Focus on your niche
If you haven’t already chosen a blog topic, thinking about your hobbies, passions and personal experiences is a good starting point.
Pamela Rae-Welsh, the creative director at the online visibility specialist Worsley Creative, says: “With so much online content, you’ll need to carve out a unique purpose that your blog will serve. For example, rather than creating a general cooking and recipe blog, consider a specific niche, such as Italian-inspired vegetarian cooking.”
Whatever your subject, also think about what you are hoping to achieve to refine your blog’s aim. For example, that might be to help people, make them laugh or teach them something.
Choose your blog name
Once you have decided on your subject, you need a blog name. Bear in mind that your blog and domain name should be the same, and ideally one that will stand out from the crowd.
It could be relevant to your subject but it doesn’t have to be. Lynn Beattie, a personal finance expert and the founder of Mrs MummyPenny, says: “You simply need it to be as short as possible, and memorable, so it could be a specific word, phrase or play on words.” You could spark some ideas by using the Google keyword planner and the Wordtracker keyword tool to search for the terms you might write about.
However, make sure your name isn’t already taken, so search across web domains and social media. You can search and buy your domain through different registrars such as GoDaddy and 123 Reg. See if you can buy the .com and .co.uk extensions.
Pick your platform
You will also need to pick a blogging platform that you will use to design and write your blogposts and publish online. There are several to choose from, including WordPress, Typepad, Blogger and Tumblr.
WordPress claims to be the world’s most popular platform, and is great for beginners who are looking for a simple site that enables them to build a blog within minutes. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials that can help you get set up. You can then work on personalising your blog.
Design your blog
Choosing your design theme is important because first impressions count. Francesca Henry favours WordPress for her money-saving blog the Money Fox. She says: “You can buy some beautiful and functional themes from about £50 to £150, and get free plug-ins that help you do loads of things such as create a standalone homepage.”
A simple theme is usually best, while making your blog as user-friendly as possible, including a call to action to let your readers know where they can find you, with links to Twitter and Instagram, for example. You could also get a professional logo designed to complete your brand, or work on one yourself.
Find your audience
Go where your readers are. This could be on specific Facebook groups, for example, TikTok, Instagram or LinkedIn. Follow blogs on similar subjects, start conversations and tweet your posts.
Georgina Durrant runs the SEN Resources Blog, which is for parents and teachers of children with special educational needs and disabilities. “The blog now has more than 30,000 social media followers but it took a lot of regular, consistent posting of blogposts on my site, as well as posts on social media, and a lot more work than I initially expected to get there,” she says.
“You don’t get very far just sharing links. It’s about building a community around the blog. My following increased when I joined in and started conversations on social media. The readership of my blog kept on increasing as the community grew.”
Add other channels
There will be people who prefer to listen or watch rather than read, so you could add a YouTube channel or podcast to your blog. Marie Brown, a blogger at Beyond the Kitchen Table, which builds websites for small businesses, also has a podcast called the Website Coach. She says: “A podcast is a great way to market your blog, and featuring as a guest on other people’s podcasts is another option.”
She matches her podcast and blog topics. “You can either use the podcast transcript as the basis of the blog or, as I do, write the blogpost and use this as the outline for the podcast episode. I link the blogpost in the show notes to the podcast episode,” she says.
Keep building your blog
You will want to focus on getting your brand known, producing content and sharing your expertise before potentially turning a profit. Networking to build up backlinks will ultimately help you to monetise your blog, too.
Rae-Welsh says: “Google is looking for unique, relevant and trustworthy content to rank in the search engines – the more you add relevant and quality content, the more traffic you will get, which will give you more opportunity to monetise.”
There are free tools such as Google Search Console or Google Analytics that will help you create content that will be seen by search engines. “But it’s worth investing in learning SEO [search engine optimisation] properly if you want to make your blog a success,” Rae-Welsh adds.
Make a profit
There are various ways to make money from your blog. For example, firms that are relevant to your blog’s subject may want to buy some space and advertise their services using a box or banner. You may also want to consider approaching a particular brand to collaborate and produce a specific campaign on a subject you are passionate about.
You can also make money from sponsored links, where advertisers pay bloggers to publish a post that includes a link to their website. But you will need to ensure you make it clear that the post is sponsored.
Alternatively, there is affiliate marketing, where links are placed into your posts or on your page that direct readers to a website selling something. You will earn a commission on any sales. You can find companies looking to place affiliate links on sites such as Tradedoubler and Amazon Associates.
Beattie adds: “There are so many other ways a blogger can make money, such as writing for brands, product sales, public speaking and social media advertising. The key is getting a well-diversified income stream.”