Setting up your blog may look like a piece-of-cake at the start but in reality, there are some things you have to consider if you want to make it something you can depend on in the long run. So if you’ve been thinking how to start your blog, here are some tips you may want to consider before diving in.
- Choose a topic that you want to write about.
One of the key ingredients to having a successful blog is to have the passion for doing it. The best way to get and maintain that passion is to write about a topic you love. List down the interests you’re really into or the hobbies that you enjoy and choose the one that really, really excites you. This will make it easier for you to come up with topics to write about since the topic you wanted is something that’s close to your heart. Since maintaining a blog requires regular updates, if you don’t have any passion for the topic you’re writing about, expect difficulties in coming up with daily entries and maintaining your blog.
Focusing on a topic that you love also keeps you from forcing yourself to write. Lack of passion often shows in your writing so if you’re not on the subject; your writing won’t flow naturally. It’s something your readers will notice too when they read your blog entries.
- Map out your blog’s business strategy.
If you’re planning to make a living through your blog, one thing you have to focus on is your business model. Study your niche and your possible competitors so you know who and what you’ll be up against. Also, you need to determine if your blog will just be a short-term pet project or if it will be something you plan on doing for a very long time.
If you decide to make it a long-term revenue earning blog, the next question is – how can you monetize it? Professional bloggers mostly rely on ads to drive in revenue. For someone starting out, you can consider using Google AdSense. It’s one of the primary sources of income for most blog users.
Another option is to go for Pay-Per-Click ads. This will allow you post ads that generate revenue whenever one of your visitors clicks on them. They may not generate more than AdSense but it’s a good source of income. Some of the pay-per-click ad services you can try are Infolinks, Nuffnang or Media.net.
- Select the right blogging platform.
Depending on what you plan to blog, different blogging platforms can meet your needs. While there are paid platforms that offer an array of features to enhance your blog, you can start off by using free blog sites. Check out our article about the best way to build a website.
The two most favourite blogs right now are WordPress and Blogger. WordPress offers a variety of templates and plug-in features to help you customise how your blog looks and performs. Blogger offers almost the same features as WordPress but what sets them apart is that Blogger is more open to integrating advertisements into your blog page. Both carry a user-friendly interface which makes them popular among new and professional bloggers alike.
Now if you’re blog involves photography, which is heavy on imagery, you might want to consider opening a free account with Tumblr. Popular among visual artists and photographers, Tumblr has established itself as a blog that highlights imagery more than text.
- Choose a unique and catchy domain name.
By now, most of the common domain names have been taken either by large enterprises or by those still looking to cash in on the business template of the once lucrative dot-com craze with the hopes of striking big later on. Anyway, you put it, if you plan on having your blog, you’ll need to get a bit creative when it comes to your domain name.
Now if you feel this is just too much, think about it – if you buy just any run-of-the-mill domain name, how will people remember you? Keep in mind that it’s all about a recall and if you provide a unique username, people are bound not to forget it. Plus, a unique domain name will be easier for you acquire since you’re the only one who’s thought of it so far.
- Keep your blog’s design professional.
When the Internet was still in its early stages, most people had their websites sporting bright colors and images with the idea that it will capture people’s attention more. Try that today and people will think of your blog as kids stuff. With a professional looking design, that’s something you can avoid.
Of course, you don’t have to hire a graphic designer to come up with a design theme for you. While that’s something you can do down the line, for starters, make sure you select a blog theme that’s cool and relaxing to the eye. This will make it easier for your visitors to read your blog entries.
Avoid bright and overly contrasting color combinations. You can still go for a contrasting color scheme for your design but make sure to play around subtle colors so they won’t hurt the eyes.
- Decide on the your writing style and tone.
Consistency is important when it comes to writing and that includes writing style and tone. Having your own style will help make writing easier since you already how to formulate your blog entry.
Keep in mind that one way to make this happen is by writing as if you’re talking to the person reading your write-up. This will make it easier for your thoughts to flow and translate to your article. Plus, your style and tone is what people will remember you for once they continue to follow your blog.
- Optimize your blog entries.
Don’t fret – you don’t really need to be an expert in search engine optimization to optimize your blog entries. There are simple ways to optimize your blog. First of, you can use tags so that your entries can be easier to find in your blog site.
Linking to your other blog posts is another way to optimize your blog since having people go to these entries make them relevant and in turn, help you become more searchable by search engine spiders.
Finally, make sure all your images have ALT tags. Search engine spiders go through these ALT tags and use them to help make that image they crawled on and ultimately your blog rank in search results pages.
- Establish a network with other bloggers.
Just like in every other industry, networking is still important in the world of blogging. It’s important to get to know people since they can help you in spreading the word about your blog’s existence. They can do this by linking to your blog or even devoting an entry just for you.
Of course, networking isn’t just about leaving a comment and then asking them to tell people about your blog. Aside from regular commenting, show support by linking their blog to yours. You don’t have to do it with every blogger. Focus on those within your industry or those you really find interesting.
- Post, post, post.
Yes, you read it right – regular updates are a must. Frequent updating of your blog ensures that you stay relevant. Blog rely on posts to get them up search engine rankings and the longer the gap between posts is, the harder you’ll find yourself staying at the top of search results.
Ideally, posting should be done daily to ensure that your blog gets to bring in regular traffic. However, if you find your schedule a bit too tight, just make sure to have at least three to four entries in a week to still maintain a good amount of new visits coming to your blog.
- Quality will always trump quantity.
While it’s important to post regularly, it’s equally important to ensure that the content you’re putting in is relevant and of good quality. If you’re just coming up with blog entries just for the sake of having something posted, chances are, these entries won’t be as well written compared to blog entries you took time to prepare.
Always remember that visitors come to your blog to read – not to see the number of posts you have for a day. So if you find yourself in a quandary of having to put in more blog entries or write one that readers will find useful, always go for the latter.
- Spread the word using social media.
Social media is a very powerful medium to get the news around these days so make sure you utilize it to spread the word about your blog.
Since most people have more than one social media account under their names, they’ll be able to see whatever you posted on your social media accounts allowing them to share your articles. Currently, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr are the most popular social media accounts you can use to help your blog reach a wider audience.
Just remember that when doing this, your social media posts have to be short to make them readable but catchy to make them memorable.