Welcome to 2023 – the new year is often a time for many of us to be inspired to start a new habit – that includes blogging.
If you’re looking at starting a blog in 2023, here are some tips to get you started.
First – the one big tip that will help you get started
Because I’m generous, I’m not going to make you read through a load of complex text, to share an important nugget that helped me get started as a blogger.
Here it is…
The most important tip to get your blog started is: Don’t delay – overthinking what you’re doing will stop your progress as a blogger.
You don’t need to worry about silly details like, what your:
- blog will be called (you can change it later),
- domain name should be (you can use a free one until you decide on one you like),
- ability to write is (you’ll improve through each post you publish),
- niche is (go with an initial gut interest, then use the process of blogging to move into other topics you want to explore in further detail).
Put it this way –
If you spend two months perfecting your perfect blog will look like, rather than just starting one where you post twice a week that’s:
- 16 blog posts not published,
- thousands of words not written,
- opportunities for readers not to find you,
- connections not made.
You don’t need to over research this, all you need is:
- A place to host your space
- Quick decision on layout
- An ‘About Me’ page
- Ability for your readers to contact you
- One social media account (optional)
- Your first post.
All you need to start a blog
If you’re not already clear what the requirements are to start your first blog, let me help you:
Find a place to host your space
To run a blog, you need a platform – that is a space that can host your content.
WordPress.com is a good option – not only is it free, all it takes is an email address to register.
And if you change your mind after a few months, you can download all your blog posts and upload them elsewhere.
Quick decision on layout
Platforms like WordPress.com also take the pain out having to code your blog space from scratch.
On registering your first site, you’ll be presented with options of your desired Theme.
Themes allow you to pick a style for your blog – you can go for something a bit more text focused, or something a bit more quirky – I guess it all depends on your writing style and what you intend to write about.
There are also some other simple user experiences decisions to make like:
- Do you want your homepage to go straight to a blog, or another land page to greet the reader?
- What’s your colour scheme?
- What’s your header (use a photo, or go to Canva to whip up a quick image for free)
- What’s in your side and top navigation menus (keep it simple – side menu include: subscribe button, latest posts, social media link, top menu include: home page, ‘About Me’ and ‘Contact Me’ Links.
About Me page
About Me pages matter because they tell your visitors:
- What your blog is about,
- how it will help them,
- who you are.
It’s important to have this page, because many new visitors refer to this to decide whether they want to subscribe to receive notifications of your future posts.
Don’t miss this simple but important feature on your site, it doesn’t matter if your first attempt is cringy and embarrassing, you can update this as many times as you need in the future.
Take minutes, write five paragraphs – simple
(And when you’ve written your first 10 posts, I invite you to revisit the About Me page – bookmark this post for best practice guidance on writing this page)
Ability for readers to contact you
By default readers can comment on your post – but what if a reader wants to send you a private message?
Setting up a ‘Contact Me’ page gives your readers a form to get in touch without you needing to give out your email address.
For guidance on creating a Contact Me page (and it’s benefits) read this post Hugh’s Views & News: How To Create And Add A ‘Contact Me’ Form To Your WordPress Blog
Social media account
WordPress.com is fantastic as it has a built-in community of bloggers who can find your posts, and subscribe to receive notifications of your latest work.
But how do you reach people who aren’t bloggers who would have an interest in your ideas?
The solution is to get on social media.
There is no need to go over the top and setup an account on every platform available – you can focus one social media site, with a focus on building your reputation there, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
Pick your first platform based on what you’re writing about – so if you’re focused on professional topics, look at LinkedIn. If you’re a lifestyle blogger showing off the latest fashion, then Instagram might be the better option.
Social media can get overwhelming, and become a distraction from the task of blog writing, so I advise discretion.
What is the last thing you need to get your blog going?
Your first post of course!
What do you write about?
It could be:
- your first idea that inspired you to start the blog,
- an introduction to yourself,
- introduction to what your blog is going to be about.
Pro-tip: introductions are a fantastic first post, as it can be repurposed into what you’ll put on your ‘About Me’ page.
Your first post is daunting – how will people react, or even more worrying – will anyone care?
The solution is to embrace those fears, recognise you’ll never find out if you don’t try, take the leap and get ready to start working on a pastime that can change your life forever (it did for me).
A bonus tip that will help your blogging longevity…
As a special bonus tip for reading this far, here’s a tip that will help define whether you crash and burnout after a month, or whether you have what it takes to turn blogging into a long term habit.
Here it is…
“Slow it down”
What does that mean?
Most new bloggers fail because they don’t follow this advice –
They do too much too soon and expect fast results, they:
- Get caught up in the Bloganuary hype, post every day of the first month, burning themselves out, never to post again.
- Sign-up to every social network going, don’t fully commit to any of them, and are disappointed when the masses aren’t flooding in, taking precious time out of their day to read the words of a rookie, unknown blogger.
- Go crazy on engagement, like every blog in sight and spam other blogs with pointless comments (“great post!!”) that do nothing to show they are an interesting writer worth checking out.
- Try and force a community overnight – targeting established bloggers for the “opportunity” to guest post, force relationships that make other bloggers feel uncomfortable, and make unreasonable asks with no social proof (no I don’t want to be your co-host on your new podcast, blogger who only put out their first post last week)
So yeah… slow it down
- One blog post a week.
- One social media platform.
- One quality comment, that shows genuine interest in someone’s work does more to spark a relationship than 100 comments that come across as self-promotion.
- Only follow other blogs if you have a genuine interest.
This will help you go further (a tip from someone whose been blogging for the last nine years)
This was my tips for everything you need to start a new blog in 2023.
If you are new (or an established blogger), I invited you to ask me any questions you have in the comments box below, I will be happy to answer!
Wishing you the best in your success
James @Perfect Manifesto