Blogging has become increasingly popular over the last few years. I know many, many people that have gone ahead with starting a blog and only a handful actually keep it up and carry it on. This doesn’t mean that you’re a failure, it just means it might not be for you. It could be that you didn’t realise how much work was involved or it could be that you just don’t have the time to commit to it. Either way, it can be handy to know what to expect when starting a blog, so I thought I’d put together a little list of things worth knowing.
Think about why you are starting a blog
Why do you want to start writing a blog? Are you doing it because you love to write, or are you doing it because you think you might get some freebies out of it?
If it’s the latter, then I would urge you to stop reading right here. Any successful blogger will tell you that the reason they started their blog in the first place is because they love to write. Blogging is a great outlet for many and can very often be seen as therapeutic. The money and the ‘freebies’ come so, so much later after many hours of blogging for no financial gain. And some don’t even go down the route of monetising their blog. Some love it just for what it is. Their little space on the internet. And that’s great.
So, if you think you can just start a blog and start making money in the first few weeks, I’m afraid you are hugely mistaken. If you are in the first category I mentioned, then please do read on. I hope I can help in some way.
Get some decent equipment
First and foremost, get some decent equipment. Some people I know blog solely on their phone, but if I’m honest, I really can’t imagine what a faff that must be. A decent computer or laptop is something that personally, I couldn’t be without. If you are going to be including lots of photos on your blog, you are going to want one that runs reasonably fast and has a decent memory. There is nothing more infuriating than trying to write a blog post when you’re working with prehistoric equipment that isn’t cut out for the job. Equipment doesn’t have to cost a fortune these days, and if you look carefully you can find some great laptop deals online. And at the end of the day, think of it as an investment.
Some people think that they need a fancy camera to take pictures for their blog posts or their Instagram accounts. Honestly, in the early days, if you haven’t got one and really can’t afford one. Don’t worry and don’t bother. The majority of us have smartphones these days and until April of this year, that’s all I used. And I still do sometimes. There are some great tips online about how to take great photos with your smartphone. Have a read through them and then start practising. You might surprise yourself.
Buy your domain and find a host
This is one tip that I wish I knew before I started. By getting your own domain early on and finding a host, it saves a whole heap of hassle early on. Domains don’t cost a fortune and hosting can be found for very competitive rates. It’s worth investigating what deals are around and what they can offer. Always try and make sure there is support available because if your site does go down for some reason, you want to be sure you’ll be able to find out why.
By being self-hosted it means you will be able to make your site your own from the very beginning. There are so many great themes out there that allow you to totally personalise your site to your liking. This is one of my favourite parts, I can literally lose hours upon hours faffing around!
Think carefully about your domain name. Make sure it’s something you are going to be happy with in three, five or even ten years time. Make sure no one else has anything too similar and keep it short, snappy and easy to remember.
Do your research
Get on Twitter and start speaking to other bloggers. Get involved and see how you feel about it all. The blogger community is generally a very approachable group of people who are usually only too happy to help. Of course, like anywhere and anything, there is always one or two that let the side down, but that’s just life. You will find many bloggers have a very strong social presence and can often be found tweeting away or posting our pictures to Instagram. Just stop by and say hi and if there is anything you want to know, ask away!
Have a read of other blogs too. There are thousands out there and all are unique in their own way. You need to find your own style, sure, but it always helps to read others too. With a bit of luck, you will find a gap where you can slot right in and start offering something that someone else hasn’t quite done yet.
Get set up on Social Media
If you are no fan of social media then I’m afraid now is the time to learn to embrace it. I loved it before I even started blogging so I was lucky, but I know some people don’t have a lot of time for it. In the early days, before you become established and experienced, social networks will be the one surefire way to get your content out there. Start using the hashtags when you share posts and above all, please engage. Don’t just use your platforms to dump links. People will get bored. By engaging, your followers will get to know the real you and in turn, you will create a genuine following. Which is what you want. Believe me, on this one, it’s quality over quantity every single time.
Try where possible to keep your social handles and profile pictures the same in on every platform. This will make you more recognisable and it keeps it tidy and consistent.
Finally, just enjoy it. Like I said at the beginning. You should be starting a blog because you love to write or because you want to share or raise awareness. There should be a passion behind it. If there isn’t you will get bored quickly and it will all have been a waste of time.
Don’t expect major blogging success immediately. It takes time. Don’t expect hundreds of page views overnight. It takes commitment. Don’t expect thousands of followers to come flocking in the first week, that too takes time and effort on your part, but if you’re in it for the right reasons you will enjoy it. Then you will see the results.
I have been blogging for just over five years now and even though I’m not yet where I would like to be, I’m getting there. I have a routine and schedule that I try and stick to wherever possible and the opportunities that have been presented to me through blogging are a bonus for me doing something that I love. The day I stop enjoying it, is the day I will give it all up. But I honestly don’t think that will ever happen.
I hope this has been helpful for you if you are thinking of starting a blog. It can be quite daunting, but if you are in it for the right reasons then it should be pretty easy, and completely worth it. I say go for it. What have you got to lose?
Have you recently started a blog? How have you found it? Perhaps you are experienced and have some tips to add. Leave them in the comments. I would love to hear from you.
Written in collaboration