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Your First Week of Blogging – Write Compelling Content

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Nicholas says:

    This is a helpful post and a series I’ll be following.

    Before launching we brainstormed a number of post ideas that we thought would be relevant and helpful to our target audience, and also gave thought to those we could ask to write guest posts too.

    We also discussed other commitment and agreed a realistic target of posting once weekly. Though we’ve not done a ‘story’ post, we have been discussing it as a possibility, but wouldn’t want to come across as cheesy!

    What do you think?

    Anyway, having now launched our blog, we definitely see the benefits of having had ideas in draft first!

    Thanks

  2. My first week blogging content is my story cause i don’t know again what to do. And this thing happen for few month that i realize must change it cause i won’t my blog more elegant. So i change it.

  3. We didn’t set out with plan for posting, but it seems to have naturally followed this advice.

    We write about anything related to our subject, even if it’s a bit tenuous. As long as it’s interesting and/or informative we reckon other people might like it and it goes in.

    We tend to alternate between a longer post and a quick ‘ooh’ post if something interesting is found. It works well, keeps things fresh and it give a bit of breathing room.

    I find the more you blog the more inspired you get. When you look back at all you’ve written it drives you on to get more great content up there to create something to be proud of.

  4. Waseem says:

    Hey

    I just started my first blog, thanks for the help. These are great suggestions. I feel like my battle is uphill because my blog is about sports news and I have to compete with ESPN, SI, and hundreds of other sports blogs.

  5. Pallav says:

    It’s another epic content from Darren.

    Extremely useful write up :)

    Blessings

    Pallav

  6. I think the easiest way to start a blog is to find something you’re passionate about and can talk a whirlwind of. That way, blogging for you doesn’t become a bore and chore. This also makes the reader more interested in what you are saying because you put a lot of heart into it.

    Amy Cameron
    BuildMySiteforFree.com

  7. Jen says:

    Marketing is so time consuming. I wouldnt mind if I could make a sale, but months of link exchange, backlinking, posting, researching and hiring a SEO have seemingly got me nowhere!

    My websites feature MLM, affiliate products, newsfeed and an amazon store. I just cant seem to convert traffic into sales though.

    heres my sites:

    http://www.northcarolinabeachvacations365.com
    http://www.southcarolinabeachvacations365.com
    http://www.virginiabeachvacations.com

  8. drt says:

    Funny. I signed up for Problogger forum last week, bought the 31DBBB book, haven’t started to implement it yet, but my first post has generated enough money to cover this month subscribtions fee and tripled my visitors. I’m really glad I signed up for the forum beside enjoying quality posting like this. Oh, I also jumped 10 more steps in the Top 100 list of blogs at rsshugger because I got more visitors to http://www.rsshugger.com/www.atanone.net . The question now is how to keep this momentum, get more visitors to generate more money to cover my monthly subscription fee, the price of the book and other online fees. :-)

  9. KellyS says:

    I read Darren’s book as the first step in starting my blogs and then felt paralyzed by all that was ahead of me to get blogs launched. As I broke it down and started working on establishing my blogs, I have continued to follow Darren’s blog posts for inspiration and advice. This beginner series is what I need and the timing is perfect. Thank you so much for offering up great advice consistently. I have domains purchased, hosted, and WordPress installed. While I sift through and figure out themes and layout, I am going to start writing to build up content “inventory.” Keep the beginner series going as I really need the help. Thanks!

  10. I have an idea file too, and it sounds alot like Darren’s! I usually have several posts in draft form in a folder on my desktop, other documents with a few bullet points on topics I want to write about, and still other docs with just a title or main idea and nothing more. As I’m visiting forums and blogs in my niche to interact, other ideas for posts come to me, and I add them to the file. (I highly recommend this tactic.) Just last night while writing a blog post, I thought of 3 or 4 other things I want to write about soon, and added those ideas to the file! That way, you’re never at a loss for what to write about.
    Also, at the beginning of each week, I put the Word doc drafts for each post in the middle of my computer’s desktop in order of how I will post them that week, so there are 5 little Word docs all in a row, just waiting to be finished and posted! Just looking at that little arrangement on my dektop eases the stress of “argh — what am I gonna write next?” It works for me. : )

  11. Scentsy says:

    I whole-heartedly agree with what you say about establishing a posting rhythm. When posts are sporadic, even interested readers stop coming around. But when you post on a regular basis & at expected intervals, you keep your readers’ attention.

  12. I think thats one of the most important things when you’re blogging, you need to write good content. People usually create blogs to tell something to their visitors, but without good, interesting content, whats going to catch your readers attention? Compelling content is one of the most important ingredients in blogging. This was a great article and very helpful escpecially for people new to blogging.

  13. Tony says:

    The 1st week is very important in getting a good start and having proper SEO and setups.

  14. axel g says:

    I agree.

    Show your readers who you truly are. In other words, don’t be afraid of being unique.

    Be personal…

  15. ashok says:

    I just want to say if you write great content, and find that no one’s paying attention immediately or in the near future, be patient. You’re going to have plenty of opportunities to link back into your archives, to use social media to promote old posts, to let search engines let you be found, etc.

