Anyone who was on Livejournal five years ago knows one simple fact: everyone and their mother has had their own blog. Of course, the way that these blogs are presented and maintained have changed for the better. The rambling journals of teenagers talking about Justin Bieber are easy to avoid, and instead we have a ton of informative, fun and overall incredible choices for our reading pleasure.
But are you ready to start your own?
Why You Should Start A Blog Right This Second
1. Everyone has something to share. Due to the ridiculous crap you often find on the web, you might not agree with this one. But I have found that everyone I have met has some kind of area of expertise. Sometimes it is more specialized than other topics, but they know the topic. If you can isolate what you really know and love, you can create a great blog.
2.It can be a great way to organize your life. Life can get crazy, and you may think that starting a blog isn’t the best way to help minimize stress. But not only can it help you do get things off your chest, it can help you to reach goals or achieve a task more easily. Which can ultimately help you to improve and organize your life. One example of this is No Fries For 365, the journey of a man to fit fitness and health into his life, no matter how busy. Another is A Life At 25, where a woman attempts to both introduce healthy habits into her life, while being more productive.
3.You will find others who share your passion. One of the greatest parts about having a personal blog is getting in touch with other people who love the same things you do. You can share information, find guest posters, read interesting comments and engage with an entire network of like minded people. You would be surprised by how quickly you will start to gain attention from others who are into the same stuff you are. This is awesome source of inspiration!
4.It may become a source of income. Admittedly, this doesn’t always happen. But for those bloggers who are a bit savvy, you can start to earn money, get samples, receive free items from companies and get paid to write reviews and posts. It takes time to get established enough to do this, and certainly takes effort. But it can be very rewarding once you get there.
5.Having a blog is fun! It is probably the most compelling and simple reason there is: it is fun to own a blog! Writing posts, sharing with others, finding new content, having conversations with readers…it is all a blast. You might also find yourself trying new things and taking risks you never would have before. All so that you can write about the experience later.
How To Get Started
The first step is deciding what you are going to blog about. It might sound simple, but it can be a hard task. You have to walk the line between what you know and what you love, finding that perfect balance that will have you writing knowledgeable posts with a sense of passion. Once you have this down, you will be able to ensure higher quality and more eye-catching posts.
Next, you need to find a reliable blogging platform. What this is will be totally up to your preferences. There are plenty of free options out there, all catering to a specific kind of blog post. For those who want comprehensive posts that are text heavy but offer easy media insertion, your best bet is WordPress. If you are most going to be posting media like images and video, with minimal text, Tumblr is a better choice. For those who want an easy-to-use blog on the go, Blogger might be a good choice. But there are dozens of others to choose from.
You will want to create a list of media sources for go-to content. A lot of bloggers choose to take their own photos and make their own videos, which is great. But it is always nice to have a couple of places to go to for when you just don’t have the time, energy or desire to generate your own. You can find plenty of stock photo sites that sell cheap pictures at high quality. But I find it much better to go with public domain material, which you can find all over the place.
Check out this post on Wikipedia for a full list. My own favorites sources are Wikimedia Commons and MorgueFile.
Finally, post consistently, no matter what. The best tool for a blog is its own posts. Every time you publish something you are increasing your visibility and building up your site. You don’t have to post every single day, if you don’t want to. But at least two or three times a week is a minimum you should follow.
Worried about burning out? Don’t worry, we all do that. What I do is take a day once a month where I have both time and energy to burn. I use it to write a number of ‘backup’ posts that I leave fully edited and saved in draft. These are always more general posts that don’t need to be posted at a specific time to be relevant. Then on days when I don’t have time to write, I am on vacation or I just don’t feel like it, I publish them.
I believe that anyone can run a blog. It takes effort and dedication to get it off the ground, and you have to be consistent in your posting, but it is worth it. Just start writing and be amazed by how quickly you gain an audience. With a little bit of social media sharing, a little work getting the word out and some patience, you could have a large readership in months.
Image Credits: 1, 2.