Blog-ology 101: how to start your own blog

Blog-ology 101: how to start your own blog

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By Corea Parks – Collegiate Staff

Successful blogging is not something that happens overnight, however there are a few things you can do to achieve a smooth blog launch.

A blog is a regularly updated website ran by one individual or a small group, and written in an informal, conversational format. Blogging has become popular because it gives writers the ability to embrace their own personality, and separate themselves from others. This helps build a selective audience that admires the writer’s unique style.

The primary use for a blog is to consistently give an audience something, in the writer’s perspective, to see, think or talk about. It is vital to recognize that the audience relies on the blogger to keep them updated. If this is not fulfilled the audience will either never build or will slowly decline.

Getting started

“I suggest to anyone that wants to start a brand/blog to invest in themselves,” said Bethany Polynice, professionally known as Jayn Deaux, a local Grand Rapids blogger and founder of hiphopandthecity.com.

“Having your own domain gives the intended audience the ease to take you seriously. You want to cut out the middle man.”

Though this blog was created in 2014, Polynice has been blogging since 2011.

When starting a blog, the first step is picking a platform that benefits the blogger best. There are free blogs such as WordPress, Tumblr and Medium to name a few. Then there are paid hosts, which are blogging platforms that offer the ability to pay for your personal domain name such as Wix, Squarespace and WordPress.org. Paid Hosts are the platforms suggested byPolynice, when she explained that the best way to start is by investing in the blog/brand.

Purchasing a domain name is like buying your username, which makes the blog officially yours at a price usually less than $50 a year. There are pros and cons to both free and paid blogging platforms, it all depends on how you plan to utilize your blog.

Setting up your blog and generating content

When Polynice first started blogging she ran into the issue of deciding what to blog about, how to gain the interest of people and where to draw the line as far as how much to share personally.

“When blogging you definitely want to write about something you’re very passionate about,” Polynice said. “You must choose a topic you’re willing to talk about for a lifetime, broad enough to never run out of ideas, yet specific enough to already have an audience waiting for you, which is why I chose to write about hip hop and our city.”

Effective blogs contain content that benefits the blogger. After selecting your blogging platform you must begin by picking a topic that will benefit you and/or your audience. The topic being the overall purpose of your blog, the reason you created it. Some popular topics are fashion, make-up tutorials, book reviews and lifestyle bloggers.

Having a topic is essential to having an effective blog because an audience usually picks and chooses who they follow based on their own interests. Make your topic very clear to the audience and never stray too far away from it because your audience may feel like you’re defeating their reason for following you.

Consistency is key

Repetition is gold. Every post you make should contain the exact same format. The font, colors, visual placement and content should be repetitive throughout the entire blog. Though the topic ultimately stays the same, views change and so does the bloggers perspective.

Repetitive formatting helps remind the audience of the overall purpose of the blog.

“It is important to construct a brand out of yourself and through your blog,” said Anthony “TJ” Kanu Jr, local Project Developer for Imperial Website Design. “Your brand is the way you present yourself and your purpose through your blog, which can be done with colors, font selection, design, etcetera.”

Kanu, having plenty of experience with web design, magnifies the importance of strategic layout and formatting.

Though blogging can seem a bit complex at first, the investment of time, money and dedication certainly has the potential to pay off. It is becoming more common to land big jobs, become famous or simply earn a little bit of cash from a successful blog. The reason this is true is simple, blogging is a more serious and professional way to grab the reader’s attention and keep it.

Blogging is intended to be long term and beneficial. Bloggers work to establish a relationship between the writer and the reader, whereas social media is more of an attempt to stay connected through the exposure of global perspective and behavior. Social media tends to be a lot less professional.

As long as you are making a conscious effort at choosing the correct platform, establishing an accommodating theme, enhancing that theme through your formatting, and posting relatable photos, you will be on a great start to becoming a successful blogger.

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