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How to Overcome First Post Anxiety

red-editsA common problem many not-yet-bloggers face is something I call “first post anxiety.”

I was emailing with Iris, who was going through our Lifetime Income Blog course, and she emailed me this:

I have been wanting to start a blog for a while but one of the only things holding me back is the dreaded “first entry”. I’m not sure how to start or what it should be about. Is it an ‘about me’ or should it go directly into what I’m blogging about to begin with? I know that once I get over that hump I should be fine but I guess I’m nervous to take the first step. Does this make any sense?

Does that sound like you?

You’re not alone, it’s very common. It stems from our concern over making a good first impression and of our fear of the unknown. You want the first thing that someone sees on your site to give them warm fuzzies and keep them coming back.

But not to worry, we can overcome this anxiety.

It’s Just a Post

It’s just a post. It’s one post among the many that you will write and whether your blog succeeds or fails will not rely on your first post. I wrote 4,401 posts on Bargaineering and while a dozen posts were responsible for the majority of the site’s success, it wasn’t the first one.

Don’t build it up into something that it isn’t – it’s just a post.

There is No “First” Post

If you’re concerned about a good first impression, remember that the first post you publish is unlikely to be the first post a visitor sees. They’ll have reached your site through social media, search engines, and word of mouth about something you wrote. If you work towards writing shareable valuable content, those are the first posts for each visitor. Those are the posts that make that all important first impression.

The first post you publish might get seen by a few but unless it’s great, it’ll just be another one for the archives. Blogs may feel chronological but that’s not how they are discovered.

Get It Out Of The Way

Personally, I go with the “who I am, why I started this site, why don’t you join me?” route. I think it’s kind of like saying “Hi, my name is Jim” – even if you’re wearing a name tag. People will already know my name because it’s on my name tag but you still introduce yourself because it’s polite. It’s what people expect.

Once you get the basics out of the way (who are you, why are you writing about this, what else do you want to share, etc.), it’s important to have a few posts ready so that you can publish on a regular basis from the get go. People see the “Hi, my name is” post and then some good meaty ones. Those good meaty ones are the good impressions you want to make and those are far more important than the post that gets published first.

No One Will See It

Unfortunately, in the beginning, no one will be there to read your blog. As you write more and gain a readership, you’ll find that first post might even be the least popular post, regardless of how valuable you think the content is. As you write more, it gets buried deeper into the archives unless you make a concerted effort to link to it.

There are exceptions to this. If you do a big build-up, collect emails, and then announce your arrival – you could have a big group on day one. For most bloggers, especially first-time bloggers, it’ll be nice and quiet.

On Bargaineering, the “Hello World” was one of the least visited pages. I installed Google Analytics sometime in early 2008, a good three years after inception, but of the 27 million visits since then, can you guess how many were to that first post?

139. (one hundred and thirty nine… that was not a typo)

Granted, it was a terrible post. I didn’t know what I was doing and it didn’t add much. The first post on Microblogger is better, but it still needs work but it’ll get there. (I plan to reference more content on the site once I publish it)

Fellow bloggers out there, did you have first post anxiety? How did you get over it?

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Jim

In 2005, I founded a personal finance blog (Bargaineering.com) that became successful enough that I quit my career as a software developer in the defense industry. It is my goal to share everything I learned so that you can do the same - build an online business that let's you pursue your passion.

8 responses to “How to Overcome First Post Anxiety”

  1. Martin says:

    I did before I started. Once I started Studenomics, I’ve had no trouble with starting new blogs. I believe that everything is a work in progress. You see best sellers come out with a revised edition.

    You have to remember that it’s just an article and if you’re afraid, then that means you’re onto something.

  2. Michael says:

    I especially like your 2nd and 4th points. First of all, every post is a potential “first post” for future new readers. There’s no telling where someone will land when they come in — and chance are it won’t be you actual first post.

    Also, as you pointed out, almost nobody will see the first post that you write. Related to the above, they’ll show up at some point in the future, dip their toe in you publishing stream, and move forward from there.

  3. Peter says:

    I didn’t have the anxiety of writing and publishing that first post, mainly because I knew maybe 5 people were going to see it, probably only because I sent them there.

    That first post, like you mention, gets next to no traffic and is largely a forgotten corner of my site – until I got curious and looked it up a moment ago.

    Just write it up, polish it off and publish! If you don’t like it, you can always edit it later and make it better!

    Don’t worry about being perfect, if you do you’ll never publish anything!

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