I’ve had a few messages from people who want to start a blog themselves, mostly when I rebranded and launched my new site and whilst I am only a newbie to the world of blogging I can definitely say that I have learnt a lot in the last year so I wanted to share a few tips for anyone who might be thinking about starting a blog themselves.
Firstly, one of the questions I get asked most is what site I use for my blog, I use WordPress to manage my blog but the site is hosted by 1and1.com and I am currently using the theme called Adler.
Okay, so here are my top six tips for starting a blog:
1 – Take the time to choose a name. The name of your blog is so so important, I literally can’t express this enough. It’s what people are going to remember, it needs to be catchy, easy to spell (unlike mine perhaps) and it should give readers an idea of what your blog will be about.
If you’re struggling to think of a name try writing down a list of words that describe what you want your blog to be about, use a thesaurus to give you some ideas for alternative words and look online for inspiration from other blog names. I spent hours and hours thinking of a new name for my blog when I decided it needed a change, I googled “top 100 UK blogs” and looked down the list of names, not to copy them but for them to inspire me as to how I wanted my name to sound. It was so so helpful and made me realise that I was over thinking it and it was so much better to just keep it simple.
2 – Host your own site. This is easier said than done, I must admit that I know absolutely nothing about hosting and my husband is entirely responsible for creating my site for me (love you boo). There are a couple of well known hosting sites such as GoDaddy.com and 1and1.com. Personally as I said before I use 1and1.com, because they are cheaper and the service is better when you need help. If you don’t know how to create or host a site then you can simply create you own site using blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger and there is nothing wrong with doing that however hosting it privately will give you more flexibility with layout and content.
If you do want to host privately then be sure to make sure your desired name is available, you can check domain names for free on GoDaddy.com or 1and1.com. I would recommend trying to get the .com version of your name as if this is already taken you may find that the .com site will appear before yours on a Google search. When I named my site originally I opted for www.lifeasthree.co.uk because the .com version was already taken. There’s nothing wrong with .co.uk if your heart is set on a name but watch out for Google optimisation and people potentially going to the wrong site.
3 – Check out your name on social media. If you don’t want to have the same name on all of your social media platforms then you don’t need to worry about this but if you do then before you commit to a domain/blog name check that it is actually available on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat and any other platform you might want to use. Again with my site name lifeasthree, this wasn’t available on twitter and so I opted for @lifeasthreeblog. Nothing wrong with this but it didn’t match any of my other accounts and could have preventing people from finding my account. Now that I have changed the name of my site I was able to secure the same social media handle on all of my accounts making it so much easier to be found.
4 – Write about what you love. This is so important, probably as important as a great blog name. You have to have passion about what you’re writing about. You don’t even need to be the best writer or photographer, if you love what you’re talking about other people will love it too. Make sure you know what your want your blog to be about; are you into food, fashion, beauty, hair, travel, interior design, parenting. The list of topics for a blog is literally endless as there are always people out there who are into the same stuff as you. Just make sure you have a direction, it’s okay to cross genre sometimes, I’m a parenting blogger predominantly but I still like to include fashion, beauty and lifestyle content because I am more than just a mum.
5 – Plan a few posts and have them live on your blog before you launch it. When you finally tell the world that your blog is out there you want people to visit your site and actually have something to read. I would recommend having five posts already published on your site before you launch. They can be a little about you, telling readers what they can expect from your site and a couple of posts that are suited to your blog genre.
Get your readers hooked on day one and they will keep coming back. It can also help to make a list of other posts you would like to write about going forward so that you don’t have to stress about new content and you don’t have a big launch with lots of excitement and then nothing to publish for weeks. Use the social calendar to help you if you need inspiration; is it nearly Chritsmas? Easter? Valentines? Summer? Winter? Can you talk about gift guides for Christmas, your favourite summer salads, where to travel to escape the winter chill. There’s always something to talk about no matter the time of year you get started.
6 – Use your phone. If you’re just starting out don’t think you have to rush out and buy a fancy DSLR camera in order to have good blog photos. You really don’t! All of my photos are taken with my iPhone. It’s always with me, it doesn’t take up extra space, I can snap edit and post my photos in minutes and since smart phone cameras are so advanced now you really don’t need to fork out the money. Unless you really want to.
Your phone can do so much more for your blog than just take photos though, got a great idea for a post whilst your out? write it down in your notes. Bullet point what you want it to be about and anything that will remind you when you get in front of your PC. Most platforms have an app now as well, I have the WordPress app on my phone, if a post is written but I don’t want to publish it until I know my audience are around (typically after 7pm for me) then I can pop on my app at 7pm and hit the publish button without needing to be on my laptop.
So that’s my top six tips if you’re thinking about whether you should start your own blog. My only other advice is, just go for it. You will never know if it’s for you if you don’t give it a try and you may be surprised and fall in love with it like I have.
What better way to share your knowledge, experiences and passion, a way to build a community and make friends and to have a place to store all of your memories to reflect back on later. That was why I started my blog, I wanted to document my pregnancy and life as a new mum, to have something for me to look back on and share with my little girl when she is older.
It’s your corner of the web, do what you want with it, just make sure it brings you joy.