Before I started my blog, I truly knew nothing about blogging or what it meant to be a “blogger.” I started my blog because I was feeling discouraged in my professional career, where I thought I would be writing for a living. I went to university for communications and I’ve always loved writing for as long as I can remember. However, when I got my first job out of school, instead of writing, I was planning conferences and ordering outrageous numbers of golf balls that had our company logo on it. I was feeling very unfulfilled and uninspired. I started my blog so I could still write, even if it wasn’t for a living.
I’ve learned a lot since I wrote my first blog post, and I wanted to share some tips in case anyone else is thinking of starting a blog but doesn’t know where to begin.
Think of a creative name for your blog
Thinking of a name for my blog was probably the hardest part initially. I wanted something that would stand-out, but also something that spoke to the type of content I would be writing about. Thinking about it now, I’m not always going to be a “twenty-something grandma” so I’m actually going to have to change my blog name, and my domain. My advice would be – choose a simple title that says something about your personality or your interests. I know successful bloggers who use their first name as their blog title as well, so it’s really up to you. If you think about your favourite food, your hobbies, or your personality, you’ll be able to come up with a name in no time.
Choose a blogging website
Before I started my blog, I had only used the website builder Squarespace. It’s a free platform with integrated templates that allow for ease of use and nice clean designs. However, it lacks in areas such as SEO, and I found it to be harder to customize than WordPress. This article outlines the pros and cons of Squarespace well.
There’s also Blogger.com, which I looked into briefly when I was deciding on which website builder I wanted to use. I remember reading that Google can suspend your blog at any time, or even cancel the Blogger service altogether, which made me decide not to go with this platform. However, it appears to be a great basic platform that’s easy to use and since it’s integrated with Google, it allows for content to be easily monetized and you don’t have to worry about installation or software.
Finally, there’s wordpress.com and wordpress.org. I actually just discovered the difference between the two websites recently. I run my blog on wordpress.com, which is hosted by WordPress so I don’t have to host it myself. I do have a custom domain that I purchased along with one of their basic plans. The problem with wordpress.com is you can’t install any plug-ins unless you upgrade to the business account, which is quite an investment. I’m actually thinking about switching over to wordpress.org because it offers more flexibility and customization, provided you pay for a hosting service. This article explains the differences between the two sites.
Depending on your blogging needs and comfort level with technology, each platform has its own unique pros and cons. WordPress is very user-friendly in my opinion, and the company I work for actually uses it to run their website as well. I’ve even learned some very basic coding, but usually that’s not necessary if you have a simple blog.
Write your first blog post!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I actually had my website created for months before I wrote my first post. I always loved the idea of having a blog, but sitting down and writing a post seemed impossible. Sometimes you just have to write what’s on your mind in that very moment, and not worry too much about anything else. Once you write your first post, I recommend sharing it with friends and family so you’ll automatically receive feedback and get views on your post! Once you get started, the rest is easy as long as your consistant, which I know can be really difficult when your life is busy. Try to write once a week, and once you get into a routine you’ll find yourself writing more often.
Promote, promote, promote
I’m sure all of my Facebook friends and Instagram followers are so sick of hearing about my latest blog posts. Promoting yourself can feel awkward and annoying, but trust me it works! People will eventually want to know why you’re spamming them and telling them to read your blog, so they’ll read it themselves! Promoting your blog on your own personal social media channels can help you get more page views, and help you rank higher on Google!
Google is your bff for advice on blogging and how to use blogging websites
If you want to learn more about how to improve your ranking on search engines, SEO, popular blog tags, or anything blog related, Google is there for you. Google is a great resource and I’ve actually learnt most of what I know about blogging through searching the world wide web. YouTube is also great and there are some successful bloggers who are happy to share their secrets to success.
I hope this blog post helped and encouraged you to start a blog if you’ve been thinking of making one for a while. If a grandma like me can learn how to use the interweb thing, then I believe you can as well!
(I’ve actually been using computers since before I knew what 2+2 was… so that statement above was a lie, but ties into my grandma theme – you see! Blogging 101).
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.