Starting a Blog
I have received a lot of requests from people wanting to know how to start a blog. Starting a blog is really simple to start. Once you know what your "niche" [topic your passionate about] is you just sign up for a blog and start blogging. It's that simple. The hard part about blogging is being consistent with it and perhaps getting people to read your blog in the beginning. The beginning to all things is typically the hardest but once you get through that phase it gets easier.
So, finding your "niche" topic that you are passionate about writing is key! Then, you will know what type of audience you will be targeting. Then you have to decide whether or not you want to host your blog yourself or use a blogger platform. Most people use a free blogger platform. The top two that are very popular are Wordpress [www.wordpress.com] and Blogger [www.blogger.com]. I use Blogger personally and I love it. I have friends who use Wordpress and love it. To each it's own.
If you ask bloggers which one they prefer many will say wordpress and then you may have many say blogger. It really is all about your preference. One of my friends, when we had this discussion said that wordpress was easier to her because of all the plugins it has...and it has a lot of cute little features that blogger doesn't necessarily have. However, I am use to blogger and know how to work it. So, I rather stick with what I know. However, if you don't like one site. You can always transfer your blog to another hosting site. That's another subject. You can google that -> hosting a blog site, etc.
Starting a Blog with Wordpress: http://hosting.editorsreview.org/start-a-blog.html?gclid=CKGvneOu7r4CFQIT7AodCT8AOw
Starting a Blog with Blogger: http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Blog-on-Blogger
Reasons to blog: You love to write. You have something of value to offer to others. Tips, Inspiration or perhaps you just want to share your life with others. Blogging can be a forum where you connect with your customers if you have a business and they can connect with you. It can be a way to keep your family in the loop of things in your life, etc. You can select who sees your blog. It can be public or private. If you are starting a new weight loss challenge, getting married, having a baby, starting your own business, traveling, going to college, love for fashion or love for baking, etc. They are many reasons people blog. You can be a blogger who writes, who shares just pictures or a vlogger one who shares videos, etc. Do what works for you.
Make sure whatever you blog about that the content is valuable. So, no one feels like they just wasted 3-5 minutes of their time reading your blog. If I ever made you feel that way. I do apologize! ;-) The more you blog, the more you grow. You will make mistakes but it's okay... it's a learning process. Just be open to growing, learning and connecting with others. Be sociable.
You can also have Guest Bloggers/Writers, other bloggers/writers to write up a post for you. A lot of bloggers do that. It helps when you are stuck and don't know what to write or if you are taking a vacation, etc. If you write for someone else, it typically brings more traffic to your site too.
You can also schedule your blog posts. So, say you just wanted to not worry about writing during the week or on vacation. Choose a day like Saturday and write up all your blog posts for the week and schedule them to post on their day and time, etc. You want to post your blogs at the right time of day that your readers will be reading them. Like say, you were doing a devotional blog. Those blog posts need to be sent out first thing in the mornings because that's when most people read devotionals, etc.
Networking: To meet other bloggers and expand your network. You will want to visit other bloggers blogs; people in your same niche or not. Visit their blogs and leave feedback on their blogs. They tend to love the feedback and then most of them will return the love. Not all but most of them will. If they don't return the love, don't get all upset. Not everyone is going to return the love back. For some, they really just blog for the love of it and they are not really looking to expand their blogs. Some just may not be interested in your blog or they may just simply don't do commenting on others blog. Everybody is different. Personally, if I leave a comment. I just leave a comment because I felt like it. I don't expect others to do the same back to me...because a lot of times I read others blog and I don't leave a comment. Does that mean I didn't like what I read? No, I just didn't feel the need to leave a comment.
Other ways to connect with other bloggers is to join blog groups on social media like facebook. Within these groups, you can learn a whole lot from other bloggers and grow your network. In these groups they share information about where you can go to get free pictures to use on your blog; where to go to create pictures for free if you don't have Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. They tell you about the different plugins available. They share tips and strategies on how to market your blog. Information about blog conferences. How to earn money with blogging. How to get Sponsors. So, it would be worth your while to join a group in the field that you are targeting. Just search on facebook for blogger groups and they will pop up and then just request to join.
Sites to make pictures for your blog for free: www.canva.com www.picmonkey.com
You make money blogging by placing ads on your blog for companies, writing up a review for a product, writing up about an event etc. Sometimes people pay in money or they pay with free services, free tickets or free products etc. Check out this site for some additional information: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Money-Blogging
Templates/Style of your blog. Personally for Blogger. I love using SEO Blogger Templates. They have free templates and you can also pay for their templates, etc. I have used several of their templates and I edit it to my likings. In order to do that ... you need to understand html coding. I took a Web Designing course in High School and I actually remembered things from it. So, it's how I know how to read codings. Imagine that something I learned in school way back then is useful now. Lol. ;-)
However, feel free to search online for other companies that provide templates. They are many people that provide templates for free. Just know that blogger and wordpress use different type templates. A blogger template will not work on a wordpress blog site because they have different codings. Also, make sure your template is Mobile friendly. As most people use their smartphones and tablets to connect to the internet. You want to make sure that your blog/website can be accessed via mobile/tablet devices. You can also pay a web designer to create templates for you. However, most blogger platforms have free templates you can use from their sites that works for both desktop and mobile devices, etc.
Additional tips: Have fun with your blog. Make exciting interesting posts. Be You. Be Unique. Make sure you don't copy and paste others writings! Write your own stuff. Be careful with just googling and taking pictures from the search engine. It's not always safe to do that. Don't put any information on here you wouldn't want being on TMZ because once it's out there... it's out there and anyone can see it -- if your site is public. Use labels/categories/tags. It helps people find your articles. Raises up your views. I didn't learn that until a few months ago! I added labels to all my blog posts in December 2013 and since then my views has went up tremendously!
Blogging is easy to start but can be a lot of work to maintain and expand. You may start off with just 10 readers but keep going because the more your blog gets out there and people see it's value; the more people will want to read it and share it. Just stay consistent and passionate and it will work for you.
There is a lot more to share but hopefully I answered some questions you may have about blogging. Personally, I blog to encourage people. I don't participate in a lot of things, that many other bloggers do because I can't keep up with all of that stuff nor do I care to. So, I do my own thing. I suggest joining a blog group and searching online for more information, in that regard. They are a lot of articles and books on this very subject that may be more in depth. Do your research. & Happy Blogging.