It’s surprising to learn how many supposedly modern phenomena trace their origins back to the 1990s.
Mobile web browsing, camera phones and WiFi are all examples of activities launched in the Nineties, but only popularised many years later.
To this list, we can add blogging.
The word ‘blog’ was coined in 1999, as a contraction of the established term ‘weblog’ – also a concept developed in the early Nineties.
The word ‘weblog’ is a self-explanatory term for using the internet to publish a regular online log of events or activities.
And millions of people have decided to become a blogger in the subsequent decades.
In the final days of 1999, there were believed to be less than a hundred blogs on the internet. By 2006, there were 50 million.
Today, the number of blogs in existence is impossible to calculate, though estimates suggest the true number could be as high as 600 million.
Entering “blog” into Google returns ten billion results, and even narrowing it down by industry doesn’t help much, with blue-chip corporate sites dominating results.
This is clearly a saturated market, which might discourage you from wanting to become a blogger.
However, there are still ways to establish yourself…
- Identify a niche. A fashion blog will struggle for traction in an ocean of similar content, but some topics always benefit from new voices, like mental health and adoption.
- Examine your rivals. How often do people in your chosen field upload blogs? What’s good about their work, and what could you do differently/better/more professionally?
- Launch a dedicated website. Your own site boosts SEO and gives you full control over design and content. WordPress and Wix offer rookie-friendly site building and hosting.
- Choose a website name relevant to your topic. A site’s URL is one of the main ways people identify its content; www.myocdbattle.co.uk has a very clear target audience.
- Assemble a stockpile of original content. Quickly increase the site’s content as soon as it’s live. This gives people a reason to visit and stay on the site for longer, boosting SEO.
- Be professional. You don’t need to obey the AP writing style or adopt the Oxford comma. But you do need to proofread, spellcheck and fact-check every blog before publishing.
- Publicise the site. Set up accounts with a relevant name on every social media platform, including Reddit and Instagram. Promote every blog upload, and contribute to existing debates.
- Encourage interaction. Blogs live or die by the level of engagement with regular readers. Allow and respond to genuine comments, with a spam filter in place to stop junk posts.
- Involve other people. Invite people to contribute guest blogs and do interviews. Avoid sponsored posts, known as affiliate marketing, which dilute your control over content.
- Write from experience. Not only is this difficult for cynics to refute, it’s also your most unique attribute. Nobody else has your experiences or knowledge, so share it.
- Use images. Check your phone for decent-quality photos to publish beside each blog to boost engagement. You can also obtain copyright-free images on sites like Unsplash.
- Avoid bitterness. It’s easy to turn a blog into a rant, but audiences will quickly lose interest. Try to be balanced, criticising when it’s deserved without personal attacks.
- Keep at it! Most blogs end up abandoned in cyberspace, but persistence pays off. Regular updates show search engines you’re still committed to the site, boosting ranking results.