead” post, list some topics I’m planning and invite readers to submit their ideas. Is that a good idea, or is it better to simply “bring them on” and let the readers discover what’s next as it unfolds?

    Anyway, thanks for this!

  26. Michael Campbell really helped me with the one suggestion of using http://labs.wordtracker.com/keyword-questions, to obtain the 100 most asked questions in your niche.

    Answer a few questions and will really help move you forward in what to write for your blog.

    Boomer 54
    Mark

  27. I know its a bad attitude but there is something depressing about writing great content that no-one will read. Barely anyone goes through the archives and some of your best content can be wasted.

    So to solve the issue make sure you have a featured article section or when your blog becomes more popular you can republish some of your best articles so that new readers can benefit from your great content.

    • Adam – a featured article section is a good idea. Also constantly linking back to your best stuff is good too.

      The other thing you can do if you set up a blog with a URL structure that doesn’t have dates in it is to repost your best stuff later on. This is what I do on DPS – some of my older articles have appeared again 2-3 times. I do usually update them but I find giving posts I wrote in my first months a second go is a good way to give new readers a taste of the archives.

  28. We were going to start this week off (our 4th week) by tying everything from our first 3 weeks together, as Darren shared in my comment above…

    Then, our new baby girl Kaylee was born yesterday… So instead of kicking today off with the post we had intended… I wrote a short post about us having our little girl.

    We’ll be kicking everything back into gear on the business track tomorrow…

    I think no matter what… being real with our followers and sharing personal stories really helps to establish a connection…

  29. I’m in the ‘stockpiling’ phase of writing right now, while my blog is being built. I already have some ‘pillar’ content, but this article is helpful in terms of additional ideas.Thank you!

  30. I wrote one post every day in the first week

  31. I think adding “your story” is key to a successful blog.

    All of the sites I follow closely and connect w/ share personal stories. I really dislike when writers hide behind a fake name. I understand the reasons for it, but I’ll never consider a blog a must-read from a mystery writer.

    Honesty and transparency creates a mutual respect between writer and readers.

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

  32. I am still working on my voice and style. I am in the fitness niche and find it difficult to trying to make it mine. Well The site has not been up long so I am sure I will get the hang of it.

  33. I believe in “First impressions last” policy and it also applies to blog sites, people will know that a particular blog is worth subscribing to once they’ve read the first contents on your site. I Believer posting your own story will really help.

  34. Good work very nice post!!!

  35. I think one of the most important things that we ignore in our early days of blogging (at least I certainly did) is not giving enough information about ourselves to our future readers.

    We tend to forget to introduce ourselves and our stories to the readers so that they can connect with us in a deeper level, and know why and how we started the blog.

    Blogging is about building a relationship with the readers. You cant expect them to trust you and be your readers without knowing you.

  36. Write the different topic and post rightly in a good time!

  37. Writing compelling content to attract visitors in the beginning of making Blog content, is a good idea..

  38. Hi Darren,

    As far as content is concerned, I also find that telling a story always makes your writing more appealing. It’s like the $50 Tim Tams post you wrote, that is great to my opinion, it is just more fun and easy to read.

    I also made a summation of my first six weeks of blogging, I called it “Six Week Journey to Launching a Professional Blog
    “, and it is much more popular to my opinion due to the “story telling” nature of it.

    Respectfully – Ami

  39. As a rank beginner I am blown away by the open-hearted sharing of such hard earned skills. The variously repeated basic wisdoms by many of you is, in itself, reinforcement of the value of your comments. I am embarrassed to tell you, this old newbie only ‘found’ the internet a few months back . Shock you, did it? Well I am Irish- African and live in the country, bare-footing through the dew crisp grass, dogs in tow, inhaling the enchantment of the local wildlife. It makes you lonely. Makes you want to write. So, how do you start? Well, you get lucky and bump into Darren’s site and the comments of your combined experience. Thank you all. I’ll stay in touch.

