1. Before you consider starting a blog, know what you want to blog about. What’s your hobby? What do you enjoy talking about? What is your job? What do you write about? What have you researched for a book? Do you write about specific locations? Answering these questions can help you to target topics you’ll be able to mold a blog around.
2. Have enough material. Jot down a list of possible article ideas and have a supply of posts ready to go.
3. Decide if you want to post once a week, three times a week, or every day. There is no right answer to this. It’s up to you and what you feel comfortable doing. Once a week is a great start and keeps your blog current.
TIP: Post your blogs between 5:00am and 8:00am EST for the early risers as well as those who stop by later in the morning and throughout the day. This is great for time differences as well.
4. Choose your start date so you can prepare your blog before it goes live (before you start telling people about it.) This allows you time to pick the background, the colors, the font size, and the banner. Tinker away until you like everything.
5. Select a name for your blog that fits your overall theme. I chose Write with Fey because I knew I’d blog about writing.
6. Fill out your Blogger profile. Have a short bio, and I do mean short. This will go in the sidebar of your blog (and you should have the profile added as a widget in a sidebar), so you don’t want a long bio to take up space. My Blogger profile is maybe 20-words long. After that, add your website link in the correct spot, fill out your interests, and upload your author photo.
A. Go to https://feedburner.google.com/. Click on the title of your blog, click on the page at the top titled “Publicize,” and then click on “Email Subscriptions,” which is to the left. Now click on “Delivery Options.” This is where you can set up your time zone and schedule emails to go out to your subscribers.
NOTE: Make sure to add the “follow by email” widget to your blog.
B. Also at https://feedburner.google.com/, click on “edit your feed,” which is under the title of your blog at the top, and change the original feed by adding ?max-results=10 at the end so it’ll look like this: http://yourblogurl/feeds/posts/default?max-results=10
Why is it important to do this? Because if you don’t do it and you go over 512K for the file size, your feed won’t update with your new posts (subscribers won’t get emails and your posts won’t go on your followers’ blog feeds). This happened to me, so do it now so you don’t have this headache later.
NOTE: You can change the max results to anything you want, but your feed is not an archive, it’s an update for your content.
7. At the end of every post, ask a question, ask readers to subscribe to your blog, ask them to go to your Facebook page or Twitter, ask them to do something! Some readers don’t know what to add to a post, but if you give them a question to answer they will most likely leave a comment.
8. Don’t forget to add labels to your posts. On Blogger, there is a box titled “Labels” to the right when you’re creating a post. Click on it, type in all the labels that qualify for your post, and separate them with commas. If your post is about writing, you can you these labels: writing, writing tips, how to write a novel, etc.
9. When you have a few posts on your blog, you can add “Categories” to your blog. Here is how you can do it:
· Go to “Layout” on your Blogger Dashboard and click “Add a Gadget” on your blog’s layout format.
· A small page will pop up, scroll down until you see “Labels,” and click it.
· A new small page will appear. Create a title, which can simply be “Categories.”
· If you want to use certain labels, click “Selected Labels” and then click “Edit.” Check off which labels you want to appear, click “Done” and then “Save.”
· Now move your gadget anywhere you want it on your blog layout. Click “Save arrangement” at the top of the page and view your blog. There will be clickable links for your readers to visit and read all the posts under that category (the labels from #9).
10. Add pictures to your blog. Pictures help to break up the content and can make a post more interesting. You can take your own pictures or you can try this:
· Start by doing your search in Google Images.
· Once the images appear, click “setting,” which is to the right on a row beneath the search bar.
· A drop-down box will appear with “Advanced Search” as an option. Click on it.
· At the bottom of the page you’ll see Usage Rights. Click on the down arrow for the drop-down box and pick the last option: Free to use, share, or modify, even commercially. Save this.
· Then go back to the images. You are now looking at the images that you can use freely without having to worry about copyright or attribution, but you still have to check the source as some images have limits.
TIP: Pixabay and Pexels are two great sources for free images.
11. If you struggle to find content for your blog, try Nikki Pilkington’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge, which is sold as an eBook.
12. Add other gadgets to your blog to attract more readers and gain more followers, such as: Popular Posts, Blog Archive, Search Box, and Share Buttons. You can find all of these under “Gadgets” on the “Layout” page.
13. Add pages to your blog. If you scroll up to the top of my blog, you’ll see my pages: How to Write a Novel, Writing About, and more. To create your own pages, click “Pages” in the left sidebar on your Blogger Dashboard. Then click “new page.” Do what you’d usually do for a post.
If you want to use a post that’s already published on your blog, or link to a page off your blog, such as your newsletter opt-in page, go to “Layout” on the left sidebar. Look for the “Pages” gadget on your blog’s layout. Click “edit.” From here, click “add external link,” create a page title, and input the link for the page you want on your blog.
Also from the “Pages” gadget you can rearrange the order of the pages and make sure that the new page you added is included. To do this, all you have to do is make sure the new page has a check in the box next to it.
TIP: Every four to six months, try to change up your blog by rearranging your gadgets or adding new pictures. This makes it fresh for frequent visitors.
14. When you publish a post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media site, including forums and Yahoo Groups. You can also add it to Mix.com. You’ll need to create a free account and click “add a page” to share your post’s URL. This will make it possible for people to stumble upon your blog post. https://mix.com/
15. To get more readers, you can:
· Join the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and participate in the monthly blog hop that happens on the first Wednesday. I’ve met many talented writers through this group. http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
· Submit to Blog Carnivals. My favorite is from The Writing Reader called Carnival of Creativity. http://www.thewritingreader.com/blog/
· Publish half of your article to OnTopList and direct them to the rest of the post by leaving the link at the bottom and enticing them to keep reading.Example: For five more tips, follow this link. https://www.ontoplist.com/
· Add your blog to blog directories. For blog directories go to: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/20-essential-blog-directories-to-submit-your-blog-to/
TIP #1: The more blogs you comment on and follow, the more comments and followers you’ll get.
TIP #2: When you get comments, reply back to them on your blog. Doing this shows other visitors that you’re active and that you appreciate comments. Some bloggers would disagree, though, saying it’s a waste of time as readers don’t usually follow comments. It’s really up to you. I do get replies to my replies.
TIP #3: Return the favor to anyone who comments on your blog by going to their blog and commenting back. This will help you to build relationships.
TIP #4: After you get to know other bloggers, ask them if you can offer a guest post. Many bloggers accept guest posts, and if you create good content for them, their readers may visit your blog.
TIP #5: If you host guests on your blog, schedule their posts beforehand, which you can do when you’re composing the post. Take it from me...it sucks to be a guest and not have your guest post go up when it should.
There really is no right way to blog, but if you follow these tips, you will have a blog you can be proud of. Just remember that getting followers and comments takes time.