Starting a blog is an excellent way to portray opinion, express creativity or simply, share everything and anything with the world.
My blog began almost two years ago, as a virtual box of memories to accompany my university journey. I have documented the ups and the downs, the discoveries and the failures of my life over the years on here. And honestly, I absolutely love blogging even if at times I struggle to find the time in my hectic student schedule.
Blogging can be as easy or as difficult as you’d like it to be. Starting my blog was fairly straight forward as I already owned my own URL which was self-hosted on WordPress. However, places like Blogger, or the blog come social media platform Tumblr, are great simple places to start.
Confession: Whilst I am no ‘professional’ blogger, I am able to share what I know works for my blog.
In this post I provide a simple guide to starting a blog. This includes information on content, images, titles and social media promotion. A blog’s success not only relies on useful or interesting content, but also the affective use of social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
Starting a Blog
All that you need to start a blog is an idea of what you’d like to write about and a place to write about it. The list of ‘blog topics’ is endless, however, finding a niche is never a bad thing. My blog happens to be a student-lifestyle inspired blog, but as with most forms of social media, it is ever-changing and evolving.
Whilst it is perfectly acceptable to at first write about whatever tickles your fancy, in the end discovering a topic that you are passionate about is the key to success. To read more about niches, click here.
In terms of platforms, there are so many. If you cannot figure out the likes of WordPress, then there is no harm is using Blogger or Tumblr as mentioned above. They offer a free service that is fairly straight forward but at the same time allows for flexibility. Tumblr operates on feed-like tags and has more of a social-media-esque feel about it.
Once you are all set-up it is onto content and choosing eye-catching images that will draw your readers in.
Content and Images
Content and images are key when starting a blog that people want to visit time and time again.
Blog content has to be well-written and have a use or entertainment value. Likewise, good images are crucial. Bright, self-explanative and ‘pretty’ looking photographs are often the make-or-break decision as to whether or not your post is clicked on, especially with regards to social media referrals. Readers like pleasing and pretty imagery.
It might be a practical idea to prepare an inventory of blog posts in advance to give you a head start. I suffer a lot from ‘writers block’, trust me, it is a real issue. I often refer to this extensive list of basic blog post ideas for inspiration. Always remember that varied content is interesting content.
Frequency in posting is also absolutely essential; this is something that I find tricky at times. However, I really notice the difference when I frequently post either weekly or up to three times a week. Posting on the same day at the same time is the way forward if possible.
Blog Post Titles, Categories and Tags
Choosing the perfect title that clearly reflects the post content enables readers to find your article coherently and quickly according to their search. A title should be straight to the point and intriguing all at the same time. A good title sums up your entire post in a concise sentence. Likewise, the opening sentence of your post should also be along similar lines of summarising and explaining briefly.
On the other hand, the use of categories and tags aids easy navigation for readers. I would try to limit your categories to key more generalised topics and have a bank of more specific tags that you use frequently.
Basic Guide to Social Media
When starting a blog, social media will quickly become your best friend. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are ideal platforms to push your blog content out into the wider world. With a good image and a catchy title, it doesn’t take much to gain huge traffic volumes from outside sources. For example, my post where I attended a Sprinkle of Glitter meet-and-greet was heavily noticed due to the fact that I utilised a Twitter hashtag and tagged Louise in the tweet, of which, she later on shared on her own social media accounts.
Good content can spread fast when social media is used to its best advantage.
Pinterest and Instagram rely on clean, bright images. Pinterest, on the one hand, aspires for long images that tell a story or depict a process. The latter, Instagram, also works on the basis of hashtags whereby images circulate according to popular tags that are continually being searched. The easiest way to understand how this works is to just try it out, by all means my Instagram is an ideal place to begin research.
Twitter is based on whit, explanatory sentences and the ability to communicate and share content directly with other like-minded individuals. Whereas, Facebook functions around captivating imagery or even short video clips. A good example of a successful Facebook like page is The Moving Road. This page uses images containing relatable quotes that are ideal for sharing again and again.
With a combination of good content, perfected images and a constant cycle of social media posts repeatedly sharing your content, blogging is a fun journey to embark on. All you need is passion and an idea.