  40. In my first week of my blogging, i post a tutorial that base on how i create my blog and it seems give a good impact till now. I often link to that old post so the readers can get a clear thought about start a blog. :D

  41. Content may not be king, what makes one blog more compelling than another is the often most overlooked part of the content… The Headline… I am not talking about the SEO stuff around keywords, but the psychology of how people share posts. And a shared post is a good post. If someone reads your content and does not feel compelled to share it, that post no matter how good really does the blog no real service.

    You write compelling content and a person reads it and decides to tweet it or share it through email or even link back from their own blog. What they are sharing is your posts headline.

    Even when you pop up on Google from some organic search… when the new prospective reader is deciding in 2 seconds or less to click on the link or not is all based on the quality of your headline.

    It’s like a gorgeous blond walking into a bar. All the men want to talk to her based on her headline (her looks). If when she opens her mouth she is dumb like truck, you move on (well most men move on, but never underestimate the attraction some men have of a good headline and linger re-reading it over and over again… I digress). My point is the headline compels a prospective reader to read your post. The actual content is what may have them decide to comeback or subscribe to your feed, but more often than not it is the headline that brought them there.

    So I say content is queen and the headline is king… king rules queen every time, all the time… but together they are the royal couple.

  42. Thanks, Darren, for using my suggestion about writing something every day. I had this nun for 7th grade English who insisted that we write a 4-paragraph essay on a random subject every day. Some of those essays were pretty silly (a persuasive essay on the merits of white chalk – yeah, not kidding!) But all of us got much more comfortable with the writing process. It’s the writing process that often gets in the way of blogging, so anything you can do to make writing easier will stand you in good stead.

    To everyone who just can’t resist hitting that ‘publish’ button for every single thing you write – I have the same failing. Resist the temptation! By writing some of your stuff outside of the WP admin panel – jotting down ideas as they happen in a word-processor, a simple notebook, your Blackberry – you’ll build yourself a personal random-idea generator. From those random ideas, you will always have a store of things to write about, even when you don’t feel particularly inspired.

  43. Build up a collection of posts prior to launch and try to keep a rolling reserve of two or three posts for times when you haven’t got anything else to publish. I find this helps take the pressure off me when I’m staring at a blank screen – there isn’t so much urgency to write and it makes it easier to write.

  44. People LOVE features.

    I use Friday Night Links as one of my features because 1) it caters to everyone since it isn’t necessarily tech related like the rest of my content and 2) I want to make things easy on myself on Fridays so I just gather cool links throughout the week and boil it down to the best 4 and write a little blurb.

    My other is Tuesday Quick Tips. I can’t usually write an entire 800 words on using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, but 200 words would certainly work. Plus I have other things going on Tuesday so it all works out.

  45. what is the time required for crowling a website on wordpress?if i make a sitemap of my website and submitted it to google how much time it will required to crowle?

  46. Great stuff as always Darren. I think the consistency of posting or writing is very important. This is something that is a foundation of those who found success. You have to also stick to that. Not write often for a few weeks and give up. This is one thing that is vital to the growth and success of a website or a blogger. Keep it up Darren!

  47. I have tried blogging on three occasions and failed on two of them. The primary reason was that I did not separate WRITING blog posts and PUBLISHING blog posts. Every time I tried to do them the inevitable happened. It came time to publish and I got writers block and soon became discouraged and gave up. Now with wiriting and publishing separate I try and get about 6 – 10 posts in front because my writing inspiration never seems to coincide with the rhythm of publishing.

  48. Thank you so much for this post! I’m in the process of launching my first blog and your advice is already proving invaluable. I’m eagerly awaiting the rest of this series!

    Lesley

  49. I’m blogging about my journey as I try to find my passion in life because I really don’t know what it is. I’m hoping I can get some help on how others have found their passion.

    Can seem to get to grips on how to get people to even read or know my blog exists.

  50. Thank you for the helpful series, it will help both newbies and also who blog since a ear back!

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