Welcome to what I hope will be a series of helpful blogging tips. Regular readers of my blog may know that I have a teaching background and I am passionate about helping, sharing knowledge and mentoring. You will find this guide helpful if you would like to start writing a blog but don’t know where or how to begin.
I am not an expert by any means but I have written a blog on and off for about five years and I have been blogging as Tinker Tailor Online for about a year now so I have a fair amount of experience that might be beneficial to you. Settle down, grab a coffee and let’s begin.
Lesson number one is that anyone can have blog and if that’s what you want to do just go for it! There are no rules as such. However, blogging for business is a completely different animal so you should be clear about what the purpose of your blog is. If you already own a business blogging could be extremely beneficial to you as it will allow you to raise your brand’s profile and develop a supportive community for your business which you can convert into sales.
Where do I begin? Just start…
Open a free WordPress account, if you want your own domain name you can pay to upgrade. Blogger is also a very popular blogging platform, both work in a similar way. Once you have taken this first step you need to get into the habit of writing regularly and begin the process of developing your own style.
What shall I write about?
It entirely depends on your reason for blogging. Is it for fun? for you? for your business? Once you have answered that question you will be in a position to determine which topics will be appropriate for your blog. If you are writing for yourself then write about the things you love and the things you are interested in. However, if you are blogging for business then think carefully about the topics that will interest your customers and what content they might like to read about. To put it in simple terms: if you own a gym for example, you could blog about the benefits of weight training and offer some nutritional advice.
Stuck for inspiration? Sometimes tearing yourself away completely from blogging can help to clear the mind and lead to new ideas but in my opinion, research is your best friend when you are stuck for content ideas. Flick through magazines, spend a bit of time on Pinterest, look at what other bloggers and businesses are doing – I’m not talking about copying but look towards others who are successful already and allow yourself to be inspired.
The beauty of blogging is that the style is informal and you should write the way you speak although you must look out for spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors – it has to be legible and credible, you want your audience to listen and trust what you are saying. I personally find poor spelling distracting and it immediately puts me off even if the content is good – it might sound pedantic but why let your work down by spelling mistakes which can be so easily fixed? After a while you will begin to relax and find your groove, your blogging style will take shape and writing will be less overwhelming.
I don’t have the confidence to ‘put my blog out there’ – I know how you feel, blogging can make you feel very exposed and this is something I can relate to. I posted blogs for a while before I let people know I had a blog and I only went public once I felt proud of the work I had done. If you are struggling with confidence, remember that no one will know you are writing a blog until you actually tell them, especially in the early days so you can take time to refine your skills and select your topics until you are ready for the world to know. You can always delete posts you are really unhappy with too!
What shall I call my blog?
It amazes me how often naming your blog becomes a barrier to actually taking the plunge and making a start. The blogging world is constantly evolving and bloggers have to adapt to new technologies, algorithms and work practices. Having the perfect name for your blog from the beginning is brilliant but if you don’t just use your own name or something you are comfortable with and you can always change it later. Frances Bacon recently made a very successful transition from School Run Mum to The Fashion Lift and my all time favourite The Online Stylist has gone through a couple of rebrands herself so please don’t let such a trivial thing stand in your way.
Choose your social media channels wisely
Do I need social media accounts?
In my opinion the answer is a resounding yes! The best way to publicise your blog once you are ready to go public is to use social media and if you are blogging for business you probably already have social media accounts. My top tip here is to be as consistent as possible and do your best to get the same handle across all platforms. In my case I am @tinkertailornline on Instagram and @tinkertailoronline on Facebook but annoyingly tinktail_online on Twitter, the point of being consistent is that it helps your audience to find you.
My other tip is choose a couple of social media platforms (where you think your audience will be) and do them well. There is little point in being on Snapchat if your audience uses Facebook. Social media is incredibly time consuming and it has to be used well in order for it to be productive so choose wisely.
Blogging is a huge topic and there are so many aspects to it that I couldn’t possibly cover everything in one post but I will continue with this series as I often get asked for help. I also wholeheartedly recommend The Million Dollar Blog as a helpful and inspirational read and this handy guide by Coco’s Tea Party is a good starting point too. Oh and if you wnat some tips for taking good photops with your phone you should read this post.
Please, please get in touch with your questions and I’ll do my very best to respond to you with a suitable answer. Also tell me, what other topics would you like me to cover? Don’t be shy and use the comments below.