You don’t have to be a famous author to get published – you just need a spare 10 minutes once in a while to start your blogging journey and, who knows, maybe earn a little extra on the side. Here’s what you need to know…
Log on to a host blogging site, such as wordpress.com or blogger.com. Register, build a profile, then choose a template from the range on offer and you’re ready to start. These sites are usually free, but if you want technical support, you can sign up for a paid account.
- Think about the name of your blog – it sums up what you’re about. For example, ‘myfashionlife.com’ gives an instant idea of the content.
- Anyone can access your site, but your password means only you can edit posts.
- Make it easy to read. A simple format with black text on a white background is ideal.
- Have good headlines. They’ll appear in Google searches along with the first couple of sentences of posts, so make these punchy.
- Use pictures, but if they’re not yours, make sure you get permission to use them.
- Aim to post about three times a week to keep users coming back.
- Be active: comment on other people’s blogs by subscribing to their site. Use the name of your blog as your username, so they can comment on yours, too. Blogging connects like-minded people, from fellow foodies to those who like politics. Communities grow through people joining in online discussions.
At its most basic, a blog is like an online diary. You don’t have to be a writer, but you must have something to say. Choose a topic – such as cooking or gardening – that comes naturally to you, as the best blogs are written by those who are passionate about their subject.
…but think before you type
Most people are wary of posting pictures of their children or revealing where they live. Also remember that when writing about everyday life, you will mention people. Ask yourself, would I say this to their face? Your husband might be fine with you mentioning an argument, but your in-laws might not.
Can you make money?
We can’t promise it’ll make you a fortune, but there are ways to get cash rolling in…
- Review Products: Marketing staff trawl through the blogosphere for good, popular sites related to products their clients want to promote, and then send these bloggers products to review. Blog at least three times a week to get known.
- Keep Current: Use Google Ads’ Keyword Planner tool (sign up for free), which reveals how many people are searching for particular terms. Things change, so review regularly.
- Become an Expert: Keep abreast of developments in your field. If you’re the go-to person in your field, advertisers and readers will come flocking.
- Promote Yourself: google.com/adsense (free) uses word searches to match possible advertisers to your blog.
5 award-winning local blogs to check out
- For inspiring crafting and home/garden DIY ideas, see acraftymix.com/blog
- For fabulous recipes, plus restaurant reviews, see Samantha Linsell’s drizzleanddip.com
- For fans of lifestyle blogs, interested in reading about everything from recipes to travel, see lefamishedcat.co.za and inspiredlivingsa.co.za
- For light-hearted musings on motherhood, plus tips on great buys for moms, see justamamma.com
- For a blend of lifestyle and parenting pieces, mostly journaling one family’s adventures travelling across SA in a campervan, see 3kids2dogsand1oldhouse.co.za
Words Vanessa Harris. Additional words Stacey Love