I’ve lost count at the amount of people who have recently asked me how to start a blog. (Hint: it’s a lot!)
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 Negative Nancys might think, there is room for everyone! 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 it happen.
Whether you’re a budding freelance writer looking for a place where you can showcase your work, or just a Regular Joe with something interesting to say, read on for my tips to help you get your blog off the ground.
Being a personal blog owner for over six years now (you can read KatieKat here), I think I might be the gal to help! Here are 7 tips on how to start a blog.
1. Find a subject that you love to write about.
It goes without saying that you have to have a niche in mind for your blog. 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 a journal.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to picking your subject/niche – and who says you have to even stick to one? (For example, 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 enjoy writing about it (or them). Otherwise you’ll lose that blogging bug faster than you can say Jack Robinson.
2. Brainstorm ideas for posts.
So you’ve got your niche(s) – congratulations! That’s half the battle. 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 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, 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 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 for content.
To start with, I guarantee you won’t be short on ideas. But the more you blog, and the more posts you publish, you might find yourself scratching your head on some occasions 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.
You’re going to want to include photographs in your blog posts, right? (If the answer is no, then feel free to sidestep this tip and go onto the next one. Now, as we were…)
By ‘invest in good photography’ I mean two things. Uno: buy a decent camera or camera phone. Dos: get some sexy photo editing software. (Wahey!)
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 an 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. (Magazine-style photos, be mine!)
There are plenty of photo editing programs out there to help you achieve said shiny, polished photos, but I recommend using Adobe’s Lightroom. It’s just magic 🙂
4. Choose your platform.
Ah, this one’s a biggie. It’s the age old question: do I choose Blogger? Or do I choose WordPress?
It’s sort of an unwritten rule that you go with Blogger if you’re not really blogging for a particular purpose – you just fancy sharing your passions and opinions with like-minded people. This was my initial intention, which is why KatieKat started on Blogger.
But, 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 go with WordPress.
WordPress is a little trickier to get your head around; however, once you do, it creates a lovely, clean, professional-looking site. Blogger, on the other hand, is as simple as rice and peas to use and also can look a-ma-zing.
What can I say? The choice is yours.
5. Buy your own domain name.
A little later on down the line, once you’ve got into the hang of blogging, you might find yourself wanting to purchase your own domain name.
So, instead of having a blog with the hosting name ‘www.katiekat.blogspot.com’, you can grab a variation of this (such as ‘www.katiekat.co.uk’) that will drop the ‘blogspot’ aspect of the web address and turn it into a ‘.co.uk’ for your primary audience (if the UK is where you’re based). You got that? Phewf.
To change your domain name, simply visit a web hosting website (I recommend SiteGround) and buy the variation that you want. Usually, this purchase is in the form of an annual subscription that automatically renews each year.
It’s certainly worth buying your own domain name if you own a business blog, as it makes it look so much more professional.
6. Come up with a content schedule.
As time passes by, you’ll learn more and more about how to manage your blog.
As you begin to publish more regularly, 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 decide on a frequency 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, so that your readers know exactly when to expect new content so that you don’t disappoint them.
(Tip: there’s nothing worse than disappointed readers!)
7. Promote your posts through social media.
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 on the internet – then don’t you want people to read them?
A lot of people want to blog for themselves anonymously and I understand that, as – spoiler – that was my mentality when I first created KatieKat.
However, sooner or later, it’s so important to let your blog develop an audience. Otherwise, what’s the point in creating it? You might as well just write in a notepad instead of typing on the internet.
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.
And, 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.
Before I end this post, I just want to point out that blogging is not a walk in the park (so-to-speak).
It’s hard work, it’s time-consuming and you need to be 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. (These are usually the days where you’ve just spent hours crafting a post and editing all your photos, only for some cheeky Sonny Jim to drop by and comment “your blog sucks”. Thanks very much, Sonny Jim!)
Yes, it’s hard work – but, on the other hand, it’s incredibly rewarding. When you’re writing about something that you sincerely care about, it ignites that passion inside of you.
Also, when you enjoy writing a post and it gets a good response from the rest of the internet, then blogging starts to become a little bit addictive. You can’t help it – you just want to carry on doing it. It’s like some weird drug that you need to get your fix of. #TrueStory
And, in business terms, blogging is such a good way of showcasing your skills and interests to prospective clients or potential employers.
So if you do decide to start a blog, then I recommend that you don’t do it half-heartedly. You get out of it what you choose to put in.
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.