Starting a blog? My blog will be a year old on 13th January, which seems crazy to me. Starting it was one of the best things that I have ever done, but it was a steep learning curve.
18 months ago I didn’t even know what a blog was, so for me it really was starting from scratch and learning as I went when I started my own a year (almost!) ago. If it’s a path you are about to embark on, then here are my top tips to remember when starting a blog.
Choosing your blog name:
When choosing a blog name, you really do need to make sure that the name you choose will suit you for a long time. The word ‘mummy’ in your name might not suit you when your children are 15. Likewise if you choose to call yourself ‘Mummy of Two’, ‘Mum of Bob’, or anything with ‘baby’ in the title, then when your children get older or if your family situation changes, this name may no longer suit you – apologies if I have accidentally named any existing blogs, if you are happy with having these in your name then it is personal choice, but just something to bear in mind if it would bug you.
You can change your blog name later on, but it’s a real pain to do. Another thing to bear in mind with name choice, is how likely are people to remember it? If it’s a name that takes a lot of typing out and remembering, then people may not make return visits simply because they have no idea what your blog was called.
Also, research your blog name well. You really do not want to start a blog only to find someone else is already using the name, they really won’t thank you for it and may even have protected their name. Plus it would just be confusing.
If you hope to become a blogger who is paid to write, or does reviews in the future, then it is a good idea to start your social media accounts for your blog early on. Some companies want you to have a particular number of followers on one platform or another, to work with you. The sooner you open the accounts, the sooner you can start building your followers up – how to do that is something for a whole other post.
Use the word BLOG – This is about your name on social media. You will find that there is a real blogging community, which I absolutely love and as part of that a lot of bloggers will follow and follow back other bloggers. If you have the word ‘blog’ in your name it makes you easier to spot by other bloggers and potential brands that you want to work with. This is something that has really worked for me and I have almost 10,000 followers on Twitter already.
Don’t send auto private messages on social media – There are mixed opinions on this one in the blogging world, but a large amount of bloggers that I am friends with will unfollow people when they get an automatic private message from them on Twitter. They can come across as very spammy and in fact I very rarely check my inbox on Twitter as it’s so full of spammy rubbish.
Follow other bloggers – This is a great way to grow your follower numbers, but do interact as well. Often if you have a lot of followers, follower notifications can be missed, but if you chat and retweet/share etc then the other blogger is more likely to notice you and hopefully return the favour.
One thing though, don’t tag random bloggers in to your tweets or other social media posts in the hope that they will read your posts, they more than likely will end up un-friending or even blocking you. I often retweet posts I like the look of, by choice not because someone spammed me constantly.
The main two that companies ask for your follower numbers on are in my experience Facebook and Twitter, however I have found a few ask for Instagram and Pinterest and I have picked up extra work before because my follower numbers on these are quite high. I am also on Linkedin, Stumbleupon, google+ and more though.
Google+ is also a good one to build, as those who follow you on google plus actually see your google+ posts higher up in their normal google search results than they would if they didn’t follow you.
It never hurts to be seen everywhere in the blogging/social world. You can find all my social media links at the top right side of my blog in my sidebar, it is a good idea to do similar for your own blog to make it easy for your readers to find you elsewhere.
When I read a blog, I want to know who writes that blog, sometimes I come across ones where I have no idea even what their first name is, let alone any other details. One of the first things you should set up is an ‘about me’ page, that tells your readers a little about you, definitely mention where you live (rough geographic location obviously) as sometimes local loyalty leads to more return visits.
I sign off all of my posts with my name, I just feel it gives the personal touch.
Either on your about me page, a work with me page or even a contact me page, you should have either your email address for people and hopefully in the future companies to contact you, or a contact form for the same use and reason. If you go down the contact form route, then make sure you test the form yourself as I have been caught out by a faulty contact form on my site before, hence why I don’t currently have one.
If you are expecting to start a blog and then two weeks later start being paid to write posts, then the chances are you will be disappointed. Some bloggers can write for months or even years without earning a penny from their blog.
Write what you enjoy writing, write what you are passionate about and treat any review items or payments as a bonus when they do come. If you only write for the payments and the hope of gains, then this will show in your writing. People need a reason to keep coming back to read your blog, and if all you post is reviews with big gaps when you have nothing to review, then they won’t very often.
There is the opportunity to earn from your blog, and earn very well if you write well, but do not underestimate just how much hard work you will need to put in and how long it may take. They do say though, that nothing worth having is ever easy.
Have fun with your blog and enjoy what you’re doing! It should never feel like a boring task to get over and done with, it is such an exciting world to be a part of, just think of the possibilities of what you can write and who you may even be able to help with what you write.
I write about Type 1 Diabetes, as my eldest son was diagnosed at the age of 5 and I have had a couple of emails from parents who have had their children diagnosed recently who have said that reading my posts made a difference in making them feel less alone and more positive about the future. That to me meant more than any pay cheque possibly could. I would blog even if I didn’t receive a penny for doing so.
I wish you luck with your future blog!
Stevie x**To comment on this blog you do not need to leave your name, email address or website if you don't wish to. Any information entered will remain private and will not be shared with anyone other than the site owner.