As I am a fledgling blogger, I need all the help and advice I can get while starting out. To that end I am currently reading a book (pdf really) called ‘Bloggers Bootcamp’ in order to learn about blogging and how to improve my writing. The book gives handy tips on how to approach the whole blogging thing and how to think in blogging terms. Basically it gives a broad overview of the skills you’ll need to become a blogger, although they are quite focused on teaching people how to make money from blogging. The authors are both successful bloggers and have been making a living out of blogging for many years – so it can be done!
The first couple of chapters make you seriously think about your chosen blog topic and they emphasise the need for a niche type of blog. It doesn’t pay to be too general in your topic and would be better to be more specific. You also need to be passionate about your topic otherwise you won’t bother enough and it will reflect in your writing and attitude as well I suppose. At the same time a lot of blogs apparently start out as research of some sort and eventually the writer becomes a complete subject matter expert, so even if you aren’t an expert yet you can still become one!
Furthermore, it is imperative that you blog ALL the time!! As in, publish something at least every day otherwise your readers get bored and you’ll lose them – not that I have many readers yet of course! This has made me think about my blog and my endeavour of publishing restaurant reviews though, as in reality I definitely won’t be reviewing a new restaurant every day. Thinking about it a bit more I thought about the fact that we are in South Africa for a few months and that we are going to try and do as many interesting things in the time we’re here as we can – so I decided to just review everything we do! This will be much more interesting and will cover a lot more ground as we tend to do something 4-5 days a week with so many summer events in the area. I will have a lot more the write about this way, but it still isn’t really what I would call a niche market….
In all honesty, when I decided to start blogging again I never considered that I should take it serious enough that there is the (very remote) chance of making some money out of it, but this book focuses on that a fair bit so I suppose it is worth keeping in mind – even if it is in the distant recesses of my mind. I simply don’t see that reviewing things and my opinion on them would be interesting or important enough for other people to pay much attention to – but then you never know!
I am only on chapter three of the book so I have a fair bit to go, but the reason I am writing this review is that they strongly advise that you write 1,000 words per day when you first start out to get you in the habit of writing and to develop your writing style. While this makes sense to me, it is still bloody difficult to write that much about something every day – or at least to write something vaguely entertaining! In chapter two they give a lot of advice on setting up your own blog, with Blogger, WordPress Tumblr etc. being covered and pros and cons discussed. They also advise that you learn some HTML and CSS if possible, as well as advising on other tools you may need, such as Photoshop, text editors and the like. Of course I went with WordPress and set up my own domain, http://elsareviews.com so I’ve got that bit covered and I am in the process of learning enough HTML to be able to edit my WordPress pages – plus I find it kind of interesting as well! In addition to that I’m using Irfanview as my picture editor, though at the moment this mostly involves scaling and cropping pictures, rather than anything too difficult. I’ve also got Lightroom and I’m pretty sure I can get hold of Adobe Photoshop, though I will have to learn how to use those two bits of software before it will be of much use to me. Setting up a site with WordPress is extremely easy and though I have picked a free theme for the moment I may eventually pick something a bit more suitable even if I have to pay for it. I’ve also created a new Twitter page for my review website so that everything is aligned and synced up; hopefully this will also help with exposure. Of course I have gone about this the wrong way round as I’ve already published my first post without even writing an ‘About’ section yet! This, according to the book is also a bog no-no. Oh well, I may do that today then!
In summary, what I’ve read so far of ‘Bloggers Bootcamp’ has been very interesting and thought provoking so I will carry on and finish the book and may even write a further review! I’ve decided to post this on my review site, as like I said earlier, I am now reviewing not only restaurants, but also other interesting activities we get up to as well as interesting tools or books I come across. Plus, reviewing ‘Bloggers Bootcamp’ has helped me write my 1,000 words for the day! Or should I say, my almost 1,000 words for the day seeing as I am still a few short!