Starting a blog was one of the best decisions of my life.
I fell across the wonderful world of blogging whilst on maternity leave with Eliza, often chatting to bloggers and entering their giveaways in the early hours of the morning, whilst feeding.
Fast forward 8 years and I have two blogs, this one and my dedicated family travel blog Are We Nearly There Yet? which has not only help allow me to stay at home with my young family, but it has also given us some incredible experiences that we would never have done otherwise.
I started a blog as a modern day diary of family life, using the blogger platform and it has developed and grown from there. It has been a huge learning curve as I was never really a technical person – the extent of my computer based knowledge was attempting to program a BBCB computer for my GCSE exams (showing my age now).
Now, I am the co-founder of a local networking group for small businesses called Lemur Linkup which predominantly helps working parents, giving help and advice on things such as websites, social media, blogs etc, I co-run a blogging for business workshop with Joanne Dewberry, have helped numerous small business run their social media and have made some amazing friends along the way.
Once you have decided what you want to blog about, how do you start?
How to start a blog
Choose your platform
Blogging doesn’t have to cost you money and there are plenty of free platforms to choose from. I started on blogger which is owned by google, it is free and it is perfect for beginners, but now I use wordpress.org which requires me to pay annually for someone to host my website. There are lots of free themes around for most platforms, so they can look just how you want them.
Choose your name / URL
Probably my biggest regret is choosing my established twitter name as my blog name, despite it being who I was known as, because people think I live in London and not Dorset. Have a good think about what you wan your blog to be about, and what you want to name it and then google it – you don’t want the same / similar blog name as somebody else. Then see if your domain name is available – I use 123reg for this.
Which Social Media Channel?
When you start a blog, chances are you want people to read it and one way of promoting it is by sharing your posts on social media. Facebook and twitter are popular options for beginners, but if you are a craft or cookery blog you might want to consider starting with pinterest. Choose a name the same as your blog, if it is not already taken.
Write your first post
Woohoo, it’s time to write your first post – it could be a Hello and welcome type post, or you could go straight in to what you want to blog about, but make sure you write something that you would want to read. Don’t forget to write an “About Me” page too.
Think about SEO
SEO, what is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results and I still don’t understand the ins and outs of it all as it gets quite complicated.
The best way I describe it is to think about you search for something on the internet and try to use those key words in the title and text, to help the search engines find you more easily. If you are really stuck though, you can get help from an seo agency for a small charge.
Images really sell a blog and if I see a beautiful image, it makes me want to click through to the post. Make sure they are correctly named, using the alt tag function (alternative tag), which describes what the image is as this will help the SEO robots find you too.
Write, write write
Keep writing – the more good quality content you put out there the better as it will help people to find you.
Network with other bloggers, especially those in your niche. Chat to them on social media, share their content and comment on their blogs and they will do the same.
Have you thought about starting a blog? What is stopping you?