Starting a blog was probably one of the best decisions I made this year. I’ve learned so much from understanding SEO and entering the world of twitter chats plus reaching out to amazing bloggers, investing in courses and the like.
Apart from working on the confidence course, so much has gone on behind the scenes of this blog. Even though starting a blog is super easy, running a blog, is where the real work comes in. So I decided to start a section called blogging advice, specifically for new bloggers who are trying to work their way around the bloggersphere (like me!). There is SO much to learn and I find that I keep learning new things and new ways to improve and build my blog. I know that how to start a blog or running a blog can be overwhelming. When starting a blog its important to think about:
- How to actually start your blog
- How to get your blog noticed
- Where to find images for your blog (WITHOUT copyright infringement)
- Who is your target audience
- What will you write about
These are all some of things you should be thinking about when starting a blog. Here, I am going to break down the important blogging basics and some of the questions I had when I started my blog.
I appreciate some of you may have already started your blog so you may feel that you are covering old ground. What I will say is that:
- Someone you know might want this information in the future
- You might need this information in the future. Maybe you want to switch to a cheaper host when your plan comes up for renewal or maybe you need new images for your blog post. I’m sure that there is something which you will still find useful
- If you’re looking to start your own blogging series, this post will give you some tips for a headstart!
If you want to find out what my all important questions that I had when I started blogging, look no further!
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Q: I want to start a blog, but not sure how. Can you help me?
Yes! The first thing you want to do, is think of a name for your blog. You will need this information when you register your domain and set up your social media accounts. Make sure its unique and original. You want to stand out! Part of creating your name will also focus on your niche and what you intend to write about. You should take some time to think about your name carefully because this is going to be a part of your brand and how others identify with you. Think of what you want to write about and then focus on how you want your readers or your target audience to connect with you and what they will think when they see your blog name. Will it be humorous, serious or funny? Some people simply have their name or others prefer to create a domain name which reflects what their niche is.
Q: Ok. I have a name. Now what?
Make sure you set up all your social media accounts with your name. People will need to identify you with your blog. This is and will be your brand which hopefully you will continue to grow for years to come. Once thats done, its time to set up your website! You can chose a number of different hosts. Here are 3 including pros and cons of each:
Price: £2.75 ($3.50) per month
This the hosting service which I use and have used for over a year now. I havent had any major problems with Bluehost but I have experienced “downtime” on my blog because I didnt verify it within a certain time. I find their support service really good because it is pretty much 24/7 which is helpful for me because I work and can’t always get round to doing unrelated work things during working hours.
One bonus when you go to check out is that they offer you a 70% discount so I was able to get my hosting and a free domain for £1 per month!
Price: £3.30 ($4.20) per month
Although I don’t use siteground, I have seen many reviews across social media groups I have joined and blog posts that siteground is a really good webhoster, namely because of its performance, low prices and automatic backups to make sure you save your hard work! There are comments about low storage space. Its up to you to decide if this is will be an issue for you.
Price: £4.50 ($3.95) per month
Many bloggers do use Bluehost for their websites and use this as their starting point when they first create their blog. While the price is slightly higher than the rest, you get some additional add ons and unlimited usage on many of the Bluehost features such as storage space and email accounts.
Q: But I don’t want to pay for a website, arent there any free options>
I get it. You dont want any running costs and thats fine! You can use platforms such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com but heres the thing. Having a self hosted website like so many other bloggers out there, including myself, looks more professional which helps when you want to work with brands in the future. Plus, if you ever decide to change platforms later on, it could be a slightly hassle and possibly some additional admin fees. All the options above are pretty affordable anyway but if you don’t want any financial commitments, you can chose either of these platforms to get started.
Q: I’m looking for a theme or a template, what can you recommend?
There are so many themes and templates out there. Its all about finding something that you like and what your readers will engage with. I selected a theme from creativemarket.com. You can also find other amazing resources on Creative Market like images, fonts and more! If you sign up you also get 7 free downloads per month 🙂
Theme Forest also have some great themes starting for only $2. You can also get some great freebies too. There is so much choice out there that you are bound to find something you like on any of these sites. If you aren’t sure, check out some of the bloggers in your own niche and get an idea of what works for them. It doesn’t mean that you COPY their theme, but it will give you some inspiration and direction of what kind of themes to look for.
If you are looking for something pretty and feminine, check out restored316.com.
Q: I need some images for my blog post, should I just use google?
Absolutely not! Images on google are often subject to copyright laws which means you must seek permission from the owner before you use their material. The best option is using a stock photo site which will have loads of images to use, usually without strict copyright restrictions that you can use personally or commercially. I originally started using these free sites:
But my blog posts often have a theme and its not always the case that I can find the right images on those sites to go with my posts. So I researched stock photo subscriptions and I now use:
turquoiseandpalm.com – Turquoise and palm is run by Alli. She has a library of images which she updates every month. You also get access to images already added to the site before you were a member. The cost is only $19 (£15) per month and you get access straight away!
Wonderfelle.com – Elle has a great choice of stock photos which are also in a lot of my posts and used on my Instagram. If you decide to sign up you can get 5 free downloads to get a feel for the type of images she takes. The images are seriously amazing quality for only $25 for 3 months.
