There is something about reading blogs that’s different from the physical magazine or newspaper . Getting information from the online space is very effective for the reader but could involve a lot on the end of the blogger. While the number of bloggers generally keeps rising, I always believe that there is room for everyone to shine. Every voice is unique in its own way: don’t ever be discouraged to go for what you want. Stay focused on your goals and ignore the noise. And if you want to start your blog, here are a few general steps you will have to follow :
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1. Identify what you want to blog about.
This means you have to identify a niche. Do you want to venture into fashion blogging, creative writing, natural hair blogging, lifestyle, spiritual or travel blogging etc? Whatever niche you want to venture into, it has to be something you feel very passionate about, something you are good at or have knowledge of, and something you can be consistent about.
So you know what you want to blog about, do your research of what it entails. What do you need? Do you need a photography budget? Research on how other bloggers in the same niche do it. What approach will you take when building your content? Research will help you in content generation in terms of how you can bring out your message clearly and in an organised manner. It will help you understand how blogging in different niches work. Fashion blogging involves different strategies from hair blogging.
Generally, Blogging can look very easy but it can be mentally, financially and physically involving like any other job out there. It’s therefore very wise to research about what exactly you are getting yourself into. Consult bloggers within your niche so that you can get a clear picture.
3. Choose your blog name.
Just like child-naming in African societies , a lot of thought goes into coming up with a blog name. The name you settle on can be influenced by a number of things. It could be influenced by the niche you settled on. For example, when it comes to fashion, you have come across the Fashion Notebook, Style Lust Pages, Etc. When it comes to natural hair blogs you might have come across naturalhairrules.com, klassykinks, growafricanhairlong... Etc. In my opinion, choosing a blog name based on niche works best with SEO .
Your blog name could also include your own name. My blog name is justmargie and what influenced this decision was the fact that I wanted the blog to be about my personal journey in as much as it is about my natural hair. I chose the name believing I would share aspects of my life with you and I didn’t want the name to limit me to a particular niche just incase I wanted to explore different topics in the future.
The domain name you choose must also be available for you to use it. I also advise on using proper spelling just to enable people to find your blog easily.
4. Choose a platform
You need a platform to blog just as much as you need a kitchen to cook. There are many platforms out there for bloggers from WordPress, blogger, to tumblr, to YouTube. I use wordpress because it’s easy to navigate and very functional for the kind of content I’m creating . Choosing a platform is highly dependent on the kind of content you will be putting up. If you will be doing more videos, then YouTube is your space.
5. Choose the blog host.
WordPress is simply a software that enables you to create content. For you to share the content with people, you need a server space which you can get from a hosting company. I use Sasa Host which is Kenyan. They might have different payment plans. I pay annually for the space they give me. (Space in terms of GBs: the more the pictures, the more the GBs). There are other hosts, both local and international. Go daddy is international and enables you to host more than one site. Check on the hosting company’s reputation before settling on one so that you know how effective they are on maintaining your site.
There are free alternatives as well but the downside is that: you won’t get your own domain name. Your Web address will always have ‘an extension’like www.justmargie.wordpress.com. It might be a good place to start as you get a feel of the blogging world. There are also other limitations especially when it comes to monetizing.
6. Select your ideal theme.
How do you want the blog to look like? This is all about the appearance. Appearance matters because other than content, it’s going to draw someone’s interest in reading your content. Different themes fit different niches. A fashion blog needs a theme that lays out the images perfectly while a creative writing blog would need a very simple layout. I choose my theme from themeforest.com so you can check out various themes from there. PS, you can always work with someone very conversant with the IT involved.
7. Blog, blog, blog!
Your blog is ready for you. Create content and be consistent at it. Plan ahead and schedule your posts. But all in all, consistency and authenticity is key. Even though you are passionate about what you are writing about, sometimes you may lack inspiration and that where discipline comes in.
Authenticity : In a world where there are so many people, we need different voices. That’s what makes each person unique. Don’t worry about the number of hits, the number of likes, sponsored posts etc. If you are authentic in your blogging, there is an audience ,no matter how small, that will connect with you. And that’s what matters.
Your blog is up and running. Have your social media accounts up as well to notify your audience whenever there is a new post. This also ensures you engage with your audience on different platforms.
Connect with other bloggers as well. This will help you relate with the issues and challenges bloggers generally face, get feedback on what you need to work on as well as keep you inspired to keep on. Read other blogs: it’s always good to leave a comment on other blogs and sign off with your blog address. This makes other people know about your blog.
You can also join social media groups related to your niche or/and groups for bloggers . This enables you to share content you are creating on your blog and hence, expand your audience.
I hope this post has helped you kickstart your journey into blogging. It’s a learning process so for now, start where you are, with what you have, and learn as you grow. It’s always amazing to see how far I have come, (and I know the journey just got started) and I’m always grateful for the audience I have who support me so much.
My blog was nominated for the Bloggers Association of Kenya Awards 2018 as the best hair blog and it felt so validating that they recognized the effort I put in . And that’s what matters . If you haven’t voted ,please click here , scroll to category 20c and vote for justmargie.com. Your support is very much appreciated.