So you want to start a blog, but don’t know where to start? We have good news! Starting a blog is easy, and there’s never been a better time to get started. However, you do have some decisions to make before you start writing.
What Will You Blog About?
The first thing to do is to identify the niche your blog will fill. You need to have a clear answer to the question: What will I write about?
There are many different types of blogs you could start. Some common blog types include:
- Personal blogs: Express your personal thoughts on politics, current events, your travel experiences, and much more.
- Professional blogs: Build your professional brand as you write articles that demonstrate your mastery of your profession, and strengthen your position as a thought leader within your industry.
- Topical blogs: Pick a specific subject and cover it in depth. Maybe you’re a die-hard NFL fan and you want to blog about your favorite team. Perhaps you have a strong interest in science and technology, and you want to blog about developments in that arena. Any topic will do, just make sure it’s one you have a strong ongoing interest in, or you’ll soon lose interest in the project.
- Other blogs: There are lots of other blog types to consider. Take your time, and pick one that will hold your interest.
If you’re struggling to identify a topic to focus on, take a look at this list of some of the most popular blogs on the web for inspiration.
Who Will Host Your Blog?
The web is a crowded place. If you want to grow your audience quickly, paid advertising is your best bet.
You can pick a platform that takes care of the hosting for you. This is referred to as a hosted blogging platform. Or you can set up hosting on your own, and have a self-hosted blog. If you do choose to go with a hosted platform, you can choose to go with a free platform, or upgrade to a premium platform with additional features.
- Free hosted blogging platforms: If you want a free place to blog and one that requires minimal technical know-how, a free hosted blog is your best bet. Some of the best free platforms include WordPress.com, Medium, Postach.io, and Authpad.
- Premium hosted blogging platforms: Free platforms come with many limitations. If you want a professional blog-style website, you’ll want to go with a premium platform. Some of the best premium platforms include WordPress.com’s Premium Plan, Squarespace, and Ghost Pro.
- Self-hosted platforms: If you’re technically inclined, you can get all of the benefits of a premium platform, plus a lot more flexibility, at a fraction of the cost if you set up your own hosting with someone like SiteGround, InMotion, or Bluehost. Once you’ve picked a host, you’ll want to pick a blogging application to power your website. There are many free applications you could use to build your blog such as WordPress.org, Ghost source code, and Textpattern.
Who Will Read Your Blog?
If you want your blog up and running as quickly as possible WordPress.com is a great free place to develop your blogging prowess.
A quick search for tips on driving traffic to your blog will produce thousands of articles and recommendations. Our perusal of those posts produced some recurring themes, and they include ideas every blogger should be incorporating into their growth strategy.
1. Make sure you have an email list signup form and promote it heavily.
Most experts agree that the best way to get folks back to your site is to let them know every time you post new content. So add an email list signup form to your site (virtually every platform will have an easy way to do this), position it prominently on your site, and refer to it frequently.
2. Use social media to get your article out to your digital connections.
Many platforms include automatic sharing tools that will send your new post to networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Take advantage of these sharing tools.
3. Make use of paid advertising to attract new readers.
If you’re serious about increasing your readership place paid advertisements on social media, and search engine result pages.
4. Send your post to any people, websites, and businesses mentioned in your post.
Did you write a review for a local restaurant? Send them an email to let them know. Did you quote another website? Send them the link. You never know what might happen when you do. If they like the content they may even post a link to your blog on their website sending traffic back your way.
5. Make sure your blog is search engine friendly.
This is a topic that could justify a series of articles all by itself, but at a minimum you should do the following:
- Word your article title to match the wording someone might use when searching Google, such as How to Blog.
- Make sure to use the keywords that apply to your topic in your article title, and a couple of times throughout your post, but don’t go overboard or search engines may penalize you for something referred to as keyword stuffing.
- Add new content regularly. Search engines prefer sites that are updated frequently.
Blogging is a great way to build new connections, to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert and thought leader, and even to build an income over time. Getting started is easier than you might think, and following the simple steps we’ve outlined here will get you headed in the right direction.