Are you wanting to start a blog, or have you just started a blog, and have no idea what to do next? Keep reading, because I’m here to share 7 magical tips on how to set up and run a blog without wanting to pull your hair out in frustration and confusion.
I’ve been blogging for over a year now, and when I started I had limited knowledge on how to actually run a blog. Sure, I had been reading them for years, but moving from the viewpoint of a blog reader to a blog writer is more eye-opening than one would first think.
I by no means am saying I’m the best/most successful blogger that ever lived because you and I both know that is a complete lie. To be honest, most of the time I hardly have a clue what I’m doing either.
Before I get started, please remember that really, there are no ‘rules’ to blogging. Everyone approaches it in their own way and have different intentions with what they want to achieve from their blog. So please, take all this advice with a grain of salt. I don’t want anyone to think this post is me telling them how to do things, when in reality all I want to do is share my personal experience, and the things that I wish I knew at beginning. Take what you will from this post – you may agree, you may disagree. And that’s fine!
Over the relatively short time I’ve been blogging, here are some of the thing I have noticed that make the process a bit smoother and less confusing.
Do Your Research
Make sure you research what platform you want to have your blog on. There are so many out there and it can be quite daunting trying to select one that suits your needs. I found this article helped out a lot, so if you’re a bit confused, I suggest you give it a read.
Don’t Invest Too Much At The Beginning
I was very tempted to go with wordpress.org or purchase a premium account straightaway. It gives you more control over your blog, and let’s be honest, the custom domain name does look more professional if that’s what you’re after.
But I decided to hold off and stick with a free wordpress.com account to start with. Doing that gave me a feel for blogging and allowed me to work out if it was something I enjoyed and wanted to do more long-term, without financial commitment. If I decided it wasn’t for me, then I hadn’t wasted any money. I told myself that if after 6 months of blogging, I was still enjoying it more than ever then I will move over to wordpress.org, get my own domain, etc. if that’s what I still wanted. And I did!
However, things don’t always go to plan. Once I became self-hosted, I found myself completely out of my depth. I speak more about that in this blog post, but ultimately, I decided that self-hosted was not for me and went back to wordpress.com.
I know this is probably quite a rare and unpopular opinion, but I did not enjoy being self-hosted. Sure, there were great aspects (getting a pipdig theme was definitely a highlight) but personally, for me, the negatives outweighed the positives. It is such a big commitment, and one not to be taken lightly.
Although I’m most likely part of a small group with this viewpoint, I think it’s important to share my experience because you often hear such great things about being self-hosted (that’s what drew me to it in the first place), but in my experience, it just wasn’t the case.
By no means am I saying not to go self-hosted. Do your research, weigh up the pros and cons, and make the decision that is right for YOU. I just want to provide an alternate insight and express my personal views on the topic.
I think being self-hosted is great for those who wish to expand their blog into a business or career and have the technical skills and resources to effectively manage their self-hosted blog. But for beginners like myself who blog purely for a hobby and aren’t massively gifted when it comes to technology, it was just too much trouble for what it’s worth.
If I could go back, I would’ve waited MUCH longer before going self-hosted, but you live and you learn.
Interact With Other Bloggers
Get in touch with the blogging community. Follow other bloggers on Instagram, Twitter, etc. and actually read and comment on other blogs. Doing this can:
1. Give you inspiration on what type of blogger you want to be, and
2. It will make your blog seen and known, meaning more people are likely to be aware that it exists.
I found that my blog increased in traffic once I started interacting with other bloggers. Because think about it, if you don’t make an effort to make yourself known, how are others supposed to find your blog? Sure, some people go viral at the start and blow up overnight, but that’s a rarity. Most of us have to work for months upon months, even years to grow our blogs.
People won’t want to read your blog if you’re anything other than yourself. Create your own blogging/writing voice and you’ll attract the right audience.
Think about it, if you decide to blog a lot about a particular topic that you’re not so passionate about (for example, fashion) because you think it’ll make your blog really popular in a short amount of time, you’ll attract people who like reading about fashion.
This means your audience will expect to see new fashion posts everytime they visit your page, and you’ll be stuck trying to satisfy your audience with posts that you don’t really want to write.
Therefore, you are more likely to not sound authentic in your writing, as you’re not genuinely passionate in what you’re blogging about.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
We all need a little help sometimes, and blogging is no exception. Blogging can be very confusing and difficult to figure out at times, and it can be beneficial to ask fellow bloggers for help because they’ve been in the exact same boat as you at some point.
Set Realistic Goals
The keyword here: Realistic. If you’ve just started your blog, you can’t expect to rake up millions of views/followers within the first few months, even years. It’s good to be optimistic, but remember to be realistic in what you want to attain, or else you’ll just end up disappointed.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Other Bloggers
In the world of blogging, I’ve learned it’s generally best to run your own race because comparing yourself to other bloggers often brings disappointment.
Instead of comparing your blog to another blog that has been running for years, compare your blog to what it was previously, and see how far you’ve come as a blogger. You’d be surprised to see how your writing style has changed, and if you take photos to accompany your blog, your photography skills.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give your previous blogging self?
– Karen xx