A step by step guide to creating your first blog.
What is a blog?
We all have so much to say. And with social media being what it is, it’s easier than ever to share our thoughts publicly. Blogging is really just formalizing all those thoughts floating around in your head, prioritizing them and putting them in a format where other people can engage with them. It’s a well planned out, edited version of what’s on your mind. It can also be a guide to help your readers accomplish their own goals. If you have experience in something you think is valuable and that other people would be interested in doing, then a blog might be the perfect medium to share your journey in a more formal way.
But where do you get started? With so many options out there, knowing what steps to take to start your own blog can be challenging. You might feel like you don’t have the technical know-how or skills to do it. You may feel that your experience is too niche or that no one will care (you’ll be surprised how many people share your interests, no matter how specific). That’s why we’re here! To help you get your thoughts out of your mind and into the digital world. You ready? Let’s get started.
6 steps to starting your first blog
1. Choose a topic to blog about
The very first step in creating your blog is figuring out what you want to blog about. You have a lifetime of experiences that I’m sure you could share, but blogs need to be focused on specific topics. Your audience needs to know what to expect every time they read one of your posts. They need to know they can count on you to deliver on a specific topic. So while it would be great to talk about everything you know, you should be able to say, “My blog is about X.” This is one of those instances where it’s better to be niche. A blog about you cooking might not be focused enough. A blog about meals you make as an empty-nester, with recipes, is much more engaging. Once you find that specific topic, you’re ready to go.
2. Decide what kind of blogger you want to be (Pick your medium)
Today, you’re not limited to strictly writing a blog. Technology has advanced to make it simple to expand into other mediums. You can create video blogs (vlogs) that can be shot and edited on your smartphone. It’s easier than ever to create a podcast, which is essentially an audio blog. This can also be done on your phone without needing any prior experience with technology. Then, of course, you can still go the traditional route of writing your blog. And there’s nothing stopping you from possibly combining any or all of these options together. It’s not a good idea to start this way, but it’s possible that these can work in concert once you’ve mastered one medium. All that to say, once you’ve picked a medium (video, audio or writing) you can expand – so don’t feel like you have to stick with your first choice.
3. Choose a blogging platform
Once you decide what type of blogger you want to be, it’s time to choose where you want your blog to live. This is where things get interesting.
- Written Blog — If you’ve decided to write your blog, you don’t have to start your own website. Medium is a great place to start. It’s the number one writing platform with over 60 million active readers. What separates Medium from other social media sites is that people are on there actively looking for long-form content to consume. If Medium seems too daunting, start writing on social media. Tell your stories or give advice directly on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. Writing on those platforms is a benefit because you know there are millions of potential readers already there. There are obviously limitations, but more and more bloggers are bypassing traditional websites and using their social media pages as their main platform. Plus, it’s a good way to test what’s most interesting to your readers before you fully commit to a platform like Medium.
- Video Blog — If you have the charisma to be a video blogger, then YouTube is really your only real option. That’s not a bad thing. That’s where all videos live and if you want to be heard, then that’s where your vlog needs to live, too. Sharing your vlogs from YouTube to other social media platforms will enhance your visibility, but YouTube is your home base.
- Podcast — Podcasts are slightly more nuanced. You’ll need to download an app to record your blog. Something like Anchor or Spreaker Studio works well and allows you to record, edit, and share your podcast without having to leave the app. They even make it possible to record guests who call in to the show. But while the editing may be simple, there will still be a learning curve. Be patient with yourself. It takes some time to get the hang of it.
4. Decide on a schedule and stick to it
This is probably the most important step. Consistency is the thing that will make or break your blog. Readers, viewers, or listeners need to know when they can access your content. They need to know that if you’re putting out content every week, that there will be new content every week. The cadence totally depends on what you can manage, but once a week is the minimum, especially when you’re just getting started. Let’s take a moment to point out that regardless of the platform, quality wins over quantity. Take your time and create a schedule you know you can execute without overexerting yourself.
5. Give it time to grow a following
Followers won’t just magically appear. It takes time to build your blog into something people search for first thing in the morning. Your first six months is like an experiment. Feel free to try different platforms, different topics, and explore the different mediums we’ve discussed. Maybe you thought that video blogging was your thing but realize you’d much rather just write. That’s totally OK. When you’re just getting started, you’re allowed to be chaotic. Once you find what works, then you can start thinking of growing a following.
Did your kids read Dr.Seuss? Well, guess what, legend says his first book was rejected no less than 27 times before it got published. If you don’t have a lot of readers in the first few weeks, don’t despair. It doesn’t necessarily mean your content is the problem.
6. Finally: have fun!
Blogging is supposed to be a fun experience. You’re sharing stories about your life or educating people based on one of your skills. Take it seriously but keep it light. Retirement is your time to do the things you enjoy the most. If blogging stops becoming enjoyable, maybe it’s time to try something else.
We hope this short article helped clarify a few things if you were thinking of starting your own blog. If you have a skill or hobby you’re thinking about blogging about, why not share it with others by hosting a Boomerang Online Experience? You can sign up for Boomerang here: www.goboomerang.com. And you can fill out our Host Application Form.