Looking for a creative way to kick-start 2016? Blogging is a great way to explore an interesting topic, practice your writing skills and expand your virtual network. Whether you’re new to the scene or already juggling multiple blogs, here are some tips for starting a new one in the new year.
Pick a Blogging Platform
There are lots of options to choose from, and WordPress ranks among the best for its customizable templates and widgets. It’s user friendly, highly versatile and ideal for first-time bloggers. If you’re a skilled developer, you can code your way through any template to create a design that’s uniquely yours. While the most basic .com platform is free, a premium business account gives you access to features such as Google Analytics (more on that later). Do your research and compare a few other top ranking sites — including Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, Squarespace — to decide which platform best suits your needs.
What Inspires You?
Coming up with a theme for your blog is easy. Do you love movies, travelling or photography? A personal blog is perfect for exploring an area you’re passionate about. If you run a business, a corporate blog can help you engage with clients and stakeholders. Can you provide a unique twist on an industry trend? Do you invest in or give back to your community? Whatever the topic, it should reflect your personal interests and engage readers.
Many blogging platforms offer their own basic analytics tool, and Google Analytics is one of the best for measuring data in greater detail. You can track various viewer demographics and how many daily click-throughs you get. Knowing your audience is key, since this information can help you connect with your readers, tailor your content and build relationships with followers. If your blog draws the most traffic every Monday at 10 a.m., for instance, get into the habit of publishing posts at the beginning of every week – or even configure your blog’s settings to automatically do it for you. Read more about getting the most out of your metrics here.
You’ve finished your first post – now make your voice heard. Blogging platforms can be connected to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other popular social media sites. Tweeting, “liking,” reblogging and commenting are great ways to start a conversation with friends, peers, clients and other bloggers to boost your online presence with measurable results. Sure, you might just be sharing another post about your favourite cat video, but if you’re using your blog as a tool to showcase your portfolio or attract new clients, a strong following on social media helps set you apart from the crowd. Take advantage of these free tools and use them to develop your own personal brand. Your blog can be seen by anyone, including potential employers, so be strategic with what you share and how you share it.