Back in the early days of the internet, “blogs” were little more than personal diary entries detailing the writer’s life. The word is actually short for “weblog” and it was coined in December 1997. Obviously, the landscape of blogs and blogging looks very different in 2020; now, blogs are lifestyle guides as well as diaries, communicating the unique personality of the writer and enjoying a much closer relationship with the reader (in most cases, anyway).
If you haven’t blogged before, but you follow lots of blogs, you might be wondering how you can get into this world yourself. The truth is that blogging isn’t for everyone; you might not have what it takes to become a blogger. Before you start blogging, it’s important that you know what you’re getting yourself into and whether this is a world to which you truly wish to belong. Here are just some of the things you will need to start your own blog in 2020.
Every blog needs a niche. You can’t pitch your blog’s content to “everyone”, because everyone has different tastes. As such, it’s important to find your blog’s niche and work within that niche. Maybe your particular skillset lies in cooking, or perhaps you’re a journalist wanting to pass on the secrets of the trade. Whatever it might be, you need to find your niche. Try to look for one that’s slightly more underpopulated, as this will increase your chances of standing out.
A little money
Whether it’s to buy equipment or simply to set yourself up after you’ve left your day job, it’s a good idea to have a bit of money in reserve when you start blogging. You could dip into your savings – after all, when is that “rainy day” if not now? – or you could pursue a loan while you get on your feet as a blogger. If you’re looking for a friendly, reliable loan company with a variety of great rates, try Step One Finance. They’ll help you to get started on the blog of your dreams!
A domain name
All good blogs have instantly identifiable domain names. Think of your blog’s domain as an extension of, and expression of, your personal brand. It needs to be snappy, instantly memorable, and descriptive. If you can think of a clever joke regarding your particular area, then that’s even better, as this sort of domain tends to stick in people’s minds more. Whatever you come up with, it’s important to have a good domain name if you want to start a blog.
Some writing skill
Although it is technically possible to run a blog entirely with guest posts, it’s a lot more exhausting to do so than to simply commandeer it yourself and write your own posts. As such, you should probably be at least a decent writer before you set out on your blogging journey. Don’t worry if you’re not a genius with the language; with experience and time, you’ll improve, and there are a lot of different registers that appeal to different audiences, so blogging really isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of industry.
Strong SEO knowledge
If you’re aiming to make a little money from your blog, then you need to understand how SEO works. Of course, since search engines like Google are constantly updating their algorithms, the things you need to know about SEO will change on a regular basis. Still, having a basic working knowledge of the principles of SEO is a great asset in the world of blogging, because it’ll teach you how to optimise your content to reach a large audience and – hopefully – start monetising.
Good visual design
Your layout is the first thing your audience will lay eyes on when they land on your blog. It’s imperative that you use good design practices when you’re creating your content. If your blog looks too bland or drab – or, on the other end of the spectrum, too eye-popping and difficult to navigate – then no matter how good your content is, it won’t land. Pick a nice, simple theme and make sure all your posts are easy to read and easy to find.
Your blog needs to express your unique personality as much as possible. With around two million blog posts appearing on the internet every single day, carving out your own niche and communicating your personality is absolutely crucial. If you don’t assert your individuality, then there’s no reason for people to pick your content over something else. You don’t need to be as informative or as technically-minded as your competitors as long as you’re bringing something unique and interesting to the table.
A social media presence
Once you’ve started your blog and you have a reasonable amount of content, it’s a good idea to set up bespoke social media pages in order to promote yourself. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great places to go, but make sure you’re not simply using your personal page; your blog is a distinct, unique brand, and it should have all the things that other brands have, including a dedicated social media presence. You’ll notice increase the blog traffic, dramatically increase once you’re publishing yourself on the socials.