You have heard about “blogging” and maybe even attempted to start your own without any guidance. Yet if your experience is like many people I know, before you knew it frustration settled in and you gave up! No need to give up entirely – let me help by offering you a step by step “short- course” on writing your first blog posts!
Step 1: Use a solid blogging platform. Whether it be WordPress (my first choice), Google Blogger or even Linkedin – find a place to express your thoughts.
Step 2- For newbies write an outline. Simple paper and pen will be your first “tools” to use. Write a series of topics that you are passionate about on the top of the paper. Love dogs? Great! What do you love about dogs? Perhaps you want to blog about adopting from a shelter or rescue and the experience you had adding a puppy to your family via a local animal shelter?
Once you have settled on a topic then start writing down your primary thoughts. Let’s use the adoption of a dog as basis for our “model blog template”. I would perhaps write the following as my outline for my blog:
1- You always wanted to adopt a dog, but waited until the time was right as a dog is part of your family for many years.
2. The problems with overpopulation in shelters of unwanted dogs. (I would add an link of some evidence citing this fact, maybe from a reputable source such as the ASPCA.org)
3. Add your own research on finding a family friendly breed and/or how to integrate a new dog in to your family home. (Use a different source than the ASPCA.org -so it doesn’t look like you just read on kind of website. Remember do not plagiarize. QUOTE any and all facts that are directly copied. Give credit to all sources.)
4. Description of your search for the dog and how you finally found “Fluffy”.
5. A bit about “Fluffy” and his / her backstory. (Fluffy was abandoned, given up by owners, sickly, cute as pie, etc.)
6. Now be sure to add some links such as from more dog friendly sites about their advice on adopting a dog from a shelter. OR perhaps a personal story about growing up with a pet.
7. Lastly, close the blog with last thoughts, pearls of wisdom and of course, an update on how Fluffy and the family are doing.
Side note: Check out my own dog-adoption story here (and a template for writing, too!)
Back to my steps...
Step 3: When you have completed the actual writing of your article be sure to include the following components for finalizing your blog:
>ADD photos or images (such as an infographic). Use great apps such as Pic Collage or website like RELAY to give your post a visual boost! Important: Put your name on the photo that is YOURS. Be sure to give credit where it is due. DO NOT just “lift” photos from a Google Search in to your blog. Trust me – Getty Images will know that you did that. They are notorious on seeking out people who post their images and “fining” them a ridiculous amount of money. I like to use budget friendly photo sites such as Graphic Leftovers.
USE the spell and grammar check available on your blog platform. Write like an adult not like a third grader. And please, be positive – not negative in your first blogs. If you want to be controversial that is fine. But, hone your blogging skills first.
>Add CATEGORY and TAGS to your post. Categories should be the general gist, such as Dogs or Dog Adoption. Tags should be sub-categories to get peoples attention like: Dog Adoption, Adopt Don’t Shop, (the breed) like German Shepherd, Mixed Breed dogs, Family dog, etc. Both help with optimization of people finding your post in an online search.
>Check it for SEO readability if you have an SEO package added to your blog.
Be sure to SHARE it on popular social media sites such as TWITTER, FACEBOOK, TUMBLR or LINKEDIN. Use a hashtag such as #DogRescue #DogAdoption #GermanShepherdMix
Do not panic if you feel that it wasn’t well received. Thousands or even millions of blogs are written each week so there are some that gain traction and others that … well… go unnoticed.
There are a zillion more things I can tell you about writing a blog. But, I fear that may overwhelm blogging newbies and scare you from even trying! So, with that – enjoy the process and remember – write what interests YOU!