When I first started my blog, Forever Twenty Somethings, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted the site’s focus to be, nor did I have a ‘strategy’ for what I planned to do. I did, however, know what audience I was going to target – twentysomethings AKA people who were just like me.
The first couple of posts I published were completely random. One was about a new song I heard on the radio that I liked. Another was a list of my favorite television shows at the moment. Another talked about the struggle I was having trying to lose weight and have a social life at the same time. My strategy was no strategy – Kind of like ‘Seinfeld.’ A blog about nothing.
Over time, I realized that ‘no strategy’ was my strategy. I was writing about the thoughts and feelings I was having as a twentysomething college graduate, and I soon learned that my words resonated with so many other people my age. “I feel like we’re the same person,” was (and still is) something my readers tell me after reading my articles.
Forever Twenty Somethings quickly grew over time thanks to people sharing the content on social media because they found it relatable. It become an online ‘lifestyle’ magazine that featured both humorous and serious (but still witty!) content. I say ‘lifestyle’ because that word encompasses so much. We write about life. We write about career. We write about pop culture. We write about whatever we’re interested in because chances are, you’ll be interested in it too.
If you want to start a blog, don’t think that you can set up an account on WordPress or wherever and become an overnight success. Starting a blog takes time, and so does growing a blog.
Here are 6 steps you can take to start your own blog!
1. Just do it.
I hear so many people say ‘I want to start a blog’ who never actually start one. It’s just like people who say ‘I need a new job,’ but never actually look for a new job. If you want to do something in life, you just have to do it. So if you want to start a blog, open an account (I recommend using WordPress.com for first-timers) and educate yourself on how to navigate the system. WordPress is super easy to use (and free! unless you want to purchase a prettier ‘theme’) and there are many tutorials available to help you understand what the EFF you are doing.
2. Decide what you want to write about.
Your blog is going to need a focus. Sure you might want to write about ‘everything’ at first, but when it comes down to it – you don’t. No one is interested in everything. Write down all of the different content categories you’d like to write about and see what word you can use to bucket them all under. Perhaps it will be lifestyle, like me, but maybe you’ll have different lifestyle areas you’ll be focusing one. Or maybe you’ll have a more focused blog. For example, a travel and food blog. Those things might sound like unrelated, but in the blogging world, any combination is possible!
3. Create a strategy.
What kinds of posts are you going to write? Are they going to be long personal essays, lists, or are you going to share more imagery than text? How many times a week are you going to post? If you aren’t sure exactly what you want your ‘strategy’ to be, write a little bit to get a better of idea of exactly what you want to do. Your interests, passions, and expertise will become more clear once you let your creativity do the talking. Then you can create a schedule for posting that you can stick to, so when you are ready to show your website to the world, your readers will trust you because they can rely on you for content they like on a regular basis.
4. Come up with a name for your blog.
This is arguably the hardest part of the whole ‘starting a blog’ thing, but once you figure out the name, you’ll have a better idea of what your ‘strategy’ for the blog will be if you haven’t figured that out yet. Don’t kill yourself over coming up with something different and creative. Of course, the more creative, the better, but you don’t want things to get too complicated. You want your blog name to be simple so people can remember it and won’t have to type too many letters out when heading to your site. That is my biggest regret about starting Forever Twenty Somethings – the name is too long! But after it started gaining traction, I couldn’t change it. The good part: It really spoke to what the site was going to be about without touching on the actual content verticals I would be touching. If you’re unsure about what you’ll be writing about, make sure you come up with something vague too. And lastly – think of a blog name that you can see yourself using for years to come. Sure, I’m happy I created ‘Forever Twenty Somethings,’ but I’m not going to be in my 20s forever! In fact, I have less than two years left.
5. Give your content clickworthy headlines.
Clickworthy is not the same thing as click bait. Click bait is a headline that tricks you into clicking it, while clickworthy content gives you a good reason to click it because it’s going to either teach you something or entertain you. Basically, click bait is like that girl at the club trying too hard to look hot, but behind closed doors, she’s really unattractive and unpleasant. Clickworthy content is the other girl at the club who is flawless AND nice, so Beyonce. In English, this means to give your blog posts a title that YOU would want to click if you saw it on Facebook. An example: Would you click a title that was “Buying a House” or would you click “Exactly How I Saved Enough Money To Buy A Home Before Turning 30?” Adding an adverb like “how,” “why,” or “what” to your title will help not only persuade people to click your content, but will give them a good preview of what they can take from your blog post after reading it. Get what I’m saying? The last thing on the title – Pay attention to editorial trends. The top bloggers out there change the way they title their content all the time because readers get sick of certain content and want stuff that is new. You can make content new and fresh just by giving it a different headline! As you can see, the headline is very important – if not the most important part – of blogging.
6. Once you have a good amount of content on the blog that you’re happy with, share it with the world!
Even though you might be excited to share your blog with the world after you create an awesome name for it, put together a professional looking design, and write a post or two, you want to give it some time. Not only do you want to make it look like you’ve got a decent amount of content on your site before it goes public, you also want to give yourself some time to figure out what you’re doing. The first time you share a link to your site with friends and family will be the time you’ll have the most eyeballs looking at your site deciding if they’re going to follow you and continue reading your stuff or not. A first impression is important, and I promise – the wait will be worth it.
There you have it. An easy 6 step plan to starting a blog. Remember – this post doesn’t get into specifics on writing posts or how to grow a blog, so there is still a lot to turn. But these are the basics, and if you can conquer them, you will have yourself a blog that you can nurture, grow, and learn from!