The first blog – or one of the first blogs – was started by Swarthmore College student Justin Hall back in 1994. Between them, he and Jerry Pournelle are widely agreed to be among the first bloggers to jot down their thoughts on the internet. Since then, the blogging industry has come on in leaps and bounds. Bloggers are now sought-after influencers with a great deal of power in terms of marketing products and marshalling followers to make purchasing decisions.
So you’ve seen the success and influence of blogs and decided to start your own. Let us be the first to congratulate you! This is definitely a worthwhile endeavour and could lead to some serious success for you later down the line. Before you start, though, there are things you’ll need. Whether it’s personality traits, actual assets, or attitudes, there are “prerequisites” to becoming a blogger. Here’s our guide on the 10 things you’ll need when you’re launching your own blog.
Although algorithms can be useful in getting your blog out there and seen by its intended audience, there’s no substitute for other human beings. Networking is a crucial skill for all bloggers. Whether it’s listing your site on a human edited web directory or manually reaching out to other bloggers, it’s important to remember that computer algorithms can’t do everything. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to involve others in your blogging journey and it’ll pay dividends in the future.
You won’t be able to simply run a blog in your spare time if you’ve got a full-time job. Well, okay, you will, but you won’t be devoting anywhere near the kind of resources you should be to the endeavour. For one thing, it’s going to take time before your blog starts attracting visitors, so you’ll be writing a lot before you even see a return. For another, writing itself is a time-consuming task, especially when you factor in linking and other necessary extras.
If you’re not passionate about your blog, it’s going to show, and your readers won’t be able to invest in it. Before you start blogging, make sure you’re passionate about your chosen subject. Your voice won’t be appreciated if it doesn’t come from the heart. Obviously, you’ll need knowledge and skill, but really feeling like your subject is one that deserves to be out in the open will go a long way. Passion will get you through those long hours when writing seems like an impossible task.
You can love your subject endlessly, but this love won’t come to anything if you’re not also committed to the project. That means spending hours you’d normally use on hobbies for blogging. If you’re not willing to give up your spare time to blog, then this might not be the career for you. Eventually, with a little luck, your blog will become successful. Before then, you’re going to have to toil long hours for little reward. Make sure you’re dedicated before you start.
When things get rough, you’ll need the ability to persevere through failure. Sometimes, you’ll pour your heart into a piece, only to realise it’s just not getting the engagement or readership it deserves. That’s normal. Your audience’s tastes will change in real time, and you won’t always have the content they want. You’re going to need to understand that sometimes, success is out of your hands. When it’s not, you should do everything you can to secure it, but you can’t always guarantee it.
It’s crucial to carry out consistent research into your demographic to find out what sort of content they want from you. You’ll minimise your risk of failure by doing this, and you’ll also be able to tailor your content to increase readership and potentially increase your profit. You can use tools like Google Analytics to achieve this, and you can also send out surveys. However you choose to do it, make sure you’re consistently engaging with your core demographic.
WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform. This service runs a huge amount of the internet, so you’re going to need to be literate in WordPress if you want to blog. Luckily, this process isn’t actually too difficult. WordPress can seem a little daunting at first, but once you’ve got a handle on its quirks and features you’ll be zipping around its interface like a pro. Blogging is easy on WordPress, but you’ll have to put in the time to learn how.
Social media presence
If your blog just sits there and doesn’t get promoted, then how can you expect to attract readers? You’ll need a robust social media presence to guide people to your blog. Usually, this means at the very least getting yourself an Instagram account, a Facebook account (it’s still worth it despite dwindling younger numbers) and a Twitter page. Using social media, you can target certain demographics, promote your content to a wide audience, and alert people when new posts arrive.
Basic SEO knowledge
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, drives a huge amount of traffic to your blog and is a very effective way to grow. SEO is a rapidly-moving field that constantly changes, but there are a few fundamentals that are always worth knowing. You’ll need to understand emerging changes and trends in the way people use search engines, as well as changes to Google’s underlying algorithms and your demographic. With SEO knowledge, you’re armed with the tools you need to start your blog.
If your blog looks awful, people will turn away before they even know what they’re looking at. Before embarking on your blogging journey, it pays to have a decent understanding of how to design a website. Services like Squarespace or Wix (as well as WordPress itself) will offer templates, but these will only take you so far. You don’t need to be a coding master, but you do need to know how to arrange content to be eye-catching and not to put off potential readers.
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