Ever played with the idea of starting a blog? With so many bloggers out there what’s the point really? What would I blog about? Would people take the timeout to read my posts? These thoughts are normal but put them aside for a moment and let me give you some tips on How to Start a Blog.
Where it all Began
It’s 2008, location Mweb Business HQ, I’m sitting behind my desk processing new domain registrations and it must have been fate when I stumbled across an article on How to Start a Blog. It was definitely life changing. For it was then, that the introvert within made way and in that moment that VersatileLyle was born.
The article was really simple, sign up for a blogspot account and go for it. I signed up and just like that my blogging career began. My first post was much about nothing. Back then blogging was the new ‘gram’. You could get away with just posting images or memes for the sake of having content.
To paint a picture of the state of social media and blogging in South Africa at the time, well, Facebook (4 years) was only starting to take off, Twitter (2 years) was just gathering momentum and the high flying MXit was slowly coming to an end. Thunda.com was where you found all your party pics from the week before. Charl Norman formed the hit local social networking platform, Blueworld, which was later snapped up by Naspers. A Year later award-winning SA Blogger, Aisha Baker founded Baked the Blog.
So, there you have it just a bit of where it all began. The “why” will remain a mystery to me.
How to Start a Blog: My 10 Tips from 10 years of Blogging
It’s your blog, your brand, be proud of it.
Whatever you decide to blog about, remember it’s your blog, who cares if you don’t have thousands of followers, those who are close to you will support you. If writing about things that you’re passionate about makes you happy, then go for it. Be proud of it.
The Perfect Name
Choose a name that will stick. If people hear the name of your blog it should be easy to pronounce and spell. You want them to easily find your blog when searching for it. VersatileLyle was chosen as it just rhymes and my blog has no specific niche, hence Versatile.
Register a domain
If hiking was your hobby, I’m sure you would go out and purchase a good pair of hiking boots. If you’re a budding photographer, I’m positive you’ll invest in the best suitable camera and lenses. So, as a blogger, should you not be investing in registering a domain for your blog? It’s cheap these days. Find a hosting provider and get started.
SEO is important
When choosing a topic, remember to do your research. Is it a topic that gets high search volume? Is your blog indexed by google? There are loads more information out there so brush up on basic SEO. Yoast is a great source and a pretty handy plugin for WordPress.
Never give up
In my 10 years of blogging there were many times I wanted to call it quits. The need to constantly produce content can be tiring and that’s understandable, but don’t give in. Sometimes inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places. Most recently it came in the form of a movie entitled, “Eddie the Eagle”, where the main message was, Never Give Up!
If you ever feel like calling it a day then just read more blogs, the more read the more you’ll feel inspired. The more you read, the more you want to write. Blog about topics that would spark interest among your readers and give them quality content that will bring them back wanting more. And you’ll never want to give up.
Networking is a vital part of blogging. Register for local networking events. Attend industry specific talks, product launches, parties etc. Get to know people, get to know PR people, share contacts and grow your network. Some notable events are MeetUp, Heavy Chef, Travel Massive but there are loads more.
The opportunities will come
I have had my share of opportunities since taking up this blogging path. I’ve been privileged enough to be featured on a number of blogs, radio interviews, that one time on Expresso, being a finalist in the Samsung Blogger Challenge and most recently press drops. Sometimes I travel too. Opportunities can come overnight or if you’re in it for the long run, like me, it can take years. Circumstances vary.
Don’t make comparisons
Find you own style. It’s good to check out the competition from time to time but ultimately, its authenticity that people are looking for so try not to compare your blog to other blogs out there.
Change is good
I must have changed my blog’s look and feel 5 or 6 times in this decade. If I felt it wasn’t working anymore it got the boot. Technology is constantly evolving so don’t be afraid to make changes and adapt with the times.
Appreciate and give back
Always show appreciation to your readers. Thank them for their comments or post shares. Go the extra mile and arrange a blog giveaway, it does not have to be huge. For my blogs 5th bloggerversary I used some cash from AdSense money I had made from the blog and purchased some of my favourite things on Kalahari.com. I had my readers enter competitions for that month and I sent them the prizes. It was simple and they loved it.
There you have it my 10 tips on How to Start a Blog and I hope it helps you on your blogging journey.
If you feel the need to congratulate me on my 10-year bloggerversary please do so in the comments below.