8 Tips for Starting a Blog, by Jessica Rae Wilson-Smith

8 Tips for Starting a Blog

by editor Jessica Rae Wilson-Smith

Last month, in an effort to build my freelance business, I started writing a beauty blog. If anything it’s become a creative outlet of mine and I have been enjoying it so far. However, the Internet is forever, and with so many blogs out there it’s hard to get off the ground running. I did a lot of research before I created my blog and I imagine some of these tips might help those who are thinking of starting a blog also.

1. Determine your goal
Kind of like figuring out how you want your short story to end, or the character arch you want to employ, you need to have a goal, an end game for your blog. Whether you’re posting on a blog for fun or to start a business you need a goal so you know what you’re working towards. For me it was getting a bit more of my personality, as a makeup artist, out there to potential clients.

2. Be consistent
Now you have your goal, you need to set yourself a posting schedule. Whether it’s once a day, once a week or once a month, you need to keep your posting schedule consistent, it helps to build a fan base if your readers can rely on when you’ll post. If your blog is purely for fun, you probably don’t need to worry too much about a posting schedule, but you will do if it’s for business purposes. My schedule is I post once a week, at the moment it is what is working for me, my schedule may have to change if university gets stressful but currently I’m in the middle of my break so it’s working out well for me.

For those who may not be able to write something once a day or week but have set themselves a schedule, many free blogging sites (ie WordPress) do have a function where you can schedule posts. This means you could write out four blog posts in a day but schedule them to be uploaded at different times, helping you keep to your schedule without having to force content out of your brain daily/weekly.

3. Find your niche
Like I said, there are millions of blogs out there and if you want to stand out you need to figure out your angle, something that makes you different from every other blog out there.

4. Layout is key
Depending on what site you are blogging on, whether it is your own site or something created via WordPress, play around with the layout. It’s important that your blog is easy to navigate and read otherwise people just won’t bother with your blog. Maybe have a Google deep-dive and have a look at other blogs, see what you like it about or don’t like about it. Design is just as important as your content; you wouldn’t eat something if it looked gross even if you were told it was delicious.

5. Let your readers get to know you
The reason reality stars, YouTubers etc are so successful is because we learn about their personal lives and grow to care about them. Now I’m not suggesting you release your address or anything like that, but it’s important for your readers to know the person whose voice they are reading. It’s not required for your blog posts to have personal content each post, particularly if that’s not the kind of thing you’re blogging about, but that’s why blogs/webistes have “About Me” pages.

Often the “About Me” page can be overlooked, but again it’s important for readers to find a connection with you. Depending on what your blog is about, your “About Me” page is where you get to truly be selfish and write all about your self, your blog and your goals for it. Utilize it, make it creative, don’t waste the opportunity for people to get to know you- they are choosing to invest time in reading your work, after all.

6. Utilize your tools
Many free blogging sites, like WordPress, give you options to customize your side bar, add pages etc. It’s important to have a play and see what you like in terms of the overall appearance of your blog. My sidebar includes links to my various social medias, my Instagram posts from my beauty account, a “sign up to my blog” tab etc. Having just these few options on my side bar helps promote traffic not only to my blog but also to my other social media accounts. Don’t fear the tools!

7. Cross-promote
You want people to see your blog? Promote it on every social media platform you have, the Internet is too vast for you to hope people will just stumble across it of their own accord. If you have it use Pinterest, it’s where a lot of bloggers get their traffic from.

8. Lastly, I realise how cliché this is, but have fun
Have fun writing your blog, it’s very easy to pick up on when a post feels rushed or pushed. While it’s important to stick to a schedule, if you’re not enjoying your content your readers won’t either- quality of quantity. At the end of the day, whether you’re blogging for fun or for business, you’re blog is for you and if you’re not having fun with it, you’re wasting your time and your reader’s time.

For those thinking about starting a blog, I hope these are helpful for you. I myself use WordPress as I’m not a coder and have found it to be straight-forward to use after some exploring. If you would like to read more about beauty and not so much the literary world you can find me at www.jessraemakeup.wordpress.com

Happy blogging loves!

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