“Write from your heart and your soul. Write to the ones who ask the questions. If they knew the answers, they would not be looking. Introduce yourself. Let your writing spearhead networking for you.” ~ Maria Lehtman
Do you have a story within you? I have always believed that we do not have to create stories. Life creates them, and we call them out to the open. If anyone feels like they should be writing these stories out they should. Life is no longer about writing notes to the darkness where they remain unnoticed, unheard. Someone out there needs the very thoughts you are thinking about writing. However, beginning the journey may not be easy. It is a threshold to transparency, exposure to the world. To an extent, it feels like conquering a new world altogether.
What do you need to start a blog?
1. The right tool is a beginning
Why? It is like putting an empty notebook in front of you and beginning to write on it. It calls to be filled up. So start with a basic blog site. If you want to try writing before investing time in any other media, you might want to write blogs on Medium. It requires a simple login, one image, and a post. Writing on LinkedIn is just as easy, and I would say quite a safe place to write about B2B topics. Stay courteous on the platform, and people will follow-suite. Here is a good post about LinkedIn: 8 Steps for Writing a Smart LinkedIn Article
What you cannot expect is a large follower count from the very beginning, unless you happen to hit a viral nerve. Some do, but it is like waiting for a lottery ticket. And even with one viral piece, you need to keep the mill up and running with other successful posts.
I chose WordPress free plan from the very beginning because of its position on the market and the features it offered for paid options for a later phase. I did not have a lot of time for the investigation. I signed in an out from several tools with free web site designs to see what worked and then made the fully managed WP my home. The reason was simple: to be quick about it. Get passed the ‘select-the-platform’ and move to write. Here is the 2019 review about best blog site builders.
2. Choose your theme with your personal brand mind
Choosing your theme: In the very beginning, on most sites, you can choose from readily available and free themes. The difficulty is that changing the theme often requires a complete backup and reload of your content. So choose wisely. Decide what priority you want to have on your site: images, other media like videos and podcasts, or writing – or should the side be balanced with media and writing? What other tools would you connect to it, and how would that work with the web platform you choose?
Choosing your approach: Consider if your site is just about blogging or would you want to expand it for commercial offers later on, or perhaps forums. The holistic approach may have a significant impact on your decision. However, it does not have to be decided necessarily on your first run. Some keep the WordPress site as the blogging platform and move the leading site to another platform that best works for the specific requirements. I used to run my website with a hosted webshop at the back of it. It was a straightforward approach. Keeping a managed service has helped me keep the website secure and spam comments off the site.
Choosing your image: The most important one is letting the theme reflect who you are. Select your layout from the free themes catalog, insert pictures from your photography or browse around for free, commercially available image banks. If you photograph, many people would rather see your unique style than bank images. However, it is good to be relevant, so I always prefer combining both approaches and paying for images access if I find something I especially like. Please find a few image bank ideas on this post: 20 Sites to Get Free Stock Images for Commercial Use.
Choosing your brand: Everything above and what you select to write as content should stem from your brand. If you have not given this topic a thought yet the following questions might be of use:
- What are your core values?
- What are you most passionate about?
- What can you offer to help other people, peers, friends to be more successful?
- What do you consider will make an impact on people’s well being and future?
- What do you excel at?
- Who you admire or follow to be motivated?
- What makes you most inspired?
- How would you translate all of the above if you had to choose three main themes and 10 images?
- And don’t forget a good portrait and a short bio about you
3. Write, write and write some more
I saw an artist on LinkedIn say on his life experience that he had made a million brushstrokes. I loved that expertise line on his CV. Writing is what makes you the champion in the end. Stay true to your values. Be authentic. You hear that word all the time: it simply means, be yourself and remember to be kind – kind to yourself and others.
Writing translates part of our communication. With videos, images, and other media, you can increase the chances of your unique voice to be heard. Why not make a few podcasts, music if you are a guitar hero or a singer, a poet? Humor is good, but it does not translate to all cultures, politics are a hot potato, they quickly divide the audience. Try to find a voice that translates to your audience, and preferably to an audience as diverse as possible in the genre you want to reach. It is a big world out there, after all.
4. So how do you kick off your blogging in two days?
- Choose your managed website provider
- Select your user name (not ‘administrator,’ but what you use to login to the tool)
- Select your site/blog name. Many people start with their name, or their account name already on other public media and later on create a personal domain (WordPress charges a small extra fee per month for a customized domain name). It is easier to choose once you know what type of blogging is your mainstream.
- Choose your theme/layout
- Select your images to customize the template for the banners (In WP you can, e.g., choose the banner images to rotate)
- Write a few thematic headers: About you, your two to three main writing topics, how to contact you, and what defines you, what is your experience and goal of the site
- Pull in a few widgets from your other media, like Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram feeds
- Start writing out your first blog. It is easiest to start with a daily or weekly theme of, e.g., 500 words and an image
- Select categories – these could be the same as your thematic, for example, Best Travel Locations, Cooking Class, Mental Health, Be Mindfull, Career Guide
- Remember to add keywords, i.e., tags for people to find your site and blogs
- If you have any existing writing, blogs, anecdotes, quotes, etc. you can quickly schedule several posts to come out during the week
- Whenever in doubt, Google it or look for videos on YouTube! And ask for support from the website provider. 24/7 online (chat) support was one of my criteria for selecting a platform.
It will take you a little time to toggle around the new website features, but if you choose a managed website, you do not need any coding expertise to set it all up. I did mine (The Digital Teacup) over one weekend, including the first blogs and posts about my site and publications. After that, I continued with 2-3 monthly articles and several weekly short poetry posts, and travel or nature videos.
If you have more questions: see if this post is helpful: Frequently Asked Questions on The Digital Teacup.
Don’t hesitate to drop a note if you have questions after reading the posts.
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ~ Louis L’Amour
More quotes about writing: 18 Motivational Quotes To Bring Out The Writer In You.
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Socialmeditoday.com I https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/2015-02-27/20-sites-get-free-stock-images-commercial-use
The Digital Teacup I https://thedigitalteacup.com/frequently-asked-questions/
Medium, Roshane de Silva I https://writingcooperative.com/18-motivational-quotes-to-bring-out-the-writer-in-you-ea3e61c93734