Starting off a blog can be a daunting task, made even worse when you try to get some tips online. There’s hundreds of books, very expensive online courses and thousands more webpages dedicated to telling you exactly how to make the ‘best most successful blog that ever existed’. But when I started up my blog it was on a complete whim, I just dived in and learnt a lot of things along the way. So over the last four or so years I’ve slogged my way through mistakes and hiccups to have the website that I have today. But on the positive side it’s shown me that some of these ‘blogging tips’ are pretty BS. So if you like my blog, hopefully you’ll find this article inspiring but if you think my blog is a load of crap well maybe this article will provide you with some much needed vindication.
Make Sure your Name Reflects your Content!
Probably one of the more obvious ones, but it’s always been recommended to have a name that is related to your content. Supposedly it’s supposed to help with SEO and all that jazz, and I monumentally stuffed it up with a blog called Two Happy Cats. My blog has nothing to do with cats, besides the pictures of my cats in my ‘about me’ section. I don’t talk about cat grooming, cat behaviour, nothing. My blog probably should have been called something like Two Happy Otakus or Two Otome Cats. BUT I don’t like that name, I love that my blog is called Two Happy Cats, I think it’s a cute name with a cute logo. And despite the ‘confusing’ name, I still manage to get a decent amount of visitors each day, who like the content that I write. So ultimately a name is kinda important, but what you actually put out under that name is what’s gonna draw in readers.
Only Focus on One Niche!
Over the last few months I’ve been frequenting a few blogging forums to learn from my peers. Every week or so a newbie blogger will spring up and say something like “I want to write a blog about music…how do I start?” and all the regulars will go “WELL! You can’t write about MUSIC, you have to be specific! You gotta talk about indie folk rock music ONLY or ONLY about music in Australia.” But gosh doesn’t that sound absolutely boring?
When I introduce my blog to people I say it’s an Otaku focussed blog, I’ve got manga, anime and visual novels reviews on it, but also some random stuff. Recently, I’ve done unboxing reviews of subscription boxes, sometimes I write blogging tips posts like this one, heck I even did a post about a plus size J-fashion store going global in September last year! Essentially I write what I enjoy writing about, and if I enjoy writing it, I’m sure my audience will enjoy reading it. No point forcing yourself to only write about certain topics, everyone has more than one interest! Your blog is there for you to express yourself.
Branding, Branding, Branding!!
Perhaps this is more a tip for small businesses, but heaps of websites talk about ‘branding’ your site. For those who are unsure of the term, ‘branding’ is essentially creating an ‘image’ or association about your blog with your readers. So a simple way to explain it – if you see a big yellow ‘M’ most of the time you’ll think of McDonalds – that’s branding. It’s a way to identify who you are and set you apart from competitors. In June 2016 I changed my blog from Kuro Sama Reviews to Two Happy Cats, with the name change came a logo and a domain, and then I stopped. The ‘look’ of my site is a bit of a mix and match set up, there’s no real colour scheme and even in this post there’s a combination of anime and non-anime gifs!
For social media branding, I have no idea what’s going on with my Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. I once tried to update my Instagram to have some semblance of continuity, but gave up completely after a month or so. Some websites suggest only using ONE filter across ALL photos, or a colour scheme – I don’t have the energy for that. But I guess my readers put up with my ugly butt because (hopefully) the content shines through!
Essentially what I’m trying to say in this post – is write whatever the heck you want to write, and design your website how you want it to be. Do what you want. Blogging can be tough and tedious at the best of times, there’s no point being bogged down by worrying about how fancy everything is and what you could be doing wrong. One blogging success tip I will endorse is that ‘content is king’. What you write is what defines your blog, so focus on making fun and interesting articles and people will flock to you!