What the Blog
You'd be hard pressed to find a topic not already up for discussion on somebody's blog. At the same time, that doesn't mean it is impossible for you to break in and start one. For some, starting a blog is similar to journaling and it can be therapeutic--seeing your thoughts come to life on the screen, while for others they create it for revenue.
At the broadest sense, there are personal blogs, corporate/business blogs, professional blogs, affiliate blogs, lifestyle blogs, and on and on.
We are going to focus on personal blogs for this article. Some include food, travel, health/fitness, lifestyle, fashion, photography, DIY, etc. What differentiates a personal blog from others is the fact that it is written/curated by an individual rather than a corporation and is often more conversational in tone. These blogs can still generate revenue, although that may not be the purpose of them. The intricacy of how to make your blog profitable aren't going to be discussed in this article, but we will give you some tips on getting started and increasing your following.
Another thing to keep in mind is that blogs don't have to be word-focused. Nevertheless, you will need to have some words on your blog and we will discuss more into the whys below. Hint: SEO.
Our Tips no Tricks
Tips to Help You Get Started
(1) The most important thing:
Identify what speaks to you!
What are you going to focus on? You need to think of this semi-broadly because it has to be a topic that you can continuously blog because you are going to be creating posts for years. So it needs to be something you are ready to talk about, research, and do for years, potentially for nearly your working lifetime.
(2) Identify your niche.
This is about figuring out your differentiation. Are you discovering the most sustainable way to travel? Are you finding wild edible plants and cooking with them? Look at your topic and figure out what spin you are going to put on the subject. This spin is what is going to make it interesting and make you stand out.
(3) Choose your platform (type included).
Now that you know the what, you need to figure out the how you are going to do things. It comes down to what type of content your blog is going to be uploading and creating. As a majority of what are considered "blogs" are those on a website, we are going to go forward with this as the premise for your blog. Therefore, do your research into how you want to create your blog; coding or hosting platform. Weigh the pros and cons and make sure they have the customization and functionality you need.
(4) Choose a name and domain.
Names matter. But you don't want to go through all the brutal-ness of brainstorming and ideation to land on a name, start working with that name in mind, just to find out it is unavailable as a domain. So as you figure out a name that matches your blog type and you, make sure you check on domain services, such as Google Domains, to make sure the name is available.
(7) Start your site.
Get your design settled and create your pages. Have at least one contact available for followers to reach you. Most importantly, make sure it is easy to navigate. It won't do any good for the section to get to your posts to be hidden from your readers.
Tips for Increasing Your Following (Engagement and Numbers)
(1) Post more!
The more content posted, the more traffic it will receive. This can be due to people checking on different dates, excitement around new information, create a consistent following, as well as increases your attention from search engines.
(2) Make sure you are creating high-quality content.
This is regarding the written word and images. Best images are high quality (not pixilated) and taken or created yourself. Low quality will be a turn off to followers and bots. Your words need to include keywords (even if its a photo-blog, you need these). It allows you to get found organically.
(3) Check your titles.
What you title your posts are important. It needs to be attractive and entice users to click, but also needs to be clear so search engine bots know what your post is about. Keywords can be used here too.
(4) Check your analytics.
There are many ways to do this. Many hosting platforms have reports as well as Google Analytics. Some key things to look at is what are your most popular pages (and posts), how are you getting your traffic (direct, from another platform like social media, etc.), duration of user's stay, and unique visitors versus total visitors. Unique visitors are those coming to your site for the first time. You want high retention rates as well as high unique users per month to show you are truly having growth and engagement.
(5) Post / connect on social media.
Social media is a big aspect of online promotion. It can be similar to using a different search engine as what and how we look are different on different channels. The reason you may not just "blog" from a social media platform like Instagram, is that users interact in a different way. On Instagram there is more scrolling and less reading. However, it is a great place to have a stunning image that will make users curious and want to dive deeper by clicking on your blog.
Include links to your work, research, others involved, and sharing links so users can easily spread your content with others.
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