Note: this post is being republished as part of my 2017 daily publishing project. To give some context to this post and its annoyingly negative title, I was reviewing a lot of college blogs at the time for my job at Uloop. Most of these students wanted to be professional writers, yet their blogs were terribly unfocused and trivial. I’ve decided to leave the article in tact though as the advice still stands for college students who want to blog.
This post was originally published in March, 2012.
There, I said it. Most college students absolutely suck at blogging. Resharing crap on Tumblr shouldn’t even count as a blog, but more often than not, I see students referring to it as their work. The second most common college blog mistake I see is keeping a personal journal online. No employer is going to take your personal diary as a serious sample of your work, and it just opens your life up to voyeurs and creeps. Okay, enough negativity. Here’s how to do it right:
Step 1 - Own your domain name
You need to own your own domain name no matter what kind of writer you are. It only costs $12 per year for a .com, and even less for some of the other extensions. This is the only financial investment that you have to make to start blogging.
Step 2 - Write with a purpose
Why are you blogging? Because some teacher told you that you should? Wrong.
You should be blogging for some reason, whether you want to develop a portfolio, make a name for yourself online, or eventually make a living by writing, you need to start with a purpose. Once you know why you’re really blogging, you’ll stick with it longer and your writing will gain more clarity.
Step 3 - Pick a topic
Writing random crap about your life isn’t going to matter to anyone. Not even your good friends want to know every minor detail of your life, and if they did, they’d pick up the phone. Pick a topic, industry, location, or hobby that you know (or want to get to know) and stick with it. It takes years of consistency to develop any kind of presence, so you better be writing about something you love.
Step 4 - Commit to it
No matter what, you need to commit to doing it at least every week. Start by posting every day for the first three weeks, just so you can get some content, and don’t give me that “I just don’t know what to write about,” crap. There are millions of posts out there that you can draw inspiration from. If you don’t know what to write, you probably don’t love your topic enough, so start over, my friend.
There, that’s it. Four simple steps to actually create a blog that matters in college. Don’t worry about the little things like SEO, social media, layout, etc. Content is King, so get out there and start creating it!