So You Want To Start A Blog?
Hey Coffee House Readers! I have recently had some success on my blog, and someone asked me how I did it. To be honest, I didn’t think I had made any drastic changes to what I am doing. Or have I?
The Purple Lines.
I have a love/hate relationship with the editing program on my blog. It will check 7 SEO topics, and when I want it to highlight the areas which need improvement, they turn purple. When I nail the SEO and the dot turns green, I am thrilled with the result. It wasn’t always that way, though.
In the first few months, I tried to learn how to use this program properly, and I found it to be very frustrating. To go from writing whatever was on my mind to trying to please the SEO was difficult.
Why Was It So Hard?
The learning curve was quite steep for me. I had to learn to write more in the present tense and with less passive words. It took me a while to learn about transition words. However, with research and practice, I have improved their usage on my blog. I had to learn about paragraph length and sentence length. Subtitles were not a part of my normal blogging style. Over time, I adapted and learned, but it wasn’t something that happened automatically.
I didn’t want to start a blog in 2016. I wanted to share my song lyrics online, hoping to find collaborating musicians. I am still waiting for this to happen. I needed help to start, and I found it in a writing group. They asked me why would I start a blog if my purpose would not be to blog? I had never even considered the possibility.
What changed my mind?
Well, now there is a loaded question. I am not sure, I just needed a little twist of my rubber arm and I tried blogging. When I was a new blogger, I wanted to be sure that it was not just a passing phase. I found out that I could start for free and change it anytime I felt like it.
As I do with a lot of things, I jumped in with both feet. When I make up my mind, I am all in as soon as I decide to do something. All it takes is gathering enough information to know how I can tackle something, and this will cause me to go for whatever it is, in this case, blogging.
Shamelessly plug your blog every chance you get.
Do You Have To Take A Course To Start A Blog?
Not at all– at least, not in the way you would be required to study to become a journalist. You will have to learn how to manage each step if you are a DIY junkie like I am. If you were to ask me what a domain name was three years ago, I would not have been able to tell you. Technically, I probably still can’t explain it, but I understand the concept now.
There are some basics to learn. What platform to choose is up to you; I started with WordPress. Their free websites are great for beginners. Once I realized that I was serious about blogging, I took the next logical step and bought a domain name for my own website. With a free website, there are restrictions. Style and selling options are the major ones, which contributed to me wanting to go out onto the internet with my website. I moved the blog from the free WordPress site to my website, and I have not updated it completely, but I moved it.
Photo Quality Matters.
If you were to look at my blog from day one until what it looks like now, you would see a progression of not only writing but also with photos. I did not know how to edit or create graphics when I started, and I thought my pics were fine. Theoretically, they were in their imperfections, but the person who took me under her wing to guide me in the right direction for my blog pointed out the difference. Pictures that are out of focus will not make people click to read your story. When you take the time to plan the images for your blog post and make them relate to your words, people are more willing to click the link to read.
I haven’t changed all of my styles. For one category, the picture is the same whenever I write. I used to just number the blog, now I add a title to let the reader have a hint regarding the topic. They encouraged me to change the pictures for each entry, but I compromised by changing the title. I will change some things, but not all things. For now, it is still growing, and that is the bottom line.
I take most of the pictures shared on my blog myself. I have a nice camera to work with, and I have pushed my own creative limits and boundaries with time and practice.
If you are not enjoying your blogging adventures, you won’t stick with it. The statistics for the blog can be addictive, especially when you see the numbers climb for followers and subscribers. When you have a post that doesn’t do as well as others, don’t give up. Dig into your blog and find out what people respond to, and this will help you get over the hurdle until your next brilliant idea has you typing again.
Shamelessly plug your blog every chance you get. On your social media platform, in person, and share it everywhere. I have not paid for any advertising on my blog, but I have applied to be an affiliate marketer with Canva, the program I use to create graphics online. I will need to get it set up to earn money with my blog, but it is possible, and it can happen for you, too.
My Number One Tip.
Consistency is the best tip I have for you. If you want to work for a month for one blog post, it is okay. If you want to write every other week, as I do here for the Coffee House Writers, schedule it in. If you want to write more frequently than one blog post every week, do it. Whatever you set up for your blogging schedule has to be something you can commit to, if you want to have success. Frequency is not the important takeaway here. Quality over quantity counts. After three years or more, I can honestly confirm that your consistency will guarantee the success of your blog.
In conclusion, it takes time and creative energy, with a little help from friends along the way, to grow a successful blog. It took me three years to see those little jumps in numbers, and I look forward to seeing many more. If you have questions about starting a blog, I will happily pay forward what I have learned with answers. When we support each other, we rise together. The writing community is waiting for you to join them. What are you waiting for?