Can you believe it’s been almost 6 years since I’ve been blogging? That’s a pretty long time, and although I wasn’t 100% consistent during that time, I always came back to it (like what I’m doing now). 2020-2021 was a lot, and my motivation to write simply wasn’t there. However, we’re pushing through the madness and aiming to make this year my best year yet, in every way. One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is about starting a blog, therefore I thought it best to outline a few easy tips that helped me to start my own.
I started this blog on a whim while in college to share stories from activities I found myself engaged in or information I wanted to share with others. However, if this is something you have been thinking about for some time hopefully these tips can help you get started.
1/ Do Your RESEARCH
When starting something new it’s important to first do your research. Yes, you can ask individuals you know questions, but they won’t always have the answer. The internet is filled with posts about starting a blog, from choosing a platform, designing a template, choosing a website host etc. It can definitely be overwhelming at first because there are many different aspects which go into starting a blog. You don’t have to know them all at the beginning, but as you grow throughout the process things will become clearer. One of the main topics you would research is a platform for your blog, are you going to use Blogger, Wix, WordPress or Square space. Personally, I use WordPress and I haven’t had any problems thus far. Of course, there’s a free version and paid versions depending on the goal of your blog and the features you will require (or desire)
2/ What will your blog be about?
Often referred to as your niche, what will the posts on your blog be about? Start thinking about the topics your blog will cover, are you interested in food, fashion, books, music etc. Most of the advice on the internet will tell you to stick to one niche, but if you’re interested in multiple (like me), find a way to tie them together or ensure you’re categorising them correctly with labels/tags. As you can see from my blog, I focus on Natural Hair, Lifestyle and Content Creation, with tabs in the header for each. Once you have your main topic, you’ll also need to think about how this will be broken down into individual blog posts. E.g If you’re interested in food blogging, will you be creating recipes, doing restaurant reviews or even both.
3/ It’s all in the NAME
When creating your blog, you will want to come up with a name that’s easy to spell and remember. Think of title that reflects your brand; using the food example from before www.(insert name)eats.com or http://www.reviewsby(insert name).com. If you don’t want to use your full name, you can shorten it similar to what I did with Ali. Search the internet for different names and ensure your idea isn’t already taken. As of late, most individuals have been creating websites with their own name to continue their branding.
Another good tip to note, as much as possible have the same name across all your platforms, this way it makes it easy for individuals to find and connect with you.
4/ Find a SCHEDULE that works for you
When I first started I had the grand idea of wanting to publish posts 2/3 times a week, and obviously that was not sustainable with college courses and later a full-time job. There’s no way I was able to batch that many posts including photos, SEO research etc by myself. I got burnt out fast and my blog ended up suffering. If you’re working or going to school or have other priorities, the main tip is finding a schedule that works for you. How many posts do you see yourself scheduling a month?
5/ Make TIME for planning
Planning is essential when managing a blog, especially if you’re time is being utilized elsewhere (work, school etc.) You’ll need to not plan your content, such as brainstorming ideas, taking and editing photos, SEO research to maximize people finding your content, as well as drafting blog posts. To make planning easier, you can do tasks on the go using your notes app or google docs for if ideas come to you at random times. I’ll highly suggest setting aside time to fully develop drafts, especially if you’re producing more longform content and if you need to add in affiliate links etc.
6/ SEO matters
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. One of the major ways to get eyes on your posts is to ensure you’re using keywords and optimizing your posts for search engines (Google, Yahoo etc.). Keywords should be used throughout a post and are “ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they’re the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.”” (MOZ) In addition to keywords, you should add visuals to your blog posts whether photos, videos or graphics and add alternative text to increase reach and for inclusivity. Lastly, your posts need to have a catchy title which will encourage readers to click on it and not keep scrolling.
7/ Don’t forget to PROMOTE yourself
My biggest mistake when I first started blogging was thinking that once I hit “publish” that was it. Over the years I learnt I needed to share my posts with others in order for them to reach a wider audience. This can be sharing on your social media platforms, p.s. Instagram now allows you to include links in your stories, or sharing via an email newsletter. Through WordPress, my blog is linked to my Facebook page and Twitter account, therefore any time I publish a new post it automatically gets posted on those sites. In addition to posting, I can craft a message specific for social media to be posted along with it. P.S. don’t simply depend on your friends and family to support your content.
That’s all for my tips, hope they were beneficial to you! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to share more.