Hi everyone! Today, I am starting a new blogging series on my site that I hope y’all will enjoy. I always get questions and requests for advice regarding how to start a blog in 2018 or a YouTube channel, and now I am going to start putting my tips and tricks out for everyone. Since middle school, I’ve been writing for blogs and filming YouTube videos (they were secret lol) Although things have changed, I’ve learned a lot through the years, and I am starting to see my efforts pay off. I can’t wait to share my info with all of you!
How to Start a Blog in 2018
Choose a Topic
What do you want to blog about in the first place? Are you interested in fashion, food, or other lifestyle content? It could also be something more niche; the possibilities are endless. Just make sure it’s a topic that you’re passionate about because when you’re spending late nights writing posts or watching stats stagnate, that’s the one thing that will keep you going. Don’t choose a topic simply based on what you think will be popular if you have no interest in it at all. That’s fake, and people will be able to see right through it. Maybe you want to write about multiple topics, or verticals, on your blog, and that’s fine! Just don’t spread yourself too thin. In my opinion, starting out with 3-5 verticals is a good place. Take a look at my navigational bar above to see my verticals.
Find a Perspective and an Audience
After you choose a topic, you need to choose a perspective. If you have a fashion blog, what are you bringing to the table that’s fresh? Basically, how are you implementing your own perspective. For my blog, I like to focus on lifestyle content, but I do it from a college/young adult perspective. That helps to shape my posts and it targets my content to a specific audience. You need to figure out for whom you’re writing pretty early. A good place to start is choosing your own demographic and writing as if you’re the person who would be reading your posts. I probably won’t do many posts about furniture right now because most of my readers live in college dorms, but a post about affordable TJ Maxx wall art may do quite well (I should get to writing that!).
You’ve got the basic idea of who you are, so now it’s time to handle business. In this age, there is such a large pool of bloggers, influencers, and content creators, so you should take care from the start to form a strong foundation. Where are you hosting? What is your blog address? Do you have corresponding social media platforms? Graphic design and templates? It’s a lot to think about, but it’s necessary. You want to be able to fit in with the big dogs, so it’s going to take a little work. Don’t be discouraged, though! There are plenty of resources on the Internet for figuring this stuff out, and a quick email/DM to me will not go unanswered. Personally, I recommend self-hosting through WordPress.org (NOT .com) from the start and using a custom domain. If blogging is just something you want to try out, you can purchase plans that only go month to month. If you choose another platform, you almost definitely will want to switch later, and, trust me, it sucks.
For an affordable hosting and domain option, I would suggest HostGator. Use the code ‘MAYAFLEMING’ for 25% off your order. For my graphics, I depend on Adobe Illustrator and Canva, a free Internet program.
As a blogger, planning is your best friend. At the beginning of each month, I sit down and brainstorm post topics. From there, I form an editorial calendar where I plan which posts will go live on which dates. I also plan what sort of photography or video content I would like to accompany the post, as well as promotional materials, so I have enough time to get everything together without being stressed the week of. Some bloggers do it every quarter, but I find that doing things too far in advance doesn’t work as well for me. It may be helpful for you to keep a calendar near by during this step, so you won’t forget holidays or other events that could be worked into your content. Also, remember your audience and perspective. Are the posts on your editorial calendar useful for your audience. Go back to my furniture example, and make sure you don’t have any furniture posts (posts useless to your audience) on your calendar. And don’t forget about additional materials!
This is probably the most important part of the process. When you launch your blog, you want to have at least one post available in each vertical, so readers will have content available to them. Set aside a day to write with your favorite music in the background, and just get to it. I can’t stress it enough: keep your perspective in mind! Also, pay attention to the post length and the keywords you use. If you don’t know what that even entails, then stay tuned for a post soon about SEO.
Promote and Engage
Okay, I take back my last point. This is the most important part of the process. Most likely, if you’re starting a blog, you want people to read it. As daunting as it seems, there are plenty of ways to drive people to your post. I will do more in-depth posts later, but your marketing should include both social media and in-person interaction. Let the people close to you know that you’re starting a blog because they’ll be your first and most loyal supporters. When no one else cares about my posts and sign ups, I can usually count on my friends and family to bolster those numbers. Once you’ve attracted that support, move to social media and find people writing about similar topics in your area. Use location tags and hashtags to find other bloggers, and comment on their posts to build your network. Again, don’t be fake. People can always tell. If you leave a dry comment, you’ll get ignored. Support other people, and you’ll see those actions reciprocated. Comment on blog posts, comment on Instagram likes, and reply to Stories. You’ll catch the eyes of those in the game with you and attract those voices. Also, make sure to post about every new blog post you write! Promotion is key. How else when anyone know that you have new content?
Well, everyone there you go! Like I said, I am going to do separate posts on different social media outlets and go more in-depth on the different facets of blogging. For now, check out this post on being taken seriously as a blogger. What questions do y’all have about blogging? Leave them in the comments, and I will be sure to work them into my editorial calendar.
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