What is Blogging?
Blogging is publishing content such as text posts, pictures, videos, and audio on to a personal website known as a blog. Blogs can be created for business or for leisure. Corporate blogs are often created to act as a marketing tool to grant businesses more exposure, but this guide will focus on leisure blogging and will draw on my own experiences as a WordPress and Tumblr user.
Many people decide to start up a blog to pursue topics they’re passionate about. The types of blogs that exist online are as diverse as there are people on the planet, so any interest you have, generic or obscure, is a perfect basis for your own, newly formed blog. Personality is key – no one can create a blog like yours.
Some content ideas for your blog:
- Cooking / baking
- Reviewing / criticism
- Anything you’re passionate about!
The Benefits of Blogging
There is so much positivity you can get from blogging. It can be a really great way to make friends with people who share your interests and be a part of a tightknit online community. It’s empowering to have your own blog that is something that’s entirely yours where you’re free to post about anything. It can help you to better explore your hobbies and can fill you with a great deal of pride. Excuse the cliché, but the possibilities are endless.
Whilst having a good time, blogging can also improve your career prospects and make you more employable. If you’re a creative, your blog can act as your online portfolio of work, which can be sent to future employers to gage your talent with just a click of a cursor. I’ve done this myself, and it was the difference between getting a reply from an employer or being ignored. Blogging is fantastic at helping to develop your self-discipline and commitment. It proves that you can successfully manage and sustain long-term projects.
Choosing your platform
One of the first things you’ll need to consider before creating your own blog is the platform you’ll use. The top three blogging platforms are Tumblr, WordPress, and BlogSpot – all of which can be accessed for free and are fairly simple to use. The best way to learn how to use a platform is by playing around with all its features, looking at its help forums, and watching YouTube tutorials.
Other blogging platforms you may want to try:
Before you start creating content, you’ll have to customise the visual aspects of your blog. This is important, as this will attract visitors. Poor quality pictures and hard to read fonts and colours will deter people from looking at your blog. Simple layouts with easy navigation work best. Tumblr and WordPress both provide an array of free, ready-made layouts (also known as themes) for you to choose from. If the free themes are not to your taste, you can pay for premium themes to get your blog looking its best. Alternatively, if you decide to use Tumblr and have a knack for coding, you can design your own blog that way.
Your username, or URL is the name of your blog and what your viewers will remember you by. Your username could be your own name, or it could be something related to the content of your blog. For example, if you run a book review blog, your URL could be ‘bookworm101’ which is effective as it hints to your viewers what your blog is about.
Something to avoid are usernames that are too long and have too many numbers or punctuation. You’ll want your followers to come back to your blog, so having a username like ‘boooooook-worm-1686432’ is going to be a hassle for them to remember and to type into their search bar. Keep it simple. If you can use a little bit of wit or personality in your username, you’re more likely to spark a visitor’s curiosity.
How much time you invest in this hobby is entirely up to you, but bloggers who gather a large following post content regularly to sustain their blog traffic. One way they do this is by posting certain types of content on specific days of the week, known as a feature. A popular example across the blogosphere is ‘TBT’ (Throwback Thursday) where a blogger will nostalgically post about things from their past. Features can be posted on a weekly, monthly, or even annual basis. Whether you go down this path of blogging is your decision. This is just something that might prompt your ideas.
To begin with, you may want to aim for a simple goal like one blog post a month. If you intend to post regularly, a good idea is to post around the same time each month, so your followers are more likely to come back expecting new content on a certain day. Choose a time of the month that suits you, (e.g. the first of every month) and stick to it. You’re likely to gain a few regular followers and better traffic this way.
If this sounds daunting, please don’t worry. The bloggers who post regularly aren’t sat with their laptops 24/7 churning out content, unless it’s their job, then that’s a completely different situation altogether. Most of them have discovered queuing which exists on most blogging platforms. After creating content, you don’t need to post it straight away. Instead, you can queue your blog post and decide when you want to publish it. You can choose the exact time and date it goes on your blog. This way, when you’re motivated, you can write lots of content and put it in your queue for months to come.
Now you’ve got the tips, the next step is get going. Happy blogging!