First, I’ll acknowledge I’m not a blogging expert. I do however have three different blogs that I write for and maintain. They’re each very different, and I have a love/hate relationship with each one. Mostly love. Starting a blog is not hard if you have the right tips to get you started. Here are ten tips for starting your own blog.
Ten tips to starting your own blog
Only write about something that you’re passionate about.
If you love to knit and knitting is your passion, write about it. If this is something that you love and can talk about until you are blue in the face, then go for it. Blogging is a platform. If you passionate about something, then others out there with similar interest would love to hear what you know and think. If you’re writing about something you love, it will come naturally, and people will see your passion in your writing.
If you don’t like to write, don’t.
Going back to #1, people can tell when you’re passionate about something. If you don’t like to write, or your blog becomes a chore… stop. This happened to me recently on Growing Up Goofy when I felt like certain post types on my blog were becoming a drag. I quit writing those post types and have never looked back. I may have lost a few readers as a result. But not enough to keep me doing something I wasn’t enjoying. Now, my focus is back on the areas that I love and Big Crazy Life is now our focus.
Have posts written on your blog before you launch.
I spent months creating posts before I announced my sites publicly. This created a nice chunk of content for my readers to browse through for their first visit and gave me a good idea of what I was getting into. If I had trouble coming up with content, this was the time I could reflect on why I wanted to start a blog. If you provide readers with a good idea of the type of content they’ll get form your site, and they find it interesting, they’ll come back for more.
Find and read other blogs in your area of interest.
Know what others in your topic area are writing about, and try to find something different to offer your readers. Comment on your favorite posts and start building relationships with other bloggers and readers. This will not only help you feel inspired, but it will also allow you to get to know others in your niche.
Take advantage of social networking and public conversations.
I can’t even begin to tell you how important social networking is today in connecting with others and spreading the value and message of your blog. If you’re looking to acquire more readers, get going on social media very early. There are so many social media outlets available, but you should really pick two that you’d like to start with! Just like reading and commenting on blogs, you’ll want to do the same with these social channels. You’ll be surprised at the awesome friend network you can create. Remember though, social networking mirrors real life. You will come across that occasional person or reader that won’t be so nice. Let it roll and move on.
Start with WordPress right away.
Starting with other platforms is fine. However, starting out with WordPress provides a lot more flexibility to do exactly what you want to do, both now and in the long-term. This will save you a huge headache down the road if you are serious about getting a blog going. There are tons of themes available to help you easily change your blog’s design. And the WordPress community has created thousands of plugins that extend WordPress’s capabilities to do just about anything you want to do.
Select a great web host.
A web host is a service that stores what you write and all the images you include and makes it available to people who visit your site’s URL. You want a host that provides the right amount of functionality at a low cost. We use Dreamhost for all our hosting needs. Their basic plan is less than $10 a month. It comes with one free domain registration. And they provide simple, one-click installs of WordPress – an added bonus to get you started quickly.
Don’t clutter your blog with a bunch of ads.
Unless your site is about ads don’t fill your white space with ads. Personally, if I go to a site with a bunch of ads cluttering up space, I typically won’t come back. Keep your site clean and neat, people will enjoy your writing much more. Also, no auto-playing music or sound when you first get to your site. Sure it may seem “cute” for some sites, but not for your blog!
Readers won’t be coming to you overnight. That rarely happens. You’ll be lucky if you have ten per week at first, and chances are, they’ll be your own family and friends. I blog because I want to share what I know. It might not be much and a lot of the time I do it for myself. Blogging is not a sprint. If you’re looking to be an overnight success, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Slow and steady wins the race.
Don’t get caught up in the numbers.
Enjoy what you’re doing. Know that if you have something to offer, people will keep coming back. You’ll build a community and make new friends. If it’s becoming “work” to you, stop and take a break. Let your readers know. Once you feel refreshed, start again! Most importantly, have fun and don’t get caught up in the numbers game.
If you keep it simple and blog about what you’re passionate about, do it for you, and not worry about the other noise around you… You’ll be sharing your content with the rest of the internet in no time.