Sometimes I wonder why I still blog. Not in a bad way, but mostly because it’s kind of a lot of work, and I cannot overstate how lazy I am. But if you’re thinking about throwing your hat into the blogosphere, I want you to know that it’s a lot of fun, but you definitely shouldn’t overthink your first blog post.

a laptop and mug of tea near a window with the text "Don't Overthink Your First Blog Post"

Yes, the internet is indelible, but as someone who has been making online content since the halcyon days of Xanga.com, I want you to know that the harder you work on something, the less attention it will receive. The blog post you research for months? It’s gonna get 13 views.

That one drunk tweet with a throwaway joke and a typo? That thing is going viral.

I’m not entirely sure why that is, but if you ask anyone who makes stuff for the internet, they’ll tell you it’s true.

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do things intentionally, In fact, I spend a lot of time telling you all about how to make an editorial calendar because planning ahead is important. And I’ve even told you some of my favorite blog planner books.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that you should think about what you’re going to do with your little spot on the internet, but you definitely shouldn’t overthink it. Your first blog post will go up, and will largely go unnoticed. It’s going to take a lot of time to build up an online presence and an audience, so don’t think your first blog post will really matter.

I mean, it will to you. And that’s what counts.

So, with all that behind us, let’s talk about what your first blog post needs.

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What Should Your First Blog Post Contain?

Well, that depends on what your blog is for. Before you write that first post, consider these things:

001: Your blog’s purpose.

Why are you starting this blog in the first place? If it’s just for fun, then go out there and have fun.

But if you want the blog to grow organically and gain followers, then you need to really consider the tone and voice you’re going to use.

This is kind of where we delineate blogging from Blogging. Anyone can start a blog and use it as a journal or a log of events and musings. But others use their blog as a platform. That means it’s how they communicate with an audience, and it serves as a tool to show the world what they’re about.

Now, in the early days of blogging, you could definitely parlay your lowercase blog about your daily life into a platform. That’s not super easy these days.

Now you have to consider what words you’re using in the posts and what you’re linking to. But more on that in a bit.

002: Your audience.

So, who are you writing to?

And don’t tell me everyone. Because at the end of the day, there is no artist/business/entity that exists to serve everyone. You have to be specific.

I’m not saying you have to define your audience down to their hair color, but you do have to know some basic stuff about them. Gender, politics, age, and where these folks work is pretty important.

But know that not everyone will fit into a tidy box, and you’ll find there are some very steadfast outliers that become fans.

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(Shout out to the male Christian pastors who read this blog. You definitely don’t fit into the Gen X/Gen Y women with liberal arts degrees who curse too much demographic, but I appreciate your presence. I hope you stick around for all the witchy turns this blog is taking.)

Now, I’m not saying you should write just to this audience at first. Instead, write some stuff and see where it lands. Share it around the internet. Syndicate your content on Medium, and share it to Pinterest. See who finds your posts, and then start thinking more about how you can appeal to that audience you’ve built.

003: What you want to be known for.

Now let’s get existential.

What do you want to be known for? When people Google your name, what do you want them to see? What ideas do you want them to have about you?

I’m not saying everything you write on your blog has to be an identity crisis. Largely speaking, people won’t remember every blog post you put out there. And if they do, that’s just weird. But the thing with capital Blogging is that you pick keywords you want associated with your blog, and you use them to bring people to your blog.

So, for example, the keyword I’m targeting in this post is “first blog post.” I have it in the title and some of the subheadings, and it’s sprinkled into the content. That signals to Google that this is what the post is about. So Google will put that higher in the search rankings and show more people this post.

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There’s a whole process for finding keywords, and it’s a lot of work. But it’s worth it if you’re trying to grow your online platform, and attract an audience of likeminded folks.

You don’t necessarily have to worry about all that as you’re getting things set up, but it’s worth considering. If you want Google to show you to people, what do you want them to search to find your blog?

I learned to consider this the hard way. This post about Dollar Tree drug test kits gets way too many views, and now people associate that phrase with me.

I mean…it could be worse.

My Advice for Your First Blog Post

Okay. So you’ve considered your purpose, your audience, and what you want to be known for. Now it’s time to not overthink it.

I’m a proponent of taking imperfect action, you know? You gotta get out of your comfort zone because it’s uncomfortable, gang. You just gotta knock on the damn door.

Basically, what I’m saying is that you should just do the thing you want to do. No one will stop you but yourself. And I’d hate to think that some day you’ll be on your death bed looking at all the things you didn’t do because you kept stopping yourself.

That would be sad, wouldn’t it?

So just put something up there. And as an act of solidarity, I present my first blog post from back in the day. I hope you enjoy, because I’m totally a Carrie.

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