10 Tips on starting your own blog
Creating a blog is hands down one of the best things I’ve ever done, but it was also one of the hardest things to start. I spent years (no, I’m not exaggerating), trying to come up with an idea that I actually liked and would want to share with the big wide world. I reckon I’ve got hundreds of half completed blog profiles floating around the web, unloved and wondering why they weren’t good enough.
It wasn’t until I moved to London and had to face living on a teeny tiny budget in a really expensive city, that I finally found a topic I felt confident talking about. So, here are my tried and tested tips for creating a strong foundation for your blog.
1. Find your angle
The reason I ended up giving up on my previous blog ideas was that I didn’t really have an angle. I would just waffle on about things that were totally unrelated to each other and as a result nothing gelled. Make a list of the things you’re passionate about and have a play with how far you can make one of those subjects go. Try planning out your first 5 posts – if you can’t do it, maybe go for something different.
2. Choose the blogging platform that’s right for you
There are so many ways to present your blog to the public, it can be a little overwhelming. But so much choice means there’s plenty of options to explore and find out what you're most comfortable with. Modest London started out on Wordpress, it’s free, easy and perfect for those who are learning the ropes. I only switched to Squarespace (£10 per month) because I wanted to be able to customise my site – Wordpress have a selection of beautiful themes but personally, I just needed something that would give me a bit more flexibility.
3. Take pictures
The average reader gets turned off when confronted with nothing but blocks of text. Give a bit of life to your posts by breaking them up with a few photos. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a fancy camera, as there are some fantastic apps available to help your snaps look more professional. My favourite photo-editing app has to be VSCOcam, it makes my blurry iPhone photos look great for free and it’s really easy to use.
4. Get organised
This is something that I myself desperately need to get better at doing. There’s nothing more annoying than checking your favourite blog for new posts and finding it’s not been updated for days. When people feel like they’re only getting good content in drips and drabs, they tend to get despondent. Set a posting routine for your blog and stick to it, whether you only want to post once a month, or once a day – give your readers continuity.
5. Create a set of “fillers”
If you’re a writer, you’re almost certain to have suffered from that horrible little shit, writer’s block - I get it often and it sucks. So, when you are having a good day and the ideas are flowing, this is the perfect time to work on a set of filler posts – “emergency” posts, for when you’re struggling with new content or are behind on a post you’re working on. By creating a fair few of them and keeping them in your drafts, you can take your pick and make sure you’re still keeping up with your posting routine.
You could try topics like:
- A letter to your future self
- A letter to your younger self
- A day in the life of you
- Weird facts about yourself
- Book/film reviews
- Things that inspire you
- A personal story
- A tour of your home
- Things you can’t live without
- Things you want to live without
Download an RSS Reader app like Feedly and keep up to date with your favourite blogs to see what others are doing – you might learn something or pick up some tips. Be wary though, imitation is the purest form of flattery, but it isn't cool and you may end up in a spot of hot water if you copy other people’s content. It’s absolutely fine to be inspired by someone, but make sure you aren’t unintentionally ripping off someone else’s hard work.
Get out there and treat yourself to a pocket sized notebook and a new pen and make sure you carry it with you at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike and when it does, you’re going to need a place to keep all of your ideas and thoughts. I never leave the house without my little Moleskine and it’s proved itself invaluable.
8. Create a great workspace
This was one of my favourite things to do after we moved house. Create a space in your bedroom, lounge, kitchen or dining room where you’re unlikely to be disturbed when you want to get your head stuck into a post. Decorate it with inspiring quotes, photos of the people you love, candles, plants – anything that’s likely to put you in a good mood and make you feel inspired.
9. Find a trusted proof-reader
There is nothing more off putting than a blog post that is littered with jarring sentence structures, bad grammar and spelling mistakes. If you want people to take your writing seriously, you need to make sure your content flows well and is easy to read. Once you’ve sense checked your post a couple of times, have a trusted friend or family member take a look at it – it’s surprising what you can miss when you’ve been looking at a piece of work for too long.
10. Promote your blog on social media
One of the most effective ways to get your blog noticed is by pushing your posts on social media. Create a Facebook page for your blog, participate in blogging chats on Twitter, praise the work of your fellow bloggers on Instagram and show off your personality with Pinterest. I guarantee you’ll end up interacting with a tonne of like-minded people and bloggers, who may just turn into real friends.
Have any fail-proof tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!