How to start a blog and make it successful
Running a blog is a smart move for students.
With little to no work experience under your belt, blogging allows you to hone and showcase important skills that employers look for.
But where exactly do you start and how can you create a blog that will keep readers coming back for more?
Follow these 3 key strategies to make your blog the hottest new spot online.
1) Get nerdy
Before you launch into blogging, you need to identify your niche.
In other words, pick a subject that makes your inner nerd sing, and make that the focus of your blog content.
This is clever for a couple of reasons:
1) Blogging can be hard work, and it’s really easy to lose motivation over time – especially when you’re juggling multiple other commitments at uni. Writing about a subject you’re genuinely interested in ups the chances you’ll stick with your blog.
2) Picking a niche means you know exactly who you’re playing to when writing your blog, i.e. you can write your content for a specific kind of person and make sure you’re including things they’ll particularly enjoy.
This will help you to find and build a loyal readership more quickly than if your blog were general and jumping from one thing to the next week after week.
2) Don't write like you do at uni
Academic writing has no place on your blog. Here's why:
1) Your blog is hosted online, and we read differently from a screen than we do from a physical page.
Our ‘online brain’ likes lots of white space, short sentences and punchy paragraphs so we can scan it quickly while we’re reading on the bus.
It likes sub-headings, lists and images that signpost different parts of the story so readers can jump to the bits they’re most interested in.
2) The language you use in your uni essays is, I’m guessing, not how you talk to your friends down the pub.
You’d probably stop getting invited.
This analogy is something to keep in mind as you write your blog. Don’t head to synonym.com to find longer, ‘more impressive’ words to pepper throughout your posts.
Instead, keep it conversational, write in plain English, and let your unique voice shine through.
This will keep your blog from sounding stuffy and impersonal and allow readers to get a better sense of who you are as a writer and human being.
People’s favourite bloggers are always those they feel connected to.
3) Have a plan going in
If you’re truly invested in making your blog a success, you have to be disciplined about planning content ahead of time and publishing regularly.
1) Assigning set days for publishing your blogs
The best thing you can do to gain and keep loyal readers, is to establish a frequency for publishing your work and sticking to it at all costs.
People might love your work, but if you’re not posting on the same days each week, they won’t know when to look out for it.
Be strict with yourself about this and you’ll start to get people reading your blog as part of their weekly routine. Cool thought, isn’t it?
2) Creating an editorial calendar
Truth is, your blog is only going to be successful if you create really well considered work.
Time spent chewing a topic over and thinking up cool ways to present your ideas is never time wasted. These blog posts will always be more interesting and impactful than those written on the fly.
Trust me, your readers will be able to tell when you’re trying to make something really useful or entertaining for them, versus when you’re just winging it to stick to your publishing schedule!
Try and plan your content calendar at least a month in advance, considering:
- Which topics you're going to write about (think about their relevancy at this time of year for your specific reader)
- How to best present your blog (e.g. would embedded Instagram posts help to tell the story?)
- The best time to share (e.g. posting that 'Top 10 Rom-Coms' blog on Feb 14th)
Do these things and you'll see all those important blog metrics shoot up in no time.
And there we have it, 3 really important strategies that will help you to write the blog people can’t wait to read.