Blogging can be a very rewarding career, but you’ll need to work at it. For the first part of your blogging adventure, it can feel like a thankless task; you can often feel as though you’re shouting into the void, and as though you’ll never achieve any measure of success. However, with a degree of perseverance and a little luck, there’s no reason you can’t become a successful blogger with lots of followers and a high degree of authority in your chosen subject. Here are 10 of our best tips for starting up your own blog.
1. Pick the right subject
The subject for your blog should be a mixture of something that’s in demand and something in which you have a degree of expertise. Too much of one or the other will result in an unsuccessful blog; either you’ll come across as a dilettante or you’ll be an authority on something nobody needs. Consider your skill set and think about what the most useful thing you can do is. That should be the topic of your blog, and all of your branding should reflect that.
2. Make sure you have some money
Blogging can cost money, especially early on when you’re not earning a huge amount of money. Web hosting can be a surprising expense, and you may need to support yourself during the early stages of your career, as blogging isn’t lucrative to begin with. To do this, you can keep your day job and continue working while blogging on the side. You could also think about taking out some £500 loans if you don’t want to keep your regular job but you still need some cash to get you through.
3. Get a good domain
Your blog’s domain should be snappy and memorable, as it’s what people are going to type in when they’re looking for you. Think about what your blog represents and try to come up with something clever around that topic. Don’t make it too long-winded, either; people won’t be able to remember lengthy domain names. Don’t double letters up, because people might forget whether it’s one of those letters or two, frequently leading to them inputting the wrong domain.
4. Figure out your audience
Once you know what your blog will be about and what you’re going to call it, you should do some research regarding who exactly it’s going to be for. Some demographics will almost certainly respond better to your blog than others; younger folks might prefer a gaming blog, for example, while cooking blogs or DIY crafting blogs might resonate more with older people. Doing demographic research is critical to figuring out how your blog is going to fit within any given niche.
5. Write with your unique voice
Don’t try to force your blog to sound like someone you’re not. Write with your unique voice, because it’s undeniably the most individual thing about you. Try to write like you speak; a conversational tone is very much conducive to a successful blog, because sounding too corporate can put people off. Extensive editing will help you to adjust things so that they seem more natural, but the best way to write naturally is simply to write what occurs to you as it occurs.
6. Pick a good CMS
All great blogs are backed by an excellent CMS (content management system). By far the most popular CMS used by bloggers is WordPress; it manages all of your blog posts and offers tools to help you create something unique and exciting. There are alternatives available, though, so you may wish to browse through some different CMS options before you settle. WordPress is a great place to start, though; it offers a good mixture of beginner-friendliness and feature-richness.
7. Use Google Analytics
You won’t be able to track how your blog is performing if you don’t use an analytics tool. Google Analytics is the favoured option here; it’s easy to use, simple, and provides detailed feedback regarding who’s accessing your content, when, and why. Check Google Analytics for each and every post you create; some posts will naturally be more successful than others, and it will help you immensely to know what kind of content you should be focusing on.
8. Use images, but be careful
Visual elements significantly increase engagement, so it stands to reason you should be including them with each blog post. However, you need to be careful with the kind of images you use. Some images may have copyright issues, and if you use them, you may run into legal trouble, so it’s not worth using these. Taking your own images is always an option; that way, you know exactly who has ownership over those images and won’t need to concern yourself with sourcing them correctly.
9. Write for SEO
There’s a delicate balance to strike in the world of blogging, one between including SEO keywords and ensuring your content is readable. SEO dictates how high your page ranks on Google; it helps people find you and puts your page closer to the top of Google search results. Including keywords related to your content (which you can discover using Google Trends) is a good idea, but make sure not to let the keywords override whether the content reads well or not.
10. Engage with commenters
It’s a special moment when you get your first blog comment from a new follower. That moment shows that you’re establishing yourself in the world of blogging. However, it’s not enough to simply bask in the moment; you need to follow up with active engagement. Reply to the commenter and ask your own questions. This will make them feel special and involved, and will in turn show subsequent commenters that you care about those who read your content.