It’s time for the first post in the blogging tips series. It makes sense to start with the basics before getting into the nitty gritty. Most of the information in this post will only be helpful to those who have not started a blog yet, but are thinking about it. As time goes on, there will be more posts that will hopefully help any blogger.
As I said in the introduction to this series I am by no means an expert, but I do think that I can help others. We can all learn from each other. Another blogger may have a tip that I don’t know about, but at the same time, I may write about something that he or she doesn’t know about. They can comment telling me what she learned, while sharing additional tips to teach others even more!
Today, what you need to think about before you start a blog. So many people dive in headfirst to start a blog, and know nothing about blogging. Blogging is very fun and therapeutic, but you still have to do some research and planning before diving in. This is exactly what I did, I didn’t do any research and I just dove in, and that ended in a failed blog.
The very first thing you need to think about is what you are going to write about. You can’t have a blog without content to share. I suggest choosing something you enjoy and you are an expert in. For example, this blog is about parenting, blogging, nursing, health and fitness, and working at home, as these are all things that I love and I can write about on a consistent basis. Don’t just choose a niche because you think you should. Just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you have to focus on parenting, but if you are writing your blog to keep your family updated, you better be writing about your kids!
This brings us to the next thing you have to think about. Who are you writing for? Are you writing to keep your family updated on your family? Then you need to write about your family more than you write about technology! If you are writing for others to read your blog, then you don’t want everything to be overly personal, but having a personal touch and relaying to personal stories always makes your blog more relatable.
With these two things in mind, I suggest you at least write down a month’s worth of titles or ideas. These can be working titles and you don’t have to use them all. These are just to get you started. You can do simple titles too, for example you can write a post about yourself, a post about your family, the goals of the blog, and why you started blogging to start with. (See there, I gave you 4 topics already!) If you are a technology blog, write about how you use technology every day. You can write about your job, or lack of a job and how that pertains to your blog. (See, I have given you the potential for a week’s worth of titles, 3 more weeks and you are on your way.) Think about what you are an expert at, what degree do you have? Keep in mind that things will change (do you think a month ago I thought I would be writing about blogging tips?).
As I said, these are just ideas. Make sure you keep a pen and paper or cell phone close by to jot down any other ideas you have. They don’t even have to be in any specific order. You may feel like writing about one topic one day and choose that title instead of the next one on the list, which is fine (but this is a later post). The reason I say you need to do this is because you have to post content on your blog in a consistent basis or no one will read it. If your blog is just for family, that is okay, but if you are looking to make money or gain readers, you need to post frequently.
Now that you have your title ideas down, think about what they have in common. This will be what your blog is about and now you need to choose a name. Picking a name for your blog is a very important step. This is how people will get to know you and your blog, so make it a good one. I have seen some really creative blog names. Personally, this is the area I am horrible at. I am not good at coming up with names. The best advice I can give you is to make it short, I have read that URLs under 9 letters do the best, and make it something that everyone will remember.
You also need to think about how you want to host your blog. There are many sites you can go with, but do your research. There are free options such as blogger and wordpress.com. Then there are paid options such as bluehost, hostgator, and godaddy. There is also Wix, which is newer and I honestly don’t know much about them. I personally love bluehost (more on them next week), but you have more options with a paid site. If you are planning on making money with your blog, you should think about a paid hosting, if you don’t want to make money with your blog, then a free site is just fine.
The last thing you need to think about is how you want your blog to look. You can take a look around at other blogs and get an idea about what look you like. Keep in mind that some of these blogs will have free themes, paid themes, or custom themes. You can always ask around, or look at the very bottom of the page. At the bottom is usually the name of the theme. If you can’t find a design or layout you like you can ask around and see where people were able to get their themes from. If you are good with graphic design or coding you can do it yourself too. This is not a something urgent you need to think about, but just keep it in mind when thinking about your blog. If you find a theme you love and want to use it, you will need to use the same hosting company most of the time. You also have to have a some kind of layout before you can start writing for your blog and getting readers.
Are you excited to start your own blog yet? I promise you, the planning is the hardest part. Next week, we will start the the exciting part, actually picking your domain and setting up your blog!
What questions do you have about setting up or running a blog? Maybe your question could be a post one day!
Want to know how this series all started, or want to see more of the series? Just head on over the the introduction and find the list of topics that are covered or will be covered.