Hey guys! Today I’m writing the second part of The Good Life’s one year anniversary series and this one’s something people ask me often – How to start your own blog and keep going at it?
I’ll try to make this as compact and structured as possible without missing out on any key points(It will still seem a bit lengthy, but trust me these are all key points).
Blogging is a fantastic way of exploring your creativity, building your professional credibility and connecting with a community of like-minded people. It can lead to deals, paid work and open doors you never thought would be possible. Personally, I also feel that blogging helps you evolve as a person and gain better perspective especially in your field of interest because when you share the knowledge that you have, you get thirsty for more.
A Genuine Interest/Passion
The most critical factor to your blog is the amount of passion you have about your topic. And by passion, I mean a gut wrenching desire to learn and discuss your topic. Whether it’s art, poetry, tech talk, fashion or marketing communications, the best thing you can do for your blog is fuel it with passion. Believe me, there will be times that you just don’t want to write. Passion will be the difference between having a blog that fizzles and one that stands the test of time.
List Down Your Purpose and Goals
You got to think about why you are creating your content and have goals attached to your efforts. Why are you blogging in the first place? There are many reasons, but which ones have meaning for you-
- Become known a Subject Matter Expert
- Increase business contacts
- Content Marketing
- Develop content for articles, presentations, and books
- Earn money by advertising, affiliate marketing, or selling
- Check off a bucket list item
- Express your ideas and thoughts
- Learn a topic by teaching
- Have an outlet for creativity
- Document experiences for nostalgia
Consider Your Readers At All Times
Next, you have to get started by answering the question, “Who will be reading my blog?” I’m listing down a few parameters that you could take under consideration-
Demographics / Quantitative traits:
- Years of experience
- Devices used to access content
Psychographics / qualitative traits:
Choose your preferred blogging platform
Choosing where you want to build blog is pretty much the first thing you have to do. I’m going to assume you’ve heard of WordPress, and this is the platform I advocate. It is massive and by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, with countless plugins and add-ons and almost infinite ways to design and layout your blog. It is super easy to set-up and is free to use.
There are other alternatives however like Blogger (the next best thing to WordPress) , Tumblr ( Half social network, half blog. Very easy to use).
Self-hosting or a free alternative?
You would want to slow down there! This is the biggest decision you’ll have to make. You need to decide whether to pay for your blog or grab a free one.
WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger all offer free blogs for anyone, perfect for those of us who aren’t super serious about blogging. But it does have downsides: You won’t be able to get your OWN domain name, You can’t fully monetize it, you don’t have the possibility to upload all those videos and images you want to show everyone – it is all limited! You won’t actually own your blog because it is hosted on someone else’s web property and they can delete it if they want.
However, if you really are not sure about blogging and are just looking at experiencing it first rather than completely committing to it, you should definitely pick the free alternative. (This is exactly what I had done. I bought my own domain after 9 months of blogging for free)
Content is King
About 80% of bloggers that I have observed do zero research when it comes to writing new posts, creating new blogs or coming up with deliverables. This is a big mistake in my opinion. Almost every post that you write has been written before. Every blog that you think of is already out there.
The important thing is to do some research into the competition. A quick look around and you’ll be able to see what keywords people are targeting, how many back links they have for their main posts and where those back links are coming from. This is invaluable information as it helps you decide whether or not you can compete in certain niches and keywords. If someone has links coming from a celebrity blogger, Wikipedia or Vogue then it is unlikely you’ll be able to outrank them in a hurry.
The takeaway here is, your posts should be as unique and impactful as possible!
Design and Aesthetics
Your blog’s appearance is going to make the first impression. Design in such a way that your readers are impressed and would want to see more (Don’t overdo it).
Make your blog look exactly how you want it to but keep it clutter-free and simple to navigate through. Responsive blog designs are a must. If your theme doesn’t respond well to the smaller mobile screens, there is a good chance you will be losing valuable traffic as people click away to find something easier to navigate.
An aesthetically pleasing blog will always be a hit!
Well, that’s pretty much it! I hope all this information comes to some good use to all those of you who want to give blogging a shot. In case if you want me to elaborate on any particular topic, do let me know. I would love to share whatever I know 🙂
Let me know your views in the comments below!
Till then, work hard, smile harder! 🙂