Getting started with blogging when no one’s reading

This entry is part 17 of 19 in the series A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging

“So I’m planning to start a blog… How do I do it? How do I build an audience?”

It’s okay. Don’t worry. Write anyway.

Write notes for yourself, because writing can help you think and remember. Write about what you’re learning. Write about your answers to other people’s questions. Write about your own questions, and write about the answers you find.

At some point—and earlier than you think you’re ready—make it easy for people to come across your blog. Add it to your e-mail signature. Add it to your social media profiles. Let people find you, read you, and learn more about you.

Look for more questions to explore. Share your notes on your blog. Answer them where you found the question, too, and share a link. Soon you’ll find yourself saying in conversations, “Oh yeah! I wrote about that recently and…”

Read blogs, news, books, whatever you enjoy. Blog your questions, your thoughts, your lessons learned. Name-drop liberally: link to the person who wrote the post you’re thinking about, and maybe they’ll follow that back to find you. (Lots of people regularly search for their names, and many bloggers look at their analytics to see incoming links.) Comment on other people’s blogs, too – share what you’re learning from them and what questions you may have.

You find your community, person by person. But you can start by building your blog for yourself, this ever-growing accumulation of things you’re learning and things you’re curious about, this time machine that’s going to be an amazing resource when it’s 2023 and you’re wondering what you were like ten years ago. The conversations are icing on the cake.

My early blog posts are almost unintelligible. That’s because they were my class notes and computer notes, back when I was trying to figure out how to get a text editing program to publish web pages and maybe this newfangled idea of a “web log.” Your first blog posts don’t have to be ready for the New York Times. Just start, and don’t worry if no one’s reading. You can get plenty of value out of writing even on your own. (But post in public anyway, because the conversations are a lot of fun and you’ll learn a lot from people’s questions and insights.) Enjoy!

You might also like this: Six Steps to Sharing

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  • Charles

    Thank for the great advice. I have been writing my blog for a few years now and not too worried about building an audience. However my articles have become a useful resource for my Toastmasters club, exploring and sharing music, autobiographical stuff and recipes. Recently I went to the trouble of publishing a recipe for a cake, and realised I had already done it 6 months previously! Keep up the great work with your blog!

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      Hah, that happens to me so often. I blame a fuzzy memory, which is precisely why I blog. ;)

  • http://foolsmate.net/ Alex Chamberlain

    Wow, this is just what I needed to hear right now. I have been blogging on and off for years without a single comment. Very discouraging. I would kill one blog out of frustration, try a different one with a new name and new SEO keywords, and still feel like I was just talking (typing?) at the proverbial brick wall. But you’re absolutely right that blogging can serve as writing practice, notes to yourself, and a record of where you’ve been and how you got where you are–commenters are nice to have, but they’re not the only thing.

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      I really appreciate the comments you’ve shared on my blog, and I’m glad you linked to yours – thanks for sharing that Emacs defadvice post for comment-dwim!

  • Andrea Rossetti

    I’ve been collecting my own “stuff” on a website (http://andrear.altervista.org) for long time, the oldest things are probably around 2003. Most of them are simple programs of student-level quality, but I’d like to share.

    I think the typical Sacha readers might like (maybe not the actual implementation, but at least the basic idea):
    - Home => PC software => Javascript project planner (it’s an ascii Gantt plotter)
    - Home => PC software => “dotty_color” (it’s a customization for the Graphviz dotty utility)

    Hope someone may enjoy, regards! Andrea