New to blogging? Asking “How do I set up a blog?” Not sure where to start? Here are my top seven tips for the newbie blogger.
I’ve assume here that you have something to blog about and you know you want to do it in the first place …
Under each heading, I’ve linked to more articles on this blog that will help you get more into the topic. I wanted to gather the basics in one place!
1. Sign up to a blog platform
Blogger, WordPress, it’s up to you. But you need to sign up to a specific blog platform in order to write a blog.
Bonus hint: Don’t pay for anything much at the start. WordPress has lots of free “themes” (setting the look of the blog and where all the menus go) and you might want to have your own domain name (think http://www.libroediting.com as opposed to http://www.libroediting.wordpress.com) but I don’t think that matters for a personal blog that’s not a business brand.
Find out more about starting out on WordPress here.
2. Write your first blog post
What’s a blog post? Think of it like a diary entry. Your blog will be updated regularly with new content appearing, which is not the same as a website which tends to have static pages full of information.
Bonus hint: There may be a blog post already set up with some sample text: WordPress does this. Overwrite the text, hit “Publish” and you’re off!
Find out more about writing blog posts here.
3. Set up an About Me page
You don’t need too much fancy stuff (like on this blog, I know) but it’s very useful to have an About Me page – this is a static page which can appear in your menu and tells your readers a bit about you.
Bonus hint: You don’t need to disclose your inside leg measurement or even your photo if you don’t want to. But a bit about who you are and where you’re from is more welcoming.
Find out more about setting up a page here, and, for advanced users, a landing page here.
4. Go no-ads
I get really put off when I’m reading a blog and adverts appear all over the place. Yes, people do manage to monetise their blogs with paid advertising – no, truthfully, you won’t be doing this for a while. WordPress has a no-ads package I renew every year. Use it to avoid annoying your readers.
5. Moderate comments
You will want to encourage readers to make comments on your blog, but you need to set up some form of moderation to avoid your blog comments being taken over by spammers. There will be a way to do this in your blogging software.
Bonus hint 1: Check your spam folder in your blogging software regularly as sometimes it will carefully send legitimate comments there
Bonus hint 2: I choose to moderate just the first comment a particular person makes, as I find a spammer will show their colours right away.
Find out more about moderating comments here and why we should do this here.
6. Engage with your readers
Build social capital … no, scrub that. Enjoy engaging with your readers. If they’ve taken the trouble to comment on your blog, take the time to respond to their comment!
Bonus hint: You’ll find more readers for your blog by commenting on other people’s and including your URL. Do this wisely, sensibly and without spamming, of course!
Find out more about engaging with your readers here and reciprocity across social media here.
7. Enjoy yourself!
Blogging shouldn’t equal slogging! There are various techniques to get your blog posts written, and obviously it can be more important to keep a business blog going than a purely personal one, but if you’re not enjoying it, it’s not worth it!
Bonus hint: If you find pumping out long articles a drag, try writing shorter, snappier pieces instead. There’s no word limit!
Find out more about why you should blog here, and why you shouldn’t here.
This has been a whistle-stop tour through my top seven tips for new bloggers, inspired by someone who wants to start a book review blog. I hope they – and you – have found it useful: do comment or share if you have!