When I first gained interest in blogging, I thought wow, this will be so easy and fun!, but once I actually created my own blog (based on my boarding school experiences), I was totally lost on what to do. Blogging can be a relatively simple process, but there are a few elements that make the difference between good blogs and great blogs that people want to subscribe to.
Starting a blog is an incredibly beneficial experience. It’s a way to express your daily thoughts, focus on things that you find interesting, and surround yourself in a community that shares similar interests. Blogging also can build up your credibility on a particular subject, and can be a great conversation starter or resume builder when it comes to interviews! Keeping up a blog requires passion, writing talent, and dedication; all of which can lead to a potential job. More than that, though, it’s just plain fun.
Here’s some tips on getting started!
1. What type of blog do you want?
There are a few main types of different blogs you’ll see on the web.
– Personal blogs or online diaries can give you a place to express your thoughts and document your life (anonymously or not).
– Professional blogs center around your career path and can build up your experience in a certain field of work.
– Themed blogs are based on a certain hobby, lifestyle, or any subject you want to focus on (maybe cooking, fashion, the sky’s the limit!).
So think about what types of things you’ll want to make posts about regularly. Draw from your personal life. Do you want to document your study abroad experience? Or are you an expert on photography and want to post your artwork?
2. Choose a platform.
There are tons of different blogging-based websites available for your use.
– Tumblr.com is pretty easy to use, doesn’t require much formatting knowledge, and is more of a social media site. The downfall is that many Tumblr blogs are just ‘re-blogged’ content and it can be more difficult to distinguish yourself from other blogs.
– WordPress.com or Blogger.com, on the other hand, have a more professional look to their sites, and are better suited to bloggers who want more control over the formatting and style of their blog. It’s easier to personalize, but can be overwhelming for those who are less tech-savvy.
– OverBlog links in easily to live-streaming media accounts such as Twitter and YouTube and combines those elements with more traditional blogging.
My suggestion is for new bloggers to try out different types of websites to see which one fits their style best.
3. Customize your blog.
Choose a catchy title and theme to tie your website together. Introduce yourself so your readers know who you are and why you are blogging! For an additional cost, you can purchase your own domain name that will give your blog a more professional touch. But to begin with, many blogging domains are free and have customization options included.
4. Get started and post regularly.
Dive in right away! Once you think of a topic that will make a good post, get to writing. Make sure you will be able to update regularly to keep your blog active. A ‘queue’ is a way to write posts ahead of time, but schedule them to be posted on a certain date, so that you can keep the flow of posts on your blog steady.
5. Promote yourself.
It can be really frustrating when you start blogging and you’re thinking “does anyone even read this thing?”. In order to gain followers, it’s important to enable functions such as ‘tags’ and keywords so that your blog can show up on search engines. That way, when people are searching for blogs on a certain topic, they can read your site and subscribe. Another way to promote yourself are to interact frequently with other blogs, and even have partnerships with other bloggers so that you’re part of a sort of online community, and their subscribers will be attracted to your site. Lastly– giveways are a huge way to gain followers! Offer some sort of ‘prize’ that will be given at random to a blog subscriber, with extra entries for those who share the blog with others. This will attract a lot of new readers, plus it’s a great way to interact with your current subscribers.
On that note…
6. Talk to your followers!
Are comments enabled on your site? Can readers contact you? Responding to comments and questions is a fun way to enhance your blogging experience, plus it brings many different perspectives to the thoughts shared on your site.
7. Build up your online image.
You can link anything to your blog page. Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, LinkedIn, you name it. Social networks are a quick and easy way to promote yourself, and continue your blogging interest through different media outlets.
What’s important to remember, though, is that whatever you post online is there for anyone to see! Future bosses, boyfriends, or even your parents might be able to view your page, so be mindful of the content you post. If you want to stay anonymous, make sure you aren’t giving out details about your location or school. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with your posts being public, feel free to be as open as you like.
With these tips in mind, find your inspiration and go start your very own blog. Before you know it, you’ll be an old pro!
[Lead image via nito/Shutterstock]