Saturday, 23 January 2016

How to Start a Blog

This topic comes up rather frequently, and the answer really is just as simple as signing up to Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress or whatever else takes your fancy. As you might know, I run my website and blog out of Blogger. Why? Because this blog was originally called Miss Overture and it was my  general blog for, well, everything. Eventually it evolved into Overture Writing and that lasted all of a day before it went straight back to Miss Overture. Now? It's my primary author website, has its own domain and is now called Kristin James. Wanna know how I get 1000 plus views a month? Usually gaining an additional 100 per new post? Read on!

I actually decided to make this post from a forum thread over on Wattpad. There were a lot of good ideas there, but I decided to elaborate on some of them and include my own on this blog, so as people can easily find them. Feel free to click the link and view the original thread!

1. Getting a Blog

This is the easiest part. Google is your best friend, and all you have to search for is "blog" or "free blog". If you don't want to put money into it, here's my favorite options:
  • Blogger
  • Tumblr
  • Wordpress
These three are considered the main blogging platforms and all of them have been widely used for a long time. They're all very trustworthy and easy to use and all of them are editable with themes and templates. For example, I use Blogger, and this theme has been tweaked by me but was made by someone else. Knowing CSS and HTML can be very helpful when trying to create a theme, or edit an existing one, but it's not hard to find great free templates that fit your blog.
There are paid for options and ways to remove the company branding from your blog. You'll also notice my blog isn't "kristinjames.blogger.com". That's because I have something called a domain -- you can buy these from places like godaddy, 1&1, and various other companies that buy and sell domains. You could also buy a domain from these places and then create your blog on their hosting platforms, if you want to pay.

So, which platform is right for you? Well, if you want a blog that has a lot of capabilities to look like an average website with a built in blog platform with easy interface, use Blogger. It's also Google owned! If you want to share images, have access to a wider audience, then use Tumblr. If you want to share longer articles, and have a better interaction unit, then use Wordpress. I use Tumblr for image sharing and inspiration boards, and I used Wordpress briefly about 5 years ago. Whilst I don't personally endorse Wordpress, I do definitely think Tumblr is the way to go if youre more of an image person.

2. Curating your Brand and Content

Branding?? Content???! What are these things? Ever go to a Tiffany store  and realise how everything sort of looks the same, and it's all the same in every store? That's branding and content. It's easily recognisable, and you know their products are good because you know the brand. That's what you have to do with your blog. I'm not very good at it, personally, but you know when you hear Kristin James (and you are a regular to my blog), you think "oh, that woman with the blog". And, generally, my content is good (or, I hope so!) so you know when you come here my content won't be a boring 3-line post about my dog, or something. Not that I have a dog.
When you post, you should ensure everything is good and fits in with your theme. Encode quality into everything you do and get your name out there. Have a consistent running theme with everything you have and post, and ensure that people know you... even if it's just by a logo. Logos are a funny thing, actually, they can either help you or ruin you depending on how tasteful it is. They should stick out and be memorable. They can be expensive, so don't just think that you can shop around for the best deal and get quality. Places like Fiverr are good for stuff like that - you can get yourself a logo for $5. I can't attest to the quality because there are so many different designers, and I can't use the site anymore for a few reasons, but, generally they're good designers.

3. What to post...

Challenges

When you're starting out, challenges can be a great way to find things to blog about. The Sark eMedia 30 Day blog challenge is something I wanted to try out, but eventually gave up on... because I'm too lazy to post daily.
If you think you can handle posting daily, then I would advise you to try out the challenges. You can find them on Google, through Facebook groups and group chats... virtually every corner of the internet, and on any topic. I am considering designing a challenge for writers, but that's probably a long way away!

Teaming Up

If you're really stuck, you could consider teaming up with other bloggers! It's a fun and easy way to meet others and also get more things to blog about. I like the idea, though I don't really collaborate often. That's just because I don't know many bloggers, but if I did.... I'd always be doing it!

Treating it as a Journal

This is kind of an iffy one. Whilst I am treating my blog as somewhat of a journal, that's because this is a personal website. I wouldn't advise it if you're running a site dedicated to how-tos. It just won't work well. However, if you manage to successfully create a good brand and people learn to like you, not just your content, using your blog as a journal could be a fun and easy way to allow insight into your life. However, there are other ways to do that, such as using Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. In fact, I'll be speaking about this in the next section.
An open journal is a good way to spice things up and it could easily gain you a following if you have an interesting life. Another good idea is to use it as a FAKE journal. Like to write fanfiction? Maybe create yourself a persona and write daily about your adventures in the Shire, or in Skyrim, or in Bowerstone or wherever your fanfiction is set. It's a great and fun way to roleplay without a partner and it also keeps your anonymity. Though you can do this with Instagram and Twitter, you can't do it with Facebook. Also, using other social media platforms might be harder than just running a roleplay blog.

4. Getting Popular & Media Buzz

In the media industry, something called "media buzz" is really important. It's how much "noise" you create over the internet and in person. Advertising usually does most of this but the best examples I can think of that use the buzz is Four Lions and the new Deadpool movie. Four Lions released short, funny clips on YouTube to get people interested, and Deadpool's creators have used hilarious ads, funny tweets and viral marketting to generate interest.
Synergy ties in with this but we won't talk about it much. BIG bloggers and vloggers such as Zoella use synergy to market themselves. Zoella's products promote Zoella, and Zoella promotes her products. The more people interested in the products, the more fans Zoella gets. The more people interested in Zoella, the more sales her products get. It's a win-win scenario, and this could work if you have a blog with something important to say. Using it to promote your ebook (like I do) is important, and you can very easily get more sales for your book and more visitors to your blog by cross-platform marketting and synergy.
Twitter is a great place. I like it so much. Not only is it huge, but it also connects you with a large audience of people who are interested in what you have to say. If you hit the jackpot, you can go viral overnight. If you know how to play the game, you can get popular in a matter of weeks. It all depends on how you market yourself! Keeping a running theme is important in gaining popularity. No matter how much I want to share my shopping spree pics and holiday snaps on this blog, I won't... why? Because it's a writing blog and I'll keep it that way.
Linky parties are also good. GOOGLE THEM. They may just be the way forward for you.

Extra: My Experiment

I'm going to be doing an experiment with Twitter to test the exposure I'll get from a few days on Twitter. It'll be interesting and once it's over, I'll post my results along with the Twitter account. :)

Toodlepip! Hopefully some of these tips helped you!

2 comments:

  1. Great idea! I can't wait to see the results. I would love to learn more from your experiences.

    Jessica
    Notes From the Portable

    ReplyDelete
  2. Collaboration? That's an awesome idea! I'm a blogger maybe we should collab. I'll leave my email theorlandogray@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

 

x | All content, snippets, and work, copyright Kristin James 2009-2016