Whether you already have a well-established business that could use another line of communication, or you simply want to contribute to the online library with a fresh perspective, blogging is still considered highly influential. In fact, blogs are perceived the 5th most trustworthy source available online. That makes them the perfect tool to connect with your audience and create a bond of trust.
The route to a perfect blog can, however, be tricky. There are so many available options and you’re probably stuck picking out the look and feel that you like best among all those websites you’ve seen. Give your search a little boost and simplify your blogging beginnings. Here’s a list of 10 most important things to consider before you turn to writing your first post.
1. Pick a Platform
Before you can do anything else, you need to find the right blogging platform that will suit your needs. You’ve most likely already heard of WordPress, and for a good reason. A study conducted back in 2013 showed that 52% of 100 top-rated blogs are built precisely on this platform! It’s viewed as the most reliable, simple to manage platform. It has excellent templates and hosting. WordPress definitely has a high return on investment, in terms of money, time and effort.
There are other options as well, such as Google’s Blogger, Drupal and Typepad, to name a few. It’s important to pick the platform that encompasses everything you need. Consider the costs (if any), functionality, loading speed. Does it offers simple interaction between you and your readers with comments and shares? Is there a reliable support system in case you’re having trouble?
2. Name your Blog
With so many existing blogs, it’s challenging to find a name that both encapsulates the topics you want to cover and still be unique. Assuming that you’ve already chosen what you want to discuss in your blogs and your online tone of voice, explore what has already been done. Browse the net to find related content that will give you a sense of direction for your own blog.
Picking a memorable domain name so that it truly reflects your subject matter and your persona might take you more time that you expect. Arm yourself with patience, tons of chocolate (of coffee, whatever works for you) and get started.
3. To Pay or not to Pay?
Even though there’s a free version of blogs, you need to weigh your pros and cons before you decide whether or not to invest in hosting. Free blogs have numerous limitations, such as the fact that you basically don’t own your blog, you don’t have that many branding possibilities, and it can be deleted at any time.
A self-hosted blog, on the other hand, can be customized more freely, as you’ll have the option to add videos, images, decide on removing or including ads, decide on preferred plugins and you’ll have many blog themes to choose from. Keep in mind that hosting doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, in can boil down to up to $10 per month, but you should do your research to find the best match for you.
4. Get Creative
All the way from getting an available free template you can customize, or buying a theme to getting someone to design the blog for you, the options are making it simple for you to stand out in the blogging world not only with your content, but also with the look and feel of your website. You can change the themes with only a few clicks, customize their appearance, and most importantly, you won’t lose any of your content.
Make sure that your blog’s design is up to date not only with fresh content, but also visually appealing and adapted to your character and your audience alike. Think about keeping your navigation simple without compromising the visual appeal, and vice versa.
5. Think about Goals
Setting up your personal calendar for your blog posts will help you achieve consistency, which is an important step in establishing a line of communication with your readership. Have a list of topics beforehand, and you can even take your time to write several posts before publishing a single one. Think about the length and frequency of posting for each blog to make sure you offer enough valuable information and a personal touch, as well as regular content.
A schedule with these achievable milestones will help you maintain a steady posting rate and ensure quality as well as quantity to your blog. Having a subject matter you want to talk about, such as fashion, beauty tips, or fitness ideas, is only one part of the fun! You need original content to post on a regular basis, so explore the existing content on those topics. And of course, avoid rehashing content, because a unique standpoint is what people will gladly respond to and your blog will rank well with search engines.
Social media platforms, ongoing communication with your readers, participating in your blogging community by sharing other bloggers’ posts that matter to you, collaborating with other writers, devoting time to creating unique videos, podcasts, or interviews, these are just some of the ways you can enrich your blog with content that will inspire.
Although you might have a single main topic, that still allows room for being playful and creative with your posts. What matters most is that you care about the given subject matter, that you offer an authentic perspective and that your posts can serve their purpose, whether that is conveying a message, sharing your experiences, suggesting solutions or opening up a discussion.
7. Encourage Engagement
Having a voice is one thing, but making noise by inspiring others to speak up, take part in your cause, respond to your posts and invest emotions in what you share with them is what makes or breaks a blog. Not a single strategy in the world will make a difference if your writing is void of that openness that invites people to start a conversation with you. Including your readers and inviting them to take part in the process of spreading the word and sharing their thoughts encourages people to take action.
Encourage engagement by using social media platforms to reach more people, start writing a newsletter, send branded shirts to your regular readers, pay attention to details like headlines, open a line of communication with comments and messages, and always make sure to respond in a timely manner, because people will otherwise feel discouraged to get in touch again.
And of course, learn about your readers to take your blogs to the next level, because if you value their input and opinions and if you research preferences and trends, your blog can truly skyrocket to success.