So you want to be a Blogger? Brilliant! Blogging is a great way to voice your opinion to the world in a constructive way, aswell as gaining therapeutic benefits.
When I first started out, It was daunting flicking through the well established, professional looking, incredible blogs I was subscribed to. I couldn’t imagine ever being on the same level success wise as my idols. Like with anything though, the more you do something, the more confident you become. Before you know it, you’ll have a well adjusted platform, game plan and be flowing through your blogging goals with ease (and a cuppa!)
To help you get started, I’ve compiled the key focuses you will need to tackle to build up a stunning, functional and attractive blog that won’t only bring you a loyal following, but teach you just how much you’re really capable of in moments of self doubt.
Let’s get stuck in!
WordPress vs Blogspot
The WordPress vs Blogspot (also known as Blogger) debate is ripe in the Blogging community, compare it to the whole Mac vs Windows argument. Like marmite, you either like one or the other…
Blogspot is where I started out as a total newbie. I was attracted to its simplicity and easy to navigate platform. Many agree Blogspot wins for real beginners BUT and this is a Big but, once your blog starts to take off and you start gaining more reader interaction, linking to socials etc that’s where being on such a basic platform starts going sour. It simply doesn’t have the extra bits and bobs such as allowing thumbnail links when sharing on social media’s, plug-ins to make your blog into a personal website with the interactive tools you need to keep up peoples engagement of your work. It is possible to export your blog onto WordPress should you change your mind down the line, but if you have zero coding knowledge it’s a minefield transferring not just your posts, but your traffic, comments, images, stats etc. I know because I did exactly this and ended up roping in a friend’s relative who designs websites for a living. Thankfully she managed to save the day and make sure nothing was lost in the transition phase. However my stats did take a hit as my domain wasn’t working for a while during the switch. My advice to a new blogger would be, persevere with WordPress from day 1 to save yourself hassle down the road. It has everything you could ever need as your blog grows. If you’re dedicated and are serious about becoming a Blogger, WordPress has your back 👍
Discover your nichè
Most Bloggers have what they call a nichè. Basically what your blog is going to focus on genre wise. Some examples (as per the above) are lifestyle, fashion, travel, parenting/family, career or specific business oriented. You can either choose from the main ones listed, or mix up your nichè to stand out a bit more. For example I’m a disabled Mum so I wanted to incorporate 2 nichès into 1 – therefore I’m a Disability Mummy Blogger if you will! Some Bloggers decide not to tie themselves down to a nichè at all so they have more free reign on what to write. This has its pros and cons.
- Pros – You get to write about anything and therefore not tied down to a certain genre. Should a brand approach you then for example and wanted you to do a review on something, then you could do it and wouldn’t have to worry about it not fitting with your blog.
- Cons – Mixed Bloggers do struggle more to gain a following because there’s no set target group. It may take longer to build traction and you may get frustrated and feel at times your blog isn’t progressing.
It is a harder road but if you’re punching out good quality, easy to read content in multiple areas of life then you will gain, though more slow and steady wins the race kind of situation.
Those that do pick a popular genre like my friend over at SimplyEmma, she’s a disabled travel blogger so you’ll notice her blogs website is filled with gorgeous travel snaps. Letting your chosen nichè spill over onto your websites theme, your readers immediately recognise what you’re all about – just by the feel of the homepage alone. Making your nichè obvious spells confidence in the Blogging world that you know where your place is and you’ve set up camp, here for the long run!
Scheduling vs freestyle
This is a very personal choice and will much depend on your lifestyle, commitments and responsibilities. For example if you’re a working Mum who’s blogging in her spare time, setting a blog schedule may not be realistic. Freestyling with no pressure in many cases produces better blog posts and therefore you’re not compromising your blogging quality for quantity.
On the flip side, many well established Bloggers swear by scheduling posts, claiming it helps maintain an engaged audience and promote subscribing to your blog as they know more content will be published on certain days of the week.
There’s no right or wrong way to get your content out there, it’s purely up to you and what you think will work with your lifestyle.
Using Social Media to expand your reach
Social media is a FANTASTIC method of getting your blog posts out there, being read, liked and commented on. Join blogger linky’s to get the posts shared and retweeted amongst other Bloggers (just remember to follow the rules the linky host sets!) The more linky’s you join, the further your post reach. Linky’s are all about give and take, supporting one and others blogging journey as you attempt to gain a following. The Blogging community is full of love and support.
Don’t forget to use #Hashtags to your advance to, find out what’s trending – blog about it (if it’s your cup of tea of course) and use the relative hashtags to reach even MORE people in internet land.
Not got time to scour social media promoting your posts all day, everyday? Me neither, as a disabled Mum of 2 my spare time is at daft o’clock in the morning. So I use a fab app called Buffer to schedule my social media posts to publish automatically on the day/time of my choice. All prepared in advance. It’s like a personal social media manager in an App! I love it. Just love it…
Recommended: The #BlogCrush linky
When to buy a domain
Some people want a domain identity right off the bat, while others (including me) decide to wait and see if their blog takes off before devoting money annually on an easy to remember Web address for their audience. It definitely does improve stats as your domain name should roll of the tongue and straight to the point but there’s no real “right” time to buy. Only that you’ll want to explore domain packages as your blog grows.
Engaging within the Blogging community
Those who have never blogged think it’s an easy hobby, merely like a public diary. What could possibly be so hard? Although blogging is rewarding, it does take time to get everything the way you want it and chugging along like a well oiled machine. Editing, picture making, proof reading, changing your mind, getting writers block. It can all get a bit overwhelming at times. That’s when you can really take advantage of the amazing community of online Bloggers! Simply search your blogging genre on your preferred social media and join some groups just for Bloggers like you. Grab a cuppa and feel at ease to off load, give and receive advice, learn from those who’ve been at it for longer. I really can’t recommend reaching out to other Bloggers enough. It makes all the difference to talk to someone else who really “gets” it.
Are you new to Blogging and found anything particularly helpful in this guide? Or maybe you’ve got another great tip or trick for beginners of your own! Please share your thoughts…