Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Blogging Tips For a Newbie By a Newbie


Starting a blog can be somewhat intimidating. but you just have to go for it. Going for it can be somewhat hard though if you don't exactly know where to start. Recently I've had a couple of friends ask me how I got started, so I figured I would share with you too. This will probably sound somewhat redundant to the many other "how to start a blog", but who knows.. It might just help you.

1. Choose your platform.
I am not a super tech-savvy person, so I chose Google's Blogger. Wordpress.com seems to be the way to go if you know more about coding, and Wordpress.org is more for big time bloggers that want to host their own website (way out of my league right now and too expensive). I just wanted something I could setup quickly and start writing. Plus, it's free.

2. Choose a name for your blog.
This will stick with you for a long time as I hear it's a pain in the ass to convert from one blog name to another when you have a following so make sure it's one you like. Try to keep it simple and not to wordy. It seems harder to find blogs with wordy names. While choosing my name, I used GoDaddy's Domain Search to see if that domain name was taken. I went ahead and purchased my domain name and web hosting through GoDaddy because I honestly didn't know there was anyone else I could get it from. I know many other bloggers use DreamHost and BlueHost. I'm happy with GoDaddy and haven't had any issues with them. It costs me under $150/year for both my domain name and web hosting. I just use gmail for my email address. It was easier than buying one from GoDaddy (which I had for my first year) in my opinion.

3. Design.
This was one thing I have spent the most time on. I wanted my blog to look nice and somewhat simple. I do not know a thing about coding, but I know how to follow directions. The thing that helped me the most was reading Venus Trapped In Mars blog specifically this post and this post. I also googled other things that I wanted to change about my blog and usually landed on someone's post that would help me out.

4. Start writing and taking pictures.
Now is the fun part, writing and pictures. I'm not much of a planner when it comes to posts I'm going to put out there. I usually just think of things and write them, or I'll write ideas down on my weekly planner (out of stock). If I know I am going somewhere fun, I make sure to bring my camera, so I can take pictures because every good blogger always posts a picture with every blog post (I've read something of this nature on every single "how to get started blogging" blog post out there). It does really help though, even if it is a random picture. I don't have a high quality camera. I just use my old Sony Cyber-Shot that I've had for five years. I've just started dabbling in editing pictures, but I just do it through photos on my Mac and change the brightness and saturation.

5. Share on social media.
This is something I just started doing since I started back blogging at the beginning of August, and it was terrifying. I don't share posts on Facebook, but I started sharing them on instagram and twitter. I'm so glad I did. I really do see more traffic when I post on instagram, not really so much with twitter, but it's still out there. One day I will get brave and share on Facebook but until then instagram and twitter is where I will be. I also recommend getting a Bloglovin' account. This is where I go to read all of the blog posts of bloggers that I follow, and it helps me find new people to follow. It's just nice to have it all in one place. Make sure to link your blog to your account so other people can follow you.

6. Google analytics.
I just recently found out about Google Analytics, and it really is a game changer on knowing what is working for your blog, what's not, and who's reading. Blogger gives you statistics, but they aren't extremely accurate. Google Analytics seems to be more accurate, and it's free. For example, Blogger says I've had 623 page views where as Google Analytics says I've had 345 page views. I didn't add Google Analytics until August 12th, but I don't feel like I had 300 page views in the first two weeks of my blog. Who knows - maybe I did!

I'm still extremely new to the blogging world, but I just wanted to share what has helped me thus far. Let me know if you have any questions or if you are just starting up a new blog!

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