How to Build Your First Blog
Image Credit: Pexels
If you plan to start a blog in order to earn a little bit extra on the side, like everyone else, you are going to need to have your own website. It’s not just that everyone and his dog has a website these days. You need to have a website because that’s where your readership is located. You need to meet them in the digital sphere before making the jump back into the real world with whatever products, services or downloads you plan to provide too.
Though you could certainly approach a web design company or a digital marketing company and have your website built, there are all sorts of great website design sites that make building a breeze. They offer templates to give you a basis from which to start as well as easy ways to move your various blocks and edit the content. Have a look at this source to see which type of website builder could be best for you.
Website design is a very expensive route so building your own is actually a really good idea for a beginner. It may not have that immediate professional quality, but as you learn how to use the builder, you will see how easy it can be. It’s all a case of giving yourself a little bit of time to study the basics and then apply them to your site. Building is fun; you should do it to learn more about your site as well as to save money. As well as building a website, you should also look into finding the best web hosting service for your site, making it accessible to a larger audience.
So, now that you have your template and you have familiarized yourself with the website builder, what do you need to do to make your website stand out? What are the secrets to a good blog? And how can you make your website start earning you money?
Branding and Consistency
You might think of branding as something that only large corporate companies use, but it is just as important for you and your blog. This is because people like to see things that are consistent. We find it more relaxing when we know what is coming next because we are able to recognize a pattern in everything we have seen so far. Which is why we find randomness and chaos so jarring.
All branding ever is, is a set of rules that mean that you can cut through the chaos and create consistency. This means that you have rules for font and size depending on whether the text is a header or a paragraph, you have rules on color, rules on the type of pictures you use and rules about how your logo appears and where. With this set of rules, each page of your site will be consistent with each other, giving a more cohesive experience to the reader and making it more likely that they will return.
Start by deciding on a color scheme. You will need a background color, a color for text, a color for headings and an idea of the colors you will be using in pictures, whether that is an overlay or a manipulation using photoshop. Your color scheme is the most important way to demonstrate your personality, as different colors evoke different ideas. For example, if you are writing a blog primarily about cooking, you might choose fresh greens that inspire the thought of salad, but if you chose a dark blue, it might look odd.
The font is also important as it must be easy to read quickly but also show a bit of character. There’s no foolproof method with font but you should avoid Times New Roman and comic sans like the plague!
Image Credit: Max Pixel
Menus and Organization
The best blogs use tags and categories to make sure that visitors can find the information they are most interested in quickly. Usually, this is achieved by creating a menu bar at the top that will show each category and may also have a drop down menu for further refinement. Doing this means that people won’t have to scroll endlessly looking for something they are interested in reading, they can go right to it.
Organizing your blogs will also help to establish your niche. Readers will be able to see what your subjects are quickly, but companies looking to see if you are suitable for collaboration will also be able to see what you write about and where their brand or product might fit in. Making your site easy to navigate will encourage them to see you as an opportunity and get in touch.
There is a danger with menus though. Putting too much onto one menu can be overwhelming and unhelpful. In this case, it might be better to create a menu that has fewer categories broken down individually, than lots of categories on their own. For example, you might use the overarching button ‘pets’ and then have a second menu leading to ‘food’, ‘playtime’, ‘health’ etc. Have a look at the best navigation websites for inspiration.
What to Write
Now that you have a plan for how your website will look and how users will navigate it, you need to start writing content. Always choose subjects that you are genuinely interested in. there’s no point writing a blog about finance if you really wanted to write about interior design or vice versa. If you are going to successfully write something new and interesting each week, it has to be something that falls within your own interests to keep you motivated to write.
There are no real rules about what you should write about and what you shouldn’t. Nor are there any particular rules about style, as long as your sentences make sense and the writing is easy to read. This really does give you the freedom to use your blog how you like. However, you do need readers and as your readership grows, they will come to expect certain things from you.
If you have started your blog as an opportunity to share recipes and cooking advice, you aren’t really well advised to suddenly throw in a blog about going on a plane for the first time. Because your readers expect recipes, they aren’t really going to be impressed with this topic as it jars with your previous posts.
A good way to ensure that your topic is always well thought out is to look back at your previous posts and see where there could be a good link back. So for this post, on on Decliciouslysavvy, you might want to include a link back to 6 Ways to Savvy Up Your Blogging Game & Bank a Better Profit. This blog is relevant to blogging for the first time and shows that there is already an expectation from readers to see this sort of post.
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Social Posting and Building Followers
Part of the value of your blog is your ability to grow your followers on social media in order to attract more readers. The more readers you have, the more likely you are to get requests for post collaborations as these companies will want to get the largest audience possible reading about their product.
To attract followers, you should post regularly and use links to your blog to encourage people to click through. You can also try using follower growth software to find people who are most likely to want to see your content and follow you back. The more followers you have, the better reach you can offer, so it really is worth investing some time into getting followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram especially.
Once you have established yourself as a social media influencer, you might also wish to monetize this aspect of your blogging by offering sponsored social posts. This is a very simple thing for you to do. All you need is a picture and a post written and then just press send. Done.
A blog is a great way to have some fun and make a bit of extra cash on the side. Once you have your website up and running, though, the real joy of writing begins, so much so that you may find yourself looking towards a freelance writing job and freelance writer career resources! You might want to set yourself a modest target of one post a week to begin with, but as you get into the process, you might find yourself writing and publishing sponsored or collaborative posts every day. In fact, your blog could easily take over and become a full time career path.
There is plenty of advice out there about designing your website, maintaining your blog and growing your social following. Read plenty around your chosen subject areas too, to make sure that you are staying on trend and giving your readership something new and interesting to read. Though this is likely to be a hobby to begin with, it is worth taking the planning and research part seriously.
More than anything though, building your first website is a learning curve and one that will take you in a whole new direction. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself as a beginner and do ask for help where you need it. In time, you will learn everything you need. Your website will be amazing.