A Guide to Blogging for Beginners
March 2021 marked one year since the inception of World of Words. Although I'm two months late and I'm by no means an expert on the blogging business, I wanted to mark the occasion by creating a post with all the tips and tricks I have picked up since starting my blog for those who may be considering starting their own; these are the things I wish I knew when I first started out!
Firstly, a step-by-step guide to how you could go about setting up your blog...
Step 1: Find a platform
The place to start with blogging is finding a platform that works for you. There are plenty of platforms to host your blog out there to choose from. I personally use Wix, as I find it the easiest of all the platforms I tried out for setting up and maintaining the website, as well as the simplicity of writing, scheduling and publishing posts. It took my three attempts to find the one that was perfect for me, after starting with Wordpress before moving onto Squarespace and finding that Wix was the one for me.
Before you dive in, try playing around with the platforms and seeing what works for you and what you find the easiest to navigate. When you find the one for you, you'll know!
Step 2: Design the blog
This is a simultaneously fun and stressful process. Designing your blog is a great place to be creative and imaginative, trying out different styles and colours. But it can also be tricky getting to know what to do to create the look and design you want.
Be as patient as you can with yourself when designing the blog - it might take a little time to create the blog you're looking for, but once you've finished the process it's done and there forever.
You can change the design of your blog as it develops and grows too, so don't feel you need to weave in every colour and font you want into your initial design.
Step 3: What do you want your blog to be?
Deciding whether your blog will have a niche them (i.e - football commentaries) or, like World of Words, remain broad in its content is the next stage to preparing your blog for launch.
It's also helpful to decide what your blog will act as for you: is it simply a portfolio of your written work? Is it a place you'll post every week? Do you want to build an income through your blog?
Figuring out what you want your blog to be earlier on will help you navigate your way forward. But, don't feel as though you have to stay really rigid in your goals (this goes for the design too - World of Words has certainly had a few makeovers).
Step 4: Choose a domain name
This is a super important (and exciting) decision - what is your brand going to be? This can be anything, from simply your name to a phrase that represents what your blog is about. Having a name that you're proud of and happy with is the finishing touch to a wonderful blog.
Step 5: Start writing
As you're creating your blog, it's likely you'll get to grips with adding content to your blog. Once you've written your first post, figure out how you publish it (this will depend on what platform you choose to host your blog) and whether you want to categorise different posts by pages on the home page (for example, I have 'About', 'Reviews', 'Travel' etc).
I've been asked a few questions recently on the topic of blogging that I thought I could share my thoughts on within this post...
Q: What process do you go through to transform an idea into a post?
A: Usually, an idea takes time to develop into a full-fledged post. My advice for this is having a bank of ideas that you can ponder over for a period of time; you'll often find that, if you give yourself the space to think about the idea and how you can develop it, the process of writing will be made much easier and enjoyable than rushing into something when you're not 100% ready to get writing. When I'm ready to turn the idea into an article, I usually start by scribbling all my thoughts down and look at them in a list format to get a sense of where the article can go and what angle it will take - then, it's just a process of transforming this list into structure for an article, and then filling in the gaps. Once it's finished, I'll think about what I want to title it depending on where I've taken the article, and then leave it for a few days before coming back and doing a final check over it before publishing!
Q: How do you battle with the fear that a post isn't 'worthy' enough of publishing or that what you're writing about could be read elsewhere?
A: Firstly, anything you write that you're proud of and have worked hard to create is an achievement and deserves to be read. Secondly, you'll always have a unique angle that others may not have written or thought about, and once you've established an audience they'll look forward to hearing what you have to say, even if what you're writing about is being talked about elsewhere. This is where having a blog can actually really help with the 'imposter syndrome' - it gives you a space to figure out what kind of writing style you'd like to create and the kind of articles you want to write in a non-judgemental, no-pressure environment, so you can establish your voice. Let your blog be the place that you builds your confidence, and both the blog, your writing and you will blossom!
Finally, here are a few extra tips to help you along to way...
Write about what you want to write about, not what you think you should be writing about. This will make your blog posts sing with personality and your unique voice.
Don't add any pressure to write or create a rigid schedule that is hard to stick to in the long term. Keep it fun and enjoyable for yourself, and this will shine through in your blog posts. Use the blog as an opportunity to explore the writer within you!
Just go for it! Ignore any self-doubt thoughts and embrace the rewarding challenge of creating and managing your own little corner of the internet.
If you're a blogger and you have any tips I haven't mentioned, or you have any questions you want my thoughts on, drop them in the comments!