What is a blog and where to start

From the beginning

A question that I personally get asked on a weekly basis is “what is a blog?” My answer is always as follows: a blog is a connection point. It is a way for a business owner to:

  • Grow a community around their business.
  • Connect with their followers.
  • Share their passion, knowledge and products.

Blogging is so much more than setting up a website, writing a bunch of words and hoping someone reads them. Incorporating a blog into your marketing plan could just be what tips the scales for you and your business.

Related: How to set up a WordPress blog

The 4 steps of successful blogging

There are many ways to start a blog, but these are the four essential steps.

  1. Choosing the right topics to write about.

  2. Writing your first post.

  3. Adding images and video.

  4. Publishing and promoting your blog post.

Sound like something you can do? Keep reading for all the details.

Nike has it right: just do it

What is a Blog Runner on Blacktop
Don’t spend too much time over the details. The important thing is just to start.

The biggest hurdle I have seen with entrepreneurs starting blogs is getting started. Some business owners tend to make things more difficult than they need to be (possibly because we are perfectionists). But adding a blog to your website can be as easy as creating a new section in your website menu that links to a page with all your posts or blog entries.

Just start. You can always revise your setup as you go.

 

Blogging doesn’t require much money; all it really takes is time. The following are some tips to help you get started.

Editor’s note: Adding a blog to a Website Builder site or Online Store takes just a few clicks.

Choosing the right topics to write about

When starting your blog, one of the firsts tasks that you must tackle is deciding what to write about. The best approach is to write about a topic that:

You are passionate about

People will follow you because of who you are and the passion you have for what you do. If there is no passion in your writing, readers won’t stay to read your posts. Creating posts that are unique to your business will show you as an educator in your field and make readers want to learn from you.

You just cannot stop talking about

When we love to talk about a certain topic, we never run out of things to say. We could go on and on for hours. Blogging is the same, only it is in the written word.

You like to research

Even though you have a wealth of knowledge about a certain topic, make sure it is one that you enjoy learning more about. Blogging requires sharing a steady stream of tips, tricks and resources with your community.

Related: Tips for content that will bring new customers to your business

2. Writing your first post

Once you have your blog set up and you have a list of topics to write about, it’s time to write your first blog post. This first one can be time-consuming, simply because it is your first entry. These tips should help.

Share your why

The best way to start your blog is to share your mission and your message. Help readers understand what they will find when they visit your blog and how reading it will improve their lives.

Know your audience

It is important to know who you are wanting to attract to your blog. Make a list of who your readers are and their qualities (i.e. gender, age, profession, marital and family status). This is relevant to know as you wouldn’t talk to a senior the same way you would talk to a teenager.

Forget the numbers (at first)

In business, it is vital that you know your numbers — except when you start blogging. Sure, it’s great to know how many people are reading your blog entries and which posts are the most popular.

When you are first starting out, focus on writing — and writing a lot.

There is nothing worse than pouring hours of effort into a blog, then watching the statistics and no one is reading or engaging with your blog. Forget the numbers and just keep writing and posting to your blog.

Think of it as a library of helpful information you’re creating for future readers. Once search engines have catalogued all your posts, they’ll start serving them up to people looking for that information (aka: your future customers). So write on.

3. Adding images and video

What is a Blog Person Shooting Video on Mobile
Video is a surefire way to get people to check out your blog posts.

Writing a blog is largely about the words you are sharing. However, adding images and video to your posts will make them more attractive. Images are like eye candy — they create emotion in the reader. A few tips:

Keep your camera close by

As you live life, you will find inspiration all around you. You’ll see something and think ‘I should blog about that.’ Take a lot of photos as you go, since you want to make sure you captured the right one when you sit down to write.

Natural light is your best friend

Try to use natural light versus your camera flash. Natural light adds a vivid element to your photos. If you are using props or products, try taking the photos near a window to allow the natural light to help you.

Make it personal

Your readers want to see what you do when you are not sharing content with them. Inviting them into your life to see what it looks like behind the scenes will foster trust and engagement. Your readers will be able to relate to you on a different level, which will bring them back for more.

Related: 3 easy small business videos you can make today

4. Publishing and promoting your blog post

Now that you have written your post and included images and/or video, it is time to share it with the world. Yes, this is a scary moment, but so worth it. When you start to attract readers and they begin engaging with you, you will know that starting a blog was the right decision.

One big question is ‘how often do I post on my blog and share posts on social media?’ Use these tips to create the readership you are striving for.

Consistency over quantity

If they like what you produce, readers will start to look forward to when new posts will be released. Whether you choose to write once, twice or five times a week, the most important part is that you are consistent in your posting.

Scheduling your post to go out on the same day each week helps create consistency.

What is a Blog Scheduling Frequency
It doesn’t matter how often you post, only that it’s regular.

If you are writing about distinct topics, you could release one topic on a certain day of the week and the second topic on a different day of the week. For example, you could share your health posts on Mondays and meal-planning tips on Fridays.

Share often on social media

You have invested time and energy into creating a great post for your blog and sharing it only once through your social media channels just won’t cut it.

Create a record of which posts you are sharing and when you are sharing them. Make each social media post for the same blog post unique. So if you have five tips in your blog post, you can create a social media post for each tip. This gives you five opportunities to get your post in front of readers.

Encourage your readers to share

The best way for you to grow your readership is to ask your community of readers to share your posts. Asking for a ‘like,’ a comment or a social share is also a great way for your post to gain attention naturally.

What is a blog in summary

Starting a blog doesn’t have to be hard — it’s fun to share your thoughts in a forum where people want to read them and engage with you. Just make sure that you choose topics that you’re passionate about, understand the people you want to engage with and share your blog posts on social media. You have something special to say. Trust me, there are people out there waiting to see what that is.

Sara Clarke
Sara Clarke is a multiple business owner, speaker, author and columnist. She has over 20 years’ experience in business consulting and accounting. Sara founded Martin Clarke & Associates in 2001, where she now oversees the operations. She is also Chief Operating Officer of Mompreneurs(R), an international organization that supports, educates and celebrates female entrepreneurs. Sara speaks throughout North America on time management, money mindset, business development, bookkeeping and Mompreneurs. As a wife of 17 years and a mom of four boys, Sara has a passion to help entrepreneurs to be their own boss, set their own hours, travel their own journey and be there for their families. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.