Blogging: Where to start?

We’ve recently had a few of our followers comment on various articles asking us how to start a blog of their own. They, like many people, wanted to know where to start and if we had any tips/tricks to help them be successful in their venture. This in turn is what led us to writing this very article- so thank you commenters! This one’s for you.

 

Step 1

What do you want to blog about?

This can really be anything if you ask me…anything that you feel passionately about writing about? I say go for it! Worst-case scenario? No one reads it… SO WHAT. At least you got to express yourself. You got it off your shoulders.

This is a serious step one though… because without a general idea and purpose for your blog… well… things could get messy. Ask yourself what you want to get out of the blog. Is it a personal reflection blog? An informative blog? A community blog? A business blog?

Step 2

Who will host your blog?

We use WordPress. We are familiar with their plugins and have knowledge of the back-end, which is a bit more manual than some other hosts like blog.com. I find blog.com is the easiest for someone who maybe isn’t as computer literate but definitely look around. There are so many different platforms and price packages. Most platforms offer you a free and paid version. The difference is usually ad placements flashing on your blog, custom URL’s, larger file storage etc. Take a look at all the packages because depending on what you need- the packages may be worth it for you.

Beebom wrote a pretty good review of top blogs for 2015: http://beebom.com/2015/02/5-best-blogging-platforms   they don’t mention blog.com but in my experience it has been the easiest for newbies to grasp.

Step 3

Designing your blog.

This is more than just what pretty colour you want. Your main goal should be functionality, readability and overall set up. If your blog is on photography? You are going to want something that displays images the best, that has great gallery options and allows you to save an adequate amount of files in your back-end. If you are more informative- you still want to make sure that you can display images to make your blog aesthetically pleasing- but you won’t need as much storage space. Make sure that your menu is large enough to see and easy to navigate and that you can easily add and manipulate your pages as new content is added.
Make sure that your font is large enough and easy to read if your target audience is 65+ then up that font a couple points. Make sure the colours aren’t harsh on the eyes. Keep your pages white because it is easier for people to read than on black- and skip the neon.

Step 4

Content.

It’s time to write your first post! (Exciting) One thing I learned was that your post doesn’t have to be perfect. Your posts are easily editable and that you just have to go for it! Better done than perfect- obviously keep in mind your basic spelling and grammar but don’t be afraid to hit publish. A trick I use is, I write my blogs in word first- THEN I copy them into my blog. It allows for auto-correct to come to my rescue and I save my work as a backup. Keep your audience in mind and write away. Be sure to add a corresponding image somewhere in your article because it not only breaks up your blog and is appealing to the eyes, it also adds an automatically generated icon when you are sharing your blog link.

Write enticing headlines and remember that your work is SEO friendly- so who knows who will be searching for information and stumble onto your blog?

Step 5

Sharing your blog

Your blog will share organically in your providers forums, in search engines and through like’s and shares on social media but it is also up to you to share your links and promote your work. Be proud!

Blog Tips: How To Overcome Writer’s Block

Overcome writers block

Ahhhhh yes. Our BLOG! What to post… There is so much to write about- but you need inspiration!

So what happens when you aren’t in the writing mood, you get writers block, your creativity is flunking and you need inspiration! Well, these tips should help you out of that rut:

  1. Write early in the morning.

Your brain is fresh and new- plus you have the energy to get at it! Waking up early and getting a head start on your day will have you feeling on top of the ball not only if you write, just in general.

  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself

Just write! Don’t worry if it is the best you’ve ever written. You can edit later or save a draft and never post it at all. Who knows if an idea you have with morph into an even better idea for a post?  Practice makes perfect anyway… I guess the point is – don’t spend hours trying to get it “write” (no good?)

  1. Read industry articles, blogs and books

Get inspired. Don’t plagiarize- just go with the flow. While reading you will educate yourself, you will take sides, form opinions. You may feel passionately enough about a topic that it will become a blog post. Reading also doubles as a relaxing brain break to help you re-energize. What is the worst that can happen? You learn something! Not a bad deal.

  1. Exercise

Get your blood going- break a sweat! Exercise increases your concentration, elevates your mood and releases a multitude of beneficial hormones to help you get the job done. Stretch those fingers out as well- help with writers block AND finger cramps.

  1. Keep notes

A blog post idea can hit at any moment. Be ready. Jot down your idea in your phones notepad, on a receipt or even on your hand until you get home. Log your ideas and reference your list whenever you feel stuck!

Hopefully these tips help… It is important to be consistent with your blog posts- so if all else fails and you REALLY can’t write that article? Outsource! Get a guest post. Ask employees, industry experts, authors or other bloggers to step up and enjoy some of the spotlight.

Any other tips you can add? Please do below!

Why Your Business Should Be Writing a Blog

Why your business should blog

Blogging is more than sharing angry vents, happy memories, self-indulgent bragging and hobby posts. It is a marketing tool, an SEO gem and a shareable opportunity to provide your audience with helpful, inspirational and real information.

Let me explain in better detail.

Blogs drive traffic to your website. How? Well every time you publish a post, it signals to search engines and tells them that they need to re-scan your website- that you are active and have updated/provided new information. So what? Well every new indexed page means a heightened chance that your blog is going to surface when someone types keywords into a search engine… which means strangers will read your post, be directed to your site- then SHARE your post… then their contacts will be directed to your site and so on and so forth.

Blogs provide shareable content. When you write relevant information, people will want to share it on twitter, facebook, google+, pinterest and linkedin. Most blog hosts automatically imbed a “share” button at the bottom of each published post- so no need to worry about that. So again you are driving people to your site through your blog.

Blogs provide you with street cred. Or industry cred… whatever you prefer. Your blog showcases your knowledge and your willingness to share that knowledge. You are confident enough in your ability to communicate with your audience!

Blogs give your company a voice. Obviously your blog content will be relevant, on brand and the ‘voice’ you use will be consistent. People will get an idea of what to expect when they communicate with your company by what they read on your blog, how you respond to comments (good AND bad) and the tone in your posts.

Blogs are fairly easy to set up. You don’t have to be a graphic designer! You can use sites like wordpress, hubspot, blog.com… we use wordpress- but the choice is yours! You can choose from a plethora of template designs and colours to suit your needs and keep you on brand.

I recommend writing your posts in word or some other word processor- that way you can utilize the spelling/ grammar features AND you can save it half way through. You can also start multiple posts and go back to them if your brain freezes. I also don’t like to fully rely on the world wide web to save my draft properly should a hiccup occur.

Blogging isn’t scary. It’s fun and with practice comes confidence! Don’t think too much about tweaking it into perfection (you can always go back and edit after it’s published) just write it, check grammar and spelling and hit publish! You can do this! Follow likeminded people- read their blogs. Get inspired and be inspiring!
Good luck!