Blogging is one of the fastest growth industries in 2019. There are so many obvious reasons for this. It is something you can initially start, and then produce from the comfort of your own home, with the most flexible of hours. It has no restraints linked to age or sex, literally everyone can do it, you just need some form of keyboard, a tablet, or even just a smartphone. Blogging allows anyone to be their own boss, choose their own topic of choice to write about, and to decide what days to work, taking time out whenever you need. It suits young students supporting a degree, stay at home moms, people who work part time, people who just like to write, or people who have retired. In short, it is an egalitarian industry that seems to suit all. So, if you have been thinking of taking the blogging plunge, could 2019 be the year you take those first steps?
Taking the Plunge
Before you take the move towards monetizing a blog by working with media and SEO agencies, or other such clients, you may want to test the water by working on a free platform. WordPress.com and Blogger both offer free platforms where you can try to build up an audience and find your voice. WordPress.com still gives you the option to buy a vanity url, that is, one that does not include wordpress, and this can then be retained if you then decide to move to a platform that you then have to pay for, i.e. wordpress.org.
Free platforms still give you the option to post your written work, add images and photographs, and to share that work to social media platforms. Many people find this to be a preferable way to start a blog, a way of testing the waters and seeing if they enjoy it and can find an audience without actually making any initial financial outlay. There are also sites that give you access to unique free images, and these can help you to not only make your blog look fabulous, but to also save you a lot of money on picture licences.
Find Your Voice
It is a good idea to try to find your own niche when you start a blog. This can be something you are interested in, or are knowledgeable about. It could be showcasing a particular skill, like photography, or maybe linked to one of your hobbies or interests, anything from crochet to bird watching. A niche will help you find your way, it doesn’t mean you have to write about this forever, or that you won’t diversify at some later point, but it will help you find an initial audience who will hopefully stay with you on your blogging journey.
Promote Your Blog
When you find your voice, and start to produce decent content, you then need to make sure that the word gets around and that you are able to find an audience for it. This means promoting your work. The great news is that there are various ways you can do this. You can launch a Facebook page specifically for your website, you can use this to share your posts, create events, join in linkys and invite your regular Facebook friends to view your work.
Twitter is also great. Add hashtags to attract keen readers, tag in companies and products you might have featured to bring yourself to the attention of people you might wish to work with. Take part in things like ‘England Hour’ and ‘Brum Hour’ where you can reach a wider audience and get your posts some valuable retweets. The key is to chat, to tweet and to build links, so interaction is the key – you can’t just promote posts and expect to get the best results.
Don’t ignore Pinterest as another valuable source of promotion. Try to choose images for your posts that are worthy of pinning, both by you, and by other people. Many bloggers are now claiming that Pinterest is the most effective source of traffic for their blog – a beautiful pin that is being regularly shared can bring in thousands of views. Try to join group pinning boards where you can also share your posts, these can also prove to be a good source of traffic.
And, of course you need to set up an Instagram page. I am not a fan of pages that are just business/blog related, these are too much hard sell, but if you have a personal account with a decent following then sharing a lovely image linked to a recent post could prove to be lucrative.
Keep Your Audience Coming for more
Once you have got an audience, you need to keep them visiting. This means some consistency, both in the quality of your work, and how often you post. Blogging is, and should be, flexible, but if you blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, then try to keep to this schedule so your regular readers have something to look forward to.
In addition, you can offer your readers the chance to subscribe to an email for regular updates, or you could send a weekly newsletter that could tantalise your audience with snippets of the weekly posts.
If you are planning on starting a blog this year, good luck!