I hope everyone has had a nice week. Mine has been nice and I am thankful the weather has been sunny which i think is wonderful given that summer is officially meant to be over. I was scrolling through a few of my blog posts and realized I have been blogging for almost 6 months now and I have learned a great deal from the blogging world. Although I have not been on here for such a long time, I thought to share with you all the little I have learned in this short time especially if you are thinking of starting your own blog...Let's get started.
1. Why do you want to Blog?
I think it's a really important question to ask yourself as it will determine what kind of blog you would have (although you can change it up as you like later) and help frame other important areas of your blog. For me, I wanted to blog because I love to write and take pictures and also share on different topics I love especially beauty, makeup, skin care and photography. I am sure, like many ladies out there, everyone loves to shop for one thing or the other and there is nothing worse than buying something you hate afterwards or being misled to buy something due to naughty advertising techniques so reading about the product before hand is always handy which is why I turn to the internet when I want to buy a product no matter how cheap or pricey it is; bottom line is I hate to waste money!!.
2. What Should I Blog About?
Again, this is entirely up to you and I think it is really important for you to decide on time although many blogs evolve as time goes on but it is wise to have one or several niches which you would like your blog to be associated with. For me, I think it is easier to blog about a topic you love to read or talk about normally. That way it would be hard to run out of topic and your personality will show as our blog is being read by many readers. If you blog about what you like, your passion will show in your content and your readers will come back to your blog because they love your content. I have a very short attention span and I can imagine that if i did not like the topics i was writing on in my blog, I would have abandoned this a long, long time ago. HARD TRUTH!!
3. What Should I Name my Blog?
I love names that are different and quirky although I can't say mine is but I just wanted something simple and many names I thought of were already taken but I definitely like my blog name. It is best to name your blog anything that you like which would be memorable to your readers and they can attribute it to your blog. All in all, name your blog something you like and you are fond of and you think is unique..simples..:-))
4. What Platform Should I Choose?
It all depends on your main aim of blogging in the first place. My blog, for now, is a hobby for me which is why I have not fully invested in it as much as I would have done if it were a full time job.I am not self hosted or have my own website (yet!) so if blogger decides to mess up, I'm done!! (hehehe, hopefully they stay put as I would miss you all). The most common platforms for bloggers is usually Blogger.com or Wordpress.com (where you can be self-hosted or under the WordPress hosted site). I use blogger and I think it is really easy to use because you can add a lot of features easily even if you are not technologically savvy like me. On the other hand, WordPress may be a little difficult to maneuver but many people seem to love it once you can get your head around all the technicalities There is also Tumblr which can be used as a blog in itself or an additional social media platform or both. I have both Tumblr and blogger and I think they are wonderful.
5. Should I get my Own Domain Name?
I am going to be honest, A BIG FAT YES!! for so many reasons. The first would be that it ensures that your blog feels more professional even though it is just a hobby for you but I think many readers would appreciate that it is a dot.com as opposed to a blogspot.com or blogspot.co.uk or wordpress.com, etc. Of course, it is up to you at the end of the day because I know a lot of blogs who do not have their own domain names and you would never notice because their blogs look amazing!!! Getting a domain name is really easy and there are many merchants out there but I bought mine from GoDaddy.com and you also get a free email which makes your contact email even better and more professional at the end of the day especially if you want to have a separate email.
I think that's entirely up to you and your schedule. You can post daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly (I kid, I kid; if you post yearly, you would have very few readers). What I think is important is being consistent on your blog. If you are going to post weekly, try and stick to it although nothing stops you from posting more frequently. I wish I could say I have been consistent and faithful as such but I have not. I have a full time demanding job just like many other bloggers and I blog in my spare time and so many other activities also compete for attention in these spare time as well so it makes it a little tricky. When I first started, I only posted a few blog posts in the first month but it gradually increased in the coming months. Now, I think I post at least 3 to 4 times a week which is not too bad although some weeks have seen a few droughts because I have been incredibly busy with other engagements. Above all, I know this may sound like a cliche, but content is always King!! if you have unique and engaging content, you will get more readers, page views and visitors to your blog.
