A friend of mine was asking about how to start a blog so I thought I would research the topic. It was a good opportunity to broaden my knowledge on this subject especially since blogging is such a very popular pastime.

So what is a blog? According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is: “A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.” The person who writes a blog is known as a blogger. The act of writing a blog is known as blogging.

What do people blog about and why?

People have blogs to chat about lots of different topics but they usually include their lives and family, their passions aBlog passionnd hobbies or their businesses.  Blogs have a main core subject and the blogger hopes and believes that this subject will be of interest to the wider online public.

Blog’s Main Subject

So before creating your blog you must take a step back and analyse whether people will really want to read it?  Are they interested in the blog’s main topic, will that continue?  A blogger wants to be known for having a popular and respected blog.  A successful blog should be a ‘must read’.  So for instance, if you love shoes, you may want to write a blog solely dedicated to your passion – shoes.

A blog should not be a rant, boring, passionless or have no personality.  That’s the quickest way to blog demise.

Good blogs will take time to build and the subject matter of the blog has to interest readers now and year after year. Writing a successful blog is a big time commitment, will you have the time?

Still committed, then let’s talk more!

Words and blogs

What kind of blog do you want to have?

If you are thinking of creating a blog you have to know who your target audience will be.  You also need to know where you will find them.  So draw up a list of who you want to talk to, what they would be interested in hearing about and how you will get them to follow your blog.

Consider using social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn) and joining useful online forums to find an audience who may be interested in your blog.  When you post on these platforms make sure you tantalise your social media followers/forum readers with some initial text/image so they want to go to your blog link at the bottom of the post to find out more.  Hopefully people may choose to read and follow your blog post.

Don’t forget there are a lot of bloggers out there.  Some may be talking about the same subjects that you intend to base your blog on.  There could be a lot of blog competition with a high number of readerships.  Check your competitors out – what makes them so successful?  Can you adopt a similar strategy?  You could consider talking about a niche topic to build your readership. You could start small and then widen the blog topic area later or create another blog.  You also need to give your blog a name which is part of the domain address.  See the Blog hyperlinks below where we have the following names:  positivityblog, storyofmylifetheblog, eatfresh etc.

Here are some blogs I have found at random.   See what other people are passionate about.

http://eatfresh.blog.com/

http://storyofmylifetheblog.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.positivityblog.com/

http://thelifeofatroubledteen.wordpress.com/

http://www.throughthegardengate.co.uk/blog/

Blog Post Topics

Draw up a list of possible blog post topics.  Of course blog topics will vary according to the core subject.  However, here are the sort of things to think about.

  • Recommendations on places to go, restaurants, events, holidays etc.
  • New developments in your business that are beneficial to know about.
  • Tools that can help people in some way. Technology.
  • Your day.
  • New skills.
  • Your news.
  • Special offers.
  • Your view on politics, law or current news etc.
  • Solutions to problems.
  • Books, films, games, cars, fashion recommendations
  • Advice and tips

And many more…!

So with all this in mind, where do you setup your blog?

Online places to setup a Blog

There are a quite a few sites online that are specific blogging sites.  These are usually free.  Some well-known sites include:

Or you create a blog through specific web design sites such as www.weebly.com, www.wix.com, or create your blog, if possible, within your existing website (this depends on what software your website was created in).  Remember the look and layout of your blog site too.  Consider colours, backgrounds and font type to make it more attractive to readers. Make your blog attractive both in the design look and content.

Prepare to plan your post

  1. Prepare an outline of your post.
  2. Make a list of all the points you want to cover.
  3. Decide on the structure of the post and order your points logically.

Now draft your blog post

  1. Create your draft.
  2. Give it a punchy title that will draw your readers’ attention.
  3. Write a good introduction.
  4. Add images to give your post colour and relevance.
  5. Use tags if possible (descriptive labels). Use Alt Text on your pictures too.
  6. Ensure you carry out a spelling and grammar check on your post (include the descriptive text behind the image).Blogging with personality
  7. Use headings and sub headings, use bold, italics and lists. This will make your post more readable and search engine friendly.
  8. Read the blog post out loud and check how it sounds. Get feedback from your family and friends by reading your post to them.
  9. It should show your personality and style of writing.

But please bear in mind the following points too.

  1. Don’t be negative in your post otherwise the tone will put your audience off your post and even perhaps off your entire blog site.
  2. Don’t overwrite. Be informative yet concise and succinct.
  3. Build your readership steadily. Don’t take risks with your posts or post subjects that may reduce your readership.

So you have created your blog post. Think about when you will post it: night time, day time or weekends.  Timing is an important point.  Put links to your post on your social media platforms.

Use tantalising words/titles in your posting to encourage people to follow the link and read the actual blog.

Now Share your Blog Post!

Hopefully, some people will feel inspired to comment / give feedback on your blog against the post, so thank readers for their response and answer them.  Keep the dialogue going!

Your blog subject may also be more about sharing knowledge with others so it’s the reading stats that are important. Make sure you have statistics within your site so you can see how your blog is doing and how popular posts were. Regularly check your blog statistics.

Personally I think it can be a little harder these days running blogs because of the enormous use of social media and their blog like style/posts.

Remember to include on your blog ’follow me’  links and ‘sharing’ links.  By having sharing links you are allowing and encouraging people to tell others about your blog.

Other points to consider  are that some blogs can make income through the use of advertising, sponsorship, merchandising etc.  Read this link to find out more (http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/12/06/how-bloggers-make-money-from-blogs/).  Some blogs also have RSS feeds, see link below to find out about RSS.

I hope this is helpful.  I may not have covered all the points because there are a lot of them so check out links below.

 

Cheers Gill !

Further information available at the links below:

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/14/blogging-for-beginners-2/

http://stylecaster.com/best-free-blog-sites/

http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/best-free-blogging-sites/

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/20/scannable-content/

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/25/kick-your-rss-jumping-on-the-syndication-bandwagon/

http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com/blog-tips-how-to-add-titles-and-alt-text-to-images/

http://www.mumsnet.com/bloggers/how-to-tag

 

*Images care of Morguefile.

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