I tend to share a lot of blogging related content on this space, which I love, but I realised recently that it's usually aimed at more seasoned bloggers or content creators who have been doing this for a while. There are of course so many awesome new blogs being created every single day, and I thought today I would share my best advice for anyone just getting started with their blogging adventure.
Know what you want to write about
I shared some advice on Monday about finding your blogging purpose and building a manifesto, and I think one of the most important things when you're starting your blog is actually knowing what it is you want to write about. Knowing what your focus is, what topics you want to build your content around, and who your blog is for is the best way to create an online space that really connects with it's readership - and one that is fulfilling for you as well. Whether it's a blog to work alongside a business, to establish your voice, or as a personal online space to share your life and connect with others; having some direction in the beginning usually helps to guide you along the way.
Don’t worry about the name so much
Whenever anyone I know asks for my advice for starting a blog, the area that usually gets them stuck is choosing a name. I think most people regret their blog name along the way at some point or another - I'd probably go back and chose something different than Jennypurr if I had the chance - but a blog will always be way more than just a name and my best advice would be to chose something that can hopefully stand the test of time. For example, if you don't want to narrow yourself in one niche straight away then don't chose something subject specific like 'Jen's Beauty Blog'. But don't stress too much about the name - your content and your blog design will define you way more, and as long as you keep it professional and appropriate you can't go too far wrong.
Chose a content management platform
Like most, I started off my blogging days on Blogger as my content management system and for over a year it did the job perfectly. The best part is that it's free, though you are limited when it comes to website design though there are so awesome template designers out there who can help you spruce up your site. Wordpress is another popular option and it allows for much more customisation - my awesome friend Grace has a beautifully designed blog that is hosted on Wordpress. Jennypurr is now hosted on Squarespace, which is personally my favourite content management system and whenever I'm building sites for my freelance clients it's always the platform I chose. There is a monthly cost though with Squarespace and there are charges with Wordpress as well. I think it comes down to personal choice and what you want from your blog design and content management system - though you can of course always change and move over to a different platform if you want to along the way.
Buy a custom domain
For usually under £10 for the year you can buy a custom domain for your website - it took me quite a while in the early days of this blog to lose the .blogspot.com from my domain but when I eventually did it was the first step I took to really taking this online space seriously. There are so many places to buy a cheap domain - GoDaddy is where I personally host mine.
Focus on creating awesome and engaging content
In my opinion, content is always the most important part of a blog. Engaging, useful, and interesting content is what makes the blogging community so awesome and spending the time to create posts that really connect with your readership is the most fulfilling part. In the past I've shared some Thoughts on Content Creation, advice on how to Make Your Editorial Calendar Work For You, Thoughts on Web Writing, and 10 Things I Ask Myself Before I Publish Content.
Sign up to Bloglovin
Bloglovin as a platform is an awesome way to reach new readers, as well as being a way for current readers of your blog to subscribe to your posts and stay up to date with new content. There are so many ways to subscribe to RSS feeds, but Bloglovin really understands and supports blogging as a community and is a great way for not only your readers to keep up to date with your blog, but also for you to discover some awesome new reads as well.
Focus on building community
In my recent post on What I Have Learned About Blog Growth, I talked about the importance of building a readership, not a following. The best part of blogging is the community we can build around our blog and the awesome people we can connect with along the way, so putting your energy and time into connecting with your readership and other bloggers is a great way to really enjoy blogging. We can do this by replying to comments and tweets, commenting on our favourite blogs and building authentic relationships with our fellow content creators, and most of all creating engaging content that connects with our audience.
Remember that blogging isn’t a competition
Sometimes blogging can feel like a super competitive place and we can end up comparing ourselves to other bloggers in our niche and wondering why we're not as well loved or read as they are. It takes a long time to build up a solid readership and the only way to stay true to ourselves along the way and create content we're really proud of is not being sucked into the idea that blogging is a race, because it's not. We're all doing our own thing and we should see each other like colleagues and peers within the same industry, not people to compete against. We all define what success means to us, and someone else's success doesn't detract from your own.
Find your voice along the way
Unless you're a seasoned writer, or have blogged in the past, finding your voice will probably take time. For me, even though I've been blogging for over 18 months now, I feel like it's only in the past few months that I've really found my feet in this space and what I really want it to be. It takes time to really nurture and utilise your voice, and focusing on discovering it along the way is the best thing to do.
Allow yourself to be a beginner
When I first started blogging, I had no clue what I was doing. Everything I've learned is through trial and error, and for the first six months or so having the time to really be a beginner and learn the ropes was so valuable when it comes to being the blogger I am today. Allow yourself to be a beginner, enjoy finding your feet in your space and letting it adapt and grow as you do, and be okay with taking baby steps towards your long term goals.
Do you have any advice you'd give to new bloggers?
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