How To: Start a Blog – Ask HR Bartender

Blogs were started back in the 1990s. At that time, they were mostly the work of a single individual about a single subject. Today, it’s estimated there are about 130 million blogs in existence covering more subjects that we can even begin to imagine. For that reason, it can seem like a Herculean task to start a blog. Which brings us to this reader’s question.

Hi Sharlyn. I’m an HR pro with 10 years’ experience and my PHR. I have a passion for all things human resources. Since being downsized last year and feeling out of the loop, I started using Twitter.

I’m thinking of starting a blog and really have no idea where to begin. My dream would be to move into consulting but I have to be realistic and find a job. I’m hoping to start something that could eventually get me going in the consulting direction. I really love your stuff. Would you mind a little advice for a social newbie?

It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for five years now. At the time I decided to start blogging, I knew nothing about it. So I read three books – Andy Wibbles’ book “Blog Wild!”, Darren Rowse’s “Problogger” and a book on WordPress design. Once I started blogging, I reached out to other bloggers and asked questions. Kris Dunn at the The HR Capitalist and Laurie Ruettimann at The Cynical Girl were very gracious and helpful as I started blogging.

Looking back on my experience, there are 5 things I would recommend to others who are considering blogging.

  1. Decide why you want to blog. It might be to make money. Or get a job. Or find clients for your consulting business. Before you do anything…decide why you’re doing it. That answer will drive other decisions you need to make about platform, hosting, naming, marketing, etc.
  2. Never say never. Like many things, the reasons you blog will change. And that’s okay. I’ve seen many bloggers start because they want to share their expertise and later decide they want to make money. There’s no reason you can’t do both. Be open to opportunities as they arise.
  3. Think about the platform. I made the decision to blog on a self-hosted WordPress site and it has worked well for me. Others swear by Tumblr or Blogger. Do your homework when it comes to what platform you want to blog on. Because from what I hear, it’s a real pain to change platforms or hosting.
  4. Choose your blog’s name carefully. Regardless of the reason you’re blogging, you will want need to market your blog. So you have to create a name that helps you accomplish your blogging goals (see #1). It can be very challenging to change the blog’s name and rebrand – no different than when companies do it.
  5. Consider how much time you want to dedicate. Blogging takes work. Sometimes a lot of work. When I started, I published once a week. Only when I was comfortable did I up it to twice a week, and so forth. Also, consider your readers. Put yourself into the shoes of your audience. How many times is good to post? How long should a post be? If you’re trying to get people to read your blog, these are things to consider.

All of these questions aren’t designed to scare anyone away. Au contraire – it’s to set you up for success. Taking the time on the front end will hopefully eliminate a few frustrations and the possibility of abandoning the blog.

And, if you’re wondering why the list has very little about writing, it’s because we all have something to say. We all have a passion that we can share. That part you’ve already taken care of.

Got a question or suggestion about blogging? Leave it in the comments.

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