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?

Cristian Mihai

Became Internet famous by the age of 23. Never recovered. I write short author bios all over the web. I’m an acquired taste. Don’t like me? Acquire some taste.

57 thoughts on “5 Things I Wish I’d Known about Blogging when I Started Out3 min read

  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. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. Thank you, Tiana.

      Images are important because if you add below your headline, it’s the second thing a reader notices. They capture the attention of those who are just scrolling and might not have read your post otherwise.

    1. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. “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!

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