Do you really know what a blog is? If your answer to that was ‘no’, why you should start one?
If however you’re reading this, you’re probably also already interested in starting one to join the blogging community.
For the benefit of those reading this that don’t know though…
Blog: a log of articles posted to a regularly updated website written in an informal style, either personal or commercial.
Well, there is good news. Whatever your reasons, and whatever you’d like to write about, there is room for you as a blogger.
And I can help you.
What would blogging could mean to you?
From a personal point of view, lots of people set up a blog to record events. How many blogs have you read about kids, weddings or around a passion such as fashion or beauty? That’s why I first started; I wanted to document my pregnancy and life as a Mum once my baby arrived.
It can be a great way to share your passion, find your tribe and connect to other people who also follow your interests. Or perhaps you want to get support on an issue.
Maybe you just want to show off a bit.
Perhaps you want a hobby blog, perhaps you want it to be something more of a profession, or perhaps you have a brand and want to start a business blog to help promote your products and services.
Whatever your reason, it can be as big or as small as you want it to.
And I can categorically say that the more you put into your blog, the more you will get out of it, and the bigger it will become.
Blogging can go from something you do in your spare time while your baby is feeding or you are sat are on the loo (yes, really), to a whole career change. Some bloggers even earn more money through writing a blog than they did in their ‘real jobs’.
But guess what, blogging can be a real job too.
As a brand, the content you write for your blog can be the best way to drive traffic to your website. Posts can offer rich content around your products or services, and also other related topics. It can show your passion, help to sell your products’ features, and also show authority on a subject.
So you’ve decided that you want to start a blog, but how do you go about it?
What do you actually need to start a blog?
In short, not a lot.
You can actually start a blog in less than 30 minutes with a bit of help.
But for the purpose of this post, I’m going to outline the basics that you need to consider when starting a blog.
A blogging platform
Platform is just a fancy word for the software that you use to publish your content onto the internet in the form of a blog site. It is the content management system that you use to upload, store and embed your images, write posts and set the design of your site.
WordPress is a favourite platform for bloggers. It is cheap, reliable, relatively straightforward to use, and can be as customised or basic as you’d like.
There are 2 types though; wordpress.org and wordpress.com so make sure you pick the right one for you. The biggest difference is that .org allows you to host your own site whereas .com is always hosted by WordPress.
Hosting (or a web host)
If you use a self-hosted platform (like wordpress.org), you will need to buy hosting for your site. This basically means where your site is stored and loaded from.
With self-hosted sites, as long as it is available, you can choose a custom domain (the site’s URL), which will make your site look more professional than if you’re using a subdomain such as myblog.blogspot.com.
That’s not to say that you can’t add a custom domain later, but you’ll end up paying the platform provider to host it rather than be able to shop around. You’ll basically have less control initially.
Hosting can vary in price depending on how much storage you want, and whether you want a dedicated or a shared host. For most bloggers, shared is plenty and will load a typical site fairly quickly.
A blog name
Once you have thought about which platform and web hosting to use, you need to think about a name.
Use sites such as Names to check if your ideas are available. Simply enter your name idea into the search box and you can see whether it is available.
Always check both .co.uk and .com are available, and if it says one is already taken, check the sites directly to check the types of content aren’t too similar.
TOP TIP! Always check social media too – you’ll probably want to promote your blogs through these channels so make sure your chosen handles are available.
- Google +
Check them all even if you are not planning to use them – it’s better to have them than not be able to decide later down the line!
Otherwise known as the design.
WordPress.com sites offer readymade free designs, but with limited flexibility. WordPress.org sites come with free themes, but there are literally thousands of ‘premium’ themes available for you to add to your site.
Note that premium themes allow a lot more customisation but may need a bit more work to make your site look like the demos you might see. You’ll also need a bit more technical knowledge to set them up.
Top tip – have a look at the design of blogs you like. Make a note of what you like about them e.g. colours, clean lines, how images are shown, navigation etc. and scroll to the bottom to look for a clue of who built it.
An email address
It sounds obvious but you will need an email address.
I mean who doesn’t have an email address, right? It’s 2019.
If you’re serious about making your blog work, and would like to get the offer of sponsored content or PR requests, it’s good to set up a new email address so that any important emails don’t get lost amongst those pesky Groupon messages.
Or if you want to keep it simple for now, just use a webmail account and use your blog name as the prefix e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOP TIP! Don’t for get to set the mailbox up on your phone so that you get messages.
As much Creativity as you’d like! The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can post and when you should do it.
Go forth; write, post and enjoy your blog!