If you look around the web, there is so much advice about blogging it’s not funny. Still, I’ve learned a few lessons that might help if you’re a beginner blogger and I thought I would give you the inside scoop.

1) The biggest obstacle to blogging is … not what you think. It’s not writing skill or time or ideas. It’s confidence. People are generally shy about sharing their voice.  If you can tell your kids a story, give nurturing advice to a friend or tell a joke, you can blog.  Just Do It.

2) It takes time to find your voice.  Be patient. The more you write, the more comfortable you will feel. Feedback from the blogosphere will trickle in and help massage your style, tone and topics.  Stay with it and you will improve.  Have faith.

3) “I don’t have time” is not an acceptable excuse any more.   The only people who complain that blogging takes too much time never made it a priority.  Chances are you and your business will benefit from blogging or you wouldn’t be reading this post, right?  If you need to blog for your business, it has to be part of your job now, so approach it that way.  Shoot for one decent post a week. That’s doable, right?

4) In the long run, blogging can SAVE you time!  My posts have become a personal reference library.  I’ll bet not one day passes by when I don’t send somebody a link to an old post as a response to a question or to help them in some way.  This has been an unexpected benefit of blogging.

5) Be brief.  Respect your readers. Respect their time. Spend the extra time it takes to write with brevity.  Cut words ruthlessly. Best practice: Seth Godin.

6) Don’t write an academic thesis.  It’s much more interesting to read blogs that are written in a conversational tone.  Talk with your friends.

7) Write about what interests you.  Your audience will find you.

8) Read more than you write. Much more.  If you’re not an active reader of blogs, get on the stick. To be a successful writer, you have to be a great listener and learner.

9) If you want people to support your blog, support them, too.   I just think it is an act of respect to support blogs written by your readers by commenting, tweeting and highlighting their great work.   If you’re part of my community and you have a blog I will do whatever I can to help you. We’re all in this together.

10) If you run out of ideas, go to a LinkedIn forum for your industry.  Find an interesting question.  Answer it.  That’s your blog post. Works every time. If you’re really stuck, go to Guy Kawaski’s blog.  Put it on your record turntable. Play it backwards.  That’s where the secret messages are hidden.

Let’s hear your comments, now.  What advice would you pass on?  Who is setting the standard out there for best blogging practices, and why?

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