Starting a blog can be a bit daunting at first. With so many aspects to it, you just don't know where to start. I guess the first thing would be to write, duh. And then it gets more complex when you want to develop your blog into a brand, something bigger than just a website on the internet. And you want people to read it and talk about it. You may eventually want to start earning money from blogging. The list keeps going on, and it will never stop because there's so much to it. But let's keep it simple for now and stick to the advice I would have wanted to read from another blogger when I first started a blog - which seems centuries ago.
Just remember that even though there may be so much to blogging, it doesn't mean you have to do it all. I definitely don't. I don't do half the things I should be doing if I want my blog to be something and stand out. But that's my choice and I'm ok with it for now.
#1 Choosing a blogging platform
This was a big mistake on my part when I first joined. But then again, it was quite a popular choice to have a Blogger blog. For the first few years of having my blog, Blogger was the perfect platform for me because it was mega simple to work, quick to schedule and publish posts, and just an all-round easy platform to manage my blog. However, once I started to get more into blogging and wanted to be more flexible with it, I started hunting and asking round about other platforms. The popular answer was of course WordPress. I actually didn't like WordPress to start with but that was because it was so different to Blogger and so many tools to play with that it confused me instantly. However, after going back and forth on the idea, I finally did the switch in 2018 and I have not looked back since.
A little tip: if you're looking into a career in blogging, then make the right choice first and go self-hosted. It may seem expensive at first but 100% worth it. I use Siteground; they are very good and worth the money (which isn't even pricey).
#2 Selecting a blog template to suit your needs
Now this can change, a lot. I think I have had about 8 different templates in the 5 years I've been blogging (wow, I've been blogging for 5 years now?!) However, if you're choosing a paid template then you may want to think more about it before investing. Even though £30 may not seem a massive amount of money, it's £30 you won't get back if you decide you don't like your template after buying it. So I suggest you make a list of what you want in a template, browse multiple places (etsy is a good option!) and test their live views. Testing their live views is a must so you can see what works for you and what doesn't.
My current template is from Pipdig, find it here.
Also, I couldn't recommend Pipdig enough. It's probably one of the most popular places for bloggers to buy their templates from. Their services are faultless. They actually migrated my blog from Blogger to WordPress in just a matter of days. INCREDIBLE.
#3 Put effort into your blog appearance
You want your blog to look appealing to viewers right? And you want it to stand out from others? For a lot of people, the appearance of a blog is what keeps them coming back to your blog. Obviously the content is a big thing too, but I won't enjoy someone's blog if it's dull. So here's my advice: have a colour theme, whether that's just simple black and white or bold colours, design a catchy header, take pretty photos (or just use stock photos!). Make an effort and it'll pay off. I know mine's not the prettiest of blogs, trust me, but it's developed so much since I first started. I remember how it used to look (you don't want to see it!!) and I'm so happy with how it looks now. And that's because I've put time and effort into it. The only money I've spent was on the template itself and going self-hosted.
Tip: You don't need to spend a lot on your blog to make it look good.
#4 Create content YOU want to write about and you'll enjoy blogging more
What's the point in having a blog if you're not writing about something you're passionate about? Trust me when I say people will notice when someone's not really into their blogging subject. I'll be honest, I have posted a few blogs in the past where my heart wasn't really in it. However, I went back to those posts and re-edited them so they sound more me.
#5 Promote, promote, and promote some more
I. can't. stress. this. enough. Getting your blog out there is quite hard and time consuming. You won't suddenly start getting 500 views a day without some work behind it. Figure out which social media platforms you want to use for your blog and promoting it (I currently only use Twitter and Instagram but just starting to use Pinterest), select a scheduling tool - Buffer is my go-to tool for this but there are many out there, just read here - and get promoting! But remember, don't go too crazy to start with because people may get fed up with seeing hourly blog promotions on your social medias. I promote about 4 times a day (if I remember to schedule them) which I think is a good number.
There are so many other ways you can promote your blog. One key factor, which is what helped me build my blog to where it is now, is getting involved in the community discussions. See #7 for more!
#6 Forget stats for a mo, focus on the content and building your brand
The first few months of blogging is about finding your niche, what content you want to be talking about and getting really into it. So forget about the stats for now. We can concentrate on them another time. For now, it's all about you and building your brand.
#7 Get involved in the blogging community as much as possible
Make yourself known to other bloggers, show everyone your personality, and share what your blog is all about. Being involved in the blogging community is crucial to growing your blog. I can't tell you how much twitter chats, WhatsApp groups, Instagram pods and Facebook groups have helped me and my blog. The biggest help for me was (and still is) Twitter chats. They are not only a great way to connect with other bloggers, but also so bloody useful. The topics all vary and that's what is so great about them. If you're struggling on a particular social media, need some motivation to write, or need some top tips for blog photography, then Twitter chats will help you out big time. Some of my faves include Blogosphere, GRLPWR and The Blogger Crowd.