Friday, 27 September 2013

Blogging 101 Part 1 - Starting A Blog

A note from Joelle... 

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After quite a few tweets and emails asking me to do this, I am finally doing a Blogging 101 feature! Obviously, I am not an expert, but I have been a blogger for almost 5 years and hey, I just want to give back and encourage people to start bloggin'!
These little tips and trick will hopefully help you start a blog, create a nice layout and generate more traffic on your site!
In part 1, I want to discuss starting a blog. As a lot for you reading this might already be bloggers, you can skip this feature and wait 'til next week for more relevant tips on blog promotion

If you are looking to start a blog, the basics are as follows:

*'Why bother starting a blog? It's just for vain and self-obsessed people, right?' 
Nope, blogs are just a little space on the internet where you can write about whatever you want. It could be fashion, art, music, food, politics, films, beauty, lifestyle, relationships, whatever you want!
Even if you have one reader, adding your blog URL to your CV proves you are dedicated, passionate and creative, so don't knock it 'til you've tried it!
More brands and companies are finally realising that having an online presence can make or break a business and are therefore taking to twitter, pinterest, tumblr and blogs! Social media is also fun too, but hard work if you don't get the basics down! 
It's great to just have an open mind as you never know where writing and blogging about the things you are passionate about could take you! :)

1. Choosing a platform - This is the host site for your blog. The main ones are Blogger (Blogspot), Wordpress and Tumblr. I personally use Blogger and it's a lot easier than the other two (and you don't have to pay for templates, like you have to with some Wordpress ones).

2. The Blog name - If you want to blog for more than a hobby and for other people, it's best to choose a short and snappy name. If it's too long, people will either forget the name and/or misspell it in the search engine. 
I chose FebruaryGirl (one word) because I was born in February, it's my favourite month and I started the blog that month too - it just seemed to fit well as I didn't want to use my real name at the beginning.

3. Blog URL - This is actually more important than your blog name because people will type this in. If it's too long or complicated, readers won't find it and give up searching. It's also advised that it's similar to the name of your blog otherwise readers will get confused!
Platforms like Blogger and Wordpress will automatically have .blogspot.co.uk or .wordpress.com, so you need to make sure that the bit you create at the front of that is catchy and easy to search for!
If you don't want to use these platforms and head straight to a .com, .co.uk, .me or .net, then you can search for the best provider for you and check the prices. 
I got my personal domain from Godaddy.com and got a great deal for £10 for 3 years - total bargain, but rare to find! 

4. What to write about - This is the fun but also tricky part. You should write about the things YOU like and are interested in, but you need to find the balance between that and making it reader-friendly so that you can gain a little readership, who can comment and give you feedback.
I would recommend sticking to a few genres and finding a way to link them together. Be it cooking, DIY and lifestyle, you could make a recipe and then blog about dining and kitchen decor. This way, your small amount of readers know what to expect on your blog in the first few months and will hopefully stay loyal.
In the beginning, you will be basically writing to yourself and have very few readers/views. This should not worry you because that's how we all start! My next feature will be on how to promote your blog, so stay tuned for that later next week! 
As always, you have to proof-read and check for spelling and grammatical errors. It's also important to remember who you are writing for - don't use loads of swear words if your blog is meant to be family-friendly, etc.

All the best on you blogging journey! If you have any more questions for queries for me, you can comment below, tweet me @Joelle_o or find my email HERE.

Happy Bloggin'!
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