How to start a blog
Want to start a blog but don't know how? Worry not - it's easy to be a blogger, whether you're a writer, a websurfer or a chatterbox. Some blogs look quite professional, but don't be put off. Our bloggers all started from scratch. Follow these steps and you’ll be posting in no time.
Five steps to start a blog:
What will you blog about?
Think through what you want to blog about. Blogs first started out as online diaries - the word 'blog' comes from 'web log' - which was a record of the blogger's life. Plenty of people still use their blogs as online diaries, but they can be more focused on a topic or broad area of interest too, like politics or crafts. Before you get started, decide if your blog will be a place for you to share your life, or a place for exploring a particular topic.
Why do you want to blog?
Before you start, it’s a good idea to think quickly about why you’re blogging. You don’t need a clear answer; parents set up a blog for a range of reasons. Our bloggers shared some of theirs with us:
"I started blogging to share wine knowledge, write and avoid overdosing on bad telly in the evenings" Knackered Mutha
Who are your readers?
Consider what kind of readers You might use your blog as a personal diary or to swap stories with people you know. Because a blog is public, there are plenty of new people out there who might love reading your blog. Whatever you’re blogging about, it’s a good idea to define your audience and write for a particular group of readers.
"I love the interaction with other mums, who ask me everyday beauty questions" NonstopMama
"My blog gets around 4,000 views a day, mostly from other history buffs like myself" Mme Guillotine
"In particular I write about surfing for people with autism and severe learning disabilities" Saintlyjimjams
How often will you post?
Some parents get hooked on blogging and it takes over their lives. Others set up a blog and forget all about it. So it's a good idea to decide on exactly how often you're going to post. It might be helpful to set yourself a deadline for each post.
And remember, a blog is a your public, online imprint, so it might be wise to consider just how long you'd like to run it, so you don't end up trailing off half-way through. Blogs do have shelf lives, so it may be helpful to set a time limit on your blog - a year, say.
Are you blogging as yourself?
Think about how much information about yourself you want to share with the world - because anything you put online can be Googled. It’s a good idea to write down a list of anything you want to keep private to help you along the way. It might be a good idea to decide in advance anything in particular (where you work, for instance) you'd like to keep private. If your posts are particularly personal, embarrassing or controversial then you might prefer to blog anonymously or hide behind an alter-ego.
- Read some blogs which are similar to yours and think about what you like about them. Browse our blogs about parenting, food, style and beauty or gardening to get a sense of what you want.
- Create a title for your blog which is short and memorable (three words, we’d say). Remember, a title should be catchy - it shouldn't just be a sentence describing your blog.
- Invent a pseudonym if you’re blogging anonymously.
- Pick a platform Decide which blog tool you are going to use - Blogger and WordPress are the two we recommend, but you could try Tumblr, LiveJournal, TypePad...