The Basics: Anyone can start a Blog and yes, that includes you too.
However, before you jump right in ask yourself this question:
In the early days of the internet a Blog was basically an online journal or diary of events, happenings, personal observations and general trivia. Nowadays the lines have become blurred.
Millions of Blogs are not really Blogs (in the traditional sense) anymore. They are fully-fledged Websites that include (but are not limited to) Blog articles.
The growth of Social Media sites like Facebook have all but killed traditional Blogs. Why share your experiences via a Blog when you can quite easily (and efficiently) gain a massive (or private) audience via a Facebook Profile, Facebook Page or Facebook Group?
If you wish to have an online presence simply to share your life’s exploits, then Facebook rules nowadays and I would highly recommend you setup a Facebook Page (or Group) to share your experiences.
If you wish to achieve any of the following, then you should forget ‘Facebook’, forget ‘Blog’ and start thinking… ‘Website’:
Although I started off by teaching myself how to start a website using the WordPress & Wix platforms, I got bogged down by seeking perfection in the presentation of my articles, affiliate links, fancy online widgets and a professional polished look. WRONG!
I managed to get a website online that looked nice, but it didn’t reflect me. I also made the classic mistake of adopting an online persona that wasn’t the real me. I was never fake in my reviews, opinions or advice and my content was always genuine. But I wasn’t portraying the authentic me. I was sort of acting. WRONG! Take it from me, this is unsustainable longer term.
Likewise, I didn’t feel like I was a global expert on anything really. Who wants spend their valuable time reading my articles when there are numerous other experts out there better qualified than me? WRONG!
”You do NOT need to be an expert to start a website – but you do need to START!nakedexpatStripped back to basics
By far the most important thing to remember above and beyond anything else is that “Content is King”. Your Blog articles, your website pages and your comments need to be unique. If you have an opinion, then be prepared to share it and don’t be put off by those that disagree with you. So what if they do?
The internet is massive. I was reluctant to start a website because I had read about the potential to attract nasty comments from ‘internet trolls’ and ‘keyboard warriors’ that could jump on any slight inaccuracy or detail I got wrong.
Don’t get into a war of words with such people – they will sap your energy and this will do you no good whatsoever. Accept them for what they are (sad people with nothing better to do) and just correct any mistake(s) promptly. Any genuine online apology for an error or inaccuracy, directed toward your regular visitors/subscribers is likely to be warmly received and appreciated. Think Brownie points!
I fully agree with the numerous, very successful online experts that advise everyone to always consider a ‘niche’ for their website. Don’t let this logic put you off though.
Always remember that unless you have been cloned, you are a ‘one-off, one of a kind’ YOU. So in this regard, if you write interesting articles from your own perspective (which you should always try to do) then of course they will be unique, as it is only YOU that writes the words you write.
By writing unique, engaging content you are bound to eventually receive comments from visitors and generate interest. This will be noticed by search engines like Google, that deploy clever widgets to wiz around the internet scouring for popular, unique content from websites – especially if your article addresses a problem or answers a question someone is searching for via Google. Clever stuff!
Similarly, the flip-side of this is that you should never, ever ‘cut & paste’ articles from other websites. By doing so you will be heavily penalised by Google and could also end up in court for copyright infringement.
If you wish to “[quote]” someone else’s work – make sure you get permission from the website owner (or author) and attribute it to them. Most websites and authors will be more than happy to be quoted in your article and/or mentioned on your website. Some may even link to your article on their website – which will help increase traffic to your website. But do check first!
You can start a website for free using a service (platform) like WordPress. They have two options, one which is free and hosted for you and one that you setup yourself.
If you wish to earn money from your website, links, promotions and/or recommendations then you really do need to go the wordpress.org route, so you might as well start with it.
Domain names can be bought and renewed relatively cheaply, but it will take time to find something that suits your website and is available.
Hosting your website (where everything is stored from your styles, colours, photos, articles etc.) is now cheap. You can pay more for a faster service, bigger ‘brain’ and fancy other stuff later – once your website has grown and justifies further expense.
You do not need to design the website yourself. Even via wordpress.org there are thousands of free ‘Themes’ that help you style your website just the way you want it.
I spent hundreds of $$$ in the past buying fancy ‘Premium’ Themes to style my website, and have purchased numerous ‘Premium’ Plugins (which are like magic widgets) to add extra functionality to my website. Considering I never did anything much more than launch a website and then loose interest after a while, this was a complete and utter waste of money.
“There are now many free WordPress Themes available that are extremely versatile and professional looking – You do not need to spend extra on a premium Theme or fancy Plugins when you’re starting out”
Buying fancy Themes & Plugins will just over-complicate your life and give you headaches. You only ever see ‘Demos’ of all this fancy stuff working like a dream – but the reality is that they regularly clash with one another, stop working or never produce the end result you were hoping for. Again: KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Spend your time writing interesting, thought provoking content and not messing about with the mechanics of running your website. If you’re any good, you will make enough money to pay someone else to do that. Eventually!
”The more NO’S! you get – the closer you are to a YES!nakedexpatStripped back to basics
There is life offline, away from the internet. Give yourself regular breaks and enjoy life. Your offline experiences will help you online.