Starting a blog can feel overwhelming. You have to figure out all the technical aspects of setting up a site while also trying to find a way to make yourself stand out. No matter what topic you choose, these tips should offer some practical guidance as you get started.
Pick a Goldilocks Theme
If your blog’s theme is too broad, it will be hard to find your groove, and you’ll have a difficult time ranking in the search engines. On the other hand, if the focus is too narrow, you’ll quickly run out of things to say. You have to find that “Goldilocks” theme – something that’s focused enough to make your mark while still giving you plenty to write about.
Give It Your Own Twist
Don’t shy away from something that sounds good to you simply because there are other blogs on the topic. Competition shows that there’s a market for your idea. However, you do want to give your topic some kind of twist that makes it your own. If you’re going to write about exercise, for instance, you’ll want to talk about your own personal transformation through exercise. Are you a former couch potato who now runs marathons? A football player who loves yoga? The fresh angle will draw readers in to your site.
Do Your Research to Set Things Up
Once you have an idea, you’ll have to get into the nitty gritty of building a site. That’s where a lot of people get hung up. Fortunately, there are plenty of free resources to help you learn how to start a blog with step-by-step instructions. Take a look at this blogging guide for walkthroughs, videos and reviews on how to get yourself set up.
Create a Plan
A lot of people think that the best types of blog posts are the ones that they’re suddenly inspired to write. These people don’t stick with blogging for long.
Instead, start with a solid plan in your head – and on paper. Think about how often you want to publish new pieces, then stick to that schedule. Create an editorial calendar with ideas of what to write each week. You can still write those pieces you’re suddenly inspired to write, but you won’t have to worry about having nothing to write about.
Use Your Voice
Develop a writing style that’s your own. People like to read pieces that seem conversational, so try writing in the same way that you speak. However, make sure that your tone of voice fits the theme of the blog. If you’re writing about a serious topic, you don’t want to inject too much humour or sarcasm.
Get It Up There
Don’t let perfectionism stop you before you even get started. Once your blog post is written, give it an edit and put it up on your blog. Remember that you can always go back to correct mistakes, add new information or pictures, and put links in. Publishing your posts as you write them forces you to keep moving with the project rather than holding yourself back for fear of failure. A large part of success is showing up and doing the work.
Check Your Statistics
Add a program to track your site’s traffic. Many people use Google Analytics, but there are other options available. This will help you see which pages on your site are getting traffic and how people are finding your site.
Use this data to replicate your successes. For instance, if you see that most people who visit your blog tend to look at posts on a particular topic, you’ll want to write more posts on that topic.
Network with Other Bloggers
When you’re getting started, it can feel like you’re putting in a lot of effort and not really seeing the results you wanted. It’s hard to keep going. Connecting with other bloggers can help drive traffic to your site. You might ask to submit a guest post to their site or let them know if you based one of your posts off of an idea you got from them. If your site is mentioned on theirs, you’ll see a surge in traffic from their site.
Blogging can be hard, but it’s also rewarding. Once you get through the initial learning process, you’ll start seeing the success you’ve been dreaming about.