Q: Great! Do you have any resources you could recommend to help me with my blog?
Yes! I’ve done ALOT of research myself and use a combination of free and paid resources which have helped me with my blog. This guide gives you a small snapshot of some of the tools you can use to help you with your blog. I’ve created a complete guide of resources which you can use and list which ones work for me and how it will help you with growing your blog, improving your social media presence and getting your blog noticed. This guide will help especially if you want monotize your blog in the future.
Q: Now I have the basics, Where do I start?
You;ve got your domain name, your social media set up and some free and page images to make your blog posts look great. So, you can start writing and creating your blog posts. I would recommend that you have at least 10 posts created before you launch your blog. You can also network on social media and let others know you are “coming soon”. This creates brand awareness for you so you can build a loyal following and readership before you blog is launched.
The key part to writing blog posts is making sure that you have good quality content that your readers can enjoy and give them a reason to stay on your website and become a loyal reader. Its not only key to do research before you start to write blog posts but to also make sure that your blog posts are easy to read and relatable. Not only that but you want to make sure you proofread your work. As a lawyer this is one of the key things we need to do and I follow that number one rule on my blog too! It shows your readers that you are professional (especially if you want to monotize your blog) and also that you have put a great deal and time and effort into your blog posts by checking for spelling or grammatical errors.
A really helpful tool to help you with all your grammar, spelling and punctuation to make proof reading so much easier, is Grammarly. Its a free online tool which you download to your web browser and checks your work for you. When you’re creating long blog posts of at least 1200 words like me, you really need a tool like Grammarly to help you check for any errors or mistakes as you’re going along.
The best thing about Grammarly too, is that you don’t just have to use it for your blog posts. It automatically gets to work when you’re creating social media posts and emails too. Grammarly is a really simple and easy tool for you to use and provides really handy suggestions and indications to help you as you craft amazing content. If you don’t believe me, you can check it out for yourself! Click here to get Grammarly for free.
Q: Thanks! What about getting people to read my blog posts?
After you’ve created your amazing content, you need to promote the heck out of it! You need to be working your social media magic to get people to notice you and find your blog. There are so many different ways you can promote your blog posts and get your content seen. The most popular and probably the most well know way to get your content seen is on social media. You can publish your content on various social media platforms. You need to do this more than once per day.
Don’t worry about posting multiple times per day because your social media posts have a very short time span. Plus, with so many people on social media, its unlikely that the same people will see the same post twice anyway. The key is to tweak the post you send so even though its the same link to your post, it looks slightly different. This isn’t to cheat but, maybe your first post wasn’t very engaging. So, by tweaking your post about the same content, you can see what works best with your readers.
You can use all the usual social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to showcase your content. In the beginning though, I would probably suggest working on two platforms and then working your way up. I now schedule most of my content using hootsuite and boardbooster which saves me a lot of time, so I can focus on other areas of my blog.
Alternative ways to boost your pageviews is through facebook comment threads and blog link parties but be warned that these methods take up a lot of time and involve a lot of rules and reciprocation. Its a great way to network with other bloggers and you are always guaranteed page views because people have to reciprocate but in the long term its probably not something you want to be doing forever. I would probably suggest working on SEO, Pinterest and your email list to try and get larger amounts of traffic for the long term.
Q: Ok, What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. Its essentially how search engines like Google and Yahoo rank your website among others based on how their algorithms (data) see how helpful your content is to other readers. This is how you can get page views from your site from places like Google. It takes a long time to essentially build some type of authority for your website with a big gun like Google but its not impossible.
There are so many courses and training available to help you understand SEO and improve your search ranking factor (which isn’t based on some special well known formula by the way). But heres the deal, you can check out Moz’s beginner’s guide on SEO which should probably be your starting point. There is so much to SEO that I couldn’t possibly answer it in this specific guide but here are some take aways from my own research on SEO:
- Do keyword research for your blog post. The type of things that you would search on Google like “How to be better at Maths” or “Where can I find the nearest hair salon”. You can shorten these to “improve maths skills” or “best hair salon in London”. Jaaxy and Kwfinder are useful tools to help you find keywords. Once you’ve found an appropriate one for your own blog post, use it throughout the post at least 6-7 times.
- Add images to your blog posts and change the file name to the keyword you used above and in the “Alt description”. This is essentially used when your image has difficulty loading, like with poor internet connection. The internet browser will therefore show the person the “alt description” for when the image cannot load, to tell them what the image of the picture is. This can help with SEO.
- Use the Yeost SEO plugin for wordpress. This is a really handy tool that provides you with a checklist of ways in which you can improve your SEO. It won’t necessarily have you ranking at page 1 for your blog posts, but it will help and can go a long way to getting organic traffic (i.e. people who find your website or blog posts through search engines.)
Q: Ok great! Can I get some more help on how to build my blog?
I’m glad you asked! I created a free bloggers resource guide with over 100 resources to point you in the direction of your blog. You can get access by signing up below. Access to this resource guide is COMPLETELY free for all. Alternatively you can sign up below! You’ll receive the guide straight away so there is no waiting. Just sign up and get it straight to your inbox!