There are many things to consider before starting a blog, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend just jumping in and winging it (like I have done myself in the past). If you’re serious about blogging and want to give a really good crack at it, then by all means, go right ahead.
Just a word of warning though, it’s not as easy as it looks and content will not come floating out of your fingertips 24/7. You need to be strategic about your blog and plan. If there’s no plan in place of blog posts to come or back-up posts for when you’re feeling less inspired, then your blog will be sat gathering dust and you’ll very easily get bored of it.
If you’re thinking of starting your own blog (I very strongly recommend doing so) then below are five things you should consider before gracing the blogosphere with your presence.
1. Your niche
You might think the blogging world is currently over-saturated and you’d be right. Every man and his dog seems to own a blog, but don’t let that put you off. The trick is to hone in on what you’re passionate about and want to write about.
If you want to run a fashion blog, that’s quite alright but how many fashion blogs are already out there? Too many to keep up with, that’s for sure. This is where you need to find your unique selling point. Why is your fashion blog going to be different to the others already out there? Maybe you’ll focus only on shoes. Or perhaps every item of clothing will be under £30. Or perhaps they’ll only be designer. Maybe you’ll only buy from thrift stores and show how to style certain pieces. Think outside the box, but keep it centered around what you love.
I started out with a PR blog, which was quite a niche area a few years ago and it worked very well for me. There was a small community who all loved, talked and blogged about PR. Then I started to steer my posts towards students, giving advice about things I had experienced myself. This was also quite niche as there weren’t really that many student blogs out there giving advice for PR students and placement applications.
Now I basically write about everything and anything that interests me. I’m still a PR and student blogger, but my readers wouldn’t be shocked to see a personal piece on here once in a while or a post about where you can find the best brunches in London. My blog has become my own site full of thoughts from my head, so I like to throw a few odd posts into the ring sometimes.
2. Your branding
What colour represents you? Which style of font represents you? What will the name of your blog be? These are all important questions to ask before you publish that first article on the web.
Ask your friends this question: ‘If you had to pick a colour to represent me and my personality, what would it be?’ Draw a mind map and come up with different names for your blog. Say them out loud and envision them in big letters across a billboard. Which one stands out and rolls off the tongue best?
I had a question put to me a few weeks ago by a blogger about blog URLs and whether I thought they should change their own URL to add ‘PR’ into it. The reason I haven’t put it in mine is because it’s quite restricting as to what you can post about. When people see the PR in your website address, they are expecting a PR site. If they saw a post about a gig review on your blog, they’d probably click straight off as this wasn’t what they had been advertised.
Be careful with the name you choose for your site as that will be your identity going forward. You can of course change it at any time, but you want to grow your brand and blog and it will only confuse with a name change.
3. Buying a domain name
This is one that I always stress to people when they tell me they want to start a blog.
My advice would be to start out with a WordPress blog with the ‘.wordpress.com’ (other blogging platforms are available) and yes, I know it’s annoying and doesn’t make you look like an official site, but just go with it. You might find that after a few months you’ve forgotten you even started a blog. You’ll thank me for saving all that time and stress of buying a domain. Take a few months to see whether you like the name of your blog as you don’t want to buy a domain name straight away to only grow to hate it.
I had so many ‘.wordpress.com’ and ‘.blogspot.co.uk’ blogs before I knew that I was going to fully commit to this one. I’m so glad I didn’t buy the domain names for my past failures. I felt different when I started Orlagh Claire. I just knew that I would stick at it. I bought the domain name (after many weeks of trying to think of the perfect name – there’s literally three pages in my blog notebook all dedicated to possible names for my blog), self-hosted and never looked back. As they say, ‘If you know, you know.’
If you feel like this is something you definitely want to do and are ready to make the full commitment, then go forth and buy that domain, my friend. Maybe come up with something a little out-there so that it’s not too expensive. Luckily for me I have an Irish name so it wasn’t a very sought after web address.
#Content. There’s no point in having a blog if you have nothing to blog about, now is there? When starting a blog, I would have at least five blog posts written and ready to go. There’s just something a little odd about a site with one blog post on. It’s like starting a new Instagram and only having one picture sitting in the grid for a week or two. It just looks bare.
I would maybe start off the first week by posting one blog post per day, just to have sufficient content on your blog that people will stick around to read. Then cut back to maybe two the next week and then one per week after that. Whichever you can realistically stick to. I usually only post once per week, but now with my #FridayFive series, I’m posting at least twice per week. As I said, #Content.
BUT don’t post content for content’s sake. Make it good content. Blog posts that people want to read and are of use to your readers. Take time in writing and prepping your content so that it’s to a good standard and you’re excited to put your posts out there into the world.
5. Do you have commitment issues?
I’m not interviewing you for the next series of Love Island, but let’s be realistic here. Are you fully prepared to put your spare time and effort into your blog? Remember, this is a hobby, no one is making you do this. I and every other blogger out there sacrifices so much of their spare time to their blog in the hopes that it will bring them success and rewards in the future. For me, this has definitely been the case. But it didn’t happen overnight. You need to persevere, whether it be a year, two years or maybe just a few months before you start achieving your own personal goals.
Are you prepared to dedicate time to your blog? To write, to interact, to read other blogs, to edit, etc. etc. With your schedule it may just not be feasible and you don’t want to risk burn-out by pressuring yourself into doing too much. Are you self-motivated enough to blog on a daily basis and help your blog to grow?
If you think you can commit to a blog, then start one. It’s the best thing I ever did and I honestly don’t know what my life would look like right now if I hadn’t started mine two years ago. My blog is basically my baby. I spend every spare minute I have on my blog and reading other blogs (when I’m not watching Netflix). It’s my own little corner of the internet. And if you need any tips or advice, I will try my best to help out (although I’m no tech wizard).