Have you ever thought you should start a blog? Maybe you heard of a friend doing it, or maybe you read one or more blogs that you really enjoy, inspiring you to start one. Whatever the case, blogging is not a hard thing to do, so don’t be intimidated. Blogging can be very rewarding and beneficial, but there are some important things you need to know before you dive in. Here are 7 simple steps to help you start a blog and what you need to know about the blogging world.
1. Have Something to Say
To start a blog, set your intentions first. There are TONS of blogs out there with absolutely no message, no point and no real purpose. Some people just use blogging as an online diary, and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, most successful blogs have a message, a purpose, or a reason for blogging. Some top types of blogs include recipe blogs, photography blogs, fashion blogs, health and wellness blogs, fitness blogs and blogs about overcoming personal obstacles. Editorial blogs on news websites are also growing in popularity. Have a message or a hobby, a skill, talent, or interest in what you want to blog about. The best thing to do is read other blogs to get a feel for what it is like. While you don’t want to copy anyone, you will find the more you read other blogs, the better you create ideas for your own.
2. Decide How Much Time You Can Spend
Blogging doesn't cost money, but it does take time. You don’t just write something and publish it. Blogging includes a real interest in what you want to say, writing, editing, adding photos, linking to reference websites and more. Decide how much time you want to spend on it and how much of your free time you’re willing to spare. You don’t have to post every single day, and many successful bloggers do NOT post everyday. Blogging is not about the amount of posts you make, but about the quality of the ones you do. You get to decide how much time that is, so make a vision of your day and how blogging would fit in
3. Compile Ideas First
So you do have a passion or a purpose for blogging, plus the time to do it? Great! Now, go to a basic document program on your computer, such as Word. Compile 5 different posts so you get a feel for it before you actually publish anything. This will also help you develop your writing "voice," which is how you write in regards to how you sound to others through your words. You will get more comfortable with time. Remember, extremely long posts can make readers shy away.
4. Take or Find Photos for Your Idea Posts
So you now have your ideas together? Now it’s time to add some pizazz! People respond to pictures much more than words. If you have a recipe blog, then by all means TAKE PICTURES. Use good lighting and photos of several steps of the recipe, not just the final piece. If you want to start a fashion advice blog, then take pictures or find some on the web of styles you like. Save the photos off the web to your computer to use, but ALWAYS credit the original source if the photos are not your own.
5. Become Familiar with Hyperlinking
Hyperlinking is not a fancy, technical issue. It simply means crediting a source or photo or item you are referencing to the original source. For example, if I wanted to reference the American Heart Association’s recommendations for a health blog, I would attach a hyperlink to the word American Heart Association. This gives the source due credit and prevents anyone stating you are stealing ideas and words. People appreciate honesty. To hyperlink, simply highlight the words you want to link, right click and select Hyperlink and insert the words with the link. Most blogging websites also have a tool at the top of each post box for linking.
6. Find a Blogging Host Site
You do not have to pay to start a blog. You simply need a host. The two most popular ones are Wordpress and Blogger. Many people also use Tumblr. Research each site (or another hosting site you find),and make draft posts on each website to get a feel for what works best for you. Many people start out with one of the mentioned host sites, which let you build templates and personalize your blog. You can also purchase a special link to your website as well through these sites, which gives it a personal touch without the added host site like Wordpress or Blogger in the actual URL and personalizes it as only your site.
7. READY, SET, BLOG
Put your words into action. Blogging is NOT just about writing. Once you have your first post written on your chosen host site, you've edited and added photos to your post, now it’s time to promote it! Networking is key. Blogging is about networking. If you spend the time to blog, most likely you want people to read it and enjoy it! Learn how to post to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, which are the top three sites for network sharing today. Post a link on your profiles of all of these sites and each time a new post is added, be sure to share it. You will get better with time and become a better writer. You also need to decide who your audience is, and visit other blogs with the same interest to comment on their posts, sharing yours. While you don’t want to be annoying, many times you can find great other blogs that you like through commenting, and others will find yours too. Network, network, network ! You’ll also most likely meet all types of great new people with common interests as you.
Blogging is one of the best ways for us to learn from others. It can also even turn into careers for some people. With these 7 simple steps to start a blog, you can be on your way and prepared to succeed. Do you have a blog? Share it with me!