5 Things I Wish I’d Known about Blogging when I Started Out3 min read

The twenty-second of April, 2012. A day forever etched in my brain (and on my skin). The day I decided that I was going to fight for my dream of becoming a writer. The day I decided to start a blog.

I’ll be honest with you: I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I wanted to write, to share my stories with others, and that there was this thing called blogging that could offer me this chance.

However, in my early days of blogging, I had no idea what great blogging meant, or what to do to become successful as a blogger.

So, here are five things I wish I knew about blogging when I first started out.

  1. Headlines can make or break an article – A post’s title impacts how (and if) it’s indexed by search engines and social bookmarking sites, it influences whether or not folks visit your blog in the WordPress Reader, it affects whether people decide to actually read what you have to say.
  2. Lists, lists, lists – Believe it or not, but I did not start using lists in my blog posts until 2016. I thought them to be gimmicky, clickbait, but the truth is that a single well written list post can launch a blog to the blogging stratosphere. Granted, list posts are overused, meaning they can be easily ignored, I find that a list post will always get more attention than an essay-like blog post.
  3. Having something to say – One of the bitter truths of blogging is the fact that most who start blogs just want to say something, anything. No. The idea is to have something to say, something you care deeply about,. Stand for something, do not be afraid to speak your mind. Tell the truth, your truth, the thing that sets your soul on fire, even if your voice shakes. Or you fingers tremble on your keyboard.
  4. Formatting matters. A lot – Online readers tend to scan content. As a result if you place visual cues in your posts that draw the eye to the essential points you’ll find people stick with you longer into your posts.
  5. A picture is worth (at least) a thousand words– Never, ever, ever publish a blog post without an image. Never. No matter what. If I had a thousand dollars for every time someone complimented me on the images I chose for my articles I’d be a millionaire. Images have the power to communicate in ways that words cannot – use them.

These five points do not seem like much. Actually, I am pretty sure you read this article because you were enticed by the headline, or maybe because of the image I used, and found it an easy and fast read.

It’s all common sense, right?

And it’s easy to feel a bit cheated and think that these are the sort of things anyone knows about.

If that is so, common sense or not, tell me: how often do you use these five elements of blogging in your articles?


  1. I am trying to use all five. Knowing what they are , and then knowing exactly how to use them can be tricky. The only way to get the hang of it is to keep doing it.

  2. Yeah but people just look at the image and don’t read the content. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten 20 likes for a post, and it’s like: I know none of you actually read the post. They just click “like” and move on.

  3. The “easy and fast read” is a biggie. If I click through and see long paragraphs that go on and on, I usually exit.

  4. You remember the exact day you started blogging. Wow, that’s something, that day must have been significant for you.
    Great insights, I noticed you highlight certain words and understood why when you got to the point about formatting.
    Mine is a writer’s blog. Images aren’t as important to me. Though I do understand the appeal.

  5. A tattoo, you say?!

  6. I try to include all 5… the photo for sure, care in formatting -yes! Something to say, yes! Headline not always as captivating as it could be. And what was the 5th?

  7. Ah yes, lists. Hmmm… no wonder that wasn’t retained! I think I underuse this element! I guess lists don’t always fit my style when often it’s a Haiku or other message in poetry.

  8. Point no. 4 – I’m so trying to incorporate it in my posts. Thanks for the article, Cristian. 🙂

  9. Point #3
    Exactly what I was telling someone yesterday. Her blog is more like an online diary, and she’s concerned that she doesn’t get much comments and likes. It took me a while to explain why, with the short attention span people have these days, they do not care about that day you forgot to take your meds or the reason your favourite colour is red. If you blog about everything, you’re blogging nothing. In the end, she saw reason and promised to do something about it.
    Insightful article, Cristian!

  10. You always give great tips. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Great tips Cristian. Your honesty is always appreciated, it helps make one a better blogger.

  12. I do try to format my longer posts to increase readability as they can be a chore to read. I like lists but others are not too fond of them.

  13. Thank you for the great advice. It all adds up when I consider my own experience reading blogs!! I want to learn more about titles- and SEO. Similar?

    • I’m not such a big believer in SEO. Why? Because if you write in order to please some robots, that makes for some bland writing. Better to write great stuff for your human readers, and they’ll make sure you rank pretty high on search engines as well… After all links to your blogs matter most when it comes to your site’s ranking.

  14. I love the tip about adding images. It may seem storybook-esque but I truly believe it draws peoples attention and adds a bit of character. Great post.

  15. I am using more of these elements than when I first started out. I would encourage readers to check out Cristian’s formatting guides (see his 4th point).

  16. Well I guess it’s time to get some pictures. Lol.

  17. Number one thing I remember is that closest to you will not want to support you …. weird right?

    • It happens more often than not. Those closest to use are, paradoxically, not always people we choose to be around because of certain qualities or passions or whatever, but rather folks we “use” in order to feel less lonely, or folks we never even chose (family).

  18. I’ve never used lists. I’m planning on it though but I mostly write short poems or articles. I hate long posts so I just keep it short and precise.

    I use a looooot of visual images.

  19. Great tips! I’ve dipped in and out of blogging for several years and I’m still trying to work it out. So I ‘ll take your advice.

  20. love your post, very helpfull

  21. Nice one! Very well written!

  22. This was helpful – thanks!

  23. a perfect blog post like any other one of yours…please keep inspiring me like you do everyday..haha

  24. Hey, thanks again for another helpful article. In regards to choosing images, is it best to use something from my camera or a stock image?

  25. “The idea is to have something to say, something you care deeply about,. Stand for something, do not be afraid to speak your mind”

    This really resonates! Thank you!

  26. when i first started posting I had that stance on list type posts, however I have found they always get the most traffic. I think the key is using them in addition to other types of posts.

  27. Great Tips! Thanks for sharing

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