So, you want to blog? Great! I started blogging 8 years ago and have loved doing it ever since.
Let me share a few pointers as you get started.
1. You need to determine what you are going to write about
When people visit your blog site, what do you want them to see and learn?
Coming up with your primary theme will determine how you will want your blog to look and will give you a reason to keep writing. Because, after all, it seems that most people start with good intentions but end up quitting soon thereafter.
I titled my blog “Matt’s Musings.” I figured that the title wasn’t too restrictive. It allows me to reflect on a wide range of items. Currently, I am writing each day as I take people on a journey through the Bible with some of my reflections on Scripture. But, I also include periodic book and movie reviews, significant family events, and other such things.
2. You need to determine which platform works best for you
In January 2011, when I started blogging, I used Blogger (free). My blog is still active and can be found at mattellis1997.blogspot.com. I enjoyed that site until October 2017.
In October 2017, I converted all of my content to WordPress. I have noticed that I don’t have nearly as much traffic on WordPress as I did on Blogger but I happen to like much of the functionality of WordPress.
Of course, there are many other blogging platforms that you can choose from. Simply view some websites that show the pros and cons of each platform and then choose one.
Most of them will provide a free plan. But, there will be a catch (for example, they may reserve the right to advertise on your personal blog). To get rid of ads and increase functionality, you may want to pay a little bit of money for a better plan. Currently, I pay $66 / year for my WordPress plan and domain name.
3. Create an account
This is easy. It usually requires you to enter your e-mail address, a username, and a password.
After doing that, take a moment to celebrate the fact that you have your very own website! How cool is that!
… but you need to hurry up and take the next step. Because even though you now have a website, you’re not yet a blogger.
4. Write your first blog post
Maybe your first blog post can be about the excitement you have of writing your first blog post.
Just get something down on the page. Then, look it over for errors and hit “Publish.”
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE NOW A BLOGGER!
5. Play around with all of the bells and whistles on your blog site
People nowadays are picky. Honestly, if they end up at your site, they may give it a few seconds before deciding to stay and browse or go somewhere else.
I think it’s humorous when someone tells me that they have been diagnosed with ADHD. Honestly, I think we’ve all got a touch of it in the technology age. And since that is true, people aren’t simply interested in content. It must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
So pick an evening or a Saturday morning when you can just sit in front of your computer and play around with all of the features on your blogging platform. There will probably be multiple ways that you can design your homepage (with preformatted designs).
Your blogging platform may allow widgets and you will need to determine which ones you will use and where you will place them.
“Widget is a fancy word for tools or content that you can add, arrange, and remove from the sidebar(s) of your website or blog.” – https://en.support.wordpress.com/widgets/
If you go to my homepage, you can look at the right-hand side of the page and see all of the widgets I chose to add.
6. Write, write, write … and include media
People will not come back to your site if it is static. By static, I mean that the content stays the same. In order to get people to come back, your content must be good and there must always be new things for them to view.
The only way for that to happen on a blog is for you to sit in front of your computer and write.
But, an added benefit to writing prolifically is that some of your content will rise to the top of the list when someone “Googles” a phrase. The more you write, the more Google and other search engines pay attention.
For instance, since I write a lot, the Google’s algorithms smile on my blog. So, when a significant number of people “Google” the same thing and my site contains the content they are looking for, my blog post rises to the top. (Simply Google the phrase, “where they tried to throw Jesus off a cliff”. I’m on the first page, 4th from the top. I have other blog posts that have risen to the top as well.)
One more thing – when you write, you need to make it as easy as possible for the reader to enjoy the experience. So, write short paragraphs. Maybe include some bullet points or use “blocks” to put color around a quote. Add a picture or video (just make sure you use a sight like unsplash.com where you can get pictures that are not copyrighted).
7. Share Your Content to Social Media
If your content is good enough and people enjoy it, then make it available to them. Put it on Facebook, Twitter, or any number of your other social media sites.
Not only will doing so be a blessing to those who read your content, they may also come to your website and check out more of your content.
As I try to operate from a Christian worldview, my motive for trying to draw people to my blogsite is not self-promoting (at least I don’t think that’s what is going on in my heart).
I genuinely want to help others in their understanding of the Bible and how it applies to their life. So, since I’ve written a lot about that, why wouldn’t I want people to read it and be blessed?
So, if I were to begin blogging all over again, the route I have highlighted in this post is the route I would take. If you have any other ideas, additions, or questions, feel free to put them in the “Reply” section below.