Beginners Guide to starting a Blog

[Beginners]

Blogging is a mixture of both art and science - why? Because there is no right way of doing it. If you do it well, you can become successful. Please remember: blogging is not to gain free items; not to exploit and/or bully; not to take advantage of successful bloggers for your own gain. Blogging is a hobby; an art; a career; a home for your content and life stories. 

This article is focused to help you learn and start a blog. Blogs that you have read or do read that are so easy-to-read and interesting do not randomly appear. A lot of sweat, blood and tears go into the content - it's harder and more challenging than you think. At first you will think this is the easiest thing you can ever do, but you forget to proof read, revise, and re-do to make it top notch and worth the reader's time. Experienced bloggers will know what it's like to sweat, bleed, and cry (not to scare you off) over their blog - you will learn soon.


Blog Genre
To me, I recommend thinking of the blog genre before anything - even the name - is easiest to start off with. With the genre, you can then brain storm your blog name; your content; types of photographs; layout/template etc. Honestly, there are so many blog genres out there that you can even combine a few or even all of them. For me, I combine Lifestyle, Beauty, Fashion and also publish the odd Motivational post. 

The first thing you need to think about is: What are you best at? Are you a health and lifestyle freak? Are you obsessed with make-up? Do you have an obsession and clique for Art? Do you travel a lot and wish you could do a log of your journeys? Maybe you cook and would love to share your recipes and creations with the world. Maybe you have too many clothes in your closet that you just have to share your style with the world. Anything you pick, you are guaranteed to have readers and bloggers who are similar to you and will connect with you more. 

Please remember, you are stuck with this genre, so to begin with I would recommend writing ten blog drafts before making your blog public. Then you are sure to have a steady blog schedule, which you can be sure you can publish posts on certain days but also be able to draft at the same time for future posts. The more genres you combine, the more freedom you have to write and create with no restrictions, hence why myself and thousands, maybe millions, of other bloggers have combined genres.


Blog Name
Okay this is a subject that can be tougher than Algebra. Thinking of a name to begin with can be difficult, and for me, I found just using my Christian name for the first year and a bit of my blogging worked quite well. It is only recently I had created a blog name, which is obviously "Sweetened Sour." 

When thinking of a blog name [other than your actual name] you need to think about how it links with your blog genre and its content. A few examples for beauty and fashion blog names are [already used]: Stylish Walks, All things Beautiful, Rockin' Out in Style, Fashion Confessed, Little Miss Makeup. A few example of Lifestyle (may combine other genres) Blogger names are [again, already used]: Life Unexpected, Illustrated Teacup, A South Wales Blog, And on that note she wrote, Peaches and Bear. (You can click on these names to direct you to the Blogger's Twitter accounts.) As you can see, these are quite creative and it can be hard to find a name of your own.

Quite frankly, if you have thought of a name, type that name into Google to see if any other Blogger has used it; if not - it's yours. If you choose a name that a Blogger already has and still use it, be prepared for the shit you may have just caused. As you can see, my name, content, and pictures on my blog are protected by Copyscape


Content
Be original: You don't like reading the same books and blogs over and over again, do you? Of course you wouldn't so why would you do this with your blog? Make sure your blog content is original so it represents you and is, in all honesty, unique. Your personality should shine through your blog; a fake is seen from a mile off. If you fake your way through posts, quickly your readers will vanish as no one appreciates or respects a fake. 

Don't harness (copy) articles from the news (and anywhere else for that matter) as this is obviously considered copywriting and is a blatant disregard to the author of the article. It is the law and common courtesy to tell your readers where you get your information from. Yes that means you may use snippets from the article if you want to make a certain point but only if you give the author credit after each snippets. You may take the snippets and add your angle & opinion to them, providing conclusions about the moral involved. 

Providing original and none-copied content will gain trust in your readers; they will grow to appreciate and grow to know your writing style. I would not jeopardize my blog, respect and trust in my readers for the reason of copying another article - it just isn't worth it. 

One strong point I have to 'preach,' so to speak, is to not pepper your blog in curse words. If it fits your content and makes great sense in the context then it's fine, but don't go round effing-and-jeffing as this will put your readers off big time. To me, it shows off aggression, similarly, readers want to feel like they are reading content that is both conversational and respectful but also feeling equal towards you. 

