It is a true privilege to live in a time where information is readily available and where freedom of speech is practiced vehemently on the internet (which is paradoxically both beautiful and sad, since many misuse this privilege). Many people are taking up the proverbial pen, and answering the call of the muses. A blog can be a great way to sate the appetite for creative expression and earn some money while you are at it or even serve as a training ground for aspiring writers. If you are creative person with a thing on two you feel you could share with the world, there are a few things you should consider before dropping everything and becoming a full-time blogger.
Write what you know
This is a huge cliché in the world of literature, but it is also the single most important piece of advice you can get. Sticking to what is close and relatable to your way of life, your experiences, interests, education, hobbies and practical skills is strongly advised for beginners. It will take you some time to “find your voice”, i.e. develop a signature style, as well as the mental discipline required for long hours of tedious research and typing thousands of words in one sitting. This is why it is advised to start with something you are already passionate about and enjoy learning more about in your free time. Staying in your comfort zone initially helps you build confidence, and develop your researching skills. Once you get comfortable with blogging on a regular basis
you can spread out to topics that you always found interesting, but didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to discuss. Have at least several months of detailed research under your belt before venturing into unexplored blogging territory.
Creative writing and grammar advice
The worse sin for a blogger is being too afraid or proud to ask for help. Most people think that just because they speak a language on a day-to-day basis, they automatically become versed in all the little nuisances of the written word. Grammar, semantics, vocabulary, style and proper form are all things that have to be revisited and worked upon. Luckily, the internet is chock full of dictionaries, grammar textbooks, creative writing tips
, thesauri of synonyms and many more useful tools that can help make you a better writer.
Finding the right hosting service for your blog
It is true that there are free web hosting options available to you, but these are generally not advised for anyone looking to set up a respectable blog. If you are serious about blogging you should register a domain with a company that has been around and offers a good service, but this doesn’t mean that their services need to be incredibly expensive either. What you are looking for is a cost-effective option, rather than a cheap one. So, what constitutes effectiveness? Well, a hosting company
will need to provide enough storage for your needs, sufficient bandwidth to allow for future growth, make it easy to set up and make changes to your website and, most importantly, a good host will be one that is secure and has a proven track record. Of course you need to check if they support the CMS you are using – most blogs use WordPress because of its simplicity, which we will discuss in the next paragraph.
If you wish to attract an audience and keep them coming back, the look and feel of your website will be as much of a factor as the quality of the content you put out. The best thing for a new blogger who has limited or no experience with programming is to use a user-friendly, fast and highly customizable platform. WordPress is your best bet as it allows you to paste Microsoft Word documents and edit text in pretty much the same way as you would in word. Adding pictures or other media is a breeze and you can shop around until you find a theme that suits you – many of them are available for free, but even the best looking ones won’t set you back more than $40-$50. Good WordPress plugins go for anywhere between $10 and $30, and can be used to modify the features on your website to make it more functional and appealing.
Keep these general points in mind if you are looking to start a blog. If you can take but one thing away with you after reading this article let it be this – it takes patience, careful planning, commitment and plenty of hard work to go become a serious blogger, so take baby steps at first and try to do things the smart way, rather than the quick way.
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