How to Start a Blog Everyone these days seems to have a blog. But how on earth do you start one? And even more importantly why should you blog? Is it a personal journal of your feelings? An online record of all those who have wronged you and more? Or is it a canny way of engaging with your customers and start building your brand presence?
The answer is it can be anything you want it to be J But the savvy digital marketer will recognise it as a unique way to tell their brands story and engage with their customers on an emotional and visceral level. So, how to get started? Follow these easy steps:
1. Chose your preferred blogging platform And straight away, some people have already decided this is too hard, too technical. What in God’s name is a platform anyway? A platform is basically the equipment on which the software will run. Think of it like choosing what kind of floor you want to dance on.. Currently there are 82 million users boogying away on the platform known as WordPress. And there is a reason for that it; is a great place to dance.
2. Is your blog going to be self-hosting or a free alternative? Again don’t be scared of the technical terms. This is like buying or renting. Sure you can rent but you won’t be able to hang up your nice pictures, you will have to do things the way the landlord wants you to.. who wants that? No-one, so just get off the fence and buy your own self-hosted site. Typically you will pay around 50 euros as an annual fee.
3. Chose your domain name Domain is literally picking the name of your site.. It helps though to pick a good one. Short and snappy is great, as is anything which is easily remembered. The internet is a crowded place these days though so don’t be too surprised if your ideal one is gone, it just means its time to be creative, like these guys.. Houzz.com, Opsh.com.. Also try not to include any hyphens of funny characters. It helps if you keep in mind that the average internet browser has an attention span of a 5 year old on speed.
4. Find a Host This is basically the nice people who will put your site up on the world wide web so everyone can find it and read all about it. Expect to pay less then ten euros a month for this service.. Any more then that and they saw you coming..
5. Design your WordPress blog. If you are a perfectionist like me then this is the really hard bit. There are literally hundreds of themes to pick from. Here it is really important to think of your brand. What are you trying to express? How are you looking to make your readers feel? Increasingly sites are becoming crisper and more streamlined. A gorgeous theme for fashion bloggers is Marilyn as shown below
6. Start Blogging And you thought you had done all the hard bits? Ha! (Evil Laugh) the hard work is just beginning. To create an engaging, interesting blog could be the hardest work you will ever do. Here are some simple tips; Be interesting. As in really interesting. If you are writing on your site the way you would write a shopping catalogue then go home, there is no point. Find a style and voice that stays true to your brand and ideally makes people want to know more. Be authentic. There is no place for hiding anymore, social media is everywhere. If your blog is about frugal living then probably best not to be pictured at the casinos every month. Similarly if your blog is about parenting then try not to have an affair with the nanny. You know it’s the basics. Be Consistent. This is the really hard bit. The internet is littered with the graves of abandoned blog posts. It will take time to build up a following. It is better to blog just once a week then to start off with a flood of blog posts that quickly trickle down to nothing. A good tip is to plan out an editorial calendar. These are items that can be happening in the real world or cybersphere. If your brand is selling home made chocolates then obviously you will want to be blogging about these around Mothers Day, Valentines Day and even your own birthday can be an excuse. Be Nice. Now this should be the easy bit. No one likes the guy at the party who does nothing but talk about themselves. So don’t be that person. Look at other peoples blogs. Like them on facebook, comment on them, ask them how they are doing. And you might be pleasantly surprised when they return the favour.