I’ve been there. . .
I’ve been a freelance writer for the past 5 years, always dreaming of launching my own website. Except this month, I finally did it! In fact, I launched 3(sundaydrivesusa.com and thejourneytominimalism.com) Yes, because I am a little crazy! It was a lengthy process to figure out how to set up a webpage, create a logo, set up social media streams, and learn how to blog like a pro. Many people often ask me the best ways to start blogging, and I wanted to share what I am learning here because good karma never hurts! :)
I am now working on the best part – the part of love- engaging followers and writing content.
So, how do you start a webpage and develop a platform to share your ideas?
I am still on this journey, but I wanted to empower others, to pursue their writing passion. On this free series, “Underdog blogger,” I will teach you how to quickly and effectively set up your webpage and blog. If you have a business you want to promote, or write inspired content you wish to share with the world, this guide will help you get started! If you have any questions about this content, feel free to comment below! I am a free, open book when it comes to this - because I believe all people should have an outlet to express their ideas to the world.
Here are 6 Simple Steps to Get Started:
1.Figure out Your Passion. It’s important to find something you really care about before you start writing. What topic moves you or in what area of your life are you an expert? Sometimes the more specific it is, the better. Yet you also don’t want to narrow your topic so small that you can’t expand later. For instance, if you like quilting and sewing, try to find a niche that incorporates both, like fabric design. Here are some good questions to ask yourself:
1.How are you unique-do you follow a special diet, do you like travel, or do you like to work out?
2.What types of topics can you focus on in a new angle?
3.What special voice do you bring to this topic? (humor, authority, research, practical-applications, experience)
2.Translate Your Interests into Something You can Provide Your Readers. For my first free blog on wordpress.com, I just started writing. The blog was like an online journal, it was called MrsBucketList and it documented my inner journey of personal growth. And while some found it interesting, for the most part my blog didn’t really address any of my readers' needs or questions. While some of these kinds of blogs can work, I think it is important to consider your readers first. Where can you add value, community, or teachings? While I can't say MrsBucketList was a "failure" it was definitely more for me, than for my readers. So keep this in mind when you are writing, what can you give your readers? It might even be the same topic addressed in a completely different way.
3.Choose a name. Your name choice is the first part of developing your story. Your personal brand will be more effective if people can easily understand what you provide them. When I first started blogging, I did not understand this and often lost my scope early on. Let me tell you, I did this many, many times because I rushed to choose a name. One example was a blog I started called "HonestGoodLife." I abandoned it after week 2 I could not even remember the name myself! Yes Laugh Out Loud. Was it GoodhonestLife, or HonestlyGood, or GreatHonestLife? I honestly could not remember, which is bad very bad, lol. It might be better to combined two unrelated things, or pick a strange unrelated name, hey what is Google anyways? The shorter the name you can get your ideas into, sometimes the better. 1-2 words is ideal.
The brand name also reminds you what your target audience is, and how to reach them. For example, if you have a food focused blog, try to find a word that encapsulates what type of food you provide, such as paleobaker, or glutenfreemama. Either way, your name should be short and easy to remember-the goal is instant brand recognition.
4.Establish Your Social Media Presence. It is important to establish your Social media presence on channels you feel comfortable engaging in, such as instagram, facebook, twitter, linked, and pinterest to name a few before even starting a blog. Think about how you can provide your readers insight into your brand that is both useful and indicative of your value as a writer. Connect for the sake of connecting, not to sell or share a blog. Connection is what matters-and everything will follow.
5.Write High Quality Content. The bread and butter of your blog is good content. Without consistently good articles, any good blog can fail. Readers want to feel connected to your story, and without fresh content they will lose interest. In addition, if you begin to publish sub-par content or take on projects that are unrelated to your brand, your viewers will notice. You want to stay authentic to the purpose of your blog-sharing your message with the world-in doing so, you can organically grow an audience that will be loyal and stay with you through the years. Although this method takes time, it will help you stay writing for years to come and you won't feel you sold out. The original purpose of the blog-the message-should always be your driving force. If you forget it-remind yourself. In fact, before you even start, write it down so you never forget it. There is no "get rich quick scheme" to blogging, but it can be a rewarding experience that can certainly grow into a business opportunity.
6.Join a blogger community. Blogging can be solo work. Yet, the best way to learn is to stay connected to people doing your craft. Often times, this is the best way to learn new skills or find ways to monetize your blog. These communities on social media streams provide invaluable information and contacts that will help you as you grow in your blogging journey. Joining these early on helps to stay focused, find resources, and build community.
7.Start free! I did 10 blogs on wordpress.com (for free) before ever establishing a webpage. I highly recommend this. And don't be discouraged, if your blog gets bigger you can easily move your content from wordpress into a webpage. Starting free allows for so much freedom and it will allow you to refine your voice as a blogger without the pressure of finances. There are many free blog platforms you can use, so research one and try that first.
8.Finally, be positive! If you want to start a blog, don't let anyone talk you out of it - especially because it you have nothing to lose! If anything, blogging is a valauble skill for your resume, and also shares a beautiful message with the world. Stay connected to your message and don't give up!
In the next post of this series, I'll discuss how to choose a host, how to design a logo, and what to share on social media streams, as well as other tips. Stay tuned!