Creating a blog is a bit of an art form. While most people don’t pay for blog posts anymore, because they’re slowly becoming articles instead, blogs aren’t going anywhere. They’ve become artistic expressions, both informative and pretty to look at. Even potential employers like to see these blogs on your portfolio, to get a sense of what your writing style is.
So, even though you might not get paid for it and creating a blog is a bit of an investment, it can help you land work and build a fan base.
Here’s everything you need to know, which as it turns out, isn’t complicated at all!
Choosing a blogging platform, domain name, and hosting option may seem like a hassle. Frankly, it is, but it’s not difficult. There’s several options, but we’ve streamlined them into two major options you can choose from:
- Opt for a free option like Blogger or Tumblr. If you don’t care about having your own domain, everything is free and you don’t need to worry about hosting options. You can also choose from anywhere that allows you to have a free website, including Weebly or WordPress.
- If you want your own domain, because it looks better, and you want to make it your official website/portfolio, you need to look into hosting. Bluehost is the most popular option, because you don’t even need to set up a WordPress page first—they do that for you. For $2.95 a month, you can set up a simple “one-click” installation of WordPress through them.
If you’re anything like a typical writer, you have to balance social media, a potential day job, cleaning and organizing, errands, and yes, your fiction, all in a day’s time. Clearly, the remaining time you want to spend alone relaxing, or hanging out with family and friends. Who has time to be consumed by a blog? For this reason, it’s smart to keep your theme simple.
Simple doesn’t have to mean boring. It just means you stick to a color scheme that you can create easily. It means you create no more than five pages in your website, rather than 30 mediocre ones. Making wise choices early pays off!
WordPress and Tumblr offer free themes with little to no major customization options. Weebly, on the other hand, is drag and drop, and offers a lot of design options for each theme. It’s amazing, but also a major trap for time consumption.
Think of this as tweaking your theme to better suit the look and feel you’re going for. For instance, if you’re aiming for a clean, yet visually captivating theme, selecting bright colors and making your main page a mecca for updates, and interesting articles or photographs is wise. That frees up space on the rest of your pages, so each one can be category specific.
In my website, my main page is a collection of writing samples, and updates. I’ve created each graphic myself, and each thing readers click on is an outgoing link, which is great for SEO ranking. I’ve also placed a major action statement right at the top of the page, highlighting what I want people to do, and provided an easy way for them to do it (work with me, click here to contact me). This has freed up space on the rest of my pages, which I keep simple.
By making things easy to find, I’ve made my website user friendly, bright, and fun.
Plugins are ways to incorporate specific items in your blog. Things like Google Analytics for WordPress help you rank better in searches. Simple Facebook and Twitter share-buttons are important, because human beings love sharing things they find valuable, especially information. If you’re using WordPress, here are some of the best options.
At the end of the day, no one will want to read your blog if there isn’t anything on it. Or if there’s content that’s not very good. Pick a niche and stick to it to get an established audience. Promote it on social media, and make sure to post on a weekly basis, even if it’s just once a week.
Creating a blog isn’t the hard part, it’s the fun part. Maintaining it and promoting it in order to establish an audience is much more difficult. Use the right domain and hosting, the right theme and plugins, and set the tone of your blog. Make sure it’s informational and perfect for your niche audience. But don’t forget to update it and let everyone know on Twitter!