It’s no secret that the blogging community is growing and more people in the world are blogging than ever before, which I think is fantastic. Blogging provides you with a platform where you can share your thoughts and make your voice heard through managing your very own little corner of the World Wide Web.
How cool is that?
Regardless of what some might think, there is room for everybody and their blog. You don’t have to be an expert in your field to have a blog; all you need is self-motivation and the determination to make money as a freelance blogger.
Whether you’re a budding freelance blogger looking for a place where you can showcase your work, a small business trying to drive traffic to your website, or just a Regular Joe with something interesting to say, read on for my top tips when it comes to how to start a blog.
1. Find a Niche You Love to Write About
How to start a blog 101: have a niche in mind. Perhaps you plan to write about one of your burning passions, a subject you’d like to learn about or you’re currently studying, or maybe you’d just like to indulge in self-therapy and use your blog as an online journal.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to picking your niche – and who says you have to even stick to one? (For example, my six-year-old blog KatieKat focuses on my two main passions of fashion and travel.) You know what they say: the sky’s the limit!
However, whichever subject(s) you choose, make sure you will still enjoy writing about it (or them) for years to come. Otherwise, you’ll lose that blogging bug faster than you can say Jack Robinson.
2. Brainstorm Ideas for Posts
Finding your niche might be half the battle when it comes to how to start a blog; however, alongside your niche, you need to think of actual topics for blog posts.
You might find yourself simply rolling with it in the beginning and writing about the first thing that pops into your head but, as time goes on, you might want to be a bit more strategic with the ideas and thought process behind each blog post. This is called content marketing.Consider your target audience, the demographic of your followers, and what they might want to read about. Try and solve a problem with each and every blog post you write or address topics that you know they'll find useful.Click To Tweet
Every now and then I have a good ol’ brainstorm about things I could write about in upcoming posts. I sit down with a pen, paper and a huge spider diagram – and then just let those spidey legs keep a-comin’. It’s good to have a few ideas in mind at any one time, just in case one doesn’t work out, or you’re struggling to fill your content schedule.
To start with, I guarantee you won’t be short on ideas. That being said, the more you blog and the more posts you publish, the more you’ll find yourself scratching your head with writer’s block. If this happens, you can simply refer to the big spidey diagram that you made earlier. It’s like Art Attack, but for bloggers. Take that, Neil Buchanan!
3. Invest in Good Photography Equipment
You’re going to want to include photographs in your blog posts, right? Then you’re going to need to invest in good photography equipment, i.e. a decent camera or smartphone and photo editing software.
Now, let me be clear, I don’t really own anything too fancy camera-wise. I have a Canon 400D DSLR, which is pretty nice, but also getting on a bit like a mouldy block of cheese. You don’t necessarily need the latest technology – just something that takes good quality photos. I enjoy taking photos on my DSLR, but I also like whipping out my iPhone whenever there’s a relevant opportunity. It’s handy like that.
Then there’s the little matter of editing your photos. Of course, you don’t have to do this. However, once you’ve been blogging for a couple of years and are a firm part of the blogging community, you start to pine for the shiny, polished photos you see on your favourite bloggers’ sites. There are plenty of photo editing programs out there to help you achieve said shiny, polished photos, but I recommend using Adobe’s Lightroom because it’s just like magic.
Alternatively, if you prefer to use stock photos, check out websites like Unsplash and Pixabay for all your image needs.
4. Choose Your Platform Wisely
The age-old question when it comes to how to start a blog: do I choose WordPress? Or do I choose another platform, like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly?
It’s really up to you to decide which one best suits your needs. Nevertheless, if you want to blog for business purposes and have a set goal in mind to monetize your blog or you want to use it to showcase a portfolio for your chosen career path, then I highly recommend self-hosting via WordPress.
Sure, WordPress might be a little tricky to get your head around in the first instance; however, it’s super worthwhile as it means you completely own and control your blog. You don’t have to worry about your platform suddenly shutting down and losing all your content – and you can customise just about anything you want. Another plus is that you can have constant, on-hand help from your platform’s readily available team of experts.
FYI I own and run two blogs via self-hosting platform SiteGround because the customer service team is amazing and they make the transition process so easy! You could always get started using a free platform and then switch to self-hosting later on in the game; however, when you do switch over, make sure you choose SiteGround. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
5. Buy Your Own Domain Name
A little later on down the line, once you’ve got into the hang of how to start a blog, you might find yourself wanting to purchase your own domain name. This means that you’d have your own customised URL as opposed to having to feature your host name within the URL (www.katiekat.co.uk instead of http://www.katiekat.blogspot.com).
To change your domain name, simply visit a web hosting website (again, I recommend SiteGround‘s self-hosting package) and purchase the variation that you want. Usually, this purchase is in the form of an annual subscription that automatically renews each year, and it’s certainly worth doing if you’re blogging for business purposes as a way of conveying your professionalism and sincerity.
6. Devise a Content Schedule
It goes without saying that as time passes by, you’ll learn more and more about how to start a blog and successfully manage it. As you begin to publish more frequently, gain multiple readers, and grow the following of your blog – you might want to start planning out when exactly you’re going to post alongside what you’re going to post.Your readers are likely to start returning to your blog for new content regularly. And, if you don’t deliver, then they might not bother visiting your blog again. Click To Tweet
The best thing to do is to devise a content schedule for your blog. Are you going to post once a week, once a month, twice a week, twice a month? And what day of the week are you going to post on? Friday, just in time for the weekend? Sunday, because everyone will be off work?
Make these decisions early on and try to stick to them to be consistent and reliable in your readers’ eyes. If your readers know exactly when to expect new content, then this will build your relationship with them and establish trust, which will ensure that they keep returning to your blog. Happy days.
7. Promote Your Posts Religiously
Now you’re almost fully clued up on how to start your blog, let’s talk about blog promotion.
You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to; but, if you’re taking the time to write and publish blog posts continuously on the internet – then don’t you want the maximum amount of people to read them?
A good way to get the maximum amount of traffic to your blog is to promote each post through social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, in particular, are great tools for getting the word out when it comes to your blog. Plus, if you use the right hashtags, you can reach a wider audience and generate further engagement which could ultimately lead to a higher number of followers and more readers for your blog.
How to Start a Blog You Love
It’s hard work knowing how to start a blog. Blogging is often time-consuming and you need to be extremely driven to keep it going – even on days where you feel like you’d rather tear out your own hair than write another blog post.
Sure, it’s hard work but, on the other hand, it’s also incredibly rewarding when you enjoy writing a post and it gets a good response from the rest of the internet. It’s also a great way to reach your target audience and drive traffic to your website if you’re a small business.
Personally, now I’ve got the blogging bug, I don’t think I’ll ever look back – and I bet there are plenty of other bloggers out there who would say the same. However, always remember: you get out of it what you choose to put in.
Have my tips provided you with clarity when it comes to how to start a blog? Or do you need help with something else? Let me know in the comments!
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