7 blogging fears and how to overcome them
Branching out into the unknown is a scary business. And setting up a blog is just the same.
It takes a lot of nerve to attempt to create your first blog, especially when you may not be very technically minded.
But be rest assured, blogging has become much simpler since when I first started, and you don't have to be anything special.
All you need to do is to confront your blogging fears and know what to do about them.
Here are the 7 most common blogging fears – how many of them have you experienced?
1. I'm scared of how I appear in public
This is a biggie for some people, but not for others. I used to think it was age dependent, but apparently not. Midlife bloggers can have just as many blogging fears as younger writers, but for different reasons.
How you come across to your readers and other followers can be a big deal, if only to gain credibility or be seen as the expert in your field. The last thing you want is to look an idiot, or even amateurish. You may think that making a good impression could be the difference between success and failure, but that depends on what content you produce over time, not what your blog looks like at first glance.
Certainly a theme that looks like it's been knocked up by your nephew over a wet weekend won't do you any favours, but I've seen plenty of blogs with ropy looking designs that are famous for providing excellent content. The main focus should be whether your readers can read your posts easily, find what they need quickly, and have their needs and desires are suitably satisfied. Your blog also should be readable via smart phones and tablets, if you are to retain your readership over time.
2. I feel I'm not good enough to be a blogger
Paranoia and self-confidence go hand in hand. There are often these apparent blogging fears of feeling not good enough, you don't know anything about your subject, you feel you're a rubbish writer, etc.
This is only because you haven't done enough blogging yet. Self-confidence builds up over time the more your practice. Nobody expects you to be brilliant from the beginning (if you were, how boring would that be?). Remember that there are plenty of other beginner bloggers in the same boat as you, all struggling to find your blogging feet, all sitting looking at blank screens and panicking.
The main ingredient to overcome these kind of blogging fears is to be totally passionate about your subject. Really get under its skin, get to know it like the back of your hand, let it consume you over everything else. You have to have a burning desire to write about your cause, to educate or explain it to your readers, to make the world a better place because of this knowledge you want to share.
3. Nothing I write will be worth reading
More paranoia here. How do you really know that what you write will be boring? Have you had mountains of complaint letters telling you so?
Don't let these blogging fears stop you from making your posts interesting and fun to read. You will improve with practice. And you can learn a lot by reading other posts, especially the popular ones, to analyse what it is that makes them so successful. If you think they are constructed by some secret magical formula that's only released to veteran bloggers once they've passed a certain threshold, you'll be wrong. But what they are is the result of a lot of hard work and persistence.
The answer is, these bloggers write what their readers want to read. They know their audiences inside out, how they tick, what they problems are, what's keeping them up at night, what they desire to make their lives better. They then find out the answers and the solutions and give it to them. And they do this in the same style and language their readers use, so they feel comfortable and can relate to what is written.
4. There's already too much written about my subject
You know, there isn't one solution to all the problems in the world. No one quick fix, no one side fits all. Blogging isn't like buying a packet of socks from Primark. Everything isn't the same and therefore requires the same answer.
Overcome these blogging fears by drawing upon all the experience you have gained throughout your life, your ideals and aspirations, your failures and successes, everything you have learned and retained over the years. If necessary, do some extra research to widen your knowledge, fill in the gaps, find new avenues to explore.
And then offer your own opinions on your subject. Read widely to find out what others think, and bung it all into your blogging cauldron and give it a good stir. Throw in some magical writing herbs to give your posts extra flavour. And then invite your readers around to a big banquet, and offer your ideas and solutions to them, wonderfully presented on your best china service. I'm sure they will gobble it all up and ask for more.
5. Nobody will read my posts
The feeling of being ignored is terrible. But generally this is not the case. It's just that the world has yet to find out how wonderful your blog actually is.
Part of these blogging fears comes from No 3 above: you think your posts will be boring. But it's up to you to make sure they are not! Stuff them with great content that will improve your readers' lives. Entertain them with scintillating conversation they can relate to and want to join in. Provide the kind of material people will want to read and then share with their friends.
If you think negatively, this will be reflected in your writing. Focus on how you can help your readers, rather than worrying whether you're doing it right. Find ways of placing your blog posts in areas where your readers hang out, so they will start to notice them. Make sure your headlines are attention-grabbing and your introductions to your posts are enticing, irresistible and stimulate curiosity.
6. I couldn't cope with bad comments
Criticism hurts, especially if you've worked really hard at writing your blog posts. But do you really think you will get hoards of horrible trolls clambering over themselves to post unmentionable comments on your blog?
Generally bloggers are a nice bunch, who will gladly give necessary encouraging noises to keep a beginner blogger going. Trolls are few and far between and generally target popular blogs, but you will have to cope with spammers and their wily ways, unless you put into place preventative measures to stop them in their tracks.
The answer to these blogging fears is, if you want nice comments on your blog, go out and write the kind of comments you would like to receive on other blogs. You have to give out before you get anything back. Reading other blogs and commenting on them will draw attention to you, especially if you provide positive, polite and helpful feedback. Spread some blogging love around, and it will make its way back to you in time. Build up a good networking community within your blog's niche, and regularly share the commenting tasks amongst you to maintain a good supply of good comments on your blog.
7. I might not have enough time to keep blogging
Realising your commitment issues from the beginning through your blogging fears should not stop you from blogging. The answer is to plan your content in advance, and divide up your day to free up blogging time.
Don't think you have to write loads to get readers. Quality is more important than quantity, so make sure that when you write a post, it contains the best content you can possibly provide. Your readers would much rather read something that is worth-while, than come across a blog posted with any old rubbish.
Consistency and persistence should go hand in hand, so work out a schedule you can manage to maintain in the long term. If you can only post once a week, for example, make sure this happens on a particular day and time. This regularity helps both your loyal followers to watch out for your new posts, and the search engine spiders that index your content will learn to expect it at that time as well.
Have I missed any blogging fears out?
If you have experienced any blogging fears of your own that I have failed to mention, please tell me about them in the comment box below. We can all benefit from knowing, appreciating and finding out how to combat them.