When it comes to starting a blog, there are a few reasons it can be a valuable tool for your brand or business. Firstly, blogs are a great way to communicate with your audience (and potential customers) while offering them valuable content that can help them learn more about your area of expertise.
Whether it's tips and tricks, product education, or simply inspiration, blogs serve as a great communication, conversion, and marketing tool.
In the article below, we give you a beginner’s guide to starting a blog from scratch.
How to start a blog
1. Pick a topic of interest
When it comes to starting a blog, the first thing you need to establish is what your voice of authority is going to be. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What are you passionate about?
- What are your interests?
- What do you know a lot about?
From there, you can start to build content pillars you would like to cover in your blog posts.
If you’re a business or brand, it’s important to identify:
- What your products are
- Who your ideal customers are
- The type of content they would want to consume
While it can be tempting to want to get started straight away, it’s important to clearly define your content pillars before you start. This will help your blog leap to success, and attract the audience you want.
2. Choose a name and a domain
The next step to starting a blog is choosing a name. Try to pick a name that represents your blog interest and your personal approach to it. A catchy word or combination of words is best. It’s also a good idea to check whether there are any other similar blogs, products, or brands that have the same name as yours.
Next, you will need to buy a domain name, so your blog can have a web address and people can find you online. Avoid using numbers and hyphens. Some of the best and most affordable companies where you can buy a domain name are GoDaddy, NameCheap, Hover and BlueHost.
3. Pick a blog platform and hosting provider
An Internet hosting service is a service that allows organizations and individuals to serve online content. Just like a business needs a physical location, your blog needs a space in the digital world to exist. It’s like your online home. The hosting provider will host or store all your blog files, images and coding in cyberspace. Platforms mentioned earlier like GoDaddy and BlueHost also offer web hosting services.
A blog platform allows you to shape your blog and then put it out there so your readers can access it online. A blog platform is an application where you will build your blog. Blog platforms like Wordpress, Squarespace, WIX, TypepaD, Blogger, and Tumblr are a few popular options you can try.
4. Define your visual brand guide and tone of voice
A brand guide and tone of voice guide will help you stick to a consistent visual style and writing style. This will also ensure that your blog has a unique identity.
How to define your visual brand guide
Some bloggers are more visual than others, but no matter your blog covers, you want to have a look that is consistent across all your posts, on all platforms. That means that you should decide on a type font, a logo, layout, backgrounds, a color palette, and a photography or illustration style.
How to define your tone of voice
Time to hit the keyboard. What are you writing about? Is it a travel journal, tips for new-mums’ parenting, spear fishing adventures? Sticking to a certain, consistent tone of voice will help you create a trusting connection with your readers. Most importantly, your voice should be authentic and unique. Your tone of voice will help you set the course and have a meaningful conversation with your readers.
How to grow your blog
Now that you’ve put pen to paper and started your blog (congratulations!) you can work on growing your readership, or if you’re a business, converting potential customers. Below are some tips and tricks for how to grow your blog.
1. Define your audience
One way to ensure that your blog grows and that you build a loyal following is to ensure that you define your audience and write content that meets their needs. Who are you talking to and what do you want to tell them? Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Start by thinking about what excites them.
For example, let's say you start a blog about the joys of urban bike riding, Brooklyn Bikers. As avid bike riders in the city, what do your readers get excited about? Maybe, beating their personal record time to get to work every day. Think also about their challenges, like avoiding rush hour; and what do they crave for, like finding the best biking store sale in town or connecting with riders in other cities. That will give you fodder to write your posts and really connect with your people.
2. Use SEO best practices for blogging
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of helping your blog be found when people search online for specific keywords. The goal is to connect with your readers. Most-frequently-searched for words indicates what people are looking for around a certain topic, a hint on what you can write about, and what keywords to use so you pop up in the search results.
3. Create an editorial calendar
Once you have defined some themes and ideas for posts, it’s important to create a regular flow of content, so you keep a constant connection with your readers – they are like your best friends, you need to nurture the relationship. You want to feed them a post regularly (daily, weekly, monthly?), respond to their comments, and actively listen to their feedback. Creating a calendar (Title and outline/Keyword/Date to publish), will give you discipline and a timeframe to make yourself accountable.
4. Promote your content
Once you’ve created your blog post, the next step is getting as many people as possible to read it. The best way to do this? Promotion. Think about how you can share it in social media channels, guest blogging, or why not start a newsletter to alert your readers when your next post is up?
How to promote your blog to attract brands
If you are an influencer, once you’ve got a readers’ fan club, you can take a new step and start building a high traffic blog and then reach out to brands. There’re a few ways to tackle the monetization of your blog, but always remember to stay true to the essence of your blog and stay close to the needs of your readers’ community, since that's what brands are after, your audience.
1. Brand partnerships
“The best thing you can do, if you love a brand and want to work with them, is to include them in your existing content. If it’s a product, include them in your Instagram. Promote them. Tag them... But you have to put yourself in their seat and ask what you’re offering to this brand.
Read more about attracting brands here.
2. Blog advertisements
Another easy way to attract brands to your blog is to sell small ad space on your blog, like widgets or banners.
If you offer products as part of your business offering, a blog is a great way to promote products and also convert readers into customers. Whether it’s related to an article or added as a homepage carousel, e-commerce is a great way to ensure that your making the most out of the blog you’ve worked hard to build.