Since starting this site, I’ve been asked several questions:
- Why did you start a blog?
- How do you start a blog?
- What do you do on a blog?
I’ve covered bits and pieces of this in different posts, but what better way to answer these questions than by putting all of the information into one post? Before I began blogging again, I took some time to research a bit to see what kind of insight I’d stumble upon. Today, I share this insight with you, along with insight based on my own experience.
WHAT IS A BLOG?
If you’re trying to find out what a blog is, you’re likely to do a Google search–I’ll save you the trouble. According to Google, a blog is defined as a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. Long story short, just about any website that you’ve likely viewed can be considered a blog. The site you visit to get your celebrity gossip fix? Blog. The site you visit for fun cupcake recipes? Blog. A blog isn’t some special species that exists in the wide world of interwebs, it’s more simple than you realize and anyone can start one.
HOW DO YOU START A BLOG?
Now that you know what a blog is, you’re probably ready to get right to it. Wait. Before starting a blog, it’s important to ask yourself one question: Why do you want to start a blog in the first place?
I’ve included that pivotal question in this section because I think that the reason has to be established before starting anything. When you ask yourself this question, don’t assume that your reason is lame. I have only one requirement for your answer: Your answer had better be strong enough to keep you going every day.
Here are a few examples of reasons to begin blogging:
- you need an outlet for your emotions
- you want to educate others on a certain topic
- you want to earn extra money (or full-time money) without punching a clock
- you want to share your artistic talents with other (music, design, etc.)
Why did I start? I began blogging because I was in need of an outlet. I feel like my life’s purpose is to share with people; you never know how your words can impact the lives of others who may deal with similar issues. I’m still in the trenches of creating posts and building an audience, but I’ve certainly learned a lot about the blogging process in a short period of time.
Ohhhh Snap! Now it’s time to start your blog!
For me, setting up the site was the easy part. I’d had experience with blogging before and knew to visit www.wordpress.com to create my blog. The dashboard is easy to navigate and it makes life easy for the first-time blogger. On the dashboard, you will be able to choose from different themes–free or premium–to give your site that snazzy look. Decide what type of post schedule you will have (daily, weekly, every 2 days, etc.). The overall look of your posts will vary based on the blog’s purpose. I like to include a single picture in each of my posts (longer posts can use more), and at some point, I will start to include videos. You can work using the WordPress domain that you create, or you can invest in your own domain name. In my humble opinion, the look and feel of your blog can (and will) change over time so those things don’t matter as much at the very beginning.
Having said all this, I know that easy isn’t easy for everyone and some need a little more help getting started. Whether you need help in the technical department or in finding your “WHY”, I am here to help.
The whole point of this section is this: GET STARTED!!
ACTIVE BLOGGING MODE
Ok. So now you’ve started your blog. You’re all jacked up on the mountain dew of life and you’re just ready to post your life away. Let me warn you now: it’s not all unicorns and lemonade. There are going to be days where you will struggle to fit your blog posts into your already busy schedule. There will be days where you will have no idea what to talk about. The active blogging state is the true test of your commitment. If you don’t really care to be committed to the blogging process, that’s fine, that just means that this entire post may not be meant for you at all. For those of you who, like myself, find purpose in blogging and want to see how far it can take you, these hard times can cause great damage to your confidence.
DON’T GIVE UP!! I started out blogging every single day. At first, it was easy for me to post every day. Once things in my life started changing my routine, it became harder to commit to posting daily. It became harder to decide what I would write about. These days, whenever I find myself unable to find a topic to write about, I just resolve to find inspiration throughout my day. This tactic may mean that I end up posting much later in the day, but it’s always better than not posting at all. I have to remind myself every day that this is my purpose, this is the one thing I look forward to on a regular basis. It’s ok to take a break to refresh and recharge, just don’t break so long that you fall off the horse completely.
The point of this section: Give yourself room to learn the process and to learn yourself in those first months of blogging. Everyone’s experience is different. Allow yourself to feel the process, and you’ll be able to blog in YOUR way. This is how you will find your voice.
WHERE’S MY AUDIENCE?
This is the area that I’m still working on locking down. From my experience, I’ve found that the key to gaining an audience is posting consistently, and posting on as any platforms as possible. WordPress allows you to set up sharing options for most of the major social media networks. I have each of my posts set to share to my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. I also share screenshots of each post to my Instagram–I have the link to my blog in the bio. As you chug along on your blogging journey, you’ll get an idea as to what kind of posts your readers like the most. You can share your posts all day long, but sharing means nothing if your posts are not quality.
The point of this section: Consistently post your QUALITY material on different platforms and your audience will grow. Take note of the types of posts that your audience is most drawn to, this will help you KEEP that audience.
The decision to blog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Since the start of this journey, I have learned so much about myself, my abilities, and how to reach others. You may have read this post and said to yourself, “Yeah, this isn’t for me.” and that is okay!! This post was meant to give insight–a peek behind the curtain–so that you can make the decision for yourself. I encourage you all to give it a shot because you never know what you’ll discover about yourself.