How do I start a blog?

How do I start a blog?

An interesting one this, because there’s literally a raft of information all strewn across the web about how to do it. But as I continue to keep helping newbie bloggers and business Entrepreneurs start up their own businesses and brands the same questions keep cropping up again & again. So I wanted to write a little guide online, with everything in one place, which you can follow if you want to start a little side business, or make a little cash on the side or whatever, this is what you need to do.

Nb: the advice below is plain English. I’ve created two blog superstars, one YouTube sensation, built two well-known communities you’re probably a member of & had more free sh*t sent to my house than you can shake a stick at. So listen up, and let the knowledge flow through your face and into your head box.

Starting off

First thing is first. What exactly are you trying to do? If you can’t articulate it in three sentences or less, or explain it to your mum when she’s off her face on the Christmas Sherry, then you need to go away and have a think. The best ideas are the most simplest and if you’re not contributing to the online landscape in a meaningful, useful or relevant way, you may as well not bother. If you’re trying to translate a small business online, think about the logistics of that. Selling make up or some other stuff, then think about how you’d do this online. Think about how you’ll fulfil orders. Think about how you will market (more on that below). If you are selling a digital service, (maybe you’re a graphic designer or photographer) then think about what makes you special or different. What will you offer that’s different from the competition?

Put the effort in

Bloggers beware on this one. I see a lot of people start blogs thinking ‘if they write it people will come’ and that’s the cold hard reality of life, it’s just bollocks. You need to really work hard at a blog over a long period of time and actually write decent, articulate and high quality content. Simply spinning up a free instance of WordPress and writing about what you had for dinner isn’t going to cut it. The amount of times I get asked how I get (or Becca gets) sent free stuff and they assume it’s easy. What they are not seeing is the daily (read hours!) grind of networking, working with other bloggers, reaching out to brands, blogging, doing video, researching your posts, and going to the effort of making them glossy and easy to consume. You have to put the work in. I mean really, writing may not be your thing, so don’t think you can just start a blog anymore than you could write a best-selling book. Look, I’m not saying not do it, I’m just saying work within your limits.

Invest

So you’ve got your idea, you know what you want to do. So how do you do it? The next biggest mistake I see is people skimping on their idea from an investment perspective. If you don’t put anything in, you can’t expect success. You can kid yourself that you’ll spend money when you’re idea gets off the ground but the reality is you suck and don’t have the cash. Get the cash. Pay for a decent web developer, pay for decent hosting, and pay for a decent website/technology solution. Then pay some more for a decent domain, advertising, Facebook ad, Google PPC campaign. It’s not mega bucks, but stop trying to do everything for free. Just pay for it. Properly. Half the time your idea doesn’t work not because it wasn’t a good one, it was because you were trying to do it on the cheap.

Network

Especially if you’re going to be writing about something, and want to exist within an industry or sector, now is the time to start looking through social media & understanding who are the influencers. You have to reach out to them, engage them and try & get a dialogue going. Watch what they do, but not only the influencers, but go after who influence them. Start off small, and start (for the case of bloggers) reviewing stuff you’ve purchased, so if you’re into health tech kit, go and buy yourself a bit of kit and review it. Do a good job, and you’ll be surprised how quick brands get in touch. But only if you put the effort in.

Find your style

It may take time to find your style, both in how you write & also how you come across in Video, play with it and take your time. Be consistent with your output and let people know when you’ll be putting out content. For people to subscribe, it’s important they know when you’ll be releasing content. Daily vloggers like Syndicate project are anal about putting their content out when they say they will. This expectation and meeting it subsequently is important because as people rely on you for that content, they’ll subscribe for more.

Learn your channel

You must identify the best channel for your audience and use that to put out content. These days regardless, it’s most likely to be video. So like it or not, your blog is going to need to have some video one way or another. Embrace it. Get used to it. Get some content out. Have fun.

If you’re interesting in building a personal brand, online identity or starting a blog, get in touch with me as I’d like to help.

Mario DeCristofano

35 year old Digital native, grumpy, occasionally sweary & always passionate, I write about IT, technology & the things which interest me. @mariodc on Twitter.

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