Starting a blog? A few tips

A friend recently reached out to me for tips on how to start a blog. He was aware that I had been running The Christian Mind for some years now. So I gave some suggestions, and I think others might find them helpful.

Things to note are generally in 2 categories: Content and Platform.

Content

  • Be clear about the nature of your blog, as well as the theme(s) it will cover. Is it a personal diary, a fashion blog, a technology hub, or a religious platform? Just know beforehand what kind of blog you are setting up. It will help you in planning your content as well as in determining the design of the site.
  • Determine how often you are going to post. Is it daily, weekly or fortnightly? The more regularly and consistently you post, the better.
  • Have as many as 6 posts or articles ready for publishing (if you intend to publish one weekly) before you launch. Writing for a blog can be challenging, moreso when you are just starting out. On some days and even weeks, you may not find anything suitable to write about. Having enough content before you start helps ensure that your blog is steadily updated during the first few weeks, while you tidy up your content calendar (which is the next point).
  • Create a content calendar in line with your theme(s) and purpose for the blog. What I do for my site is to have a theme for each month, then carve out topics or sub-themes for each week based on the monthly theme. I am often flexible with this, though. Many times I publish articles or posts which are simply not in line with the month’s theme. The idea of the calendar is to ease content generation. It’s not meant to be a straitjacket.
  • Ensure your posts are clearly written and error-free. Poorly written content will turn your readers off. Write out your articles several days ahead of the intended publication date. This will give you enough time to revise and edit it.
  • Strive for accuracy in every fact you mention. If you are to build an authoritative blog, there is simply no room for unverified information or fake news. You have to be certain that every information you present is factual.
  • Write with your audience in mind. Aim for clarity and precision. The effectiveness of your blog simply depends on how well you communicate with your audience, that is, your readers.

Now, about the Platform.

The Christian Mind is hosted on WordPress.com. This is the most popular platform. But many also use Blogger, Wix, as well as WordPress.org. For a detailed comparison of the different platforms, see this helpful article.

I found WordPress.com quite easy to use. And there are a lot of themes you can choose from and then customise to suit your needs. You can start with a free plan which gives you some level of customization. But if you want something higher, you would need to upgrade to a paid plan.

When you register, you get a domain for your blog that can read like this:

http://www.topideas.wordpress.com

To remove that ‘wordpress’ from your address, you need to buy a domain. I bought my domain for $18 (about N6,500) and I renew it for the same amount yearly. This is better than having a blog title that still carries ‘wordpress’. You can check out mine here. Did I mention that I also bought a domain for my personal site?

The great thing about having a blog is that it’s like having your own podium on which you can reach out to your audience. You can redesign it to suit your personality, style, or message. And you don’t even have to figure it all out instantly. Let it grow with you. I have been at mine for around 6 years, and it’s still evolving.

So go ahead and launch it – and enjoy the adventure!

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