Since I’ll be staying busy during quarantine blogging and writing, I thought I’d share how to get started on your own blogs in case you feel inspired to write as well. I find writing to be a really relaxing, creative and fun experience for me and I love being able to connect with people through their writing. In these chaotic times, connections, especially online, are key to maintaining a positive attitude and good mental health.
Writing is a way for me to escape hysterical moments like this, and I wanted to encourage others to do the same. And while blogging and writing is completely easy for me, posting and maintaining the interview, not to mention creating and designing my blog, takes some effort and can be daunting at first glance. Therefore, I thought I would provide a beginner’s guide to starting your own blog.
Considering you have the enthusiasm to create a blog, formulating a concept seems pretty simple, right? Obviously, this assumes that you have chosen a general stage for your blog. Unfortunately, this guide will not provide starting point inspiration for your blog, but is used to guide your ideas in an organized way. The tricky part of the concept of a blog is creating an umbrella that is broad enough, yet specific enough, to guide your content. If your niche is too broad, or just non-existent, differentiating your blog from the millions of other home-based writers will become a challenge and the consistency of your posts will be lost.
The goal is for a reader to like your post and feel inclined to scroll through and like your other posts as well. If everything on the blog is unrelated, a reader may find your site a wonder fueled by the initial post that piqued their interest. However, if everything is too intertwined, a blog can become monotonous. For example, having a cooking blog but dedicating each recipe to cookies lacks variation.
Finding the perfect topic to encapsulate your interests while keeping this scale in mind can be achieved by the following methods. The first method is what I call the adjective activity combo. This is perfect for hobby or activity-centric blogs that are written from a laid-back “I” perspective. The broad key is activity and the adjective incorporates specificity. Sustainable gardening, healthy baking, simple sewing. The second method is better for those who are interested in more than one topic but still write in a personal style. Lifestyle: skin care, fitness and beauty; Biology: the plants and animals of our oceans; Movie reviews: horror, thriller and Halloween movies.
The great thing about running your own blog is that you are your own boss. The schedule is entirely up to you. I suggest aiming for consistency and quality rather than quantity. If downloading two messages a month will not be easily maintained or receive your maximum effort, it will be necessary to extend the time. It’s better for your best work to be less frequent than stressful downloading to meet a deadline you set for yourself. By being your own boss, don’t become your own worst enemy by setting yourself super strict guidelines. Even though some weeks are busier or more inspiring than others, it is important for a reader’s discretion to stick to their schedule. It doesn’t even have to be once a week! Examples include posting every two weeks or every third Wednesday of the month.
This is a section that is the most individualistic, creative, and in my opinion, fun! In terms of style and content, it’s all up to you! As for the mechanics, I would suggest using Google Docs as free grammar and spell checking is already in place. As much as I love seeing the pride my family members and friends take in finding a typo or grammatical error in my writing, it’s a little embarrassing considering I’ve passed myself off as a handwriting connoisseur. Even with Google’s spell and grammar check, proofread your post a few times in your head and out loud to make sure there are no errors or wording issues that an online program might not. detect. Or someone you consider smart to give them a quick rundown. However, my stubbornness often gets the better of me and I refuse all suggestions that are made to me. Yet I do not hesitate when it comes to correcting others.
Another aspect to consider for your posts is the length. I would suggest between 500 and 2000 words and adding several relevant images. However, when it comes to recipes or other instructions, try to keep the word count only directions and try not to go overboard with a fluffy narrative before getting to the gist of your topic. And don’t be afraid of the pictures! Even the most sophisticated readers can admit to enjoying the visuals.
4. Website and design
Choosing a website and design can get complicated very quickly. Since writing about web design would take me pages and pages and really varies from person to person and site to site, looking for a beginners website guide specifically for blogging, is your best bet. However, I will give some useful tips. I found WordPress to be the easiest domain. It had the most website names available without the addition of WordPress.com or .org attached to the end like many other domain sites do. I chose the annual WordPress subscription, which costs around $100, but varies depending on the exclusivity of the name you choose.
WordPress is the easiest when it comes to site design and walks you through choosing titles, homepages, colors, and more. for your blog design. It also has templates to choose from, which I highly recommend. Since everything else in your blog is made from scratch, these templates give you some direction and will retain enough of your own say in the design of the site. I found choosing well-coordinated colors to be a lot of fun and changed several of my models first.
For those who are a little less creative (and tasteful), a template will be your best friend. Although initially a little confusing, there are thousands of Youtube videos and websites that can help you with your site design if the WordPress guide isn’t watered down enough. I consider myself pretty competent and I’ve been puzzled for days about where the images I’ve uploaded go. However, once the site is fully designed and looks less like a blank, barren wasteland of a website, uploading your posts is very simple. And, by subscribing to WordPress, you can follow and connect with other sites and their creators under the WordPress domain, which can build a community.
If creating your own website is too big a step right now, another option is to apply to be a writer on a site like The Teen Magazine. Articles like this are written by high school or college students, and you can apply for the TTM writing team by filling out the form here.
You have reached the last step! Now your blog might be completely ready to go. However, you may be limited to yourself as the only reader. This is where advertising becomes your best friend. A wonderful aspect of this digital age we live in is the ability to advertise everything for free on social media. If your blog is going to be frequent, meaning one or more posts per week, starting a separate Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter can drive people to your content. By posting snippets of your writing process or posts themselves, you generate interest in your writing. If you plan to advertise on your personal social media account, upload a link in your Instagram bio, attach a Snapchat story, or create an Instagram highlight reel showcasing your posts, these are all good options. You know your audience best, so be creative with what will appeal the most.
Another way to attract more visitors to your site is through word of mouth. Seriously, talking about your blog immediately creates intrigue. Since I’m never shy about talking about myself, plugging my blog into the conversation has become incredibly easy. Try discussing your blog in conversation and referencing your posts. Once visitors and readers have been gathered, implement a subscribe button on your blog, sending an email or notification to anyone who signs up.
As you can see, blogging is a little harder than it looks. However, practice makes perfect and after a post or two you will become an expert. Even after changing a color on my website’s homepage, I was giving myself a pat on the back. So reward yourself for all your hard work and rejoice in all the praise your readers will give your blog. Not to mention, the pride of creating your own website!