Blogging, Where Do I Start?

Blogging, Where Do I Start?

Almost a political subject with everyone having a say about what is the best and why. Don't get me wrong, I have my preference for a blogging platform but in helping a client setup a blog today I realised that this isn't really the main concern. The first question that came from my clients lips was "how do I actually write a blog post?". Obviously you need to choose a blog plaform and provider before you do anything else so without nominating a provider you should use, let's also talk about what you should consider and then how I suggest you go about writing your first blog posts.

When choosing a provider usually an amature will look at only one factor and that is cost. Something that is generally not pointed out is that the amount you pay is for the blog provider's web space and not for the blog platform itself which is usually subsidised by agreeing to advertise. I urge you to look past the cost and look at what you actually think you'll need where the amount of storage, theme flexibility and response to high traffic loads will by far outstrip other factors, especially if you become successful. Next ask yourself what features you'll need, are you all about writing or do you need a range of other functions? For example if you intend on selling items down the track online then now is the time to work out how you will do it as tacking this on later can create challenges if you have the wrong blog provider for the method you choose. If you are a business or intend to make money then avoid blogs that suggest that you make money through are trying to make yourself an income not other people.

So I assume you have picked your blog provider, now it's time to pick a theme that suits. Just a couple of pointers here, low animation and low image use in a theme will allow your site to run faster and look better. Free theme's aren't evil but then again a free theme isn't always "free" so it is important that you test them thoroughly before settling on one as some don't function well, have embeded advertising or have other limitations. Do youself a favour and put yourself in the shoes of a reader, what do you want to see when you go to a blog? Maybe visit a few different blogs and work out what you like and what you don't. So why does a blog being fast matter so much? Would it surprise you to know that studies have been conducted regarding the loading time of websites on mobile phones using mobile network data (growing to become the dominant method of web surfing) which found that sites that load longer than 2 seconds could cost you business. Keep it mind when you are surfing the web and are on a site that takes a while to load...what do you do? What do you feel? Are you looking for the next site on the search rankings?

So you now have a platform with a theme so what do you do now? So the key to a good blog is the writing which should be a minimum of 300 - 400 words so that search engines identify the post as having searchable content. Try to include visual components in your blog posts such as a header photo, photos in the body or embedding a video in the blog where applicable. Your blog should be coupled with a social media platform such as twitter, facebook or instagram to allow your content to be linked, shared and made publically available. Blog Analytics and Seach Engine Analytics...this is really external to the blog itself but something you should investigate to determine what suits you as some blog providers give you this or you can use other providers such as facebook and google. Your blog should have a facility for comments, consider this carefully as this can work for you or against you (i.e. if you and your users use facebook alot then maybe you should consider the facebook comments plugin). In my opinion blogging is about writing so make sure you blog is easy to read and use on various platforms including PCs, tablets, mobile phones but remember that not everyone uses your browser so check different ones out. Just a hint here...some browsers allow you to mimic devices when viewing your web content which can come in handy too.

Now for my advice for beginners...when you first start a blog it can be daunting and difficult to get going but this is temporary. Here is my advice...when you first write, write about what you know, love and live...don't publish it. A blog is about the writing so if you don't feel like writing you haven't got a blog which is why we start with something easy to write about. Then write about something associated with the blog...but about what you say? Your first posts don't need to be amazing, you are just starting, who rides a bike well on the first attempt? Here is an exercise for you if you are finding your approach, write from 5 different perspectives. For example if you were writing about food, you can write about what you make, about what someone else makes, about what you made inspired by what someone else made, write about different foods from different places and write about how to source the food to make a meal. This challenges you to try different styles of writing and also allows you to think about what you are writing in different ways which should make writing easier because lets face've now written 6 articles. Also make your life easy and look for tools to check spelling and grammar if they aren't already part of your blog editor such as Grammarly. Now for the very last and most important part of the learning process which is feedback, make sure you have some friends or family who can give you some because you can't beat real people telling you what they think.

Blogging gets easier as time goes on and before you know it you'll be itching to write more, learn more and improve. There is so much more to blogging than what I've written so far but as a beginner you should feel comfortable exploring the world of blogging your way. We have included a long list of helpful links at the end of the post to hep you out but you may also be interested in my Guest Post on which has a few more hints. In case you are wondering this blog is a self hosted Ghost blog with a fully customised theme designed specifically for blogs operated by ActsIntuitively. If you find yourself wanting some more personal advice, wanting to learn to blog better or feel you need a professional to get the best possible solution from day 0 then maybe you should contact ActsIntuitively. Visit our main website or contact us. Thank you for your time, for reading our blog post and it would be great if you feel the need to share or like our articles via one of our social media platforms with the @ActsIntuitively tag as applies.

Brent Webster
Technical Services Manager

Bunbury, Western Australia

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