So you’re thinking about starting your own blog. Congratulations! Running your own blog can be a very fun and rewarding experience. It can also be quite overwhelming if you’ve never started one before. Read and follow these 5 steps and you will learn see how simple it is to make that thought into a reality!
Step 1. What To Blog About?
The very first step you’ll need to take is figuring out what you want to write about. Most people choose to blog about traveling, cooking recipes, finance, or anything they are very passionate about for that matter. However, if you are trying to gain a lot of readers and followers, you may want to write about an interesting subject matter that people will want to read about. Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind:
Write about something you are knowledgeable in – This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert on the topic, but you will lose credibility from your readers if you don’t know what you are talking about. For example, if your blog is about discounted traveling and rewards programs, it would be beneficial to have an understanding about airlines and travel agencies.
Make sure the topic will keep you interested in the future – It might sound like a good idea right now to make a blog about your favorite television dramas, but is this something you can see yourself writing about in the future? If it seems like a subject matter that you will only be temporarily interested in, chances are it’s not ideal for you.
Decide which topics are off limits – There are some things that are better left off the internet. People who keep personal online diaries might decide to leave certain subjects out of the public’s eye. Besides, who wants to read about your best friend kissing your cousin’s ex-girlfriend last night at the dance club?
Step 2. Choosing Your Platform
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make for your blog is which type of platform to use. There are hosted platforms and self-hosted platforms, both of which have its advantages and disadvantages. No matter which you choose, your content will be able to be exported from any one platform to any other. This will probably cost you some time and money, but switching over is not a big hassle.
Hosted platforms have gone through a lot of transformations throughout the years. The more popular hosted platforms these days are Blogger, WordPress.com, Tumblr and Squarespace to name a few. Some of the advantages of using these sites are:
- Everything you need to design your blog is built into the platform
- No separate hosting cost is needed
- Updates are automatically installed by the hosting company
- Customizing your blog is easy because you use fixed templates and designs
Self-hosted platforms are for people who want complete control of their blog. WordPress.org is probably the most popular self-hosting platform for bloggers. The advantages of using this setup is:
- Full customization for your blog look and feel
- Unlimited number of plug-ins to choose from
- No hassles from hosted blogs such as terms of service changing
- Control the advertising that goes on your blog
Step 3. Naming Your Blog
Picking the right name for your blog can make a difference on popular it becomes. Using a boring or typical name probably won’t discourage people from reading your blog, but you want a title that has a purpose. If you are purchasing a domain name, make sure the name you want is available first.
You could either go with a standard name that includes your name or company name and add “blog” at the end of it. Another option is to use an innovative name that only people “in the know” will find attractive. Lastly, you can name your blog something that is “keyword rich” in hopes of showing up in a lot of Google search results.
The most important part when deciding on a blog name is to be unique. It’s okay to look at other people’s blogs to get an idea for your name, but don’t copy them. Even better, make up a word or an entire phrase that is not in the dictionary, then becomes all yours.
Step 4. Designing Your Layout
This is when the real fun starts! Once you have your platform and blog name setup, it’s time to implement your layout. The type of design you choose for your front page should depend on your content and audience. Is your main audience young adults? If so, you may want to consider a platform such as Tumblr, especially if your content is heavily based on photography. For the more serious bloggers who are looking for a more professional look, WordPress is probably your best bet.
The two most common front page layouts are static front pages and traditional blog format pages with excerpts from your most recent posts. One benefit from using the static front page is that you can direct your readers to specific areas of interest or a call to action. Let’s say you are a marketing company that offers several services. You can create a front page design with specific content boxes which focus on each individual service.
The traditional blogging layout can look a bit old-fashioned, but there are several options when it comes to alternative design layouts. More sites such as Mashable and Pinterest are using a more contemporary layout that shows recent content by category, which is great for multi-author sites or sites that frequently update their content.
Another important aspect to remember is accessibility. Are your readers able to view your blog on their mobile phones or tablets? Is it easy to read and navigate through your page? Make sure that your site will adjust to every device out there, from computers all the way down to cell phones. And when your blog is opened from a tiny phone screen, see that the font is big and clear enough to be read.
Step 5. Start Blogging Away
Once your blog website is running and designed the way you want it to look, it’s time to start writing. Most of us aren’t very experienced with personal writing since we aren’t writers or keep personal journals. Writing about ourselves is not as easy as it sounds, so you may have trouble thinking about what to say exactly, which is perfectly normal at first. But don’t shy away from what you really want to say, even if your opinion may go against everyone else’s.
Developing your own voice and style is key to running a good blog. A blog is sort of like a conversation. Therefore, you should write the way you speak instead of sounding like a history textbook. It might help to speak out loud what you want to say before you type it, just to make sure it sounds right.
When it comes to updating your blog, try to do so as frequently as you can. At least one or two updates a week should suffice, but updating less than once a week will most likely result in losing followers. A lot of people update their blogs often when they first create it, but later on lose motivation and stop posting topics. Create a schedule for yourself so you have a set plan on when to write. Having a co-blogger is another option to help take some pressure off yourself.
Lastly, encourage readers to comment on all of your posts. It’s a great way to involve your audience and gain valuable feedback about what you’re doing on your blog. If you prefer not to respond to comments, turn off the feature so people aren’t left hanging dry in the comments section!