Hi everyone! Today is a little bit of a different post from me, because instead of talking specifically about books, I’m talking about starting your own blog! I’ve been blogging for three years now, and while I’m definitely not an expert, there are some things that I’ve picked up along the way that I think would be helpful if you’re thinking of starting a blog.
Obviously everyone has different goals when it comes to making a blog. Some people want to make money and aim to make a living off of blogging, while others just want to do it for fun and not take it too seriously. My recommendations fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Before you start any blog, it’s a good idea to decide what exactly you want to talk about. You’ll want to make sure it’s something that you actually enjoy talking about and don’t need to struggle to find things to say. For example, I could never be a fashion blogger since most of the time I’m wearing running shorts and some sort of band tee. I chose to blog about books because it’s something I’m passionate about and I wanted to talk to other people about the books I read! If you’ve got it narrowed down to two topics you can’t choose between, you can always blog about both. For example, you could be a book blogger who also writes lifestyle posts, or a beauty blogger who sometimes blogs about travel! Just make sure whatever you choose is clear to everyone who visits your blog.
Now that you’ve got your topic, you need to choose a name! If you’re creative, this hopefully won’t be too hard to accomplish. You’re going to want to make sure it ties in to what you’re blogging about! Using my blog as an example, I wouldn’t have chosen Melting Pages if I was blogging about fashion. You want to also make sure that it’s catchy and stands out, which is tough to do in the age of technology. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the name you chose is available on other social media, which brings me to tip #3.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually a lot harder than it seems keeping up with a blog plus all the social media accounts. The reality is, people will find your blog much faster if you use those accounts to promote yourself. When I started blogging I made a twitter and an instagram for my blog, but hardly ever used them. Once I started following people and interacting with them, I saw a HUGE spike in the traffic to my blog! Plus, you’ll be able to make friends that have the same interests as you which is something special.
Pinterest is another big source of traffic if you can figure out how to use it! I only JUST started putting in the effort into pinning posts, and in only one day, I’ve seen a nice spike in activity when I didn’t have any new posts go up. There are plenty of people out there who know how to get the most out of Pinterest and depending on what topic you choose, there’s probably someone out there who has tailored how to use Pinterest to your topic.
Of course, you need to choose where you want your blog to live! This is going to depend a lot on what you plan to do with your blog. If you’re going into blogging as a hobby or if you’re unsure if you will stick to it, I suggest going with a free platform like WordPress, Wix, or Blogger. If you plan on using your blog for income, check out paid, hosted versions that allow for more customization and the ability to bring in some cash through ads. Most platforms that have free versions also have additional tiers that you can pay for to access those features. I would strongly suggest using WordPress, because it’s one of the most popular blogging websites and it’s easy for others to follow you and get updates! I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone to someone’s blog wanting to subscribe but couldn’t because my only options were to make accounts on another site or sign up for emails, neither of which I check often.
People will want to visit your blog more often if it’s both visually appealing and easy to read. You’ll want to chose a blog theme that not looks good, but also helps show what you’re blogging about! The header and post images that I use for my blog help illustrate the fact that I blog about books (especially fantasy books) – a sleeping dragon on a stack of books! You also want to make sure that the posts themselves pull readers in – headers are a great way of separating ideas, and photos help break up the text, especially if it’s a long post like this one. I used Canva and Photoshop to create my header image, and Canva is also great for sharing your blog posts on social media since they have premade templates you can customize! Pexels is also great for free use photos, and they’re easy to use with WordPress because they’re built into the system!
Whether you want to be a book blogger like me or you’re choosing a different blog topic, you want to make sure that what you’re saying is your honest opinion. People won’t want to stay very long if you show that you can’t be honest, especially if you’re reviewing something. If you’re honest, more people will want to read your posts and you’ll gain their respect, even if they don’t agree with you. Honesty also helps improve the dialogue you have with people who comment on your posts. Imagine how hard it would be to continuously lie about something, no matter how small!
Spelling and grammar are two things that I notice right away when visiting someone’s blog, because it can be glaringly obvious that a post hasn’t been proofread. These are also two things that can impact how you appear in search engines like Google, because they don’t want to promote posts that aren’t written well. Now, this isn’t saying that you need to have perfect grammar 24/7 because you also want to make sure your personality is coming through your writing, and the way we speak isn’t always the way we should be writing. There are plenty of resources out there that can help you with this, and the one that I use is Grammarly! I’m sure you’ve seen the adds somewhere online before, but it’s a free browser extension that will automatically check your grammar and spelling online. This is totally not sponsored, but Grammarly if you’re reading this, I wouldn’t say no!
I would highly recommend coming up with a schedule on when you want to post, and then make sure you schedule your posts ahead of time on those days! For example, outside of #blogtober I post Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I always work on blog posts on the weekend, then schedule them to go live at 7AM on each of those days. If you run a blog where you do monthly posts (such as a book blog with monthly wrap ups) then you can also work those into your schedule as well!