Creative Joy, Entrepreneurship, Writing

Starting a new blog? Here’s how to rock that awkward first post…

June 24, 2015

So you’re starting a new blog. The site is up and it’s time to write your very first post. The post that’s going to introduce you to the world. The first thing people are going to see when they land on your new blog. The post that is going to leave people wanting more or ensure they never come back.

#pressure

The first couple of posts on any new blog can feel mighty awkward. Even if you’re an experienced blogger with several previous projects under your belt, starting a new site can leave you feeling like a beginner all over again. Despite the fact I’ve been blogging since 2010 and wasn’t expecting to feel like a fumbling newbie with this site, I found myself a little stumped when faced with the single “Hello, World!” post.

I realised that I needed to find a way to get around this feeling if I was going to create momentum, and I needed to find a way ASAP. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Dive straight in

This is was the initial approach I ended up taking. I already knew I wanted to experiment with the “word of the week” and “Friday five” features. I’d also been planning to write a post about Alive on Berlin and, as that event was the impetus for getting this website up and running, I decided that would be an appropriate first post (and one way of getting my first few visitors).

Just because a new blog feels awkward doesn’t mean you have to broadcast that awkwardness to the world. There’s nothing wrong with diving straight in, getting a few posts under your belt, and figuring it out from there.

2. Be honest: it’s awkward

This strategy is the complete opposite to the last, and this post is a variation on it. It involves being upfront about the awkwardness—after all, you are not the first blogger to experience this—without making it a huge deal (cute pug pictures are helpful).

An important side note: “Write like a motherducker“. As I mentioned, I already had two ideas for features I wanted to try on the blog before I started publishing. I’m fanatical about planning (which is good seeing as I now run two websites), so I had three months of content planned out before I pressed publish on the first post.

That might be a little OTT, and you definitely don’t need to plan that far ahead in order to start but I recommend brainstorming and scheduling at least 5 future posts (this wise man and this wise lady have similar suggestions) so you get used to writing for your new platform without succumbing to the pressure of “Argh, it’s been a week! Must publish something…” and giving up because it feels too hard.

You don’t want every post to be that awkward first post, so give yourself a chance to get into the flow.

3. Explain your intentions for blogging

Start by explaining why you’ve created your blog. Share your thought process, let your ideal readers know who they are, and let them in on your vision and your dream (I decided to do this on my About page rather than in a blog post).

This was one of the most surprising lessons I’ve learned running Becoming Who You Are for the past few years: people like to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Even stuff that seems really mundane and I think people won’t give two hoots about, they do. Just because something seems easy or obvious or standard to you doesn’t mean that it’s going to seem that way to everyone, so invite your readers in and give them the chance to be part of your exciting journey.

4. Finish with an invitation (also known as a call to action)

Now that you’ve traversed the mountain of awkwardness, you’re going to want to invite people to stick around and do something (also called a “call to action”). As this is the first post, why not start with inviting people to engage by leaving a comment and sharing their thoughts? If you already have an email service set up (I use and love this one), you can also invite them to subscribe to receive astonishingly wise and devastatingly witty updates from you in the future too.

Here’s my example of both (you’re also welcome to take action on both :)):

Over to you: how did you get around (or how would you get around) the awkward first post? Leave a comment, share your thoughts, and include a link to your blog so we can check it out!

Starting a new blog? Here's how to rock that awkward first post.

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  • Meg Woolston July 2, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    I love your advice about making sure you get a chance to get into the flow so that you’re not always having that feeling of awkward-first-post. I was guilty of this for a while… start blogging regularly and then fall off, start up again, etc. I think I’ve finally found my rhythm and might miss a day here or there, but for the most part am managing 3x/week. (Also, cute pug pictures totally help!)

    • Hannah July 4, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Wow Meg, 3x per week is incredible! I also experienced the ebb and flow cycle with my first blog—making a commitment and getting into the rhythm definitely helps. Action leads to momentum, which leads to motivation 🙂

  • Janet July 2, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Love this. When I started my blog I didn’t really think about what to include in my first post. Would have loved a resource like this to refer to…

    • Hannah July 4, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Thanks Janet!

  • Sarah Thomas Abbatiello July 6, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Oh man, where was this post last summer? I’ve always struggled with my first post, trying to balance between an about page style post and a regular post. These are great tips for overcoming that awkwardness, and I’ll definitely recommend this post to new bloggers struggling with this (very vital) step.

    • Hannah July 15, 2015 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Sarah! Glad to hear it was helpful and that you got past the first-post hurdle despite any struggles 🙂