Starting a blog may seem like a simple task from the outside but there is so much to it than what the blogger allows you to see. A good blog will appear well-written, it will feature clear, crisp images, will be easy to navigate and provide useful information with appropriate links but all of this takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes which no one will ever realise… Until you start a blog of your own. So, to help you get started I am going to give you my top tips that I have learnt through firsthand experience.
My 5 tips to start a blog:
Do Your Research
Before you start a blog you need to do as much research as you can into the huge world of blogging. You need to decide whether or not there is a gap in the market for your voice, whether you want a niche or not, discover who the leading bloggers in that niche are and learn how they present themselves on their blog. You aren’t looking to necessarily compete with these bloggers (don’t take on the world just yet, eh!) but it is a great way to decipher what works, what doesn’t and what you can bring to the table.
Pick A Name That Will Last
When it comes to creating your brand name it can be easy to go with the first thing that pops into your head, for example, ‘Oh I’m pregnant so I will name my blog The Pregnancy Diaries or Me and the Bump’. The trouble with this is that as time passes that bump will turn into a baby and then a toddler and then a child… you get the drift! Your blog name is no longer related to what you are writing about which will, in turn, limit the number of people who will want to visit your site and will confuse those who do stop by only to discover that you are now, in fact, a Mum of a 5-year-old! So, what I am saying is think long term. If you want your blog to go the distance and be more than a hobby, you need to appeal in years to come. Clever, witty, catchy names will always do well as they are memorable but you also need to check that no one else is using the same or similar name as you will want to be able to buy all the domain names that are available (i.e. .com, .co.uk, .net) This will ensure that you and only you will be associated with this name.
If you are brand new to the blogging world, SEO will probably be something you haven’t ever really thought of, or perhaps never even heard of! Search engine optimisation is the name for the processes you’ll need to go through in order for your blog to be ranked higher on Google which will allow you to be found more easily and increase your hits. Topics that are important include keywords, using alt tags on your images, using an H2 header, including internal and external links, adding a meta description… the list goes on but you get the gist. If you choose to use WordPress for your blog you can install a plugin called Yoast which will help you immensely with making your site optimised. And if you don’t know what a plugin is…
In layman’s terms, a plugin is a handy little tool that can be installed into your blog to help you out. So, for example, if you wanted to add a circular image of yourself to your sidebar (just like mine), a plugin will do this for you. You will also need to add ones to protect your site from spam, protect it from hackers, one for your sitemap, one to add a comments box, others to add your social media icons and so on. Basically, you can build and develop your website using these clever little plugins but you need to know which are important and which are useful. I found this post very helpful.
Work Hard On Your Content
This may seem like a given but I have stumbled across many a blog with basic grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, poor quality photos, poor photo alignment and ones that are difficult to navigate when on mobile. You want your reader to stick around and the only way you are going to do that is by providing content that they want to see. My biggest tip when you start a blog would have to be to write in your own voice, please do not try to emulate anybody else, it will be obvious and certainly do not ever copy anybody else. If you are passionate about what you are saying this will jump straight off the screen and resonate with your reader. Take full advantage of free apps such as Grammarly which will highlight any grammatical errors as you write, keep an eye on how quickly you can get to your point (waffling will have readers clicking away), make your posts easy on the eye with headers, lists, the use of italics and so on and definitely watch your word count. And, of course, no post is complete without some brilliant images. Even if you aren’t great at photography you can always find great stock images for free online to back up what you are saying.
Starting a blog is so exciting but so many people can feel overwhelmed once they discover how much it entails but by breaking it down into manageable chunks like this you will be able to clearly navigate your way through this brand new online world and create a memorable brand that people will love!
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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