7 How-To Steps in Starting a Blog
I wanted to share some of my personal findings that have helped me over the years of blogging. But wait, this article is being written for the “Newbie Blogger Initiative” and I said I was a “Newb” in one of my previous articles? This is only partially correct as I’m very new when it comes to the world of writing/blogging about games. I’ve only been in this specific realm for about five months and loving every minute of it….though I’ve had a lot of experience in blogging I still count myself as a “Newb” in this realm.
I’ve been blogging around six years total and writing since childhood so I’m hoping some of the tips I’ve learned will be a benefit to you all on your journey. Whether you’re blogging as an individual, for a community site, business, or whatever facet it might be this “How-To Guide” will hopefully benefit the start of something great for you.
To blog or not to blog is the question…Right? It is if you’re thinking about starting a blog and a darn good logical question. What are the core pieces of this puzzle that need identified before diving head first into Blogging?
Let’s take a walk through some of the major questions I’ve heard and even asked myself over the last few years of blogging.
1. Why Start a Blog?
This may sound like an obvious question but blogging takes a lot of hard work beyond just expressing yourself in writing, so understanding your motivations will help focus your efforts.
Some Examples of Why People Blog:
- To tell a story
- To establish themselves in a specific niche of writing
- AKA – writing for the Newbie Blogger Initiative about specific subjects
- To make money
- To support an already existing business
Before you take the leap of blogging and invest a large amount of time into something you may not have the patience, time, or even want to commit then try test driving a blog first.
- Start a blog on a free hosting option like WordPress.com or even Blogger.com though I prefer “WordPress” either can help with getting a sense of what’s involved.
You could also write for another blog if that fancies you. This gives you the benefit of blogging and gaining experience in the world without the worry of maintaining your own blog. At times a good blog post could take you several hours to write, plus you have editing, formatting, links, images, and optimization so this is where the time investment comes in. Sometimes writing for someone else has its perks as all you have to do is focus on the writing.
2. What’s the focus?
What will you be writing about? Specific topics, genre based food, movies, business, etc.
A few things to consider when writing
- What are you interested in?
- What is your area of expertise?
- What sets your blog apart from others?
Accept it, once people begin reading the material you’ve posted they will begin to categorize what they read. Will people connect with what you write because they understand it and interested?
3. What’s the name of your Blog?
How will you identify your blog? Include the site name (note: this isn’t necessarily the URL) and tagline. Once you decide, it can be difficult to change your name.
- Make it Easy. Skip URLs that have dashes or are difficult to remember. Also consider if it’s available on the major social media networks.
- Check that the URL is available. To me self-hosting a blog is best. Domain names are not expensive…so if you’re making the plunge grab it now so you don’t lose it.
- Attention Grabber. Your blog’s name needs to hook people’s attention or they’re gone. Would you want to read something that didn’t interest you, or put you to sleep five minutes in?
4. Brand and Design (Logo & Layout)
The brand is your personality, the core of what people connect with when they see your blog. Design focuses on how your blog’s information is presented to viewers. Though connected with branding as you want to stay consistent the design connects viewers with the content of your blog. Consistency is the key to set your blog apart in terms of branding. Not sure how or where to start in branding your blog? Take a look at the things that interest you and what sources you go to for that information. How do they brand? Is it consistent, simple, and easy to understand? Get ideas from others who have already invented the wheel.
- The Theme. This is the frame of your site. It lets you control your content and how it will be formatted for webpages. A theme is independent from your content. Choosing a theme is personal preference but most free blog hosting sites offer themes you can try before selecting one. You can also pick up premium (paid) versions of themes as well.
- Content Management. How do you want viewers to see the information? Navigation around your blog is crucial to keeping audience’s attention.
- Posting Content. This includes the typefaces, margins, colors and other ways that you format your content to the viewers.
5. Organization Skills – Got Them?
Do you want a blog that is well organized? Since a blog should be on-going, you should create a schedule for publishing on a regular basis so readers have something to come back to.
Things to Think of –
- How frequently will you publish content?
- What topics will you write on regularly?
- Will you have a variety of writers as well as guest bloggers?
Regardless of how much you know about your topics, you need to be on top of the latest trends and continue to learn if you want to be relevant on up to date material.
6. Let it be Seen – (Optimization)
Even if you’re the next best top author out there it means nothing if no one can find what you write. Optimization means you can be found easier through search, social and mobile.
One of the easiest ways to optimize your site is building reputation through Social Media. This means engaging in the social media craziness…which can be a tad scary and overwhelming at times if you don’t know where to start. For some tips on where to get started check out an article I wrote called Typing Tid-Bits for Social Media
Optimizing your blog for searches involves some strategy at times. Mainly focusing on one specific keyword and making sure that the keyword is in the post, along with tags that link to what category someone may search for.
7. Building an Audience
First don’t forget what we talked about earlier…people have to know your blog exists and want to read what’s on it. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of blogging.
How do you build an Audience?
- You have to get traction. Meaning you need to keep posting and build the material you have on your site.
- Don’t give up if you don’t see a lot of movement on the site a month after starting it.
- Get the word out about your blog how you will build that on-going audience. Don’t just write for yourself as that’s no fun most of the time. Make this blog an extension of your personality and drive it so people know what you have.
- Be creative establishing your visual brand and creating your logo. For most bloggers, this is limited to the start up phase. Alternatively, you can put something together yourself and modify it once your blog gets going.
If you love to write and know you want to start a blog just remember that the writing portion is just one piece to the puzzle. Don’t get discouraged by the process of blogging as it can be very fulfilling as long as it’s done correctly. I hope this guide to starting a blog will help you in your journey and that these tips help attract an audience for your site.
#NBI2014 #Blogger #Blogging