Length of posts: There is no right or wrong length in your posts, likewise, you have to think about the attention span of most of your readers. If it is too long then your readers will slowly trail off and slide the mouse to that X button in the top right hand corner of their screen. Having a mixture of long, short, the odd picture post is good for your audience, as it shows you can in fact show difference and independence in your writing. Personally, I like a balance of both pictures and writing that isn't too much to read. I have about a 3 minute attention span for each post that I have become interested in. Remember: three minutes is the average time for each post from bloggers (known from experience of both creating and reading blog posts.)

Frequency: My blog posts are published three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, on Friday's I have a Guest Blogger from half way around the world. Don't worry about Guest Blogging at the moment until your blog lifts off and you have at least a year experience in the Blogosphere (Blogging Community.) In my own experience, blogging everyday is very challenging, but you also don't want to overload your readers with posts to read. Having a steady two or three posts spread out through the week will be more convenient for both yourself and your readers.

Edit: Please remember to proof read your blog; spelling and grammar is a big thing in the blogging world. Yes you may have some great points and content, but it won't shine through bad spelling and content.


Pictures
Having a decent enough camera will be great at first for your blog. Pictures, what readers love, must be crisp, clear, and bright. Eye-catching photography is one way to draw your readers to your blog, but also to gain a wider audience. Bloggers love photography that is worth looking at. The brighter and clearer the pictures are, the more readers will spot it and click to your link and/or read your content. Below are a couple of examples of photos, please do not use my pictures at any point.



Audience
One of the most important things to do is think about your audience. As well as thinking about your genre, you must think about the audience you want to invite. Is it a blog that is going to gain a Mothership Audience, a teenage audience, or a late 20s and older audience? Everything you do on your blog will reflect in your audience - think about the quality; the relevance; maybe you need to think about using an age restriction if your blog is going to contain frequent adult content. You don't want children reading about a sexy encounter you might have had now do you?!

Please respect your audience. As well as thinking about yourself and what you want to write about, you should also think about the people who will be reading your posts. If you are being disrespectful and/or bullying a person, remember NOT TO but also that your blog post can go viral and you can have a lawsuit on your hands. There have been many readers and bloggers who have filed a report to the police as the author has cyber-bullied.

Click Legal Guide for Bloggers for more information on Blogging and the Law.

Finally, encourage comments in your blog posts: The majority of readers will not write down their feedback and thoughts if they are not invited to - you'll get a significant amount of comments if you ask for them. Open your comments feature; don't fear comments. Both negative and positive can be educational and constructive in your blog. If some comments really are negative and, quite frankly, put you down, you can choose to either ignore or delete them. Honestly, most of the comments you will get will be positive and it does give you a boost in your writing to keep on going and creating your own unique blog posts. Be respectful and reply to comments. What really rattles my cage is when I comment something really positive on a post and the blogger brushes past it. It is disrespectful and damn right ignorant. I respond to all my comments, to show I acknowledged and respect the time they took to comment.


Templates / Layout
At the very beginning of blogging, I would recommend just using the samples that are provided by the platforms you are using e.g. Blogger or Wordpress. As you can see, I use blogger. Honestly, to begin with, I would recommend using Blogger as you have more freedom to create and write, however, Wordpress is more professional and convenient for the more experienced bloggers. Researching  and weighing up the pros and cons of Blogger and Wordpress will help you considerably more when it comes to deciding which platform to use.

After using the platform you have chosen for a few months, or even when you feel more confident, you can then completely challenge yourself to using a whole new template that you need to download and edit the code (html.) After almost two years of blogging, I have only just caught on and started to understand code, so now I can add different coding and unique features to my website. 

If you use Blogger and want your own unique template/layout, I recommend searching through the website btemplates.com and picking one of their ready-made creations. 




















As you can see there are so many options for the amount of columns, styles, and colours you can choose from, for a unique template for your blog. Remember, once you have downloaded the template, at the very bottom of your blog page, it will show that the template is owned by btemplates.com so you can not take credit for it (again, copywriting.) You may edit the code your own way, but I recommend you learn more about code before you edit as you could make a mess of it. 

