Tips for Bloggers – Starting out
I decided to start a new series providing tips on blogging which I will add try to every Tuesday.
This is mostly based on my own experienced as a blogger and starts from the very beginning. Now it’s not for me to tell you what to add to your blog, what your content will be like or what to write about. That’s the easy bit. But if, like me you’d approached keeping a blog as a complete newb, it’s like a blogging for dummies guide. It contains links. Yes, but not affiliate links. I’ll talk more about those next week. And instead of just thinking about it I hope that this first post will help you realise your dream and get your dreams down onto a little corner of the interwebs. Just like I did a few short weeks ago!
So, you’re obviously thinking about or have been thinking about blogging, or you wouldn’t have clicked onto this post. I’m going to be realistic. If you think you’re going to be able to make a monthly wage as soon as you buy your domain name, you’re wrong. Sorry to dash your hopes. But there are a lot of things you can do with patience and perseverance. My two favourite P words!
There is a quick guide that you can read here too. Before I start on this super quick and comprehensive guide remember – there is only one you, what you write or say is never a burden, and you have a unique voice and story. Let this lead your blog. Make it yours, own it, nurture it and grow it as you would a part of your heart. It’ll soon grow into something you’re proud of! So start!
Don’t over think – get blogging!
I ran a poetry blog for years, without overthinking, over analysing or even a second though about what I was publishing. Because I loved it. I loved getting my work out there. But I procrastinated for a few years about opening a lifestyle blog. What would I write? Why would anyone read about me, will people find me interesting? Does it sound familiar? I had to get rid of all those inhibitions before getting started. I thought it was going to cost me a fortune to get off the ground. Again another excuse to put it back until the kids were older and I had more time to myself. Just do it. Commit to doing it, and feel positive about writing something of value.
All you need to do then is choose your platform!
Choose a blogging platform that works for you
As far as blogging platforms go, I’ve used two personally but there are plenty out there and they’re all pretty easy to use. These are the top 4!
- WordPress – This is the platform I use and I find it quite easy to run. I’ll talk about it in more detail in my next post. There are a number of things you can do with WordPress including the look and feel with a theme, and rock it out to help your blog look fab. Has a smartphone app which allows you to write and check your account on the go.
- Blogger – Again this is a nice and simple platform to use and you can do all sorts of things when you play with a blogger account. It’s linked to your google account so you can start one quickly and easily if you have a Google account.
- Wix – This ones a new one on me, but I gather it’s been around for a while too! You can build your custom theme blog here, I’m not too sure about themes and interactives for this blog but I have had a go at setting one up and it’s very very simple.
- Square space – Again this is a nice and simple very elegant blogging tool, I’ve just had a play and it seems much like WordPress to use. Let me know more about it in the comments if you use SS.
So you’ve chosen your platform. Now you need a name! You don’t have to get a domain name straight away (which you need to spend some monies on it!) in fact all you need is to start work on your first blog post! Choose a mane that’s right for you. It could be a clever pun that is hilarious I considered shananigans and wine for mine. Please don’t steal that its patented! Be aware that without a domain name your blog will carry the .blogging platform after the name. So mine would me www.shanelliswilliams.wordpress.com. If you’re intent on making it look super professional then go and play with domain names at Go Daddy. Then decide if you want to be a .com, .co.uk or a .cym which is dead exciting because that’s the extension for Wales!
I bought .com, .co.uk and .cym from this website for £3. My name can’t be that popular then….
Think carefully before you commit to a name. Does the name look like something else when read out loud. Do you want to sell scrap metal? Don’t call your website it’s scrap dot com. I couldn’t help but add a little bit of a diversion for you here – have a laugh! Anyway I digress. Start blogging without a domain name and it’ll give you a chance to establish your content and make up your mind to which direction you want to take your blog. It’s not absolutely a must to buy a domain name, but it’s a great idea to check out that the domain name you fancy is free for use. You can always buy it now, and use it later if you’re not confident with the techy thing. I’ll talk ab out it more when I talk about setting up a wordpress.
Don’t buy your domain through your host. It’s about £30 per year and not worth it. I’ll talk more about hosting later, but take a look at Lifetime Hosting for now.
Ok, so you have a name, a platform but you’re stumped? Honestly for the time being if you’re not a tech whizz, all you need is content. Keep adding posts. Nothing else. Maybe add a landing page and an about me page. I’ll talk more about these in a later posts, but that’s your basic how to start. Personally I’d try and get four or five good posts on there before trying to build an audience. You don’t need a niche. Write about you, your day, any books of film or Netflix series’ you’ve seen recently. Just make sure your posts are honest. I have this thing about knowing people will see right through you if you’re not being yourself. It’s true. It turns readers off.
Just do what comes naturally, and write it baby!
Try starting small. I made a facebook page I already had an Instagram and Twitter. I usually get most hits through Facebook and Twitter. Insta is growing and Pinterest which is completely new to me has started to yield results! I’m still learning to get my head around this but when I get it, I’ll let you in on what it’s all about!
Be friendly, engage other bloggers, there are a few groups on Facebook that I can recommend if you want to drop me a message. Use hashtags, but don’t overuse them or people will question if you’re real or not.
Try and use the same name you’ve used for your blog. I haven’t done this so people do tend to get confused. But that’s just me. I’m complex. Like a pickled onion. Lots of layers.
Tune in next week and I’ll do a WordPress for dummies tutorial for you!
See you then
About the author
Mum to 3, journalist, blogger and passionate Welsh girl. Well travelled and powered by caffine