Starting a blog can be pretty daunting. Where do you start? What should you do?
I‘ve been blogging over a year now and am still learning every day but one thing I wish I had of done before starting a blog is a bit of research! These are my 10 things to do before starting a blog
DECIDE WHETHER TO GO WITH A FREE BLOGGING SERVICE OR SELF HOSTED
Most people start out on a free blogging site to see if they like it before they pay for self hosting. You can do this on either Blogger or WordPress. Personally I’d recommend starting out on WordPress as if you do decide to go self hosted then this makes it much simpler to make the changeover. I feel WordPress has much better functionality and plug ins that can really help take your blog further.
There are lot’s of people on Blogger who love it but from experience it’s definitely WordPress for me. If you’re planning using blogging for your business or you want to monitize your blog then go self hosted with WordPress straight away.
CHOOSE A BLOG NAME WITH LONGEVITY
If I had to choose my name again, I’d probably go with Gym Bunny Mum rather than Mummy as I won’t be Mummy for too much longer, so you need to think about where your blog will be in 12 months or five years. If I’d have called my blog Archie’s Mummy and had another child then straight away the name just wouldn’t be right.
BUY YOUR DOMAIN NAME
I’d recommend doing this regardless as you don’t want to get a year down the line then realise someone else has snapped up your domain name. This can also help with choosing your blog name as certain domains might not be available so you may have to tweak it a little. I have my domain & hosting through GoDaddy
SIGN UP TO SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Do this even if you don’t plan on using all of them so that your blog name is attached to them, definitely consider Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, google plus then potentially Bloglovin’ as it’s a great way to find new blogs for you to read and for other people to follow yours.
Go for consistency with your name across all sites. I used to be gymbunnymummy on Instagram but gymbunnymum on Twitter (someone else already had @gymbunnymummy) so whenever anyone tagged me on Instagram I would never get the notifications or mentions via Twitter. It also makes it much more easier for people to find you. I must admit it drives me crazy if I’m trying to find someone on Twitter and they’ve got a totally different name to their blog. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find and follow you.
LINK ANY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS TOGETHER
When I post to my Facebook page or Instagram it automatically posts to twitter too which can help cross promote you and your blog posts. I also have my blog posts set to publish across my social media accounts every time I publish something new. It makes it so much easier than having to manually update every account yourself.
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR BLOG DESIGN
I’ve changed my design a few times over the past year. I just couldn’t decide on the style I wanted to begin with. I looked at lot’s of other blogs for inspiration and the kind of overall look I liked. Don’t copy someone else, use other bloggers as inspiration but you need to find your own style. I recently made some big changes to my blog design after deciding exactly what I wanted from a theme
FIND YOUR TONE OF VOICE
This can be a bit of a hard one to decide on, it comes quite easy for some but for me it took a while to find my flow. I like to write as I speak, down to earth and relatable BUT I also want to be professional too. My blog is also my career so I’m not going to be swearing or slating people or brands as I’m freelance and don’t want to ruin my chances of working with brands in the future. That said, I am honest & personal in all my posts I just keep it professional too.
WRITE, WRITE, WRITE
Try to write a few posts ready for when you ‘go live’, you want people to click around your blog when they first find it and get to know you and your blog a little bit. Plus think about an ‘About Me‘ & a ‘Contact‘ page too with an up to date email address and your social network profiles too. If they like what they read then hopefully they’ll follow you and you can gain a loyal reader.
SET UP A NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
It might sound a bit premature but you want to start building your following straight away. If someone signs up for your newsletter then it’s likely they’ll click through to read more of your blog. Building up a loyal following is a great way to ensure regular readers increasing your page views each month.
LEARN SOME BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY
Mine was shocking to start with and it’s something I’m working on in the background. I’m currently using some stock photography whilst I’m practising and building my kit but I’ve just bought a lovely new camera and backdrop so I can start creating my own beautiful shots for the blog.
Having great photography really makes a different to the overall look of your blog, it draws people in, catches their eye. It’s the same across social media too, beautiful photos can really help build a great following.
Have you recently started a blog or are considering it? If so then you might want to take a look at my How To Start A Blog In 6 Easy Steps. Do you have any other tips you’d add to my list?