When I was invited to speak on a panel in London over the weekend about blogging, Sarah sent us four topics that would be covered during the talk.
In order to ensure I was fully clued up, I wrote posts about each of the topic on the train down to London and decided to create a mini-series of blog posts to help you take your blog to the next level.
The posts are:
- Getting started with a blog or YouTube channel.
- Should you be creating content that’s sharable and relatable?
- How to make money from your blog.
- Mistakes to avoid if you want to take blogging seriously
Let’s get started!
Getting started with a blog or YouTube Channel.
So, you want to start a blog or YouTube channel?
I’m pretty sure most people, like me, just jumped straight in the deep end when it came to starting their blog.
I wouldn’t worry too much if you’ve already started your blog and want to make some changes that I’m about to discuss. Your blog is always going to be a work in progress, but getting some key things in place from the get go is going to help your branding and SEO get off to a much better start!
1. Where to blog.
You can easily start a free blog on Blogger or WordPress.com. Though this does come with limitations and by going self-hosted, you have much better control over your customisation and your content.
A lot of bloggers seem to start on Blogger and then move over to self-hosted WordPress. Which is always an option – but the longer you’re on one platform the bigger the hassle it is to move.
It’s easy to import all your blogposts from one blog to another – the pain comes with the links and media. It’s do-able, but just a hassle.
I moved over to self-hosted WordPress almost a year ago and I don’t regret it at all. I already had bought my domain name and pay only £2.99 a month in hosting to host post this blog and my fitness blog.
If you’re a bit wary of spending money on your blog, then I suggest you use a free platform for a few weeks only, then move across to self-hosted.
Square spare and Type pad are also popular alternatives, though these come with a monthly fee.
2. Your blog name.
With thousands of blog names out there, it’s important to stand out.
I kind of regret my blog name as it’s a bit strange and people often struggle to remember it. Though it does stand out.
There are a few things to consider when picking a blog name:
- Does it reflect the topic of your blog?
- Does it reflect something you’re interested in?
- Is it short and snappy?
- Is it easy to remember and spell?
You want to avoid anything stupid because it can make it awkward when you introduce yourself and your blog – I know that feeling. I often wish I had a name that was normal, but to re-brand after this point in time seems like a lot of effort and I wouldn’t want to cause confusion.
Again, you can change your blog name later down the line – but it’s better to stick to one to avoid confusing your readers.
3. Your headers and logo.
When I first started blogging, I just had ‘skinnedcartree’ in the default header of whichever template I was using at the time.
It took me a year to realise how easy it is to create your own. With sites like canva and picmonkey, you can easily create your own logo and save it. I’ve had this style header for over 18 months now, only changing the colours slightly!
I always use the picture of me with the donkey as my picture (just to be clear, I’m the girl, NOT the donkey) and by keeping things consistent, it makes you recognisable.
If you change your template around a lot, it can make readers feel confused. But by having that familiar header or logo, it identifies you as you.
4. Brand across social media.
As above, but take that across social media.
You want to use your familiar photos and logos across them all. While I do change my profile picture from time to time, I have my Twitter header the same as my blog header. I’ve also branded my fitness blog very similar to my lifestyle blog so any readers that visit will instantly know it’s by me.
5. Your posting schedule.
This is something that you need to allow yourself to play with and see what works for you.
I first started posting daily, then after a month I switched to every other day for about 6 months. I went through a bit of a slump and posted around every 3 days, then back to every other day and now I blog every day.
I would recommend you start aiming to post 2-3 times a week and then add more days or less days in when you get a feel for what works for you.
While there are no concrete rules – it’s good to have regular blog posts and I wouldn’t recommend posting less than once a week.
6. Your template.
At first, I thought I could only have the default blogger templates unless I paid a lot of money for one or was good with HTML.
Google ‘free blogger/Wordpress templates/themes’ and you will find lots of free options on the web.
Try on a few and see which you like the best.
As a guideline, try to keep it light with lots of space. Avoid black backgrounds and harsh text.
You can get layouts that do all-sorts. From flashing recent posts to a simple one column design.
Get familiar with some other blogs and see what features you like about them, then try to implement things you like on your blog.
You can see the evolution of my blog template (and headers!) here.
7. Blogging resource.
Check out my resource page for bloggers to find more tips about writing, social media, search engine optimisation and more.