How to start your blog from scratch
Blogging can confuse someone who is doing it for the first time. There are so many things to take care of, from SEO to content and marketing. If you enjoy writing and have been trying to start your own blog for a while, we have a step-by-step process for you.
Choose your blog niche
How are you going to start without a specific niche in mind?
- It is always better to write about what you know, for example, Literature or Recipes, American History or World War II. Decide the niche and stick to that. Above all, make sure that you enjoy talking about it and don’t get bored. We recommend taking a pen and a paper and writing 10-15 ideas without thinking too much, so that you find topics that you are passionate about.
- Niche blogs are popular because they cater to specific needs. If you want to keep yourself updated on the latest fashion trends, you’ll read fashion blogs, if you want to update your reading lists, you will subscribe to literature and book blogs and so on and so forth. Specific blogs are about one particular niche and the content revolves around the latest trends, the past trends and the developments in that niche. One example I can give is Adventure Sports, which is a broad niche, in which you will find content related to types of adventure sports, events happening around the world in that domain, adventure sportspersons and so on.
- Choose a niche that you won’t be fickle about. Identify whether that sudden interest in knitting is in the spur-of-the-moment or something that you have always had an interest in.
- You get recognised as an expert by Google. When you write about one subject consistently, Google recognises that you are an expert in the field which results in your blog being ranked higher than those who write about the same things that you do, but as a part of a much broader subject. It bases this on the credibility and legitimacy of the links of other websites that you use in your articles (as a reference or example), the authenticity of your content because of which people rely on it for quality content, your expertise and the reviews on your blog.
- You get a loyal audience. When you write about a specific niche, you slowly build a community of loyal readers who will keep coming back to your blog for more content, because it applies to their interests and gives them new insights into subjects that they already know.
Choose a suitable blog title
- The title should be about what you want your writing to reflect. For example, if your blog is about health and fitness, you could incorporate words like ‘fit’, ‘healthy’, ‘inspire’ etc.
- Look up the names of blogs that are about the same things that you want to write about.
- Grab a thesaurus for an interesting name.
- Go for a name that is short, catchy and memorable. If the name of your blog is long and pretentious, you will put off people instantly. Instead, keep it short and try to encapsulate your blog in that name.
- Try using figures of speech like chiasmus, metaphors and oxymorons to give your blog a memorable name.
Research your Audience
- Decide and define who your target audience will be. Your target audience will be the group that you want to direct your content at, for example, a blog about the Holocaust will have the primary readership of professors, history teachers, History and Political Science students.
- Balance the tightrope. It is important to strike a balance between creating content for your audience and content that gets the most people directed to your content. This will be achieved by incorporating something known as ‘keywords’ in your article, which are words that are searched for the most in the realm of that topic.
Some things that you can do to find out what your target audience wants to read are:
- Carry out surveys using Google forms and ask your friends and family to share them with their groups.
- Read comments that people leave on your competitors blog and find out what people want to read and what they did not like besides suggestions for improvements.
- Frequent forums on LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit and Facebook to find out what people want to read about.
Research other blogs of the same niche
- Even if you strive to be unique, it is important to research what kind of content are other blogs posting around the same topics that you want to write about. This helps you understand what content they ignore, which topics are most often repeated and what is the general trend of content.
- Compare and contrast. What worked for this blog? What didn’t? Research. It is not only the content that you need to check; it is a lot of other things like title, layout, how many times do they post in a week, theme and marketing.
Choose a platform
- Choosing a blogging platform is tough because we are spoilt for choice. As a beginner, you want something easy to set up and low on maintenance. We have three choices for you here, listed with their pros and cons so that it is easier for you to choose according to your needs.
WordPress.com is a good choice for hobby bloggers and even for bloggers who want to upgrade to a paid WordPress.org in the future. It stores your content for free, but you get the limited version of it to use.
Pros: Easy to set up, no initial setup cost, simple to use and hundreds of themes to choose from.
Cons: Your site comes with ‘wordpress’ in the domain name, you have to upgrade for full functionality; it looks less professional and you have little control over your blog.
WordPress.org is a good option for bloggers who are looking to expand their site’s professionality and reach, business people and professionals. Unlike WordPress.com, it has a lot more choice of themes and you will not have ‘wordpress’ in your domain name. It also enables you to monetize your content.
Pros: User-friendly, SEO friendly options.
Cons: Because it is very popular, it is very vulnerable to security threats.
Blogger is a free blogging platform by Google. Like WordPress.com, Blogger is also great for hobby bloggers and brand builders who don’t want to invest in their blog. Unlike WordPress, Blogger does not have many customizations.
Pros: Free and easy to use, can place Google AdSense ads.
Cons: There are fewer themes than WordPress, your site will have blogpost.com in the domain name.
So there you have it! Blogging can be really intimidating, with all the technical layers and general lack of knowledge about what it is and how to get about it. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll find it easier to put your content out in the world and be an active part of the community that shares your love for your subject. Now stop reading this article, get out your laptop and start writing. Cheers!
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