I have gotten quite a few emails over the last few weeks requesting advice on how to start a blog. Whether you want to start a blog for personal use or promotional purposes, here are a few things to consider before setting up your blog. Below are some resources and tips that I have compiled to help you get started.
Find a blog platform
There are many blog hosting services all over the web that offer free and paid services to bloggers. If you’re starting out, I recommend Blogger, which is the first platform I used. It’s completely free and super easy to set up. WordPress is also free but does offer paid services with more benefits such as the ability to add plugins etc. WordPress provides free support to help you with any issues or questions you may have. Both are excellent blogging services.
Give your blog a title
Make sure when choosing a title for your blog that it’s unique, but that it also reflects what you decide to write about. Keep it short and simple! A good idea is to search Google for blogs in the category of your choice and take a look at their titles. Researching will help inspire you to create a title of your own and avoid using one that is already being used.
Write about what interests you. After all, it’s your blog. You don’t have to restrict your blog’s content to only what you know. You can choose one subject or many that you’re interested in, but don’t know much about. Spend some time researching the material you wish to write about first.
Find your passion; you don’t have to write every single day. The key is to set up a primary schedule and try to stick with it. One day I will write 3-5 posts and then nothing the next day. Try writing at least a couple of days per week. It’s good to keep your blog updated and keep fresh content coming, giving an incentive to keep your readers coming back.
I recommend learning basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills. SEO is where your blog will get indexed on large search engines. Indexing will
Add META Tags & Descriptions
You want to create a short description of your blog. When someone searches for your blog in a search engine, they will see a list of resulting matches and a snippet of your sites description. A Meta description is essential. The text provided in this space will encourage people to click on your listing when your posts are found through a search engine.
Writing meta description and meta tags for your blog will also boost your rating in search engines. META Tags are keywords. The purpose of these keywords is to provide data to search engines. Say someone is searching for a “Canadian Beauty Blog” if you type that into Google, you will find Canadian beauty bloggers because they used that keyword in their Meta Tags. Keywords contain words and phrases the creator of the site considers to be relevant to the document. Here are a few keywords I currently use: the life of a canadian angel, canadianangelxo, canadian blogger, canadian beauty blogger, canadian lifestyle blog, just so that you get an idea.
Don’t Wait For Traffic
It would be nice if traffic to our websites, just magically appeared! But sadly that’s not going to happen. You have to get out there and work hard to get traffic to your site. Set up a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page if you haven’t already. Social media is an excellent tool for bringing traffic to your website by sharing your blog posts. Being active on forums is another great way to bring traffic to your site, as you can advertise your blog in your forum signature.
Spelling & Grammar
People like to read blogs that are easy to understand. People make mistakes; after all, we’re only human. But there is nothing more annoying than constant incorrect spelling or unnecessary use of punctuation. I recommend Grammarly, a free writing app/assistant to make your messages, documents, and posts clear, mistake-free, and effective.
People are more likely to read a blog that doesn’t cause eye strain. Make sure the font you choose is a colour easy to read. Keep your blog simple and clean, while still letting your personality shine.
Don’t Steal Content
Stealing someone else’s content is a huge no-no and can land you in hot water. It’s not worth it. Written material and photographs published online are protected by copyright law. If you do find yourself the victim of copyright infringement, find out what to do when someone steals your content.
Be Patient & Don’t Give Up
Don’t expect lots of traffic and tons of comments overnight. When I first starting blogging in November of 2010, I didn’t have very many page views. But I didn’t let that bother me. I wrote for me, what interested me and focused on writing good quality content. Eventually, my page views went from 10-20 per day to 1000-2000 daily. That’s a massive jump in just under 12 months, and it will continue to grow.
More useful links to check out