Over the past few years, blogging has evolved from being a niche hobby that not many knew even existed; to millions of people creating their own websites and putting their thoughts out on to the internet.
So what is the lure? When I started blogging a few years ago, the idea was simple. I wanted to write. I wanted a place to put my thoughts, whether anyone would ever read them or not. It was a journal of sorts that felt far more satisfying than putting pen to paper. More cathartic somehow. My thoughts flew out of my fingertips at a speed only limited to how quickly I could type.
Blogging is ideal stepping stone for someone who is interested in writing. Whether you want to do it as a part time hobby, or you have plans to write full time and make a living out of it, we all tend to start in the same ways.
Here are a few tips that I have picked up over the years.
One of the most important decisions you will make will be what you choose to put out in the world. Whether you want an opinion type blog, or want to go into a niche, choosing the direction that you want to go is essential. This helps not only focus your mind and select your target audience; it also helps with that question we all face when we open up our laptops. What shall I write?
Embrace the Community
Blogging on your own can be a lonely past time. But it need not be. The blogging community is huge and whatever you choose to write about, there are, I guarantee, others who write about a similar topic. From making friends to getting inspiration and in turn being inspired, joining in on a conversation on Twitter or Facebook in your chosen niche will open many doors.
Whether you are a new blogger or someone who has been at it for years, there is always someone who can teach you something, someone who will rejuvenate your passion and someone who may well become a great friend.
Whether you choose to create your own website or choose a blogging platform such as Wordpress or Blogger, you are going to be on a long learning curve. Don't expect to get it right straight away. You will make mistakes and maybe have a few disasters (yes we all lose a completed blog post now and again).
There is so much help out there on the internet with guides on how to get the look you want, troubleshoot any problems you may have; give you tips and tricks on how best to promote your blog and guide you as you reach a wider audience.
Widgets, Domain Authority, Google Analytics; cross promotion on social media; they all sound like terrifyingly complicated words when first starting out; but you will learn and grasp an understanding of how to make your blog work best for you.
If you choose to blog as a hobby or on a part time basis whilst maintaining a 9-5 job; it is essential that you get organised. Jot down blog ideas on your commute to work, knock out a paragraph or two when inspiration hits in your lunch hour, find the apps that can automatically share your posts when you hit publish.
Maintaining a blogger diary can be really useful. Write down ideas of what you want to write about and schedule them in your diary. Put aside time to have a look at other blogs in your niche, give yourself brainstorming time; but remember to have a life too.
That is the most important tip. Do not overload yourself. Be realistic about the time that you have available, what you want to accomplish; but also make sure that you have relaxation time too for that essential Netflix marathon.
Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Do not get so obsessed with followers and promoting your blog that you forget to actually write. If you want to write, do it. If you want to sack writing off for the night and go to the pub with friends, do that. Remember that this is a part of you, but not all of you.
Do not photograph so much of your life for your blog that you forget to actually live the moment.
Finally, go with your gut. As people our interests can change and our passions can shift. If the direction you started your blog with is no longer your main focus, change it. We do this because we love it. If blogging becomes a chore, write instead about what inspires you now.