The Essentials of Blogging23.12.14
THE BLOG Domain Buy a domain for your blog. A "dot com" looks far more professional plus it will make links easier and neat...
Buy a domain for your blog. A "dot com" looks far more professional plus it will make links easier and neater to share. Even if you already have a domain for your business, keeping the two separate means you benefit from enhanced SEO. (Please don't listen to people who say one blogging platform is "far superior" than another, all of them have their pros and cons - read up and find the right one for you.)
Mailing lists are golden. Mailing lists allow you to access the people who really love your blog and want to hear what you've got to say, so much so they let you into their inbox. If you intend to monetize, you need to set one up immediately. Even if you don't want to monetize, there are a whole heap of ways you can use them to reach out to your readers.
An Adequate Commenting System
If you want people to comment, don't make it hard for them. Pick a system that provides multiple sign-in options and sends notifications when a comment or response has been left.
Basic HTML Knowledge
Learn how to write posts in HTML, code links, insert images, format posts, and tweak your layout. Trust me, as someone whose job used to be making websites, learning these basics is easier (and less frustrating) than relying on someone else to do it for you.
Informative About Page
Who are you? What's your job? What do you blog about? How can we get in touch with you? Write a brief but informative about page and make sure you answer all those questions everybody always asks including links to a few of your most popular posts.
This is super important if you accept any type of PR request including sponsored content, advertising, and/or samples. Be clear, transparent, and open about your policy; honesty is always the best policy.
If you're interested in seeing who is visiting you site, how many visitors your blog gets, how they're finding your content, what your most popular posts are, and who is linking to your site - Google Analytics is the best tool available although it requires patience and research to understand.
A Consistent Format
Find a format for your posts that you love and stick to it. Check your line-spacing, keep paragraphs short; make your posts as easy to read as possible.
Notebook & Pen
Ideas come whenever they feel like it, keep a notebook and pen with you wherever you go.
Digital Note Keeping
For more in-depth note taking or for when you need to work on the finer points of an idea, find a digital method that works for you; it's far easier to amend digital notes than it is written ones. I use Evernote to organise ideas, write up posts, and "clip" reference articles.
An editorial calendar provides an overview of content, helps generate post ideas and key topics, enables you to visualise content marketing, and allows easy in-process adjustments. Scheduling ahead makes it easy to stay consistent and productive with blogging.
You really don't need anything fancy (especially if all you're using it for is simple shots), just something with decent specs that you feel comfortable using. I take photographs with a Canon 550d for most of my blog posts but I take a more compact Canon PowerShot out with me everywhere I go - both of which are relatively old cameras but with good specs.
Tripod & Remote
Two super useful yet inexpensive tools that every blogger should own.
You can have the best camera in the world but the real power is in the editing. Adobe Photoshop is expensive and can be tough to learn if you've never used it before, however, it's absolutely worth it. Other editing suites offer various tools but none are quite as extensive as Adobe Photoshop.
External Hard Drive
Back. Everything. Up. You only need to experience losing every photograph you've ever taken once to realise how stupid it is not to back files up.