So I've been blogging for about two years now. I am no expert by any means but I have picked up a few hints and tips along the way. Some of my friends have asked for advice on how to start their own blog which has inspired me to write this post.
Before starting your own blog it is a good idea to read other blogs in your niche - see what is already out there, look at what they are doing & think about how you could stand out. A good place to find blogs is bloglovin - you can search for topics, subscribe to blogs and check out similar blogs to the one's you are following. You could also search common hashtags on twitter:-
#pblogger (parent blogger)
#lblogger (lifestyle blogger)
#fblogger (fashion blogger)
#fdblogger (food blogger)
Here in the North East we even use our own #nebloggers
2 - Choose your blog name carefully
Nobody knows how well their blog will take off and nobody really expects it when it does. Once your blog is established it could be tricky changing it's name. Make sure you choose a name that is sustainable in the future and check the domain is available (I use 123.reg). It is also worth checking the name is available on twitter, facebook and instagram too. You can buy your own domain name for less then £10 for three years - it is certainly worth doing this. 123.reg provide instructions to transfer your domain name over to your blog.
3 - Choose your blogging platform
The two big guys are wordpress and blogger. I opted for blogger as it is super easy to work with and I love the blogger app for blogging on the go. If I had my time again I would probably choose wordpress - you have more flexibility in your design and layout plus the option to self-host. It is more complicated for a beginner though.
4 - Set up a style/layout
To set up your own blog on blogger simply go to www.blogger.com and click 'new blog'. Enter you basic details in the form provided. Then click on your blog title and select 'template' from the side bar. You can mess around with lots of backgrounds, font's and styles until you are happy. The 'layout' tab (also in the side bar) surprisingly lets you change the layout. You can change these at anytime even when your blog is live so feel free to play around until you are happy.
5 - Add widgets and gadgets
6 - Write your first post
From your blogger dashboard click 'new post'. Make sure you include a catchy title and write from the heart. A good starting point is a little post about yourself including your picture and what you are planning to write about. You can change the font, make text bolder or larger using the little buttons at the top of the page (self explanatory). To add a link simply highlight the text you would like to click through to the page you are linking, click 'link' at the top of the page and paste the link URL into the box provided. I generally always like to 'open link in new web page' so I make sure I tick this box. This post explains whether you should click 'follow' or 'no follow' link.
7 - Join as many blogging communities and sites as you can
I am members of Tots 100, Foodies 100, Britmums and Mumsnet blogger network. I have badges for all of these networks on my blog which means I am eligible to enter their blogging competitions, submit posts and be contacted for various blogging opportunities. They are also a fantastic resource for help and support and a place where I have discovered lots of lovely blogs and bloggers. I am also a member of various blogging communities on google +, local blogging groups on facebook and I am signed up to bloglovin to make it easy for people to subscribe to my blog.
8 - Be sociable
Now that you have a blog, you need to get noticed! A good way to do this is to join in with various linkys. Check out this comprehensive linky list from You Baby Me Mummy (scroll to the bottom of the post to download full list). A linky is a various topic eg 'Meal planning' selected by the host. Everybody then add's their relevant post's to the linky list and comments on as many of the other blogs in the list as they can (I usually do 5). A great way to put yourself out there!
I promote every blogpost on my facebook page, twitter, my instagram page (with pictures), pinterest, google +, linkedin and stumble upon. You really do need to promote yourself and and be sociable, it's the only way people are going to find your blog. Make sure you comment on pages you like and focus on building relationships with your readers. Don't just link drop and try and post different pictures/information on different networks at different times.
You can also look at joining networking hours on twitter. Becky Bedbug has a good list of blogger networking hours here. I like local networking hours too so look out for these too (#northeasthour is every Monday 8-9pm and Tuesday 2-3pm).
9 - If you're stuck, ask!
I have spent many a night googling 'how to' guides when I've been stuck. Bloggers are a helpful bunch and have written many a post with straight forward guides. If you see something on a blog and you're not too sure how the blogger put it together, don't be shy and send them a quick message. We are always happy to help.
10 - Take good photographs
Blogs are a very visual platform and good photographs are essential. I do have a DLSR which I love but because it is bulky and most of my post's feature days out, I take most photographs on my trusty iphone. I have my phone account linked to google+ so all photograph's taken can be automatically accessed on my google+ account from my laptop. You can edit photographs on google+ (make sure you crop!) and download to your computer to save and use at a later date. I then like to use picmonkey which is a free site if I need to add text/overlays ect. I find this method is the easiest way to give the best results.
There you go, it's as easy as that! I hope you have found this guide useful, feel free to ask any questions :-)