What is a blog (and how do you get started)?
In the mid to late ‘90s, there was a shift in how people expressed their views. We’re not talking newspaper columns, radio interviews or magazine articles … we’re talking blogs. So, what is a blog? Glad you asked.
A blog is a website where someone regularly publishes their thoughts or experiences or talks about a subject.
Nowadays, blogging is a core component of any good communications strategy, no matter the industry. There are literally thousands of small business owners and lifestyle bloggers busily tapping away as we speak in the hopes of attracting visitors to their websites.
Related: Start a WordPress blog this weekend
Choosing topics to blog about
There are millions of topics being blogged about across the web, so it’s best to choose something you’re:
- Familiar with.
- Passionate about.
- Have experience with.
Perhaps you’re a travel agent and you’ve been thinking about sharing your ideas on where to travel this year. A blog is the perfect place to do just that. What’s more, it will actually bring you more clients.
Blogging about something you actually care about will make it easier for you.
Keeping the content relevant to readers will determine your success in the blogosphere. This means you need to keep it interesting and up to date.
You should know that blogging is not a one-time effort but rather, a long-term commitment. That doesn’t mean it has to be hard. But to be an effective blogger — create a following, bring them to your business — you need a continuous flow of fresh content.
A note about blog platforms
If you already have a website, you’ll want to check to see if it includes a blog feature — many do. If you built your website with GoDaddy, refer to this post for instructions on activating its blog feature.
If your website builder doesn’t come with a blog feature, there are a variety of blog-building platforms to choose from. The most popular by far is WordPress. Get step-by-step instructions on working with WordPress in this post.
Editor’s note: No time for technical maintenance? Consider Managed WordPress from GoDaddy. It’s the easiest way to start a WordPress blog.
Writing your first post
The good news is, your first blog post is just a start, so don’t stress.
Introduce yourself and let your readers know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Look at it as though you’re having a conversation with someone; write how you would speak and just be yourself. When you’re genuinely interested in a topic, it’s easier for you to talk about it, write about it or even debate it. So let your passion shine.
Don’t be scared to say that it’s your first time blogging either. Readers like to see a bit of authenticity and it’ll bring a tone of humility. Your first post could be a behind-the-scenes look at your business, giving your audience a sneak peek into where the magic happens.
However you choose to craft your first blog post, just remember to focus on why you’re doing it. Creating a sense of community around your new blog will take time, but with a bit of persistence you’ll get there.
Adding video and photos to your blog posts
You know what they say: a picture tells a thousand words, which can make picking the right image for your post a little tricky. Have a think about what it is you want the image to portray and do your best to find it, use it or snap it.
You don’t need to be a pro photographer to include pictures on your blog, as there are tonnes of image-sharing sites you can tap into. Just be sure to give credit where required and check the image use specifications. Use a tool like Canva to resize photos and Compress JPG to compress them before embedding them in blog posts.
Use video to pull them in
Photos give your blog substance and the potential to inspire your readers. But there’s nothing more powerful than video to really capture your audience.
We are a society obsessed with watching things; use it to your advantage.
Luckily, nowadays you don’t need to be a budding filmmaker to create some awesome footage, since most smartphones have inbuilt video recorders. Plus there’s a host of video editing software and apps at your fingertips and easy to use.
Better yet, insert a video that someone else created — hello YouTube. Just make sure it’s shareable, check the requirements and give credit where required. Click here for instructions on how to upload a video and embed it into your blog posts.
Promoting your blog posts on social media
Sharing your post once on your LinkedIn feed isn’t going to be enough to build a following. A better approach is to repurpose your post to suit multiple social media platforms. This will help you gain maximum exposure across different feeds.
Got Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter? Good, post a link to your blog post on all of them.
Encourage followers to like, leave a comment or share, and be ready to answer any questions your audience might have. The web isn’t always a friendly place when sharing one’s thoughts and opinions, so be sure to prepare yourself for a few opposing ones (perhaps even have a few responses ready to go).
It’s a good idea to keep track of what you’ve posted, where and when you’ve posted it, along with the feedback received. This way, you can revisit individual posts for repurposing and sharing at a later date.
What is a blog? A way to connect
By now, I’m confident you’ve found your voice and message and are ready to shout it from the rooftops — good for you!
Before you start smoking up the keyboard, be sure to remind yourself why you’re here. You have something special to offer your audience, you are unique. There’s plenty of room for you and your ideas in the blogosphere — in fact, the world is waiting for you.
Image by: Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash