The Ultimate Guide To Starting A Blog

Friday, April 21, 2017



Do you want to start a blog? Well, I can give you the hints and tips you need to get started!

I started my blog in November 2013 because writing is my passion and I needed a hobby alongside my degree. I wanted to invest my energy into something that I knew I'd enjoy, as well as creating my own platform and my personal corner of the internet where I could express myself, and creating a blog was the only way to do that.

Over the years my blog has gone from strength to strength and it has changed beyond recognition. Even though I am not a big blogger, I have been able to gain opportunities and experiences as a result of being a blogger. I have been able to build up my portfolio. I've been able to hone my writing skills and carve out a career in freelance writing (separate from my blog). Best of all, I've been able to do something I'm enthusiastic about and establish my true passion - writing. Plus, it's wonderful to be a part of the blogging community, where I can meet like-minded individuals who do exactly what I do.

All in all, starting a blog was one of the best decisions I ever made.


Anyway, enough about me, onto you. So you want to start a blog? Well, here is my guide on how to do exactly that!

1. Choose your platform
There are a number of websites available where you can choose to host and run your blog, but the main ones are Blogger and Wordpress. I use Blogger, but I don't think it matters either way - Blogger and Wordpress are both really easy to use and customize.


2. Pick a suitable name
For the longest time, I had such an issue with choosing the right name for my blog, so I changed it many times. Eventually, I settled on the name 'Chichi Writes' because my blog is about myself and the things I love to write about. When choosing a name for your blog, make sure you pick a name that:
- Represents what your blog is about
- Is unique to you and your blog
- Isn't too long
- Is 'Googleable' and easy for people to read and recognize

How To Make My Blog explains more about picking a memorable domain name.



3. Buy your own blog domain
When you start a blog you have the option of using a subdomain (i.e. .blogspot.co.uk, .wordpress.com or .weebly.com) or you can own your own domain (.co.uk, .me or .com.) You don't have to buy your own domain but if you are looking to use your blog as more than a hobby (i.e. turning it into a business or using it as a portfolio) then it is better to buy a domain name as it looks much more professional. Best British Bloggers goes into more detail about buying your own domain and hosting your blog.

There are many websites where you can host your blog and buy your domain - such a GoDaddy, Namecheap, Bluehost and 123reg - and they all offer different prices so owning your domain name need not cost an arm and a leg. I recently bought my domain name with Google Domains - an option which is easily available if you use Blogger as your platform - for £10 a year, which is equivalent to 83p a month - a can a fizzy drink!


4. Pick a niche
When you start a blog you should have a rough idea about what you want to blog about. Your blog could be about anything - fashion, beauty, lifestyle, food, relationships, travel, sport, politics or literature. Also, you don't have to stick to one particular topic. I blog about fashion, beauty, and lifestyle, with a little bit of travel thrown in. Don't feel restricted to one niche.


5. Content creation
This is the big one - content creation. After all, what is a blog without content? In order to make sure that you are running your blog effectively, you need post regularly and keep it consistent - quality is better than quantity so don't post for the sake of it. You might want to create a to-do list or an editorial calendar and schedule a time to blog so that you can keep on top of it.


6. Blog photography
Even if your blog is word-heavy, visuals are still important so your blog photography has to be on-point. Take photos for your blog - it's best to do this in daylight with a camera but a smartphone will do. If you can't take photos for your blog then you can use royalty-free stock images. Many websites offer this are some are free to use. I use Pexels, Pixabay and Picjumbo.

7. Promotion
In order to get more people reading your blog - and in order to increase traffic - you should regularly promote your blog and any new posts on social media - it's the best marketing tool for your blog and it's free. You can connect your blog with your social media channels so that links to new posts are automatically published on social media. You can use services such as IFTTT, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Twuffer to do this.

Engagement with other bloggers and brands is essential on social media in order to get your blog out there. Also, read other blog and leave comments on the posts, as this is a way to link back to your site and to increase readership.


8. Money, money, money
Some people are not interested in making money from their blogs and that is fine, but for those who are, the possibility is endless. If you want to make money from your blog you need to monetise it. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Place adverts on your blog using Google Adsense and Affiliate Window
- Sell advertising packages to bloggers and businesses
- Advertise your skills you specialise in (e.g. copywriting, social media management, web creation or graphic design.)
- Embed affiliate links and widgets within your posts (you can do this with Affiliate Window and Shopsense respectively).

Please bear in mind that it will take some time before you start making money from your blog but if you know you want to make money then it's better to start monetising sooner rather than later.


And there you have it! My ultimate guide to starting a blog!


P.S. here are a couple of things I should mention:
- First of all, the blogging world is astronomical so you might find some people say that there is "no point" in starting a blog or that the "golden era" of blogging is over. Don't listen to these people. Yes, the blogging world is big and there are so many bloggers out there in the online world but there is enough space for everyone.
- Secondly, if you want to start a blog for the sole purpose of gaining freebies or making a quick buck, then don't. Start a blog because you want to showcase your passion. Most bloggers don't start off making huge amounts of money, and while receiving freebies is a wonderful thing (thanks brands and PRs!), they don't pay the bills and they are few and far between.


So go ahead and create your own blog today!


Do you have any other hints and tips on starting your own blog? Copify has a comprehensive guide on starting a blog but I'd love to hear your thoughts!

*This post was created in collaboration with Copify, the leading website copywriting service, but all words and opinions are 100% my own! :)

*Photo credits: Ashely Ella Design

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2 comments

  1. Well done Chichi for this post!!! It's quite informative and professional and great for people wanting to start blogs like me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you ever thought about vlogging like on YouTube? If so any tips?

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