I get TONS of questions about blogging. The most common questions that I receive are: How do I start a blog? and How do I get people to read my blog? So, I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for months now, and here it is… finally! Hopefully, it will answer a number of your questions about blogging.
Creating a Blog
WordPress and Blogger are the two most popular blogging platforms out there. Blogger is great because it’s super easy to use– pretty much anyone can figure it out! However, WordPress has a lot more features and plug-ins that will allow you to enhance your blog– like adding different pages and fun widgets.
Carrots ‘N’ Cake started as a Blogger blog (history of CNC), but when I realized that WordPress had much more flexibility, I switched over. Even though setting up a WordPress blog is slightly more involved, it’s well worth it in the long run.
My 2 biggest tips for those of you thinking about starting a blog:
- Select a topic that you are passionate about. Make sure you pick a subject that you really enjoy– something that you can see yourself still wanting to blog about many months down the road. There are so many blogs that go by the wayside when people lose interest and motivation, but when you care about something so much (nutrition, cooking, fitness, etc.), you will constantly be inspired to write new blog posts. And, who knows, you could potentially be posting 3 times a day, so you better love your blog topic!
- Blog for yourself. When I started Carrots ‘N’ Cake, I had no intention of it becoming such a huge part of my life… and then it becoming my job! I started my blog to keep me on track with my healthy eating and exercise as my upcoming wedding approached. It was basically a daily journal to keep me accountable. I guess people liked reading what I had to say!
If you really want the nitty-gritty about blogging, including information about content, design, and photos, check out Meghann’s Blogging 101 posts. She goes into great detail about blogging. Her post are especially helpful to newbies.
Marketing Your Blog
Just like all new blogs, I started with just a handful of readers. But, blogging everyday for the past 1.5 years has grown my readership to thousands each day! If you want your blog readership to grow, here are a few tips:
- Comment on other blogs! It helps get your name out there, so other people can discover you and your blog. Along the same lines, make sure you contribute something worthwhile to the comment section. Personally, I notice the people with something interesting to say– instead of the comments that just say “Looks good,” which don’t add much to the “conversation.”
- Participate in the blog community. If you haven’t noticed already, the blog world thrives on community! Here’s how you can participate: Link to other blogs and posts that you like, host and participate in contests/giveaways, attend blogger meet-ups in your area, and take advantage of opportunities to contribute a guest post on other blogs. All of these things help potential readers find your blog.
- Give your blog a personality. Blogging what I eat every day is (mostly) interesting, but I think readers keep coming back because they get to ‘know’ me. There are tons of healthy living blogs out there, so you want to make sure that your blog is slightly different than the rest. Think about what makes you unique– what about your story makes you stand out among all of the other blogs? Photos and personal stories let your readers know there’s a human behind your blog, so have fun and give your readers a peak inside your life to show them what makes you special.
- Utilize social media. Sign up for Twitter and tweet about new blog posts. Tell all of your friends on Facebook and Myspace about your blog. Add your blog to LinkedIn. You get the idea. Use all of your social media “connections” to get your name out there.
- Get your own domain name. The blogs that I visit the most typically have short-ish, easy-to-remember URLs (i.e. katheats.com). I’m not saying you need to rush out and get your own domain name– having .blogspot or .wordpress in your URL is totally fine– it’s just something to think about down the road. I bought my domain name through godaddy.com.
- Add your favorite blogs to your blogroll. Adding people to your blogroll is a great way to get them to add you to theirs, so new readers can find you. I’ve discovered so many wonderful blogs through blogrolls over the years!