How To Start A Blog
So you want to start a blog. But where do you get a blog? What will you write about? Who will read the blog? How often will you write? What will you call the blog? What is your end game, why do you want to write a blog? Pause. Breathe. Follow these six actionable steps to create a blog. Scroll to the end for a couple very useful podcasts on blogging.
Starting a blog in 6 easy steps
- Just get started. Don’t wait until everything falls into place, no need to wait until you purchase a domain name
(a unique website name), no need to wait until you have photos and a perfect design, no need to even wait until getting a blog set up. Starting a blog starts with the writing, not the blog. You want to launch your blog with at least 5 posts so people have sense of the style and information they can gain from the blog, a reason to come back. Just get started. You can use a word document and sit at your computer for about 10 minutes every day to write your content. Or, use apps on your phone such as google docs or notes to jot down ideas and flesh them out during they day in 5–10 minute increments. This can get done in between phone calls, clients/patients, waiting in line at the grocery store, just type down whatever comes to your mind. Act now, think later. And repeat.
- Get a free blog. It may take some research to find the right domain name and hosting service to fit your needs. In the mean time, just get started with a free blogging platform where the website address will be YourBlogName.PlatformName.Com. No pressure since this is free, so just start right? Sound familiar? Almost all free platforms also offer paid versions, but before you take out your credit card, get some experience first with a free version.
- Blogger.com — powered by google, you can find this when you log into your gmail account and click on “more” or “see all products”. This platform already has a template, so it’s very use to use. Basically, you just type in the blog post and a brief bio. No frills.
- Weebly.com — I’ve used this before and found it very easy to navigate. There are some nice stock templates and photos to use for free too. This can be a blog, or a website, or both. Here’s my former website Pediatips on a free weebly platform.
- Wordpress.com — This is the most commonly used platform for free blogs. Their sister site wordpress.org is the free platform that is most recommended to use if you have advanced to purchasing your own domain name and hosting.
3. Add photos. You have to break up the text with photos and graphics. I generally alternate the alignment of where the photo is and put in one photo every 1–2 paragraphs. To get a sense of how to place images, casually peruse other blogs similar to yours in style and topic to see how they use imagery, where they place the graphics, how many they use, and how large the graphics are. And then get out. Leave the website before you start getting too deep comparing your blog to theirs Leave before you get distracted and discouraged. You can get photos from pictures that you snap yourself (most of my photos are from an iPhone 6s or an iPhone 7 and the quality is good enough for me). You can also find photos from a variety of free online resources such as shutterstock or pexels (I like this one, smaller database, easier to navigate, less overwhelming). Just make sure you credit the source. On this page, I am not alternating the alignment of the photos because it messes up the numbers, but most of my other posts follow this rule.
4. Type up your bio. Pretend like someone is interviewing you. Type it up in the third person. What is your expertise on this topic? What are your credentials? Also sprinkle in some facts that make you more relatable — what are your hobbies, what’s something about yourself that’s not well-known? Lastly, what do you look like? — add a photo of yourself, preferably professional. As you can see in my about page, my photo is more spontaneous, but that’s very fitting to the style of my blog.
5. Launch it. Hit publish. Done right? You did it!!!! You have a blog!!!! Wait, that’s only step 5. There’s more? Of course. The blog is now public, out there in the universe, but how will you get people to come to your blog and read your interesting and informative writing?
6. Publicize it! You have a blog, so now you need people to read the blog. Email your family and friends to tell them about the blog and ask them to read it. Join a blogging Facebook group where members will have a dedicated space for people to upload and share each other’s blog posts. Join social media as a forum to share your blog posts. Twitter is probably the most high yield to start with. You can also cross post (recycle) a blog post on various platforms. Medium is very user friendly and easy to edit even after publishing an article, and these articles can be used on Doximity — a website specific to physicians and healthcare providers. KevinMD is another very popular website for physicians and you can submit an article to “opinion at kevinmd.com”. The 3 links above connect to pages on how to contribute on each website.
How to take your beginner’s blog to the next level
Once you get the flow of writing and updating the blog, here are some more advanced tips on how to take it to the next step, the novice plus level of blog development. Stay tuned, but here is an outline of what will be discussed in the follow up article.
- How to figure out who your avatar is. Who is that person you are writing to, what do they like, what does their work or family life look like, where are they from?
- How to get more readers. A few techniques to employ are a give away incentive for subscribing, using subscription services to automate emails, and social media shares (spoiler alert: Pinterest drives the most traffic).
- How to set up a paid website. Now it’s time to pay up, to purchase a domain name and hosting service.
Podcasts that teach you how to start blogging
Here are a few other resources online on how out to start a blog:
- How to create the greatest blog post, via Do You Even Blog by Pete McPherson
- What I would do if I started a blog today via Classy Career Girl by Anna Runyan
Even though I have been blogging intermittently for the last 10 years, many of the techniques were learned haphazardly and on the spot. I still learned a lot from these podcast episodes as they guide people who are starting from square one in a more organized and step wise approach. Take a listen.