Guest post from Amy Lynn Andrews of Blogging With Amy.
Hi there, my name is Amy and I am super excited to hang out here today! I’m so impressed with what Andrea has done here at Simple Organized Living. She oozes helpful info, doesn’t she?
She tells me that some of you might be interested in starting a blog. Awesome! I love blogging for so many reasons — it’s easy to get started, it requires no computer background, it’s budget-friendly, and it’s one of the few things that can easily turn into a business without a huge initial investment or a lot of overhead. Score. Plus, it’s fun!
If you’ve thought about starting a blog yourself, below is an overview of the steps involved. If you’d like more in-depth, how-to information, you can check out my How to Start a Blog or Website series and I’ll walk you through the process step by step.
1. Know what to expect.
I like to think of starting a blog like any DIY project. It’s possible to hire the job out, but if you put in the work, you’ll have the satisfaction of building something on your own, and you’ll save lots of money in the process.
We all know DIY projects take time, energy and effort. Many times there’s a learning curve too. It’s the same with starting your own blog, but don’t worry, you can do it!
2. What will you write about?
The best blog topic is one you’re passionate about and is helpful or entertaining to others. If you’re not personally inspired by the topic you choose, it will be difficult to get your readers inspired too. Take an honest assessment of what you enjoy and where your passions lie.
A common mistake is to find a blog you love and try to duplicate it. That rarely works because there’s one missing piece — YOU! So, use other blogs for inspiration, but think of a unique angle or a creative twist on a topic that you love.
3. Do you have enough to say?
Once you’ve thought about the topics you love, you’ll need to decide if you have enough to write. Remember, blogging is an ongoing project and you’ll be publishing posts regularly. So, I recommend you write at least ten posts on your chosen topic before you do anything else.
If you finish those ten posts and feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface, that’s a great sign. If not, consider changing or expanding your topic.
Not only will this exercise help you hone in on the right topic for you, it will also give you content waiting in the wings once your blog goes live.
4. What is your blogging goal?
There are hobby blogs and there are blogs intended to generate income. If you’re like many bloggers, your blog will feel like a hobby but generate income at the same time!
What kind of blog do you want? Your goal will determine what type of blogging service you’ll use. Personally, I’m of the opinion that if you want a hobby blog (like keeping up with the grandparents) and don’t want to monetize (make money), a free blogging service (like Blogger) works just fine.
On the other hand, if you hope to make money on your blog at some point, or if your blog is somehow related to your business, I highly recommend a self-hosted WordPress site. It’ll cost you the equivalent of 2 or 3 fancy coffees per month but it will be so worth it.
5. Choose a name.
Once you’ve decided what kind of blog you want and what service you’ll use, choose a great name. The best names are catchy, easy to read, easy to spell and easy to say. And if you can find a name that is available as a domain (ex. SimpleOrganizedLiving.com) as well as across the social media platforms you use, that’s excellent.
A lot of names are already taken, so it might take a while to find a name that works just right, but be creative! You also might consider using your own name as your domain.
6. Get started.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you can set up your blog pretty quickly. A free service like Blogger makes the process very simple. If you choose a self-hosted WordPress blog, there are a few more steps involved, but it’s pretty straightforward.
You might want to tweak your design, make customizations, or add other fun bells and whistles, but those are all things you can do as you go. Blogging is great like that.
Once your blog is set up, you can get right to publishing. And you’ve already got ten posts ready to go, remember? I wouldn’t recommend publishing all ten right off the bat, but you might post them over a couple of weeks.
Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not a “build it and they will come” sort of operation. Many bloggers are disheartened by that, but I like to look on the bright side — it gives you time to get familiar with the publishing process and work out any kinks.
8. Grow your blog.
For most of us, the most challenging aspect of blogging is gaining readers and increasing traffic. With millions of blogs online, it can be tricky to be found.
Some of my best tips here are to write really great content that people are eager to share with others, look for and help solve a problem blog readers have, and build genuine relationships on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Commenting on other blogs and guest posting are other ways to build traffic.
Perhaps my best advice about starting a blog is to think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. There’s no need to be intimidated by the process as long as you have patience and the willingness to learn and stick with it!
Amy Lynn Andrews teaches people how to blog. In plain English. She also never met a chocolate and peanut butter combination she didn’t like.