I've been blogging for well over a year now, and while that hardly makes me a veteran, I've learnt a lot about what it takes to get your blog off the ground through my own trial and error. Starting with zero views and zero followers is still relatively fresh in my memory so I know how daunting it can feel. There seems to be so many tips and advice posts going around saying what you should and shouldn't do and it can all get a bit overwhelming, so today I've compiled a list of 10 simple and easy to achieve things that I think will get to off to a great start in the blogging world.
1. Buy your domain address
This is the only thing on my list (or one of two, depending on your choice of theme) which will cost a bit of money, but I truly think this is one worth investing in. Setting yourself up with a proper .com address can cost just a few pounds, but the impact on the professionalism of your blog is huge. It shows that you're relatively serious about your blog (even if it's just a hobby!).
2. Set up Bloglovin'
Bloglovin' is the easiest way for your readers to follow your blog and be notified when you post something new. All of the blogs that I read, I follow through Bloglovin'! If you want to gain a loyal readership who keep coming back, then being connected through Bloglovin' is a great way to start.
3. Connect your social media accounts
Social media is obviously a very important aspect of blogging, and many readers will want to follow not just your blog but your Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. Your social media accouns are also a great way to direct traffic to your blog. Add social media icons in a prominant place on your blog and try to have the same username for all of your accounts.
4. Write your 'About' pageFor someone who's thinking about becoming a regular reader of your blog, your About page is likely to be their first port of all. It can be really difficult to write about yourself (personally, I'm still not happy with my own About page!), but it's your chance to tell people what you're all about. I'd also suggest adding your social media links here too, even if you have a separate contact page - people don't want to search around, so make it easy for them!
5. Edit your favicon
This is such a simple thing but something which can definitely get your blog looking a bit more professional. The favicon is that little icon that shows up next to your blog name if someone has it open as a tab, or favouited on their bookmark list (like the Facebook 'F'). It's really easily done and brings some individulaism to your blog.
6. Get a clean looking blog theme
You don't have to spend a fortune to get your blog looking clean and professional. With a bit of work, you can figure out some great free ways of cleaning up your design. There are also themes available to buy, starting off below £10 and going upwards. Etsy is a great place to start when looking for affordable yet beautiful looking themes
7. Install Disqus
I'm sure there are plenty of arguments about whether Disqus is the best commenting system to use, but for me, it's the only one that truly encourages two way conversation. You get to see if someone replied to your comment, and it makes it as easy as possible for your readers to share their thoughts about your posts. If I get to a blog and I have to fill out some sort of mini form in order to comment, 9 times out of 10 I just won't bother.
8. Remove the Blogger navbar
This is such a simple thing to change if you're running your site through Blogger, and I'm always surprised when I see blogs that still have that thin Blogger header running along the top of their site. It can look very messy and doesn't have any real purpose so it's a good idea to get rid of it. To remove it, go to your dashboard, select the 'Layout' tab, click 'Edit' on on the Navbar in the top right and there you will be able to turn it off.
9. Start taking part in Twitter chats
The aim of taking part in Twitter chats isn't just to drive traffic to your blog (although this can be a knock on effect). It's about interacting with the amazing blogging community, building friendships and learning off one another. There are plenty of established chats for you to join in with, so I'd encourage you to find one you enjoy. My favouites are the #lbloggers (lifestyle) and #cbloggers (creative) chats.
10. Decide on a posting scheduleWhether that be every other day or once a week, choose how often you want to publish a post and stick to your schedule. Start off easy, maybe committing to one blog post a week but no particular day or time. If it suits you, you can become more specific but always make it manageable - you don't want blogging to become a chore!
So there's 10 things to get you going in the blogging world, all of which I found super helpful when I was just beginning. Finally, I just want to say that there is no right or wrong way to run your site. That's what it so brilliant about having a blog - it's all you! Do what feels right and what you enjoy and you can't really go wrong.
What tips would you give to people just starting out with their blog?
What helped you in the early days?