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Starting your own blog

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I can’t believe that it’s been almost six months since I started this blog (doesn’t time fly when you are having fun), and each day I am learning new tips and tricks that help with blogging. I am still not an expert on the ins and outs of blogging and the technology it involves but I wanted to share a few tips for starting your own blog.

1- Why? What? When? Who? Where?

I would recommended that you start by answering the following questions as ultimately they are going to help you create a blog that suits both you and the reader, a blog that you will enjoy writing and one that people will enjoy reading.

  • Why? Probably the easiest question of the lot but ultimately the most personal, why do you want to create a blog?
  • What? This question might require a lot more thought because your blog should be personal, different and unique and your content should reflect this. Ask yourself what am I going to write about? Brainstorm the ideas on a piece paper, they don’t need to be specific. Keep that paper nice and safe, it may come in hand in the future.
  • When? Are you going to blog every day, every week or every fortnight? Set yourself a target that is achievable and realistic, a schedule that fits in with your lifestyle and work. When you then move on to create a blog, be sure to include this information in your “About me” section as people like to know when they can expect new posts.
  • Who? As best you can, try and define your audience. Ultimately this is out of your control and be careful not to stereotype, but generally you can kind of predict who will read your blog? Use this this information to think about a suitable time to upload and the kind of posts that you are going to create.
  • Where? This question has two strands, where will you host your blog and what will it be called? Hosting is a hugely personal choice because different people like to use different blogging sites. My personal favourites are wordpress (the one I am using now) and blogger (which I used in the past). Potentially the hardest part of creating a blog is coming up with a suitable and unique name, one that is memorable and relevant. This takes time, so don’t rush it because the last thing you want is to be stuck with a name you don’t like! I can’t actually remember how I came up with mine, but Kay is my nickname so it stems from that.

2- Content!

This follows on from the “why” and “what” sections of the above question, but now is your time to really hash out those ideas.

  • Research. Have a look at blogs that you already like and are similar to the direction that you want to go in and identify gaps in their content. Look for ideas, but be careful not to copy their posts exactly because that will be a really silly thing to go and do.
  • Tags. If you are short on ideas then there are several posts that I always “go to” because they provide you with something to write and sometimes they can provide you with further post ideas. My “go to” posts include top tips (ooooppppsss), favourites, questions about yourself and TAGS!
  • Magazines and news. An excellent way to find story ideas is to flip through a magazine or watch the news and look for a story on which you have an opinion. These stories can be really emotive, so prepare for a potential backlash and ensure that you get your facts in order!

3- Manage!

I have lost count of the times that I have been asked how I manage to post daily alongside my full-time job, so I thought it might be a good idea to clear that up here in this post. I am a really organised person anyway, I carry my filofax everywhere, so I guess that this is pretty natural for me but I have definitely tried and tested a few ways of managing this blog. Like a lot of things relating to blogging this is a really personal issue and depends upon a number of different factors (how regularly you want to post, how organised you are, how you like to work), but I have a found a way of managing blogs that really work for me.

  • Schedule. I cannot stress enough how important it is for me to schedule my posts and I can assure you that it is the only reason that I can post every single day. I like to write and schedule my posts in advance by about a week, and I try to plan at least a week ahead.
  • Diary. I use my filofax for work and personal, but I have a separate WH Smith diary that I use solely for blogging. I write the blog post at the top of the day and underneath I list the task i need to do to finish that post, ticking each step off as I go along. It also means that I can flip ahead and see what I have scheduled for the coming week.
  • Writing day. This is another tip that is really important to me and functions hand in hand with my scheduling tip. Every Sunday I sit down, write and schedule the posts for the coming week. I love writing, so for this reason alone I love and look forward to Sunday. I also love doing this because it means that I can just forget about my blog for the week.

What are your tips and please let me know if you actually set up your own blog?

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