I’m writing this piece about the Blogging Toolbox, where I’ll collect the tools I’m using and recommending for new bloggers. But I find myself wasting way too much time discovering fancy new tools. This is stealing from the time I could be creating content.
So here’s the first advice: go to WordPress.com (or Tumblr.com, or any other freemium blogging platform), sign up for a free account, and start writing. Now.
Write and publish your first post — even Hello World counts. Then invest some time into thinking things through, and set some primary goals and milestones.
Here’s my list of 5 things to do before spending any money on your blogging:
1. Publish X posts in the next week.
2. Register accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, … and share all your posts on these platforms.
3. Brainstorm brand and potential domain name.
4. Brainstorm 10-20 blog post ideas. Write the drafts.
5. Publish 20 posts before spending any money on themes, domains, SEO, anything. Commit to going freemium until 20 posts.
This last point is essential to save you from wasting money. Whatever you find and like, put it on a list, and don’t get your credit card out (not even for free trials!) until you have written and published those 20 posts. That’s a solid milestone that demonstrates commitment, and it’s worth waiting till you hit it. If you don’t make it to 20, then all the money is wasted anyway. Trust me. I have a bunch of expired domains (some unused, but I keep paying for them) connected to old ideas that died before five posts.
Don’t get distracted by the social media platforms till you’re twenty posts in. Don’t read about the SEO or building mailing lists, or anything else.
There’s a whole world of sharks out there who are making money from newcomers who are trying to avoid the basic task of creators — creating. Fuck them. Just create, publish, and share.