For many, a blog is a source of income or a means to earning a living; it can serve as an online destination for promoting one’s business or a digital portfolio displaying one’s given skills.
But blogging needn’t be all about business. Many also use blogging as an online hub to write about one’s favorite pastimes or life passions.
Whether you want to start a blog that serves as a livelihood, or a pure outlet for creativity–or a mix of both–here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to launch a blog that reflects you and what you love.
- Pick your blog topic
Even a personal blog should have some type of focus. You want to keep it somewhat thematic so readers know what to expect from your site. Here are some topical roadmaps for brainstorming your blog:
Life experiences. Sharing life experiences or lessons can provide a plethora of engaging material. Don’t think your life is interesting enough? Think again. You don’t have to be an Olympic Gold Medalist or a former Navy Seal to validate a life blog. Think about the things you have experienced in life. Think about your family, past and present. (Are you a working mom? Child of divorce? Do you have memories of life as an immigrant in New York City?) Think about where you live. (You can easily blog about the neighborhood in which you grew up in, with photo snapshots of your favorite places to visit.) Sometimes relatable content is the most engaging.
Hobbies & passions. Let your passion for something play out on a blog. This can be literally anything, from gardening, travel, cooking, beauty, fashion, sports, and home improvement are just some popular examples.
But don’t let popularity determine your path to blogging. Do you have a quirkier hobby, like coin collecting or taxonomy? Are you zeroed in on a particular sub-topic, like how to apply your own fake eyelashes? Sometimes the more specific or unique topics can attract a niche, and perhaps a more engaged, audience.
A personal blog. This can include a variety of topics, starting with things you do on a daily basis, to thoughts and musings. Do you have deep opinions about the news or social issues? Launch a blog to share your perspectives and perhaps spark a conversation. Just make sure you keep your tabs and topics dated and organized for your readers.
2. Choose your domain name
Once you figured out what kind of blog you want to take on, it’s time to select a domain name. Keep in mind that your website domain is more than just a web address, it’s one of the best marketing tools your business has – so make sure it matches or closely matches the name of your blog. Think of using alternative domain endings like .biz, .us or .co. Strive for something that is easy to spell, easy to find and easy to remember. After all, your domain creates a first impression to readers. Here are additional tips for picking the perfect domain name.
Next, you have to take a few technical yet simple steps to make your blog a reality.
3. Choose your blog platform
The most common route is WordPress, which serves as a platform for more than 80 million websites worldwide. Needless to say, it’s by far the biggest blogging platform with countless plugins and add-on features to enable you to design and layout your blog the way you see fit.
4. Choose a web host for your blog
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you’ll need to set up hosting for your blog. While WordPress itself is free, you need a reliable place to host your WordPress blog. Finding a web host will enable your blog to be on a server somewhere on the Internet.
5. Design your site
Before launching your domain on the web host server, you have to design a good-looking website. These days, simplicity is all the rage when it comes to web design. No matter what, make sure it looks professional and clutter-free. The design, color scheme and imagery, all the way down to the font, should reflect you and the topic of your blog. A fashion blog should look chic while a blog on local politics should convey an air of gravity. A DIY activities blog for kids should look fun, vibrant and inviting. Here are additional tips for designing your homepage.
Pick a template that is easy to customize. WordPress allows you to change templates easily, so feel free to play around and test which format works best for you, and your readers, as they navigate your blog posts.
6. Launch your site
Once your site goes live on the server, and viewable by everyone on the Internet, the best advice is to stay prolific, be it daily or weekly. Schedule time to post and publish and maintain a sense of consistency for your audience. Most importantly, stay creative and let your passion for a given topic come to life on your blog.