5 Tips for Starting a Blog

I get the question, "How do I start a blog?" constantly. It's often followed by a pitch of their idea and some sort of question designed to validate their desire to share it with the world. If you've ever asked me about blogging, or intend to, know that in all cases I will support your dream. There's enough internet space and people for your idea, so who am I to crush your dreams?

Here's the thing, anyone can start a blog. Heck! My first blog post was about how awkward my feet are and the difficulty of finding shoes. (If you're wondering, nothing has changed). Believe me, if I had run that idea by someone and asked for their validation, I'd probably not be blogging now. The point is, we all want to express ourselves in some way. We were created in the likeness of God, which means we were designed to create. It's intrinsic of our nature as human beings. If writing is your means of creation, then by all means, let a blog be your canvas!

I've been blogging for four years now and I'm still learning and constantly evolving. However, four years in the game has taught me a thing or two. So, here are my top five tips for starting and maintaining a pretty dope blog.

1. Make sure it's your passion. Like anything in life that you pursue, if it's not your passion, it'll become a burden. Blogging is the same way. If it's not something that you're passionate about, writing content will become more of a chore than enjoyment. Don't let the idea of becoming an Internet star or social media icon drive you to do something that you're not called to do. It will show! And nothing kills your following and trust more than not being genuine. Do you enjoy writing? Do you enjoy sharing your thoughts? Can you take the opinionated readers who disagree? It all comes with the territory, so don't enter it for the wrong reasons.

2. Have a target audience. Before you create your blog, think about who you intend for your audience to be. Is it photographers? Those interested in the latest tech products? Sports fans? Millenials? Women? Know who your target audience is and blog accordingly. For instance, you will never see me post a blog about Apple's newest products or Amazon's market position. That's not my audience and certainly not my realm of expertise. I'll leave it to the professionals. If you want to blog about makeup, know that the majority of your audience will be women. So blogging about men's apparel probably wouldn't get many reads from them. Knowing your audience upfront makes it easier for you to follow my next tip....

3. Have something to write about. There is absolutely no point in starting a blog if you don't have a thing to write about. Well, unless it's just a bunch of photos...then there's tumblr and Instagram. But for you writing hopefuls, having something to write about is just common sense. What's your expertise? What do you have experience in that others would be interested in reading? Don't just be a one hit wonder. Make sure you have consistent content. Ideally, your blog content should have continuity so that readers can identify with a theme. For instance, my blog (FoAlexander.com) consists of inspirational, beauty, and lifestyle content. Therefore, my readers are those who look for inspiration while getting a dose of the latest beauty and lifestyle trends. Does that mean I'm just limited to that audience? Absolutely not! However, it creates an audience that consistently reads and subscribe to your content.

4. Create a dope website. Now that you've decided that you're passionate about this thing, have your targeted audience, and have some content in your Notes app, it's time to get a dope website. There are TONS of free blog hosting sites across the interwebs. I started with Wordpress.com and had a template with little fishes floating around. Thank God for growth! Amen? Amen. At the time, I wasn't into hmtl coding or shelling out money, so it worked for what I needed. These free sites provide website templates that allow for some personalization so that the site is to your liking. If you're snazzy and want to go big, you can purchase upgraded memberships that allow you to do some coding, get a custom domain, and really personalize your site. If that's not your thing, there are still great, free options out there.

5. Share your work. There's no point in blogging of you don't want to share it. Otherwise, just stop in your tracks and start a diary....seriously. Social media has made it tremendously easy to get content out fast. Use your blog's push feature to automatically share content to your social media sites. If it's good, you may get a share or two....or a couple hundred. No likes or insta-hearts? Don't get discouraged. Not everyone is going to read, like, or even share your blog. But, if it's truly your passion and calling, you'll continue to do it. Remember, I told you not to start just to be a social media celebrity in the first place!

If you were ever wondering, those are my blogging secrets. Pretty simple! It's certainly not a guide to get you a million followers and rack in sponsorships so that you can quit you day job. Nope. It's just a tried and true way to fulfill your passion to share written content with the world. So, happy blogging!



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