Do you want to take up blogging but don’t know where to start? Recently I’ve been asked a few questions by new bloggers and/or people wanting to start a blog so I thought it might be helpful to pass on my words of wisdom. I obviously use the word wisdom in its loosest possible form. Let’s begin shall we? My six tips for new bloggers…
1. WHAT KIND OF BLOG ARE YOU PLANNING?
Pretty broad question, no? Let me break it down for you:
– Will it be private or public?
Private can mean it’s just for family and friends and you can set it that way, you can give out passwords so only a chosen few can access it. If it’s public you have to be okay that strangers may be going to be reading and seeing your content. Do you want them to know your full name? The area you live in? Do you want to put full facial pictures on your blog and/or those of your children?
– What’s the content going to be?
Is it a lifestyle blog (eg, a bit like this very one. Is it about you in general like what you cook, your home, your daily happenings)? Is it focusing on home decor, fashion, travel, food? Is it to showcase your art and/or photography or a hobby? (Is it all this and more?)
– Will your blog have a specific content theme?
For example, travel or beauty? Will it stick to one or two topics or will you write about anything and everything? Are you planning on posting about potentially controversial subjects like religion or politics?
– How often would you like to post?
Are you just going to go with the flow or have some structure regarding the frequency of your posts? How much time do you have or want to spend on your blog?
I’m a person that likes self-imposed goals and structure. Also with a toddler I need routine so I know I can only hop on my laptop during certain times of day. That also means I’m not going to kid myself and attempt more posts than what I know is possible. I guess this could also be influenced by, say you are traveller and may not have regular internet access.
WHY ALL THE QUESTIONS?
The reason I suggest you consider these questions is because I believe it, not only directly relates to your blog name, but gets your creativity going and provides some basic direction.
2. YOUR BLOG NAME
I have changed my blog name before and although it’s relatively easy it is, simultaneously, a bit of a hassle.
It can be a bit silly to change a blog title when people follow you, associate the name with you and it’s potentially becoming a brand name. On the plus side, the right name can do wonders. My following and site hits increased dramatically when I changed from The Cat Bed to According to Katie. It seems I could have been putting dog lovers noses out of joint or the original name was simply too broad. What I would suggest is to think a little bigger than just publishing your first post. I’m not talking five year plan big, but, you’know, put a little thought into it.
3. PICKING A HOST
There are free hosts and site hosts you have to pay for. I’ve found the free hosts initially great and met my needs as a new blogger but then it became restrictive when I wanted to monetize and edit my site to look a certain way.
I started on blogger and it was pretty easy. It was a great starting point but a few months in I got a bit annoyed that I couldn’t get it to look as streamlined and professional as I wanted. At the time I didn’t realise you could get free theme downloads so I switched sides to WordPress. Although it was a bit overwhelming to begin with I do not regret the choice at all. It’s pretty easy when you get going with lots of free different themes to choose from.
I have little knowledge of HTML or any kind of computer wizardry so the fact it was all done was a huge help. However, there are lots of other hosts out there so I would encourage you to do some research and look at a handful before signing up to one that suits your needs.
4. PLAYING & LEARNING
This is my most favourite and equally frustrating pastime. Once you have picked a host, decided on a name and signed up you are ready to play around with your blog.
Choosing the layout, updating your pages and of course, creating your first post are all steps to get used to how your host works. I encourage you to spend time playing around as much as possible in the beginning because you will be surprised by how much you learn. Googling, reading articles by other bloggers and experimenting is truly the best way to teach yourself the basics.
5. WRITE AN “ABOUT” PAGE
For the love of all that is good and pure in the world, please do this. It doesn’t have to be an essay and it doesn’t even have to be super personal. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to stumble upon a blog that interests you and be met with a bio page that hasn’t been updated.
6. LET YOUR FAMILY & FRIENDS KNOW ABOUT IT
Providing you want them to read/see it that is! Social media is a huge way in getting your blog out there but if you want to start out small, like I did, you’ll start with a few emails to the most trusted people in your life and then take it from there.
I hope this has been helpful for those of you starting out or thinking about creating a blog.
Best of luck!