In case you didn’t know, blogs (a term that is a contraction of weblogs) first became popular during the 1990s when people started to write online articles about their favorite topics, such as traveling, food, sports, health, business, fashion and lifestyle choices. Since then blogging has gone from strength to strength. In fact, pick any subject at all and you’ll most likely find somebody, somewhere is blogging about it. If you like the idea of communicating information, knowledge, inspiration or skills, or even if you just want to entertain folk and make new friends, here are a few tips to get you started.
Your domain name
If you already know what you want to write about then you need to think about bagging some personal space on the internet and for this you’ll need a domain name. Some people use their own name and others go with a preferred theme if that’s appropriate, opting to use this in the title. Examples might include parenting, cooking, hobbies or pets for instance. If you want to create a community that shares interests or experiences, you might opt for using a title that reflects this – our own website focuses on the meeting of minds, for example.
Remember that you may find your first choice is not available: after all if you have opted for a really good title someone else may have taken it. For a personal website you can always add a middle initial or extra dashes if your first choice is already in use. To register your new domain you can opt for a free site, such as Blogger, Word Press or Tumblr, or pick an affordable hosting services. You’ll get really helpful tips on these sites about how to lay out your text, place images and screen videos to create the effect you want. Take the time to visit a few sites you really like and make a mental note of how they organize their look.
Once your blog is set up you can start writing and posting your articles to it. As with any word processor software you will have options to choose the titles of your posts, the fonts, justification and colors. Your blog menu will also contain choices for uploading and editing images and with a little practice you’ll be able to assemble posts that look as good as they read.
If you are going to write about a specialist subject, such as health and fitness for example, it’s best to take some time to do proper research. After all, you don’t want to find you are giving people incorrect information, or merely rehashing the contents of someone else’s blog.
In fact, the quality of your blog content – what and how you actually write, plus how you present it – makes a tremendous difference to the amount of attention it will get. In terms of presentation you need to use great images and short but sharp videos to make your content interesting and catch the eye of viewers. Use a reputable company such as Dreamstime as a resource for top quality stock images and video footage. If you get it right, a picture really does paint a thousand words.
Promoting your blog
This is an area where you can’t afford to be shy. If you don’t promote your blog, no one will read it and you may feel you might as well not have bothered in the first place. Instead, use all the free channels at your fingertips and make the most of your social media connections. Most programs allow you to link to social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook as soon as you publish a post. There’s also no harm in sending out a gentle reminder to friends and followers in case some people missed your announcement first time round.
Don’t be afraid to comment in a useful way on other blogs that are similar or on the same topic. That’s how you gather new followers. If you comment often you can also link to another blog, creating a ‘trackback’ link to your own blog.
Some bloggers like to offer guest posts to others. These means you could write something for another blogger’s site and promote your own site at the same time. In return, you can also offer this facility to other bloggers, especially if they are writing about similar themes or topics. It’s best to make sure your ideas are more or less in tune with theirs, of course.
Online forums are also a good way to spread the word about your own writing. You will most probably find that if you make useful or insightful comments on a regular basis, then people will want to know more about who you are and what you write.
This is one of the hurdles that some would-be bloggers never manage to overcome. As well as aiming for high quality writing and top class images you also need to post regularly. Every couple of days is best but at least once a week is essential, as otherwise people will simply forget that you and your blog are there. Frequency of posts is also a way to ensure that people will make repeat visits to your blog, in case they’ve missed anything.
Earning money from your blog
Finally, as a beginner blogger you may be beguiled by the idea that you can actually make money from your blog. This is certainly true providing you have achieved a sizeable following – advertisers are willing to pay you for the opportunity to place ads on your site. The level of visibility of these ads has to be carefully judged, however, because you won’t want to put off site visitors if the ads are too dominant.
Also, your chosen topics or themes will make a difference because advertisers will use these to judge the demographic your blog is reaching. For example, business or finance topics are likely to appeal to those with a healthy income, whereas a blog about boy bands is likely to attract young teenagers who are less interesting to advertisers in this respect.