How to start a blog from scratch

How to start a blog and why I changed my niche to being a Sheffield Blogger

Well hello there stranger I'm Alice, you may remember me from such previous blogs as 'Alice Megan' or various other pseudonyms and designs over the years. I've recently completely changed and relaunched my blog as a Sheffield Blogger. It's basically been like starting a blog from scratch so I thought the best first post on my new journey is to explain why I changed my niche and how to start a blog from scratch

Peace Gardens Sheffield

Why am I relaunching my blog?

Good question, after all my blog was steady I was posting regular content but I felt pressured. I blogged for the wrong reasons I was making content that I felt I needed to rather than what I wanted to write. I didn't have a niche, a structure and it was free for all. I was writing but losing love for it. I decided to reflect and relaunch and follow a new path, a path that feels more natural as a Sheffield lifestyle blogger. I was born in Sheffield and lived here all my life, so I am in a great position to be able to write about Sheffield.  From what's on in Sheffield, where to go in Sheffield and where to eat in Sheffield, plus so much more. Once I'd decided on my new niche and direction it was time to relaunch

How to start a blog

Relaunching a blog was like starting from scratch all over again. I had to go back to the roots of my blogging journey to remember how to start a blog. What steps I needed to take to make the relaunch a success and how I can attract traffic to my new niche. I had an idea of how I wanted my new blog to look and feel and the little tinkering elements I needed to change to get there. Here are my 5 top tips for how to start a blog successfully 

1) Blog Hosting 

Before you get into finer details the first decision you need to make when starting a new blog is where to host the blog. There are a few different avenues to go down but I'd say the majority of bloggers tend to choose either Wordpress or Blogger. If you're new to blogging and looking at how to start a blog I highly recommend trialling both free blog options. Have a play with the system and interface to decide which you prefer. Many people will tell you that you HAVE to use Wordpress to be successful but that is not the case.

Wordpress absolutely gives you a wider format allowing for customisation, personal coding and helpful tools such as Yoast SEO. I personally use Blogger and have always preferred to as I find it much simpler. I use a vanity URL from 123reg to direct my content and lose the aspect of my URL - this gives my blog a much more professional look.

Don't feel stuck with your first decision if you start a blog on blogger and find your feet there are plenty of opportunities to migrate across to Wordpress as you grow and develop
If you're starting from scratch or planning a relaunch you'll be starting again deciding where to host your blog whether you choose WordPress or blogger I recommend trialing both free blog versions to decide which interface you prefer. There are arguments for both, WordPress offers a lot more opportunities for customisation but I personally use blogger as I find it much simpler, I just use a vanity URL from 123reg to redirect my content and lose the aspect of my URL

2) Decide on a design

Now you've decided on a hosting platform for your blog it's time to decide how you would like your blog to look like. There are countless designs you can have on your blog, it's really important you decide what elements you absolutely need such as social media widgets, menu bars across the top of your blog, etc. etc. The most important thing you absolutely MUST do is pick a responsive design. 

Most people will consume your blog posts on a mobile device, so it is absolutely crucial for both SEO and traffic that your blog looks and performs well on a mobile device, without this, you will really suffer.

The blog-design I bought from Syncboost on Etsy and I was thrilled with how easy the customisation was and the ease of the included 'how to' guide. It allowed me to upload my personalised header and really make the blog look like my own. At less than £10 too it was really affordable

3) Content is king

You can have the most professional looking blog in the whole world but the most important thing to focus on when looking to start a blog is your content. Content is the driving force of your blog, it's the reason people are visiting and ultimately it's the reason whether traffic stays or bounces straight off your blog

Before you launch your blog have a strong plan and editorial calender. I recommend having 10 posts ready to publish as soon as you launch, this gives your readers a good feel for the content you're going to produce and whether they want to subscribe to your blog. It gives readers something to read, somewhere to go and a reason to return to your blog. Once you have your 10 posts it's important you develop a schedule for your posting. A regular post timeline means your readers know when to expect something new to read. 

Once you've established a post timeline and schedule focus in on an editorial calender, I try and plan a month ahead with any key posts I know I want to write, evergreen content that will keep readers returning and any key holiday dates that will drive traffic so I'm prepared well in advance in terms of what I need to write

4) Google Analytics

Starting off right is the best way to start a blog. Installing google analytics is one of the most important things you will do. It may not seem it at first when you're just starting out and have a small amount of traffic but it will provide so many insights into how people are reaching your blog, which blog posts are doing well and bringing traffic and which search queries are causing click-throughs to your content. This should help you decide what content to produce more of and what your readers actually want 

I'd also recommend setting up Google Search Console and Google Ads , these are invaluable when creating content and deciding on the best keywords for your new blog

5) Social Media

Blogging is so much more than hitting publish and hoping, it requires hard work, dedication and a lot of social media activity too. Once you've got your new blog ready to launch you should make sure you have the social media channels set up to promote it. 

Decide which social media channels you want to focus on, but I'd recommend setting up an account on as many as possible just in case you decide you'd like that later. That way you've reserved the usernames you want and can maintain brand consistency throughout. It's important your social media platforms are recognisable as yours. My username on social media is AliceinSheff so it does not matter whether you go to twitter, Instagram or Pinterest my username, profile image, and bio are the same. It helps to reflect your blog and also build a brand, you become recognisable which helps your traffic and promotion

And that's my top 5 tips for how to start a blog, you should now be at a point where your blog is set up ready to launch, you have a bank of 10 posts, your analytics is set up and active and your social media profiles are ready to be used - now it's over to you!

How to start a blog

What else would you like to know about starting a blog from scratch?


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