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If you’re new to blogging, all the advice out there can seem overwhelming. There are millions of tips on everything from search-engine optimization to plugins to affiliate income, and sometimes, this can make you throw your hands up in dismay. All you want to do is write! Let’s take a step back from all the meta-conversations about blogging and get down to the nuts and bolts of what really matters — writing great stuff that people look forward to reading. Following are the five most important blogging tips for beginners to remember when they are getting their blog up and running. Do these five things, and your blog will already be ahead of the game! Tip #1: Writing for Your Readers Rather Than Yourself “I ate a chicken sandwich for lunch” is not an interesting blog post—and not just because the topic is mundane. It’s uninteresting because this information doesn’t benefit your readers. Sure, you can rant about how the train conductor was rude or rave about how much you loved the sunset, but at the end of the day, none of this information is going to actually help your readers. And your blog is about your readers. Every time you write a post, ask yourself how this information will help someone else. It’s fine to share a personal story. (In fact, it’s encouraged.) But the story should have some lessons, some take-away. It should connect, inspire or educate. It should be written for your readers, not for you. Tip #2: Grow the Right Readership. You Can’t Please Everyone If you try to write for everyone, you end up pleasing no one. This is because a blog written to make everyone happy is dull and boring. If you play it safe, you’ll never have anything interesting to say. That doesn’t mean you need to be intentionally offensive or controversial. You just need to realize that your message has value. And, while some people will love that message, others will not. The important thing is that you are true to yourself. Readers respond to a blog that feels genuine and honest. And if they don’t respond to yours, then they probably weren’t the right readers in the first place. (It’s okay to fire your readers! Get rid of the ones who aren’t a great fit for your audience, so you can grow the right readership.) Tip #3: Be Confident, Think Big Even if your blog is really small, you don’t have to write like it’s really small. In fact, if you do, it will actually prevent it from getting any bigger! New bloggers have a tendency to be overly humble, saying things like “thanks for reading!” or “if you’re interested…” Stop calling attention to your size and experience level! Readers don’t care where you are in your blogging journey; all they care about is if you’re putting out content that speaks to them. Regardless of how you feel about the size of your blog, take ownership over your writing. Write with confidence, and people will have confidence in you. Write like you’ve already got a sizable following, and more people will start to follow you. Humility is great, but don’t downplay yourself. Tip #4: Show Your Personality People don’t subscribe to blogs; they subscribe to bloggers. Think about it. Of all the blogs you follow, chances are your favorites are the ones where you feel like you really know the blogger and could be friends with them. They share personal tidbits. They let their unique voice shine through. They don’t sound like everyone else. You feel like you’re getting to know a real person. The harsh truth of the blogosphere is that regardless of whatever you’re writing about, there are plenty of other people writing about the exact same thing. What’s going to make your blog stand out is your ability to make a personal connection with your readers. So let your personality shine. Share stories. Have a real conversation with your readers. And above all, have fun with it! Tip #5: Have Fun, Don’t Always Play by the Rules  While there are certain guidelines you should keep in mind when it comes to blogging, nothing is a hard-and-fast rule. Don’t follow traditional blogging advice to a “T” — so much of it is conflicting, anyway, that this could drive you crazy. The most important thing, instead, is to find out what works for you and for your readers. Best-selling author Seth Godin is ridiculously prolific. He blogs every single day in very short bursts. Other successful bloggers, however, post once a week. Some write 500-word posts, others write 2,000-word missives. No single style is the absolute best. The good thing about being a beginner is that you’ve got lots of leeway to experiment. Try out different things and see what sticks. See what feels right to you and what your readers respond to. Even if something falls flat, you can just move onto the next post. Get up, try again, and don’t be afraid to learn as you go. Share on Facebook [Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]

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