Recently I’ve had a few messages from friends and readers asking for advice on how to start their own blogs. For a while, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing these types of posts because like every other blogger – I’m still learning. Don’t even get me started on trying to work out Pinterest algorithms. I think I’ve just about conquered my Instagram timings perfectly but Twitter is always the number one for traffic, for me personally but more on those later. I started my blog three years ago and only now I am starting to see some real improvements. For example one of my posts is nearly at 500 reads, 250 of which were on the first day of publishing!
Just keep in mind, your blog will take a lot of time and effort to start up. The reality of blogging is actually quite tough because there’s lots going on in the background to get traffic, making your site look presentable and building genuine friendships with others on social media. Don’t be disheartened if only ten people read your first post in the first week, there’s plenty of other opportunities to promote and improve posts later in the year. I’ve split this post into three key sections, a few of which I will expand on in later posts. As a journalism graduate, I know how daunting it can be to take the plunge to publish your first post and start this little side gig.
I hope this post helps, good luck!
Choosing Your Blog Name & How To Use WordPress
For me, WordPress is the best place to start your blog because it is essentially…a blogging website. It’s got everything for you to start your new venture including choosing your blog’s name. I would choose your actual name as for years I wrote under the persona, if that’s the right word, of Indigo Violet Diaries. I didn’t really like it in all honesty. Once I changed to Niamh Darby, I felt a lot more professional. I actually saw way more traffic coming to my older posts once I did my relaunch. If you feel writing under a different name is your thing, great! Choose something snappy so your website name isn’t mile long, it’ll be easier to remember too. WordPress will help you with an alternate name if your original idea has already been taken.
Now, for the slightly hard part. Choosing a blog package and theme. Once I started to get traffic I changed to the WordPress premium package which is pretty pricey. Once you start grabbing those affiliate sales, it’s not so bad so I say start with the Free package and work your way up. Remember it’s about the quality. Your blog theme can be a free one and still be the best as long as your content is fully SEO checked, more on that in a future post. Once you’ve sorted this fiddly bit out, you’re all good to go…on to my next step, we’re not ready to create a post just yet.
Creating Your Social Media & Using Them For Promotion
Ah, this is the exciting part – getting your social media accounts aligned with your site. The main thing is consistency: give them the same name as your blog. I know it seems simple but I have come across so many blog accounts who haven’t made it very clear about their blogging venture. I suggest using Twitter for your main traffic driver and building up rapports with other bloggers. There’s plenty of comment threads you can reply to and get tons of views from, if you follow me you will usually see me replying to them every day when I’ve published a new post. I’ve noticed the tweets with a quote from the post get a better response than a tweet saying “new post here: [link]”. Pull your audience in with a sneak peek.
Instagram can be tricky if you don’t have a business account so I firmly suggest switching to one. It’s really easy to do – you just need a Facebook page dedicated to your blog. Instagram then automatically posts your photos to Facebook for you so you’re essentially killing two birds with one stone. I’ve been testing the waters with Instagram with seperate accounts for different themes, like home, travel and blogging. I decided the best traffic I get for my blog from the app is through my personal account. Sorry if you followed my blog account but I deactivated it as I saw nothing coming from it. At first I was a bit nervous to post on Facebook because some of the subjects I write about are a bit embarrassing to show my family I guess, but I’ve just learnt to embrace your content and be proud.
How To Find Inspiration & First Post Ideas
Pinterest is my go to for any inspiration if I’m in a rut. Create a business account with them and link your blog so you have another source of traffic coming in. Don’t feel disheartened if you don’t get many clicks or repins as I still don’t and I’ve been using this platform for a few years now. I post to two blogging groups where I get a few clicks to my site but I mainly use pinterest for blog ideas. It’s brilliant around Christmas time as you can nab a few recipes for the festivities.
Most people think your first post should be an introductory post, however don’t follow the crowd. Be different. My first post was about my favourite makeup products that year. It set me apart from other newbies who go straight in with a ‘About Me’ post. Have a section on your blog called ‘About’ where you can introduce yourself, update it when you want and can regularly. It’ll be much better for PR companies once you get to that stage in your blogging journey.