There can be no denying it, 2020 has turned out to be a very strange year for businesses, bosses and employees alike. Most of us have seen significant changes in our work circumstances, and many of us will be contemplating an unpredictable future. Here at Fi Darby Freelance we are still writing for clients and offering advice and help where we can. One question we’ve been asked many times over the last few weeks is, ‘How do I start a blog?’
Blogs are important for business
Inbound marketing relies on high quality and useful web content to build brand respect.
There are plenty of reasons to be asking how to start your own blog, and blogs can serve multiple purposes. On a personal level a blog serves as an online diary but it is in the business world that a blog has real power. If you are wondering why you need a blog for your new business venture, you need to know that inbound marketing (where potential customers seek you out) relies on high quality and useful web content to build brand respect and get your website ranked by search engines such as Google.
How a blog works
An effective blog works for your brand and reputation on multiple levels, and it is important to pay attention to all of these as you start writing your own first blog post. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself as you plan your first venture into blog writing:
- What are you setting out to achieve with your blog?
- What is your blogging niche?
- How are you going to use your blog to demonstrate your expertise?
- How are you going to keep your target audience interested?
- How are your blog posts going to encourage interest in your offering?
- How are you going to make sure your blog stands out amongst the crowd?
How to start a blog for free
Once you’ve got your head around these ideas, you can focus more closely on the practicalities of blog writing. The first step will be to set your blog up. If you already have a website you’ll need to discuss this with your design team but, if you are just starting up, it is possible to get a feel for blogging by starting your own blog for free. One example of this would be to use the wordpress.com platform. Be warned however, although free blog platforms are available, they are far from perfect, and you might find yourself wanting to move on very quickly.
WordPress or SquareSpace
If you are starting from scratch, you’ll need two important elements for your new blog. A domain name and a web hosting company to give your blog a space on the internet. Many blog platforms provide both of these services for reasonable initial and monthly costs but the two most people look at first are WordPress (wordpress.org) and Squarespace.
Which blogging platform you choose will depend on your technical confidence and particular requirements but don’t be afraid to try both before you settle for one. It is worth remembering that you can transfer blog posts between the two once you have chosen which platform you prefer. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of WordPress (wordpress.org) and Squarespace.
- Squarespace is more intuitive than WordPress
- WordPress can be more complicated to use than Squarespace
- WordPress is more flexible than Squarespace
- Hosting is included in the Squarespace package but separate with WordPress
How to write a blog post
Use search keywords but use them sparingly.
There can be no doubt that excellent and effective blog writing comes through experience but as you start writing your first blog post, there are a few basic blog writing tips that will help. Try not to worry about how long or technical your post is, concentrate instead on pleasing your audience and making sure that the search engine algorithms can work out what your topic is.
- Showcase your experience (this is your opportunity to build your online presence)
- Research current trending topics in your niche (social media is a great place to check this)
- Use search keywords but use them sparingly (do some simple keyword research to find popular search terms)
- Present your writing in easy-to-read formats (consider using listicles, short paragraphs and useful subtitles)
- Check each blog post for grammar and spelling mistakes (one easy way to do this is to read each post out loud).
- Set a writing schedule and stick to it (regular rather than often should be your blogging mantra)
Copywriters don’t just write in their own niche.
Blogging is exciting to start with but many new bloggers fall by the wayside when time and ideas start to run out. It can also be disappointing when reader numbers don’t immediately reach the levels you were hoping for. At points of low enthusiasm you have three main options to help you keep your blog going.
- Find your motivation in whichever way suits you. This could be doing what you love, reading other people’s writing or even experimenting with different types of blog post. Combining this with a small tweak to blog length and your schedule might just give you the will power to carry on blogging.
- Employ the services of a freelance copywriter. Copywriters don’t just write in their own niche. We are an experienced bunch and used to talking to our clients and conducting expert research on any number of topics. Take a look at the Fi Darby Freelance portfolio if you don’t believe us.
- Get in touch with a digital agency that specialises in inbound marketing and content management. These experts will be able to combine a range of skills to make sure your web content, SEO and social media all work together to bring in the web visitors and ultimately sales you are looking for.
Whether you are considering starting a blog for business or for pleasure we can certainly recommend it. Blogging is a great way to kick start a writing career, and an even better way to get yourself noticed in whatever world you inhabit. If things are feeling a bit strange at the moment, blogging might well be one thing you can do to embrace the possibility of change and start to build a new future for yourself.