Blogs are to the Internet as quills and ink are to writing. Blogs have been around for a long time, but with the introduction of new tools, plug-ins, and easier access to web hosts, they’re easier than ever before to build, maintain and analyze. Is that the only reason why I say now is the perfect time to start one? Absolutely not.
With many of us affected by current world events, more people than ever are searching for new content to divulge in. Blogs help us find like-minded hobbyists, or fellow fans of a favorite television show or musical group, and so on. Use this interesting time to connect with others and learn something new in the process. You don’t need to be an expert to start a blog.
There is a learning curve when it comes to building a great site, an audience, and a social platform. Don’t let the idea of learning something new dissuade you! And don’t worry – you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get started either. Are you feeling up to the challenge? Everyone has to start somewhere, so let’s take a look at five steps that can help you along your way.
Step 1: Search Out Other Blogs.
This is where the content creator proverbial rabbit hole begins. A specific topic search is the best way to find out what other creators are putting out. Do you knit, organize or read? How about cooking, drawing or baking? Is cross stitch your thing or do you adore fairy gardens?
While there’s quite a menagerie already lending voices to their respective communities, don’t be afraid to add your own! If, at this point you just want some new resources to glean from, then skip the rest of this article! What? What’s that? You still want to dip a toe in? Great!
It can be very easy, when creating online content, to copy or mimic someone else’s work. It’ll be tough, at first. Have patience. You’ll definitely find your own voice. That doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired by other creators. Give credit where credit is due and source your resources.
Step 2: Decide On Your Content.
What are you the most passionate about? What do you want to discuss or dive into the most? Lifestyle content is a growing, dare I say it, industry. There is, however, a Even more specialized content on platforms like YouTube is shifting to daily vlogs – or video blogs – in which viewers can see another way of life.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg; just an example of what you can do. Personally, I’ve never enjoyed being in front of a camera. I’m a writer, so the braod topic of writing was the most obvious route for me.
You will experience a lot of trial and error as you grow your platform. Don’t be discouraged if an idea doesn’t pan out. Example: I once tried maintaining a Korean pop music site. While I enjoy the genre, my passion for running the site quickly died. I still listen to kpop on a daily basis, but my true passion lies with writing.
Step 3: Pick Your Platform(s).
These days, many platforms are free-to-start to give users the chance to explore and decide if that host is right for them. The only host I use is WordPress, and I have a Premium Membership. It took a year of use to take the plunge, but I’m awfully glad I did. I just wish they had a plan between Premium and Business. I’d like to use plugins, but I don’t need eCommerce tools. That’s when user feedback becomes an important tool for the site host. Find one that works well with your ideas. There’s no harm in having multiple accounts. Remember: Don’t spread yourself too thin. Start slow and work your way from there.
Below are ten examples each of video and web site hosts for you to peruse.
*I’ve included parent companies in case you’d rather not be associated with them for any reason.
**If a parent company isn’t listed, that host is privately owned.
Unless you’ve gone to school or video editing and filmography, or you’re self-taught, you may want to begin with a web host blog instead of a vlog. I only mention that form for those who are better speaking words rather than writing them.
Okay. Have you chosen your host? Let’s move on to the next!
Feeling overwhelmed at the start of something new is natural
and completely normal.
Step 4: Utilize Social Media.
Admit it. You groaned reading this step. However, social media’s grown to become an integral part of daily life. Let’s face it – there isn’t a single social media site that’s clean as a whistle when it comes to reputation. You have to choose what’s right for you. I use Twitter on the daily; Facebook isn’t in my vocabulary; MySpace who?; Snapchat and TikTok? I’ve no idea how to use those.
Picking what social media to use can be more overwhelming than finding your home base platform. Of course, you don’t have to use it at all. But it’s much easier to connect and share your creativity with potential readers through shared links and tailored updates. If you found this blog, you probably did so through Twitter, or WordPress’ Reader.
The point of the matter is, you don’t need an account with every offering. In fact, having more than two or three typically cuts productivity and increases procrastination if not utilized properly. My perfect storm is Twitter and Pinterest, with minimal involvement on Instagram.
Social media can be an incredibly effective tool.
Don’t let it distract you from accomplishing your life goals.
Step 5: Learn to Use Graphics to Your Advantage.
Humanity is a very visually influenced species. Last year I stumbled upon the Yes, I’m a Designer website in search of ideas for my own creations. As with anything, protect your work, and be cautious in what sources you pull your graphics for posts from. (I’ll leave the subject of copyright up to the experts). Since 2012, I’ve created graphics for church, my own fan fictions (when I wrote them), and, eventually, this site.
I use BeFunky. It’s $6.99 a month (cheaper than a Netflix subscription), and includes large libraries of stock images, design elements, filters, and other design tools. If you want to go this route, here are some great web based graphic design programs you don’t even need a degree to use. Some are more advanced than others.
All these sites offer different skill levels from novice to advanced. As with anything, choose what course is right for you.
Well, now. After all that, are you still interested in blogging?
I’m not going to lie – keeping a blog is a lot of work. With creativity, persistence and a little luck, you can hone your little corner of the Internet into a cozy place you love.