Get started with blogging

What can you do during lockdown that doesn’t require you to go out and about? Starting your blog!

Blogging is a very popular form of communicating over the Internet. It lets you share your passions and interests with people who are interested in the same topic. Everyone has a different take on things and we are drawn to the ones that connect with us. It can be the style of writing, the tone used, the design or the regularity of updates.

Some people are able to connect it to their business, or can make it into one in the future, while others remain purely passion projects. Whatever you want to get out of it, we’re here to help you get started.

Think about your niche

Before doing anything, think about what your blog is going to be about. It should be something you know about - or are learning about - but, most importantly, be what you enjoy. That passion is going to come through most of all and will really connect to your readers.

The same is true for vlogs and podcasts. It’s a lot easier to come up with creative content ideas and engage your audience if you have a passion for what you’re talking about. That doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever. We change over time, and so do our interests. Once you’ve got your topic, you can move onto the next stage.

There should also be a “why” behind it. If it’s purely a passion or personal project, that’s fine, but think about the gaps you’re looking to fill or the experience you’re sharing. This will help you remain authentic and create truly great content.

Come up with some amazing content

Use the time before building and designing your blog to plan out exactly what content you have. Talk to friends, look at similar blogs and websites and find the gaps in the questions being answered. This lets you appeal to people who can’t find what they’re looking for.

Blogging doesn’t have to be just written content. It can be supported with images, video, and audio, too. In some cases, written content is a supporter to another kind - think photography blogs or podcasts - to give the audience choice and a range of material to devour.

You don’t have to create it all straight away but give yourself a head start so you won’t find yourself rushing later.

Pick your platform

There are plenty of blogging sites and platforms to choose from, and depending on what your blog is about might help influence your decision. You can create your own unique website or choose from platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace and many more, all with different features and plans.

It’s also important to think about how easy it is to choose your domain name with each platform. A domain name is an identifier for your online space, for example yourname.nz. Your choices may be limited unless you pay extra but don’t get stuck using only the ones they have available. You can buy a .nz domain, for example, elsewhere and link it to your blog on most platforms.

Try out some designs

One thing all of these platforms have in common is the design options. From themes you can choose to full layout and colour choices - you can make your blog a true reflection of who you are and what the topic means to you.

This isn’t a case of doing it once and forgetting about it. Over time, your tastes will change and so will the designs. You can change it as often as you want but most find a style for a set amount of time and refresh it every year or two.

Some themes or layouts are free while others need to be bought. This is purely a choice to you, your preferences and where you see the blog going in the future.

Figure out how to share your content

Have you thought about how people will find your content? Unless it’s a personal blog or diary, people will rarely stumble across your great content - you need to put some effort in to get it in front of them.

Social media is a great option for this. You can share updates with your friends and followers easily, and if you do have plans to grow your blog, there are paid advertising options for you to look at.

You can look at other blogs and build relationships with people in your topic. Be wary of competition but plenty of bloggers like to support and build up people in their community. 

Come up with a schedule

Once you’re set up, you can get posting and sharing that content you’ve made. You’ll learn over time what works for you and your audience but one thing that can really help is sticking to a schedule.

Some people will sign up for notifications whenever you share something but for the ones who don’t, if they know when you’ll post new content, they’ll come back around the same time each week, every two weeks or each month. You decide what schedule fits into your lifestyle and plans.

This is only the beginning. Depending on you, your plans and your topic, there are ways for your blog to grow. Newsletters, video, audio, social media - there are many ways to express your passion, but a blog is the best way to start. It’s why they’re still so popular, years after first being launched.

Have you got a .nz blog, or have any favourites you follow? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and maybe you’ll find new readers!