A blog is a natural outlet for those who have bottled up stories, opinions and memories to be released when retiring. A busy working or family life can cause one to stuff a lot of content into the background for a future date. If you are looking to channel your thoughts into creative writing, blogging might be for you. Here are some ideas on how to get started.
If you have recently retired and downsized, you probably have a settled lifestyle with time on your hands. That is an excellent scenario for blogging.
Although I still consider myself a learner and novice blogger, there are a few things I’ve picked up during my first year of blogging. Here is a suggested approach to launching your own blog.
1. Focus on your passion
What is your passion? Photography, astronomy, fashion, cars, music, etc? If you have a strong interest in one topic, you are more likely to write about it easily and naturally. Checking out existing blogs on your topic will give help you understand what is currently available to those with similar interests. You may discover a missing or lightly covered view on your chosen topic.
Identifying and choosing helpful resources to speed up your learning curve is a good starting point. These range from books, videos and online supports. I found the following particularly useful:
- Tutorials on WordPress.com
- Recent Books on blogging in the local library
- Latest blogging books from online book-sellers
- YouTube videos
- Blogs about blogging
Even books that are written for young teens can be helpful since basic concepts are well covered. Some of the books on blogging I found particularly helpful include:
- Smashing WordPress : beyond the blog / Thord Daniel Hedengren.
- Bloggers Bootcamp: learning how to build, write, and run a successful blog / CharlieWhite and John Biggs
- Creating a website with WordPress / Visual Steps
- WordPress Web design for dummies / Lisa Sabin-Wilson.
- WordPress / Jessica Neuman Beck, Matt Beck.
- Create your own blog / Tris Hussey.
3. Make Choices – First steps
This where you actually get started by making choices about hosting platforms and blog design. Choose a blogging platform such as WordPress.com, Blogger.com or Tumblr.com. You will quickly discover the topic of hosted blog sites vs self-hosted sites.
In this stage, you choose a blog name, a theme and begin creating the overall structure of your blog. This is a very important step as pointed out by George Plumley in his book “WordPress 24 Hour Trainer”. What you decide here will have a big impact later when you have 40 or 50 posts to deal with. This is also where you apply the basics by setting up your static pages and write some initial posts. If you are retired, this will surely keep your brain active. Writing a number of posts before publishing the blog is important since there needs to be enough content on the blog that readers know what to expect. I didn’t launch DownsizingHelp until I had seven blog posts in place.
4. Expand your skills
Once you have a number of articles and blog posts in place, you may wish to add extra features, depending on your hosting package and available options. For example, I started inserting videos into blog posts where it made sense to do so.
Being mindful of optimum image sizes and resolution is important too so that your blog posts load quickly when viewers choose to open them. I found Tinypng.com and resizeimage.net particularly useful for this task.
After blogging for some time, you may wish to step back and consider what to do next. (This is the stage I’m at.) Should you make direction, content or design changes? Should you change your publishing schedule? How about launching a second blog or would you prefer to improve the one you have? Revisiting step 1 to ensure that you are fulfilling your passion and achieving your goals would make sense here.
Where are you on your blog timeline?
* You may notice some Canadian spelling in these posts. The words may look odd but that’s how we spell them. We’re used to it.
Do you have a blog or podcast related to downsizing? Where can we find it?
Find out how to keep in touch with Downsizing Help by clicking on Subscription Choices in the top menu bar. A new post is released every Sunday at 2 p.m. EST.
Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored with a quill pen …
Paul Ferri, Broker, ASA (Accredited Senior Agent)
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated.