A quick Google search will provide all the blog how-to’s you will ever need, written by experienced and professional bloggers. Who needs that nonsense!
I’m not experienced or a professional.
Straight from the trenches, here’s MY guide on how to start blogging.
1) Choose the ‘Perfect’ Domain Name
This wont just be the name of your blog. Assuming you continue to blog for your foreseeable future, it will be your brand. You will be represented by this brand, and it will stick with you. FOREVER.
No pressure. Just don’t go naming your Tahoe travel blog gotahoe.com or something.
Unfortunately, if you are anything like me, this step could take anywhere between 2 days and 12 months. The problem is, EVERY SINGLE COOL NAME IS TAKEN! And even worse, some of the best unavailable brand names you can think of don’t even exist or have been bought up by asshole anonymous conglomerates, purely for the purpose of resale. It can be rather disheartening.
A great way to check if a name is available is to go to this page here, type in your desired blog name and WordPress will let you know if its available or not.
Its probably not.
But don’t let it get to you! At the end of the day, you probably wont be buying the domain straight away, so you’re better off just picking something average and getting on with it.
Because seriously, there are absolutely no cool names left.
Apart from mine.
..don’t steal mine.
2) Create Your Blog
Theres a few different options for you to choose from. I chose WordPress because, well, all the cool kids are doing it so it must be the best. I have heard Blogspot does the same thing though.
If you don’t want to buy your domain name straight away, you can opt for the free option which comes with ads (yay!) and a fancy .wordpress.com address.
Now, I can’t speak on behalf of Blogspot but I found WordPress to be quite overwhelming when I first started. Fortunately, Google provides access to a plethora of guides for us simple folk, one of which you can find here.
3) Write Your First Post
Ok everyone look. Unless you have an appropriate degree or have been a hobby writer for a few years, your first post is gonna suck. It will probably be some pseudo-intellectual bullshit describing where you are in your life right now, and you will probably mention the universe at least once (for a prime example, please refer to my first blog post).
You’ve gotta start somewhere though, right? You can always just delete it further down the line.
Just write about the first thing that comes to mind. If you want some positive reinforcement, send it to your mum.
We are trying to get the ball rolling at this point, so anything will be acceptable.
4) Annoy Your Friends
Now that your first post is alive, the views should be POURING in!
I got 87 views for my first post, of which 79 were my mum, 7 were me refreshing the page and 1 was my sister who accidentally clicked on the link on my mums Facebook page.
Do I get paid yet?
Your first post may not be your proudest achievement. Mine certainly is not. Send it out to a few of your close friends anyway, you’ll definitely get a few ‘wow thats really good!’s and some happy emojis.
These people are lying.
It’s ok though, as now that it’s out there it will start to take on a life of its own. The ideas should start manifesting on a daily basis.
5) Try and Take Some Pretty Pictures
I feel like quality pictures are so important to your blog. I myself am definitely a window shopper and if I’m not visually captivated straight away I usually stop reading. Also, I feel like the quality of your pictures directly relates to how much you care about your content. No one wants to read a blog where the blogger obviously doesn’t give a toss.
Naturally, a better camera will be.. better. But not everyone (especially those people with travel budgets in mind) can just go out and buy a fancy new SLR. Phone cameras, especially those on shiny new smartphones are perfectly adequate. Just learn how to control the focus and dabble with some post processing (whether it be Instagram or iPhoto) and you will be taking fantastic photos in no time!
Though if you feel like you want to invest, there are a few different routes you could take. You could buy a SLR with all the bells and whistles, but I know absolutely nothing about those so.. google it.
I personally bought a Sony RX100 M1 and am slowly navigating through an after market manual, found here. Now, I chose this camera as packing light is top priority for me and being able to pocket a camera is far more enticing than lugging around one of these monstrosities.
Plus, this Sony thing seems to take some pretty cool photos, even on Automatic mode.
Of course, there’s a lot more to photography than learning how to turn the camera on. As you may have noticed by the pictures I have used so far on this blog, I still have a LOT to learn.
This guide has great visuals explaining the basics of aperture, depth of field, shutter speed etc.
Another great resource is Flickr. You can search for photos based on the type of camera you use, and all the settings that were used for each picture are listed for you to copy.
6) Start Pumping Out the Blog Posts!
Most guides you will read will recommend turning out at least 3-4 blog posts a week, sometimes even one a day! The key here (which I am only just learning myself) is to stick to writing about topics that you are really passionate about. This way, it will keep your blog from seeming stagnant or uninspired.
Hey, its all about finding your voice though, right? Don’t be afraid to take risks. After you have crafted your second post with big important bold titles, some ‘profound’ quotes and a couple of weak pictures (for reference, see my second blog post), you may sit back, evaluate, and decide that it is a crock of shit. Post it anyway. Progress is a process, and you are never going to develop your skills as a writer by hiding behind the computer screen.
7) Try Making a List
We like lists. All of us.
Whether it’s a false sense of accomplishment or how they seem official and professional, I don’t know. But they are a great way of filling out your blog. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, they are a really simple way to (hopefully) produce a quality post. Plus they are super easy to write, and even if you have a few dull points they are often hid amongst your other, more interesting points.
Assuming you have other.. more interesting points.
8) Most Importantly, Don’t Give Up!
And remember, only write about topics you really feel you’re passionate about. When you start forcing yourself to churn out content is when you start losing your authenticity, and no one wants to read a day-to-day description of your life. Because lets face it, there are far more interesting people out there than us.