The Internet has made it possible for everyone to become a writer whether you’re trained in journalism or your CV is bursting with qualifications in your natural language or not. If you wanted to write anything about what interests you, you used to have to contact your local magazines and newspapers and hope that they’d run your story and even if they did it wouldn’t necessarily have your name at the top of the piece which meant you received no recognition whatsoever despite producing the kind of content that had the potential to set you apart as an expert in your chosen field.
Thanks to the web and the ever-increasing number of people who are able to use it comfortably; these writers who may once have been overlooked now have the chance to showcase their work along with their opinions, facts and even a combination of audio and visual aids in the form of blogs. These micro websites have enabled users to create what are essentially their own websites with content they have produced and with the right combination of online strategies these articles could be read around the world.
Some create their own blogs purely as a recreational activity, allowing them to talk about whatever interests them whether it’s their favourite sport and the latest events, a hobby, a craft or a particular industry; while others build blogs and turn them into money-making opportunities (although there is a fine line here which we will touch upon later). It’s not necessarily a difficult thing to do, and – like most things with the web – it depends on how comfortable you are with the Internet and the technical side of websites.
There are plenty of things you can do once you’ve built your blog – the possibilities really are endless – but to get you started, here are ten things that you need to do or consider in order to get your blogs out on the world wide web.
- Your first decision is not what many would think – the topic – but it is in fact the platform you’re going to use to build your blog. There are a variety of free website builders out there including WordPress and Tumblr, and these offer free designs so you can customise the look and feel of your website. If you’re not sure on what you’re doing, be sure to follow the video tutorials.
- If you’re building a blog to run alongside an existing website, (ie for your business), then you should investigate how to integrate the two sites. In the modern era, search engines such as Google value content so linking your business page up with your blog will help them to look favourably upon you. If you don’t know how to do this you can speak with an SEO agency or website development experts like visormedia.co.uk to ensure that everything runs smoothly and you are getting the rewards for your content.
- The most important thing you should do with any blog is write about what you have a passion for. If you’re heavily into football, focus on and write about your favourite teams, players and games – even write match reports if you like or start rumours about which player is transferring to which club. By writing about what you know, you increase your chances of becoming a leader in your field because you show your knowledge and experience through your words.
- In relation to this, make sure that you keep the blog focussed on a particular niche. Remaining with the football example, don’t suddenly change the content theme to include topics that aren’t connected – like gardening, for instance. If you want the blog to be generic, do so from the start and vary the topics and include category pages so people searching for sport content can go straight there rather than sifting through your tips for pruning shrubs! There is no harm in having a varied blog, as long as it is clear that’s what it is and not called Footy News.com or something; however a specific niche is viewed favourably by Google and co.
- When you sit down to write your next article, ask yourself what the readers will take away from reading it. If it’s a company blog, you might want to inspire people to go to the main site and purchase a particular product that you’ve written about or if it’s just a blog with your own opinions, leave them with the feeling that they’ve read something new and interesting that they couldn’t read anywhere else. The web is full of information and expanding by the second, but there is always a small gap in the market where your particular piece of advice could be the one that somebody is looking for.
- Pay attention to analytics and data. By reading up on the statistics linked to your blog you can find out about the kind of content your readers like and dislike. For instance, it may be that more people read ‘top ten’ articles than in-depth features; or that those containing videos and images get shared more than those that are just blocks of text. You can then take this information forward and give the people more of what they like.
- The titles of your blog make a great difference to the number of people who click and read them. A snappy, punchy title is far more likely to attract readers than one that is long and uninspiring.
- It’s also vital that you keep to some kind of schedule. The most successful blogs publish content regularly – almost on a daily basis if not several times each day – without going into ‘overkill’. Work out a timetable for when you want to publish your content according to statistics you can gain from your own site, and online studies which will tell you when people consume information, when they share content and think about when people will be at their computers. There isn’t a great deal of point in posting at 11pm at night for example when you could wait until the optimum time in the morning.
- Encourage your readers to get involved in a conversation. Having written your article you may never hear any reviews about what people think to what you have to say. If you sign off your article with a question or a comment asking readers to share their views, it’s been proven that people will continue to come back for the social interaction as well as the great content.You don’t have to be controversial with what you say, just share your thoughts but brace yourself for both positive and negative feedback.
- Finally, social networks are becoming the most used sites on the Internet and they’re proving to be a phenomenal way of sourcing and sharing news and information. If you can write an article so good that people feel they have to share it, you increase your audience by a significant amount for free. After all, if someone has 100 Twitter followers and they share your article on their account, you have the potential to reach all 100 of those people and your circle will grow.