    The main thing about blogging is that yeah, there are some people getting success in 6 months. There are people who have amazing blogs that haven’t seen success for 4 years in some cases. You’ve got to let time work for you, and the longer you keep working, the bigger the payoff. I know that sounds nuts, but if you’re writing challenging content that you know is good and isn’t getting picked up immediately, it is possible you’re ahead of the curve. Let people pick up on you.

    When I make it one of these days, I’m going to write a post on all the obstacles that I encountered over the last 3-4 years, and why it can take an obscenely long time to get an audience. It has a lot to do with the difference between traffic and influence, and compelling, meaningful content is going to aim for the latter.

  16. John says:

    I agree with you that you need to have several posts written before launch and a number in reserve – I tried to set up a blog (for SEO putposes I admit) with not much time to write content and Google indexed it briefly and then deindexed it in spite of a couple of ezine articles as backlinks. With hindsight, I’d have been better off spending more time on blog content.

  17. My biggest problem is that I have too many ideas to write about and then in the end I don’t write down any of them. I keep promising myself that I will write posts when I reach home from work. But once home, I keep delaying it until at the end of the week it all feels so useless.

    The next week I am charged up again with the new ideas and this cycle keeps going.

  18. There is no compelling content on my blog. None whatsoever. In spite of this, I fully believe that my blog will be wildly successful. We shall see.

  19. That way, blogging for you doesn’t become a bore and chore. This also makes the reader more interested in what you are saying because you put a lot of heart into it.

  20. Having a well of posts in reserve is important. I wish I’d done that when I launched Mint…

  21. Hi

    I couldn’t agree any more – i get lots of customers that come to me complaining that their blog isnt getting repeat traffic. Then i will have a look at how they started their blog and the content has just not been up to it.

    kind regards

    sam
    X

  22. Amy Posner says:

    Great tips on organizing ideas. I find it’s so critical to actually stop and write down/record ideas as they come, whether it’s for me or for clients – too often I’ve been sure I’ll remember – after all, how could I forget such a great idea! Ha.

    What you suggest is simple, but elegant (at least to my mind), as the best ideas often are. Thanks for the insight. I’m going to differentiate my folders per your suggestions RIGHT NOW.

  23. Archan Mehta says:

    Darren:

    Thanks for the suggestions and ideas from readers.

    However, a blog is time-consuming. Who has the time?

    It takes a lot of discipline and willingness to sacrifice, to be sure.

    Blogging is not for everybody. And not everybody is computer savvy. Computers have many complicated features these days.

    Business acumen is also not everybody’s cup of tea. To convert a blog into something that pays the bills is challenging.

    And people have a job and chores and have to run errands.
    That does not leave us which much time nor energy.

    For some, it is better just to chill out or read the blogs by other people. Maybe they can leave comments like I tend to do.

    Joining social networks is also very time-consuming. I would rather read a book or relax with the morning newspaper rather than spend so much time on-line, but that’s just me. Cheerio.

  24. The Rat says:

    Nice thread. There is no shortage of things to learn from this site.

    PS. I’m about 1/3 through your book and really enjoy it. I’m taking my time to soak it all in, while at the same time doing my own PF blog. Great stuff.!

  25. it’s all easier said than done, isn’t it?

  26. Andrew Peel says:

    Great content advice even though I have been Blogging for a year I have bookmarked this and will refer back to it. I have found epic based on your interpretation of key concepts in classic books relating to personal development. Just remember it’s what you have learned from reading the book that makes it unique as opposed to repeating the points. That’s a lesson it took me a while to learn.

  27. bigjobsboard says:

    cThis is a great post! Thanks for posting articles like this. It helps me a lot.

  28. Khairul says:

    Thanks for the great post.. I wish I found this earlier since I’ve just launched my blog a few days ago with nothing to actually guide me..

    Just a question though, is it possible if you just launch the blog without all the schedule post?

    Thank you

    • Darren Rowse says:

      Khairul – its certainly possible – this is just a suggestion. I’m sure many successful blogs launch in other ways.

  29. Khairul says:

    Thanks Darren… However, I will try to set a few schedule entry as suggested.. You know, just in case I “forgot” to update. :)

  30. fas says:

    Take it easy I say and start commenting all around.

  31. I totaly agree with you darren, this is a perfect true example that i belive and i know its true. Thanks darren!

  32. Dave Higgs says:

    While a lot has been said about getting content ready before you go live – a lesson from my blog is that at some point you need to actually just do it.

    A person can easily become so out-faced by preparing for “the perfect launch” that they miss the boat.

  33. Erik Karff says:

    Terrific series and thanks for the ideas. I am about to start my blog up and would love some advice. I have read a good deal about keeping the blog focused. I have varying interests. I want to mainly focus my content on media technology. I would love to get some feedback on these topics before I launch – social media, how tos, new technology, green technology, entertainment.

    Are these too broad?

    Thanks!!!

    Erik

  34. Amy Cameron says:

    A good suggestion for the first blog would be: Why Did You Create That Blog In the First Place?

    Right? :) At least your readers would understand why that particular blog exists.

    Amy Cameron
    BuildMySiteforFree.com