ASK TOSIN: HELP! I WANT TO START A BLOG
Remember I launched a new segment on the blog called “Ask Tosin”, a platform where you can send me questions on anything you’d like my opinion upon. Now, I do not claim to know it all but I may have a comment/suggestion on shared topics which I hope you find valuable to the circumstance. Thank you for all the questions so far, some questions are confidential so I may not be able to publish them. however, for recurring questions like this, I’ve decided to answer and post them periodically(once a week). For this first published segment I would be answering my
most asked question besides hair matters, which is about blogging.
I get questions all the time about things like ” how do I open up a blog, what is the best platform to use, what editing software do you use etc….. In this post I would try to explain in detail, aspects I feel are important in a blog set-up process. As I said earlier, I’m NOT a guru neither am I a blog lord, but hopefully this post helps someone!
1. MOTIVE: For me this is the most important aspect, as I feel all other aspects are tied to this. There are a plethora of reasons to start a blog, they include “Boredom, brand awareness, need to share opinions/lifestyle publicly, business platform, following bandwagon amongst others. I think every prospective blogger should ask his/herself this “Why am I starting a Blog”. This shapes your content, commitment and the development of your blog. I’ve realised that most succesful blogs thrive upon passion and hard work. I started my blog in 2011 but only started taking it seriously 2012 year-end into 2013 because my content changed and I became more motivated to publish posts. There was a new ‘passion’ coupled with commitment- to be expatiated in my next point.
2. CONTENT & STYLE: What keeps people coming to your blog is content i.e. what you share. If you post only once in 3months how would you create a consistent following?….people like to refresh your blog and see a post. Rolling out posts all the time is hard work especially if you’re not a news or gossip blog, but idea generation is key. The only way you can consistently generate posts is if you have a focal point where all your topics stem from. You must be known for something. I started out my blog as ONLY a fashion blog but I noticed I couldn’t keep up because I like to look good but I don’t necessarily see myself as a ‘fashion icon’ as my style is almost stagnant; Dresses, skirts, pants/blazers. I don’t like to try new things, neither do I spend all my funds on clothes so I can’t keep things fresh on here for fashion enthusiasts. In other words, Discuss what you can be consistent with. Your content is key because this is what you will be known for, I want to be known for lifestyle and personal development so I discuss a little bit of fashion, faith, food and business. This is my niche, What is yours? It could be fitness, travel, personal diary, baking, beauty, book reviews, religion or even art.
3. STYLE: This is basically how you put out your content. Your choice of words, approach and medium. Do you just post pictures and tell people the events of the day or do you write an engaging article? The former may be ideal for travel bloggers while the later for a book reviewer. I hope you understand my drift. Also your tone when writing, Vloggers don’t need to worry much about this as their personality can be seen and heard through videos, but bloggers need to be careful the way they write as misinterpretation of intention is higher in text than visuals. So! do you want to sound warm, indigenous, cool, engaging or poetic. Think about it.
4. BLOG PLATFORM: There are popular platforms for blogging e.g wordpress and blogger, I really haven’t explored the two options so I may not be able to make a detailed comparison or analysis, but on both of these platforms you can buy themes, templates and customise how you want your blog to look.
5. RESOURCES: Your resources include blogging tools like an efficient laptop/phone, camera for photo bloggers, Internet and time. I started blogging on my phone, but over time it was only wise for me to use my laptop. I also was taking pictures with my phone till my dad bought me my first camera, I learnt how to take pictures on that before I decided to buy my own DSLR camera which is useful for my vlogs and periodic fashion posts. But know that you really do not need the large professional camera everyone carries about nowadays, especially If your blog content doesn’t need it. For example a fictional/Faith writer doesn’t need a professional camera. It’s a sheer waste of resource. Also you can get a portable click and shoot camera just to capture moments if need be.
6. BRANDING: Branding is solely up to you, some blogs/websites are personality based so it requires heavy branding e.g Patricia bright or Sisi Yemmie etc. While some are content based e.g Linda Ikeji, Bella naija, 360Nobs…..these blogs in comparison to the former don’t need to organise photo shoots or edit pictures, they just need to deliver news, gossip, other content and be consistent. Branding efforts include getting a domain name (.com instead of .wordpress.com), Complimentary cards, dedicated social media accounts/ pages, custom edits, watermarks e.t.c. Although I advise some form of branding for every blog.
7. NETWORK: Every blogger needs to have a solid network and also have the willingness to expand it. You cannot be a successful blogger and not know anyone/ be a loner, you need to have an audience and a substantial following. You have to read other blogs, follow other bloggers and be conversant with the current tags/trends. I personally “famz” all bloggers, there’s no pride allowed when you are developing your blog, you need to have valuable relationships, refer people and build a network. There’s a lot of ‘Favour swaps’ in the blog world. Also most importantly, don’t see other bloggers in your genre as a competition. The sky is big enough for everyone .
8. PATIENCE: Don’t be overly eager to publish a post or have a million page views, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Re-read posts, edit appropriately and always ask close/trusted friends for constructive feedback. I have about two friends who aren’t bloggers but they give me a readers point of view, I always appreciate their feedback. Furthermore, Be willing to learn and be open to corrections. If you don’t know how to do something, feel free to send an email to a fellow blogger, don’t suffer in silence. It may be a technical issue e.g how to embed posts or side banners or you need awareness for an event. The worst you’d get is a No, so no harm done. Just ensure you reach out when stuck, it saves stress.
I really hope this post was explicit enough, there are other things I’d like to share e.g the business aspect(making money from your blog) but maybe some other time when I have made enough money off blogging lol …….
I wish you all the best in your blog journey.
Feel free to drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you….
If confidential or you’d like to use the ‘Ask Tosin’ Platform, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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