I think the best kind of blog design will be the one you would like to visit every time and is easy to navigate for your readers. I say this because YOU are going to be your blog's most frequent visitor so if you hate your design, then there is an off chance many readers may not like it. To be honest, you may not need to purchase a blogger template as there are many free ones on both Blogger and WordPress which look really good and easy to navigate. Further to that, you can also tweak it here and there as you progress with your blog with thousands of helpful tutorials out there to guide you through basic things like adding a plug in, html, buttons, etc. If you want something a little different, you can opt to buy either pre-made blog designs or custom designs where the graphic designers work with you to create something to your taste. I bought mine from a pre-made graphic shop and it was pretty straight forward to install and I totally loved it. Apart from that, many graphic designers are so kind and give a lot of freebies which may help spruce up your blog. My favourite ones are Wonder Forest and Shabby Blogs as they have loads of helpful tutorials and blog freebies.
8. Should I Invest In a Fancy Camera?
By all means, if you have the resources and you are not out of pocket, I would say yes. I am sure many people will agree with me that they are always drawn to blogs which have clear and lovely pictures, I know I am. To be honest, I am drawn by the pictures of the blog first, the aesthetics of the blog, easy navigation and then content although the content always draws me back again and again (with the pictures as well). If you can't afford a fancy camera, don't fret at all. You can take many pictures with what you already have which may be a phone with a good camera (many smart phones these days have incredible cameras), a small digital camera or a bridge camera, it does not really matter. What matters is taking nice and clear pictures with good lighting and you can achieve that with many cameras. For me, I take many pictures on this blog with my Iphone and edit them on my Iphone (Check out my Photography Posts here).
9. How do I get People to Read my Posts?
There is really no set be all end all answer to this question at all as it all depends on how much SEO techniques you know (I am still exploring how to use SEO techniques for now). Anyways, the onus is on you to get readers to your blog through sharing your posts. I would say it is very important to share your posts on various popular social media like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Vine, etc or whatever media tickles your fancy. You can take a step further by even opening a Facebook Page for your blog so you can post both on your own profile and your blog page because you may not want everyone adding you as a friend on Facebook just because they want to read your blog. You can also share through other media like Google plus, Bloglovin, SheSaid Beauty, Reddit, Glipho, etc. I think I may need to do a separate post on this, however, it is important to note that you may have few readers on your Google Friends Connect or BlogLovin or even few likes on your Facebook Page but that does not mean people are not reading your blog as many people may be email subscribers, may have bookmarked your blog or just know your blog address already stored on their browsers and pop over there to read it which brings me to my final point.
10. How do I keep an eye on my Blog's Growth?
It is all depends on what you regard as a growth factor on your blog. Do you see number of readers or followers as a sign of growth or number or page views or visitors or unique visitors? The list is endless indeed. I think a blog's growth may be a combination of all of the above and many other factors but let's assume it is all about the numbers. There are a number of tools which are reliable ways of measuring these factors and I use a number of them. The most common kind of stat tools would be the on the blogger dashboard which is the Stats Tab which shows you how many page views per day, per week and per month. It also shows you the most popular posts on your blog and i would say these stats are fairly accurate provided you click do not track my page views button which is right under the stats so you don't count your views. It also shows you different countries and keywords which is quite interesting as you can see what posts and what countries love your blog. To be honest, looking at my stats really gives me the extra boost to keep blogging as it makes me feel like my blog and its posts are well appreciated. Another common and most reliable tool is the Google Analytics which gives you a more in-depth report of how your blog is doing by showing monthly page views, unique visitors, overall visitors, reader engagement, etc. There are other fun tools for checking other stats like Stat Counter which I really like because it does show you a variety of stats and sends you a weekly report every Monday on how your blog has been faring during the week. Hopefully, I would do a separate updated post on this.
I hope this post was useful and i am not saying by any means I am an expert or my blog has reached the highest heights yet but these are a few tips I have learned over these months and I am always keen and open to learn more. Let me know any more helpful tips in the comment box below and thank you so much as always for reading!!!...xxx see you in my next post..