The year 2020 has been an important year in showcasing just how achievable flexible working and being your own boss can be. As thousands of companies shifted to working outside of the office, the world has seen a dramatic rise in virtual working. Whether working for yourself nomadically has been a long-awaited dream, or a recent desire, there has never been a better time to start putting in the work to turn that dream into a reality. One method of becoming your own boss is to start a blog!
While the world of blogging may appear saturated, there is still a lot of money to be made if you’re willing to put in the work. So how do you get started? Read on below to find out how you can start a successful blog in 2020.
Why start a blog?
There are plenty of reasons why you might wish to start a blog. The biggest reason is usually the desire to become your own boss. This means being able to work hours that suit you, from wherever you want. Running a blog takes a lot of work and dedication, but it comes with many benefits. One benefit of working for yourself means that you can work when you are most productive, rather than being dictated by 9-5 hours. You may just want to start a small blog as an additional income stream alongside your full-time job, which is also a great option. Finally, some people start a blog simply as an outlet to share their passions and interest with other likeminded individuals.
But I’m not a [Web Developer / Designer / Writer]
Imposter syndrome is real, and it is often the biggest barrier in first getting started with your blog. Regardless of your skillset, starting a blog is entirely possible with no knowledge or experience in running a website. There are thousands of helpful YouTube tutorials and blog guides to get you started. The internet is packed full of useful resources to help you in most categories:
Web Development: Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace and Blogspot make it extremely easy to get a website set up with simple drag and drop layouts or easily customisable themes you can install.
Design: Whether you need to design a logo, social media content or newsletters, there are so many amazing resources to get you started. Whether you are looking to create Pinterest graphics, Instagram stories or a media kit, there are plenty of handy mock ups to help create a professional and attractive brand.
Writer: This should be the least of your worries, truly. If you are passionate enough about what you are writing on it will make your content enjoyable to read. It’s also worth remembering that your writing will improve the more you do it! Once you get into the swing of writing content, your style and personality will shine through.
So, HOW do I start a blog?
Below are the steps you need to follow to get started in the world of blogging:
1. Pick a name, then buy a domain and hosting
Whilst this isn’t always crucial (platforms like WordPress.org and Blogspot enable you to start a blog without your own domain), for SEO purposes I would 100% recommend starting with your own domain as early as possible. Of course, this will be a small upfront cost but if you’re serious about blogging long term, it will benefit you further down the line.
2. Get started on your chosen platform
I would always recommend WordPress for any website because there is so much you can do with it. There are thousands of themes, plugins and other add-ons that make managing your website, it’s content and any technical aspects extremely easy. Through your hosting, you can install WordPress, and you will receive an email with the link to log in.
Once you’ve logged in, you can install your chosen theme, and start customising the fonts and colours and setting up pages. I would always recommend setting up a contact page either with a form or with your contact details – you never know who might want to get in touch to collaborate!
3. Start writing content
Once you’ve got your website set up, you’ll need to fill it up with content. The best way to do this is just to get writing. I like to plan out a load of topic ideas and start working through them. The first step is to write, edit and proofread each post. Then, schedule it as you wish and attach any high quality, relevant images. If you don’t have any images, you can find copyright-free images on sites such as Unsplash.
4. Learn the basics of SEO
This is my biggest recommendation to anyone starting their own website or blog. SEO refers to the actions and steps you can take to ensure your website appears in search engine results.
In 2020, you can’t simply set up your website, post content and hope that it will get noticed. You have to be pro-active. This means ensuring that the technical aspects of your website are correct behind the scenes. It also means that your pages and posts are optimised to ensure that you will rank for your particular keywords. There are lots of free resources on how to get started with SEO available online!
5. Build and engage with your community!
Social media is a beast that just keeps growing, and you need to utilise it to your advantages. It’s an excellent tool for showcasing your work, promoting your blog and engaging with your audience on a deeper level. It’s also a great way to get more of your personality and personal life across, outside of your posts.
My recommendation would be to pick 1 or 2 platforms that work best for you, and focus on them. Whilst it can be tempting to use every platform, it will take up a lot of time and will run your engagement thin. Whether you choose Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, or Pinterest, make sure you experiment first, and then choose the ones that work best for you!
Personally, we find that while Instagram is good for showcasing additional photography, Pinterest is better for driving website traffic, and Twitter is better for having engaging conversations with readers.
6, Finally, focus on your long term goals
When starting a blog, it’s important to remember why you wanted to begin and where you want to get to. This helps you determine what is important in running your blog, and the choices you’ll make along the way. It also serves as a great source of motivation. The idea that running a blog is ‘easy’ is a common misconception, and it can feel overwhelming at times. Having a long term plan that can be broken down into smaller actionable steps is a great way to ensure that you reach your goals.