One of the best decisions I ever made was to start my blog. This was 10 years ago on September 11, 2011. There weren’t too many Kenyan blogs back then and I simply learned as I went along. Looking back, starting my blog was the best decision I made. Not only did it provide me with a platform to explore my passion for writing and publish what I wanted, when I wanted, but it also opened up many doors for me. I can confidently say that my blog is the backbone on which my career in digital communications grew.
That being said, a few of my friends have asked me how to start a blog. Instead of sending them to the numerous articles online that I’m sure they have access to, I thought that in celebration of 10 years of blogging I would instead share my tips on how to start a blog and share what I would have done had I had these insights 10 years ago.
Let’s get into it.
Choose your niche
When I started blogging, I focused heavily on fashion. That was my love at the time, but as the years went on and, I added other topics and became a fashion, motherhood, lifestyle and wellness blog. I will admit that I hate putting myself in a box and only writing on these topics but I have found that when you focus on specific topics, it helps to keep you organized and you’re able to narrow in on a niche audience who will keep coming back to your blog for its tantalizing content.
Pick a blogging platform
There are many blogging platforms out there. Some of the common ones are WordPress, Blogger, and now Squarespace, etc. When I started out, I was on Blogger. It was easy to use and allowed me to design my blog on my own. But this year, after much coercion and second-guessing myself throughout, I made the move to WordPress.
Is there a difference? Yes, a big one. Considering the scope that I wanted my blog to take and my line of work, WordPress would have served me better. This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with the other blogging platforms. I’m sure they each have their strong points.
So, before you choose a blogging platform, do your research and pick the one that best suits your needs.
Decide on a name for your blog
My first blog name was Petals. I loved the idea of a flower being made up of a number of petals. For me, a woman’s life was like a petal, made up of different facets that together made her whole and beautiful. I then changed the name to Inches To Style, to depict the journey, little by little, that we each make to become our next best self.
Decide whether you want to use your name or come up with a moniker that represents your chosen niche. It’s best not to change your blog’s name once you begin but this isn’t cast on stone.
Get a URL
I didn’t buy a customized URL at first. It took me while to get one. They say it’s more professional to have a custom URL e.g. www.inchestostyle.co.ke instead of inchestostyle.wordpress.com but I think, if your blog is simply a hobby for you, you don’t need to incur the expense of a custom URL. You can use the one provided by your blogging platform e.g. inchestostyle.wordpress.com or inchestostyle.blogspot.com
You can invest in one if you want your blog to be part of your professional portfolio.
Pick your colours and overall blog design
How do you want your blog to look? I’ve found that how my blog looks overall plays a huge role in how motivated I am to blog. When I first moved to WordPress and I was still figuring it all out, I had a template that I didn’t really like. But a simple change of template worked like magic, firing up that spark that was so lacking in my desire to blog.
There are many blogging templates out there. Some are free and others you need to pay for. Explore as many as you can before settling on one. Knowing your niche will help a great deal when it comes to choosing a template.
In addition to this, choose colours and a logo that are appealing and that embody who you are. I like colours that are gentle on the eyes (avoid glaring tones), and that bring me cheer.
Customize your blog
If you’re going it solo, once you have a template, you simply need to customize it to fit your needs. I have been designing my own blog up until this year when I got some help. But even with this, I made sure to tell the designer what I wanted.
We continue to work together, refining the blog just to make it as close to perfect as possible.
If you feel you need help with the blog design, get some. There’s no shame here!
Write an about me page
One of the first pages I visit whenever I click on a website is the About page. Take the time to think about what you’ll write here. Be sure to explain what your blog is about and don’t be shy to add some information about anything else that you do besides blogging.
Be sure to add a nice photo of yourself here, get a decent one taken and not a selfie.
Include contact details such as an email address as well.
Get started blogging
It’s nice to think about your first post beforehand. This will serve as some form of introduction. And then, have a plan of how often you will blog and prepare the blog posts beforehand.
I have an editorial calendar where I plan out which posts I publish when. My editorial calendar also marks out when I write a blog post, take photos/create graphics, when I edit the post and when it goes live.
It’s advisable to be consistent with your blogging so that your target audience comes to expect your posts on a certain day at a certain time.
And don’t forget to enjoy your blog!
If you’re thinking of starting a blog, I’d say do it! If you’re nervous about it remember that it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. You won’t have any regrets; I can assure you.
Do you have a blog? What other tips would you give a new blogger?
Thank you for stopping by.
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