We’ve often talked about nurses as storytellers here in the community, and on RN.FM Radio. To my knowledge there are just a small handful of professions that have this level of intimacy with what they do. I’m sure that specific areas of social work and mental health could weigh in on this as well.
We may not all be “good” writers, but I’ll bet that we all want to be heard. Writing is art, experimentation; it’s communication without being interrupted, and it can certainly be a huge part of your self-development. There are a plethora of artists out there with a wide range of expression. In my opinion writing isn’t much different.
There are many new and well-established nurse bloggers out there. I stumble upon them each day via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and a few have even branched out onto YouTube. So if you’re ready to take the next step with your content, below are a few tips to consider when you set up your blog.
Okay, so you’ve just signed up for a blogging service; you just put up your first post; you promoted the post through your Facebook and/or Twitter account; you are ready for eager readers to find your content and listen to what you have to say. Don’t mind the sound of crickets. If you’re consistent, they will eventually hop along.
1) Relax. Often when someone starts a blog, they expect some kind of miracle to occur and everyone they know is going to visit their blog and comment. The truth is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many of the views you receive will be from people you do not even know. Many will have just stumbled upon your site by sheer accident.
I know you’re exhausted and you’ve poured yourself into this blog, but don’t expect too much, too soon. Unless you have some huge advertising budget and a social media manager, the process of having a successful blog will come with dedication and time. There will be days where you’ll be discouraged and unmotivated. These days come and go but commit to writing for you and just have fun. There will be an audience that aligns and appreciates your voice, but it takes time.
2) Avoid excessive gadgets, pictures, videos, pop-ups, and anything else that requires downloading. All of these things are great to have in small to medium doses but when you overdo it, many people will get frustrated because of the time it takes to load the page.
There are still millions of people in the U.S. alone that do not have access to broadband Internet. I was in the Apple store a few months ago and there was a customer asking one of the employees if the Macbook had a built in modem. Yikes! There are still some folks in small towns that are still on dial up. Hopefully the days of receiving our AOL discs in the mail are far behind us, but again do be conscientious about the load time of your site. Signing up with Google Analytics is a definite must, and there are tools within the dashboard that will display information about the load times of your site.
Focus on the content first, but I understand that you want your site to be aesthetically pleasing. Find a balance. Try to use low file size images and one video per post. Use gadgets that are useful and add value to your blog. Keep some white space in there. Don’t fill each nook and cranny with a widget or a photo. A search bar for your blog is essential, however you do not need dancing images in the background. Again, it is all about finding a balance.
3) Learn from feedback. It probably goes without saying but people are a little more “free” with their comments over the Internet. This is both a benefit and a problem when it comes to instant feedback.
A quick message sometimes comes off as flippant so keep this in mind when you’re reviewing emails or public comments. These comments may come across as rude but be sure to really pay attention to what someone is telling you. There are a number of readers out there that may just not be very tactful. Certainly kick the spammers to the curb, but there are times when we write very passionately and this can invoke some very passionate responses.
Remember, even if you are not very skilled in writing and you’re still trying to find your voice, it will come. This is a natural process. Consistent blogging will eventually help improve your writing skills, and you can also take this opportunity to brush up on a few technical skills through a local or virtual writing class. There is also much to learn from veteran bloggers out there, and many of them offer tutorials for free or a small financial investment.
Find your voice, pick a canvas, and create. I look forward to becoming part of your audience.