So finally I am sitting here to write my first blog post! Yay, I have been putting this off for months or actually years. I had so many ideas what to write about but I never got around to actually starting a blog. But here I am now, finally, and I thought the perfect fit for my first real blog entry is to write about blogs! No, I am not going to write about blogs in general but actually I want to help you take the leap as well! So this is for people who want to start a blog or who have a small business and want to have a blog to support this business.
What do you actually need to know and to think about before you start? And in case you want to hire a designer what does he or she need to know from you.
Below I have listed what I think are the most important points in order to start. And I could write more about each of them but this is just meant to be a starting point. Many of you will know most of this already but first of all it's always good to see it written down. Secondly I am hoping to reach readers who are just at the beginning of the whole blogging process and are just thinking of starting their own blog and I hope to be of help. So here are my most important tips:
First and foremost, you need to select a topic of course. What do you actually want to write or post about? Where is it different from other blogs? Secondly, is your blog going to have different categories? Think about those categories and write them down. Don't have too many different things you want to write about as this might be difficult to keep up and might also confuse your reader. So stay consistent with your topic.
What is the name of your blog going to be? Or is it just your own name? What will the name of the URL (website address) be and is it still available? Is that name still available on social media? (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc) Does it fit to the topic you want to write about?
Do you want to have a logo for your blog? What is it going to look like? Is it written out or an illustration? What is your color scheme going to look like? Actually I could write a lot more about this but I think this will be a separate blog entry and I will leave it at this for the moment. So just think about wether you want a logo or just your name at the top.
4. Who is your target audience?
The more you can define your target reader the better. Write down who she or he is going to be. Ask yourself questions like age, gender, profession, hobbies and nationality of your ideal reader. Like that you can address him or her much better when writing a post. May be you can even cut out a picture from a magazine and put your reader next to your computer screen while writing ;-) But definitely have her or him in mind while composing your post. By the way this is also important when finding a name and designing your logo.
5. A strategy
So before you start your blog it helps to have a plan of how to actually go about it. How often and when do you want to post something? If you can, create yourself a calendar and plan ahead. Start collecting topics and plan when and what you want to post. Select days or times that are dedicated for writing so you are prepared and don't have to panic the night before and start writing feverishly before your blog post is supposed to go live.
Think about the tone of your blog and stay consistent. Do you want an informal and funny tone or do you prefer to be informative? I can only recommend to stick to what comes naturally to you. Otherwise it will be so difficult for you to keep up this tone. Especially if you are writing in a language that is not your mother tongue...
Visuals are so important and can help your blog immensely. So it is very important to think about the kind of pictures you want to show and again to stay consistent in style. And think about where you will get your pictures from? Will you take them yourself or will you hire a photographer? Or will you be able to find them on a website like shutterstock?
8. Choose a platform
Which platform do you want to use? Do you want to go for a free alternative or self-hosting?
Personally I think self hosting is much nicer as you have your own URL and you can name your site yourself, for example www.myblog.com or www.iloveblogging.com etc. In this case you need to buy or “rent” a URL and webspace with a hosting company - which you have to pay for - and then you own your blog. Also there are a lot less limits in how to design your blog. If you go this route you can use a service like WordPress or Squarespace to design your website.
On the other hand a free alternative might be easier to get started with. And you don't have to pay for it of course. In this case you can go with a service provider like wordpress.org or blogspot.com. So your blog would be called myblog.wordpress.org or iloveblogging.blogspot.com for example. But you don't own your blog, it is owned by the service provider and theoretically they can delete your content anytime.
Of course you could start with a free version and then upgrade to a paid alternative once you have decided that blogging is actually something you like and want to continue doing.
9. Start promoting yourself and your blog
Yes, I know you probably don't like that or think you are not good at self promoting but in order for your blog to be seen you need to use mediums like Facebook and Instagram and do some marketing for your blog. So take some nice pictures and follow the same guidelines from above for your promotions! Once you get the hang of it, it is actually a lot of fun and you will “meet” some very nice and likeminded people.
10. Get google analytics
If you don't have one yet, get a google account and add google analytics to your website in order to see if, when and from where you are attracting readers to your blog. When you experiment a little bit with your blog content or when you post it can give you great insights on how your blog is performing and how you can improve it for the future.
Now write some blog posts already or at least write down some topics (which by the way you should be doing continuously whenever you have an idea so you will never run out of things to write about) so you have something to start with. These first ones might take some time and you might also want someone else to have a look at them before you post them.
12. And finally enjoy and just be yourself!! - This should actually be the first rule ;-))
I hope this will help you as a start up blogging guide and let me know if you have any questions!
My email is email@example.com
Have a great day!
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