8.5 rules for starting your own blog

Blogs. These days it seems like the world and his wife has one. They’re a great way to earn a bit of extra income, and can even lead to a full-time career. They’re a great way to show off your expertise and attract followers and job offers. But if you’ve never been in the blogging game before, what should you be thinking about before you begin your blog? We made a list of some of your key considerations:

 

1. Set a goal

Back in the day, the most common way to monetise a blog was to sell advertising space on your site. There’s less demand for that these days, so you need to be thinking differently. Is your aim to find clients through demonstrating your expertise? Perfect. Do you want to sell products through an online shop? Great. Basically, just know what you’re aiming to achieve. You don’t have to make the knowledge public, but it’s good to bear in mind.

2. Pick a niche and stick to it

The internet is packed with beautiful lifestyle blogs featuring minimalist design and perfectly-Instagrammed pictures of lattes. Unless you have something very different to add to that field, there’s not much to be gained from producing more of the same kind of content. The more specific your subject matter, the quicker you’ll find you rise above the noise. If you’ve got lots of passions, pick one. If you’re a dog groomer looking to attract new customers with your blog, keep your writing about dog grooming, rather than all of the cafes you visited when you went to Paris.

2.5 Know your audience

This is too similar to point 2 to warrant it’s own number. Once you’ve found your niche, you also need to know who you’re writing for. It’ll make it much easier to target your content. After all, you won’t get anywhere if your writing is littered with ‘LOLs’ and ‘YOLOs’ and hashtags and you’re writing a blog for retirees who like waterskiing (it could happen).

3. Don’t take shortcuts with your content

Yes, SEO is great. You need to understand it if you want to bring people to your site. But once you’ve got them there, they won’t hang around if the content isn’t great. And the chances of them making a repeat visit are even less likely. Once you’ve honed your SEO skills, they won’t really change, while reader expectations for great content will keep shifting. So make sure you’re keeping up with what’s trending in your field, and which kinds of articles are popular.

4. Don’t live your life by pageviews alone

It’s easy to get disheartened if your pageviews don’t match up to those of the superbloggers everyone knows and loves, but try to remember that that’s not the be-all and end-all. If you blog about the paintings that you sell and only have 10 followers, but they each spend £1000 on your art, that’s way more valuable than 1000 followers who don’t engage. So when you find yourself comparing yourself to other people (and you will), remember the goal you set yourself and chill out.

 

5. Get involved

It’s all very well to write a killer blog, but how will anybody know you’re doing it? If nothing else, you should be engaging with other bloggers in your area of interest by reading and constructively commenting on their posts. You’ll also need to be sharing your content on social media so at the very least a Facebook and Twitter account wouldn’t go amiss. If you’re creating business-related content, you might benefit from being on Linkedin, and if you’re all about fashion or lifestyle, Bloglovin’ is a great place to be. The benefit of social media is that you can do so much more than simply share your own content – you can discover new people to follow, join conversations, and maybe even pick up a few new contacts.

6. Keep it regular

You keep followers by being trustworthy. Once people have discovered that your blog is great and has the exact kind of content they’ve been looking to read, they want to know when to come back for the next pearl of wisdom. They’re not going to keep coming back if they’ve seen nothing new for three weeks, so you need to make sure you’re regularly rewarding them for their loyalty with brand new posts. It’s sometimes worth making clear on your ‘about’ page when new content is posted, or even starting a newsletter so people can have your latest material sent straight to their inboxes.

7. Have a great ‘About’ page

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Now that you know your audience, what you’re writing, how you plan to write it, and how often, you need to think about introducing yourself to your readers. Why should they trust what you have to say? Make sure your ‘About’ page lists all of the reasons that your readers should consider you to be an expert in your field: Do you have a lot of experience? Did you study the subject? Are you working in the industry you’re writing about? Have you won awards? If you’re learning as you write, that’s also good, it just helps to add context to what your saying if people know where you’re coming from.

8. Stick with it

Picture the scene: It’s been two months. You’ve been posting regularly, SEO-ing everything, writing high-quality and original content, and you’ve set yourself up with a shiny new Twitter account. But you’re not seeing much action. Don’t freak out, and do not quit. In those first few weeks when nobody’s heard of you and you’re struggling for followers, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither are blogger reputations. It takes time to start getting noticed. Keep at it, and it’ll happen in the end.

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So, what will you be blogging about? We’d love to see once you’re up and running, and don’t forget to keep browsing HowNow to find some amazing experts who can help you along the way.


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