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How To Write Your First Blog Post: Popping Your Blogging Cherry

Google

Photo courtesy of Twitter Share

She gazes at me expectantly, shoving her insatiable, hungry box in my face.  I’ve been wanting to do this for years, and I drip with anticipation.  I oblige her and put it in:  “How to write your first blog post”.

I press on her button and she comes instantly (well, apparently it took 0.28 seconds).

The Google search yields a page of identically titled articles: “How to write your first blog post”.  I take a moment to lament the downside of SEO: the loss of creative content.  Actually, I know it’s out there.  I just can’t find it.

Several pages of identical bulleted lists later, I come back feeling emptier than when I began.  Perhaps that’s the price of casual sex with the world’s most promiscuous textbox.

“The Obvious 4” – No Shit, Sherlock

Each page had these same 4 bullet points (and I guess this one does too now):

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Say why you blog
  3. Say what you are going to blog about
  4. Encourage comments

Well, yeah, that’s what I was going to do.  I was looking for some deeper advice, but I guess I’m going to have to *gasp* think about it myself.

What The Obvious 4 Don’t Answer

Wait, this is a new blog.  I don’t have readers yet.  Should I really be thinking of my blog linearly?  It’s unlikely that as soon as I publish the first post that I’ll have a bunch of loyal subscribers eagerly awaiting my next post every week.  It’s also unlikely that even as an established blog, new readers will dive through the archives, find the first post, and read all of them in order.  Isn’t it more likely that readers will come to the blog, click on the ‘About’ page to find out what the blog is about in general, then browse random posts that catch their interest?  So where does that leave the inaugural post?  Is it really an introduction?  Is it even special at all?

The First Post Is Special

Photo courtesy of Ahmed W Khan

I still think it is special, in two ways: inwardly and outwardly.

Inwardly, it’s the first post!!!  It’s the beginning of an epic adventure, a journey of a thousand miles, the beginning of a lifelong addiction to attention!

Outwardly, for a young blog with few posts, each post carries more weight in establishing the blog’s theme.  So if we are to adhere to good writing practice, we could say that the inaugural post is to the blog as the topic sentence is to the paragraph.  In essence, we’ve come back to the  “introduction” view of the inaugural post, and I do think The Obvious 4 have value, but it depends on how we implement them.

The Typical First Post

While experimenting in object sexuality with Google’s search page, I also looked at inaugural posts from around the blogosphere to see how others handled it.  Most were like two virgins trying to have sex: you could sense the excitement, but they were awkward, painful, and ended too quickly.  Even some blogs that turned out to be very successful had this type of inaugural post.  Hey, Casanova was a virgin at some time!

Some of the more diligent bloggers probably did some research and found The Obvious 4 themselves.  Unfortunately, they sound like they’re filling out a web form, resulting in posts like this one:

“Hi, my name is Whothefuckcares, and I started this blog because I love schnitzel.  I make a really good schnitzel!  I’ll be talking about my schnitzel a lot.  Leave a comment if you want to see my schnitzel.”

But I don’t mean to rag on these bloggers.  Not everyone wants to be a pro.  Some people just do it for fun and don’t give a shit if some pretentious blogger tells them they suck.  But I want to be a pretentious blogger, so how do we do that?

Your First Post

Don’t write the post, be the post.  Instead of telling people about yourself, why you blog, what you blog about, show them.  Take a look at the list of topics you have planned for your blog (even if the list is just in your head).  Now select a target and put as much of yourself in there as possible — kind of like picking up girls.  It should be something you are most passionate about at the moment, something you really want people to know about.  If you do this, your inaugural post will actually have content that reflects what your blog is about.  And since it is something you feel passionately about, it should be obvious to the reader why you are doing it, as well as establish your voice, immediately making a connection with the reader, which is the whole point of an introduction.  Also, don’t be a comment whore.  If you write from the heart and say something meaningful, people will respond.

There is still a place for the “boring vital stats” of your blog: the ‘About’ page.  People will still be interested in that stuff, but the inaugural post is not the right place to put it.  In fact, the inaugural post is often a pain in the ass (I mean in the bad way, in case you’re one to enjoy spankings) to find once the blog gets big enough.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

In the end, don’t worry too much about the inaugural post.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important.  Your writing should get better all the time , making the inaugural post the worst post on your blog.  You’re also taking the hardest step: the first one.  It’s better to just scribble something down to get the ball rolling than to dwell endlessly on “what should I write?” and eventually give up.  You can always delete or rewrite the first post if it was that awful (yay for internet volatility!).  In fact, why are you still here?  Go write!  Now!  Shoo!

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