There are hundreds of other websites you can choose from, but for beginners, I recommend this site. If you want to do a complete custom template uniquely to yourself, please get in touch with professional coders but you will have to pay a small fee. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of professionals you can find on both Twitter and Facebook. Custom Templates, honestly, are not even expensive depending on your budget.




[More advanced / Experienced]


Twitter Account / Chats & Promoting
When it comes to Promoting your blog, it is best to create a Twitter Account specifically for your blog. If you have a header on your blog, ideally, you should use that header for your Twitter header; this way your blog and Twitter accounts link and you can be more recognisable if you are searched. 

In the Blogosphere (Blogging Community) there are group Chats on Twitter. These Chats are used to both interact but also promote your own blog - the more you interact, the more known you are and the more known your blog is, the more you can gain friendships and a following. There are even Blogger Meet-Ups that happen quite often; these are more than beneficial and can honestly help promote your blog and can lead to you meeting people with similar interests as yourself in the Blogging community.

Likewise, I will even give you some Chats that I join during the week to give you a boost in the Blogosphere and because I am a kind person who wants to help you.

Monday 
#BDIB @Blogsdoitbetter 7pm GMT

Tuesday
#BlogHour 9pm GMT

Wednesday
#lbloggers @LbloggersChat 9pm GMT

Friday
#BDIB @Blogsdoitbetter 8pm GMT

Sunday
#lbloggers @LbloggersChat 7pm GMT

When writing 'Tweets' and promoting your blog URL (website address) using hashtags such as #lbloggers; #bbloggers; #fbloggers; #gbloggers; #bdib; and #bloghour (depending on your blog genre(s)) will help you gain a wider audience. Let them know what your blog is about, also, so you can pinpoint your readers and it will be easier for people to search for your blog type.


Facebook Page / Page for Bloggers & Promoting 
Like Twitter, you can create a Facebook Page for your blog. However, I would recommend you wait up to 6 months to a year from the day you start blogging before you create a 'fan Facebook page' for your blog. Yes it can be beneficial to have a Facebook page IF you just want to separate your personal Facebook account with your Facebook page for your blog - I have done this. 

Facebook pages are a great way for your readers/audience to interact, but it is easier for them via their own Facebook account to follow your page. It is even easier for them to see each post you publish if it is in their Facebook Newsfeed - win win, right? 

As well as using Facebook for your own benefit for gaining viewers, there are also Facebook Groups you can join which is completely similar to Twitter, on the other hand, these Facebook Groups I am about to share with you do not have Chats. One of these Facebook Groups do have a Twitter Account where you can follow and ask them to 'Retweet' your blog URL. They are extremely welcoming and helpful and I do recommend you join the groups once your blog has lifted off.

Lifestyle Bloggers Collective - you can promote your URL and ask for help with any issue or guidance you need answers for. They are extremely helpful and even the bloggers who have joined the group will help you, not just admin. Any blogger from any country can join this group. More information is on the group page.

UK Bloggers - there are options to promote your URL and interact in this group. You can also promote your Bloglovin, Google Plus, Twitter, etc on this Group. If you are not a UK resident, you cannot join this group (obvious in the group name.) More information is on the group page.



As you can see, there is a lot more that goes into blogging than you maybe would have originally thought; so much to take into consideration, so much sweat, blood and tears that will be shed; so much time and effort will go into your blog. From experience, I spend most of my hours on Social Media promoting and interacting with fellow bloggers in the blogosphere, but I also spend hours on end creative writing and editing my blog posts until they are perfect.

I honestly hope I have given you a detailed insight into how to start your blog but also given you extra information for the future. Good luck with your blog; I hope you become a well known writer and accomplish the goals you are dreaming of. 


Happy writing!



My Social Media Accounts - you are welcome to follow




Much love,

2 comments:

  1. I wish I had read a post like this when I started blogging haha :) I started writing in January and honestly had no idea what I was doing x

    www.sheintheknow.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am glad you enjoyed this post

      Much love, L x

      Delete

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