My little blog is one year old. I am feeling wistful but rather than wax lyrical – as I did about my son turning one – about how much I have enjoyed blogging this last year, I thought a post about how to blog might just be a bit more useful.
Why take my advice?
You can check out some of my blog stats here in my first year stats post including my follower numbers but first and foremost blogging is awesome!
I absolutely love blogging, it has brought me so much more than I thought it would; it’s a creative outlet that I didn’t even realise I was missing and being part of the blogging community is brilliant. I have worked on my blog in some way every day of that year (yes every single day, weekends included). Any time I can snatch an hour it’s the first thing that pops into my mind to do, at any time of day. When I am doing anything else if I’m not with the kids I can’t help but wonder what I could be doing with the blog (sorry friends!) or what I could do later or what I could write a post about. And when out with my friend Ceri at MyahzineTV I relish being able to go full geek, sharing our fails and wins, tips and tricks, or even popping up a laptop to quickly finish some editing 😉
So that gives you some idea of how much you can choose to put into your blog but hopefully also goes some way to illustrate how enjoyable it is!
So without further ado here’s a quick run-down of how to start your blog AND get people to read it.
1. Set up a blog with WordPress.com
It’s really simple to do just go to the WordPress website and set up your blog following the start up guide. I would recommend buying your url name from the outset which I did as part of the set-up process. It was around £23. For the year. It prevents gaining a good following then finding later down the line that someone else has purchased the url for your name. The hardest part about step 1 is choosing your blog name! There are other platforms you can choose but I found WordPress really easy to use. You can go self-hosted from the outset but most people start with a free blog site.
2. Write a blog post and publish it!
Easy right! Some people like to have a back log of draft posts ready before they get started other people write as they go. There’s no right or wrong way to do it just get yourself out there. The only rule is to be authentic.
3. Set up all your social media.
I would say do this the same day you set up your blog if possible. Be consistent across all the social media platforms you use, so try to use the same name. I would suggest using the same picture because if a reader comes to find you on Twitter from your blog, it makes it easier for them to find you. Side note: remember people will search for you by typing in your name so try to make it start with the same letter on Twitter if your name is already taken. It’s not essential but it can help. There is so much to say about social media in regard to blogging, it’s a whole other ten blog posts!
4. Do a bit of research.
Find out about SEO (search engine optimisation). This is basically finding out about the ways that Google puts your blog in front of potential readers when people do a search. There are ways you can write your posts to make them easier for people to find if they are searching for a particular topic such as using lots of key words. There is a lot of info out there about SEO and it sounds intimidating but once you get your head into it you feel like you’re getting the keys to the castle. 😉
5. Promote promote promote
Get used to the idea that you write because you want people to read it. That is totally OK. It took me a little while to really get into the idea of promoting and sharing my posts and I feel like I wasted a bit of time here. Not everyone is going to love what you’ve written but a lot will, and the support from friends and family will make you feel like a million bucks.
6. Join the community
Find other bloggers on Twitter and other social media, see what groups they are part of and request to join any open ones. We’ve all been the newbie and so you will find bloggers are a great bunch who are willing to help new people just starting out. Also, there are thousands of people blogging so you’re bound to find a few on your wavelength if you get yourself out there a bit. I would say here also, do not link drop in groups it is considered very bad etiquette (we all have links we want to share but every feed would get clogged if everyone only used the groups to link drop) and ask yourself what can you contribute before wading in with a million questions. Can you answer someone’s question that has been posted? Can you re-tweet someone’s content?
Blogging is brilliant fun and it’s always great to see new blogs pop up and watch them grow. No one is better than another and get the idea out of your head that your writing is not good enough or you don’t have anything to offer. We are each unique and that is a good enough reason to start your blogging journey. Go for it and let me know when you do – I will come and have a read and follow you on Twitter!
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