If you’ve read the other posts in this series about blogging, you now know the basics of creating a blog and attracting readers.

Today I want to leave you with a final checklist of things you should do regularly as you maintain your blog:

1. Mix it up – Keep things interesting by adding variety to your posts.

If you write a long, philosophical 750 word post one day, post something short and more upbeat the next day.

Occasionally add a photo to your posts. Post a link to a video from time to time. This provides visual interest as people scan your home page and encourages readers to linger.

2. Watch your fonts – If your default font isn’t already set to Verdana or Ariel, or is too small, go correct that right now. It’s inexcusable to use a tiny font size or a font that is hard on the eyes. Also, always use black. Don’t get cute with the colors.

3. Watch your traffic – Sign up for StatCounter or Google Analytics. As part of the sign up process they will give you a piece of code to copy and paste into your blog template.  After you do this, the program will track how many people visit your blog, what search terms they used to find blog and from which website they found your blog.

Once a week or so, log in to your StatCounter or Google Analytics and see how many visitors your blog received that week. Click on the “recent came from” report to see the links of websites where people found your blog. If you find that one of these blogs or websites gave your blog a recommendation, you should go leave a comment there and thank them.

Also be sure to pay attention to the keywords people used to find your blog. You’ll be amazed at the search phrases people used to find your blog. This will give you a lot of laughs sometimes…and it will also give you inspiration for new blog posts and show you what your audience is interested in.

4. Comment on other blogs – Read blogs every day and try to leave several comments per week, being sure to include your own blog link in the comment.

5. Google is your friend – If you’re stuck on a technical aspect of blogging, Google will have the answer. For example, if you’re not sure where to put the Google Analytics code on your blog, just type “where do you put Google Analytics code in blog” and you’ll get an answer immediately.

I’ve asked Google hundreds of questions like these since I started blogging five years ago. Sometimes I’ve had to spend several minutes digging through search results but I’ve almost always found an answer that works.

6. Be yourself – If this is your first time blogging it can be nerve-wracking to expose your thoughts to the world. If you’re nervous, ask a couple of supportive friends to read your blog so that you can have a friendly audience right off the bat.

As a blogger, make an effort to learn from everyone… but seek approval from no one. Approval is a drug – one hit is never enough. Rather than second-guessing yourself, just hit the “publish” button. You can always delete the post later if you want to. Even though there are 80 million other blogs out there, your voice is unique and deserves to be heard.

Even if your audience is tiny, blogging regularly keeps your writing skills sharp and organizes your thoughts. Before long you’ll have a body of work that you can turn into a long article or book. The sky’s the limit once you start blogging.

7. Thinking ahead – After you’ve used a free Blogger or WordPress blog for a while you’ll probably outgrow it. You’ll want more control over the design and other features. Maybe you’ll want to start monetizing your blog and making money from it.

When that day comes you’ll need to buy a domain (cost is $8 per year or so) and a hosting plan (I recommend Host Gator and it costs $10/mo). WordPress will come free with your web host plan and it’s the only blogging program you should consider using to create your blog. When the time comes you can either hire someone to create the blog for you or teach yourself, like I did.

Thanks again for reading this series on blogging. I will put these posts into a downloadable report soon, for your convenience. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Happy blogging!

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