This is a two part series that will show you the basics on how to set up your own blog from scratch and possibly lead to some extra income. We give you the information you’ll need, and show you how your creativity and writing can take you on a journey, build a network of contacts and deliver great satisfaction, for you and your pocket.
Everyone’s doing it! Whether it’s for your own personal use or for a business, there really is a whole ‘blogosphere’ out there to discover. So how do you go about it?
How to start your own blog
Do your research
The first step on your journey is to do your research. Nicki Cawood from parenting blog CurlyandCandid says: “It’s very important to remember that your blog is your own. Do not feel like you have to follow the crowd. It is your personal/professional space to use as you will.”
What blogs do you like? What do you like about them? Let them inspire you and help make your decision on the main focus of your blog. What are you passionate about? Find your niche and pick a topic that interests you. A good way to start is by browsing the web and using GoogleBlog search or browsing the Wikio top ranked blogs.
Create your blog
Once you have your idea, you will need to find the right blog platform to host it. What’s great is that there are lots of free blogger platforms out there that are easy to use, allow you to create your own theme and have your own URL. The two most popular are Blogger and WordPress.
Your blog title should reflect the topic of your blog or your name so it can be picked up in internet searches. It should be concise, memorable and avoid using hyphens.
For example, if you were setting up a blog on making picture frames, you could create this for free in WordPress and your domain name (this is the name displayed in the address bar) might be www.makingpictureframes.wordpress.com. However, to make your domain name independent from the blog host, in this case WordPress, you can purchase this for around £10 a year from websites such as easily.co.uk or 123reg.co.uk and could make your domain name www.makingpictureframes.com.
Optimise your blog
Increase traffic by optimising your content for search engines. This basically means that your blog will be picked up by searches, driving more readers or ‘traffic’ to your blog. For example, if you have a blog post on baby monitors make sure you mention those keywords in the first couple of sentences and title.
As a general rule, you should also try to mention the keywords every 150 words throughout the post. Also, make sure you use subheadings containing keywords, and name any images used with relevant keywords. This will make your post more likely to appear in search engines. Take a look at a basic guide to SEO to get you started.
Once you’re all set up it’s time to spread the word and a great way to do this is to get listed on blogger networks like Tots100 and BritMums if you are a parent blogger; or in general Klout, Technorati and Love all Blogs. Blogger. Ed is also great for networking and has a useful forum.
Becky Goddard-Hill from BabyBudgeting advises to “Find a supportive forum where you can ask questions to other bloggers… These are good places to find review opportunities and get some great advice.”
Follow other blogs and comment on their posts. This will link you to a wider network of readers, get yourself known and allow you to make new interactions and friends along the way.
Another useful way to engage with people and build followers is through social networking. Build a bespoke Facebook page for your blog and become part of the Twitterati!
Social media widgets (buttons that link to your social media networks) embedded in your blog are a fantastic way to encourage people to connect with you and share your posts via Facebook, Twitter, Digg and Stumbleupon.
In part two of this guide, find out how you can grow your blog and reap some financial rewards.