How to Start a Blog
You can read 100 different “how to start a blog” articles and still feel confused. Trust me, I remember the feeling. However, this post should get you started. And more importantly, it should get you thinking about the things that really matter when it comes to having a blog. Sure, you need a good website and nice photos. But at the end of the day, its all about your audience and the quality of content that you produce for them!
- Pick a Host Site
- There are lots of options out there. However, I am only familiar with WordPress (which is what I use myself). WordPress offers a free option, which is a great way to get started. I started with this option myself. Later, I upgraded to the business plan once I decided to truly make a business out of my blog.
- Decide on a Name
- Clearly, this is a big deal. Your name is your brand – it showcases and sums up what you’re about. Don’t overthink it, but don’t just pick something that you don’t love just because you’re ready to start writing.
- Define your Niche
- Now, this is your blog. You can quite literally do whatever you want with it. However, I will say that the market is pretty flooded with “general” bloggers. What are you going to write about? Fashion? Travel? Food? Wine? If you can define a smaller “niche” content target area, I have a feeling you’ll be more successful in the long run. Maybe you are going to target “Boutique Hotels” or “Weekend Getaways” or “Millennial Fashion” or “Quick Recipes for Working Families.”
- Think about your personal brand
- Don’t just label yourself as “A Virginia Travel Blogger.” What makes you special or stand out from the rest? I’m a Travel Blogger based in a small town in Southern, VA. I specialize in USA Weekend Adventures and Caribbean Vacations. My motto is “inspiring the world to live out their dreams, even if it’s only for the weekend.
- Understanding your OWN personal brand will give you a voice that you can share with your audience and later use to showcase your personality and help you land sponsored deals.
- Consider your potential audience
- While this is your blog – and at the end of the day… you make all the decisions. However, if you truly want your blog to be successful then you have to understand your audience and what they like and don’t like. This is where studying your analytics and engaging with your audience can be very important. What does your audience react to? What types of photos get the most likes or comments? What makes them reply to your stories? What posts get the most views?
- Customize your theme
- Play with different options, themes, and colors. Decide what you like before you go live with your site!
- Create meaningful content, consistently
- This basically goes back to the question – is your audience going to enjoy this content? But in addition to that, people like consistency. They like routines and patterns. Remind your audience when you have new content. Inform them of any posting patterns or new things that you have coming for them.
- Using an e-mail newsletter can also be useful. I use MailChimp (and need to be more consistent with it myself if I’m honest).
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- If you are going to pay for a business plan, get used to picking key search words for each post in order to successfully lace each post for proper SEO. Also, play around with Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
- Another great tool to use for gaining traffic to your site is Pinterest! Pinterest is more like a search engine than a social media platform. Create lots of pins from each blog post that you publish!
Again, I know this isn’t going to answer every question that you have about how to start a blog. However, it should get you started and hopefully inspired! It’s honestly a very hard topic to explain to people – especially when people DM me and just say “hey I’d love to do what you do, how can I do it?” I honestly have gotten to where I basically ignore the question completely. I don’t mind answering specific questions – but the general process can’t be answered in a DM. So that’s why I’m creating this post.
Because it’s a learning process. It’s one of those things that you will truly learn more by just googling your questions and doing a lot of research. Later, you will continue to learn through trial and error. You will find things that work for you and things that don’t. My biggest advice is: don’t try to be like someone else. Sure, be inspired by others. But if you don’t make your platform uniquely YOURS then you’re going to get drowned out in this flooded market.
Follow my journey on Instagram!
Until next time,
Previous Post: Small Town Travel Series: Things to do in Marion, VA