Happy New Year rings out, and with those words, we begin planning, setting goals, and trying our hand at new enterprises. As a writer, your new enterprise might be a blog.
Many of us hesitate to start a blog. We worry about what to say, where to get our ideas, and how to manage something so technical. After all, most of us aren’t computer programmers. Right?
So, here are six steps to get you started.
The First Six Steps:
- Decide what topic your blog will cover. This will help when you need to pick a theme for your blog site. Will it be a devotional blog, a business blog, or maybe a blog about the cool historical facts you unearth during your research for that new book? Whatever the focus of your new blog is, make sure it’s broad enough to give you wiggle room, but not so broad, your content is weak.
- Choose a blogging platform. The top four I’ve heard discussed in writing circles are WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Blogger, and Squarespace. All but WordPress.org host their own sites. With WordPress.org, you need to find your own host and domain name.
- Pick a domain name. For fiction writers, your name.com is the best choice. After all, you are your brand. However, if you write nonfiction, then the topic of your book or the area of your expertise might be a better fit. Domain names are offered by either your blogging platform or your host.
- If needed, find a hosting option. Some of the best hosting sites are Hostgator and Bluehost. They are inexpensive and easy to use.
- Select plug-ins and/or widgets. The number of available plug-ins and widgets is crazy. I think there might be one that will even wash your clothes for you. Because of the large volume, be careful not to overload your site with too many. However, with that said, there are two that you absolutely need. QuickieBar allows you to put an opt-in form to gather e-mail addresses at the top of your blog, and Mashshare or Digg Digg makes it easy for your readers to share your site on social media.
- Content is King. Over the past ten years, the number of blogs on the internet has grown by leaps and bounds, going from a few thousand to millions. So, what’s going to set you apart from the crowd? Your words. Plain and simple. People will take notice if you give them something to notice.
Don’t worry so much about how long the article runs or if it’s too short. Be more concerned about the information you’re passing on to your readers. Would you take the time to read what you’ve written? Is it visibly appealing? Nice photos? Text laid out well? Enough white space? A well-written piece will get noticed, and better yet, shared.
Now, that you’ve got the basics for starting your blog in the New Year. I’ll leave you with the most important lesson I’ve learned over the course of the two years I’ve
been writing my devotional blog Beautiful Pieces of Grace.
Don’t be in a hurry.
Consistency and longevity are the keys to blogging success.
God’s blessing for this New Year,
Bonita Y. McCoy
Writing Prompt:Technology made her quake in her boots, but she wasn’t about to tell her new boss. If he wanted a blog, a blog is what he’d get. Now, to find out what he meant by a host.