Whether you’re a foodie fanatic or an avid film buff, blogging is great for sharing your passion with the world.
It’s fun, hugely rewarding, and can help you create an entire community of like-minded people who share your passion.
There’s never been a better time to get started either.
With a huge availability of free content management systems and marketing tools, blogging is an easy and accessible hobby that anyone can get started with.
It’s so easy in fact that you can start your very own community blog in just 30 days.
Read on to find out how.
Recommended reading: You Are Doing It All Wrong! Here’s How To Get More Blog Traffic
Day 1: Find your niche
You can’t start a journey without first knowing where you’re going. To that end, you need to first identify what exactly you’re going to be writing about — your niche.
For you, this is going to be something you’re passionate about.
The best community blogs are written by people who have a real zest for what they do. They live and breathe their niche, so they love writing about it.
Have a good think about what you’re passionate about. It doesn’t even need to be a broad topic such as football or film — you could get even more specific than that.
There are blogs dedicated to helping musicians auditioning for orchestra jobs, female musicians seeking careers, and even blogs aimed at helping churches with their digital marketing.
Find your passion… then find your niche! Once you’ve found it, you can choose a name for your blog.
Stuck for ideas? Try this free blog name generator for inspiration.
Day 2: Choose your platform
Next, you need to choose your platform (also known as a “content management system”).
This can be difficult, simply because there’s so many blogging platforms available for you to choose from: TypePad, Drupal, Gawker, Tumblr, Movable Type… the list is virtually endless.
But if the rest of the blogging world is anything to go by, WordPress is the most popular platform by far.
It’s got a huge library of plugins and widgets for you to help develop and grow your blog, as well as a dizzying number of themes and designs to suit any tastes.
Of course, which platform you choose is ultimately up to you, but here are a few things to consider:
- Is it easy to use? If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to choose a platform that’s straightforward and intuitive.
- Does it have a good range of plugins? To really get the most out of your blog, you’ll want to add extra features such as contact forms and SEO apps.
- What’s the support like? If you’re a novice to blogging, you might want a platform that offers good customer support for when things get tricky.
Do some research and ask around on forums to decide which platform is right for you. Remember, once you’ve chosen a platform, it can be arduous changing it further down the line!
Days 3-6: Hosted or self-hosting?
Another aspect of choosing a blog you need to consider is your hosting. Put simply, this refers to where all the data for your blog is kept.
Some content management systems (such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Tumblr) are hosted, meaning the platform hosts the site for you.
You don’t need to pay any extra, and there’s no technical wizardry required on your part.
However, hosted sites come with some downsides.
You often don’t get your own domain name, instead using a branded one e.g. www.greatblog.wordpress.com.
Some platforms do let you have your own domain name, but this will cost you extra.
Self-hosted sites on the other hand give you much more freedom with the design and structure of your website, as well as your own domain name.
However, this often requires some technical expertise, not to mention further financial investment.
You can find plenty of hosting services like Best Hosting and Design to host your website on a fast and reliable server.
Spending a few days researching which is best for you. Ultimately, it’s up to you, although beginners to blogging should probably go with the affordability and support of self-hosting.
Days 7-13: Choose a theme
Looks aren’t everything… but they’re certainly something. The way your blog looks helps convey to your audience what you’re about through visuals alone.
For example, if you’re blogging about travel, a theme featuring photos of gorgeous mountain vistas or stunning waterfalls immediately lets your readers know just what you’re about.
Of course, looking good isn’t as simple as that. You should also go for themes that look clean and professional.
It’s not the Nineties, and cluttered designs full of tacky colors and ClipArt images just don’t cut it anymore.
A messy design indicates messy content, and won’t create a community hub that your audience will return to.
Remember: less is more! A good community blog is one that has a strong visual identity, so take the time to get yours right.
You’ll also want to make sure the theme you choose is responsive — it needs to work across a range of devices.
Your readers will visit your blog from mobile and tablet devices, often more so than a desktop, so it’s important that your theme is user-friendly wherever it’s being seen.
Prices range from a few dollars up to the hundreds, so you’ll be sure to find something that suits you.
Days 14-20: Get your branding and marketing on-point
This is an important one: getting your blog seen.
This requires you to craft a solid marketing strategy that spans a range of channels. It’ll take a little effort, but it’s absolutely worth your time.
First off, you’ll need to create a social presence across a range of networks.
Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are great ways for you to connect with new audiences and get yourself noticed.
Join groups related to your niche and engage with people online, joining and creating conversations — it’s a great way to get your name out there.
You also need to think about how you’re going to brand your community blog.
You need to nail the branding aspects early on: think about visual elements like your logo, slogan, color scheme and fonts.
Ideally, you want your blog to turn into a recognizable brand, and consistently using these branding themes across your blog, social media posts and emails will reinforce your image.
You’ll also want to set up a strong email marketing strategy too. Use a lightbox pop-up widget to capture your readers’ email addresses and build your subscriber list.
Sending a regular newsletter can build your community by keeping people up-to-date and engaged with your latest posts.
Your marketing never rests. You should be continually tweaking and adjusting it to make sure your blog community continues to grow.
Days 21-29: Create your content
Your blog’s content is the most important aspect of all.
It’s the reason why your community will return to you time and time again, so you need to make sure it’s high-quality and readable.
Develop your own voice that is lively and engaging — you’re passionate about your niche, so let that passion shine through.
And don’t just stick to the typical blog format. Mix it up with video, images, and even infographics to deliver your passion in different ways.
Video in particular is popular with audiences online today, and is on the rise.
A diverse blog strategy will keep your audience hooked and create a strong community of readers for your niche.
Day 30 onwards: What next?
So you’ve created a strong blog with a community of avid readers who regularly visit your site for well-written, engaging content. What next?
You could continue to grow it by regularly delivering interesting, relevant blog posts and keeping your marketing flourishing.
Alternatively, you might find you can monetise your blog through a combination of affiliate links, inserting ads, or selling your own products or services..
There are plenty of bloggers who have turned their passion into a business.
Pet bloggers are the perfect example of how a niche community blog can blossom into a legitimate business.
Carol Bryant’s Fidose Of Reality started out as a passion project for everything canine.
Blogging regularly about pup wellness, training tips, and the dog owner lifestyle, Carol created a strong community hub of dedicated dog-lovers online.
Today, she sells a range of merchandise featuring everything from mugs to sweatshirts.
Take a look at any of the high-grossing pet shops for sale online and you’ll quickly find that many of them also started life as passion projects.
Many of these bloggers turned entrepreneur, gradually finding a solid source of income out of it.
Affiliate schemes, ad placements, and selling your own products are just a few of the ways you can turn your passion into a reliable source of income.
Get creative and think like an entrepreneur, and turn your community hub into a real business.
The key to building a true community blog is by updating it regularly and always engaging with your audience.
Reaching out to your readers to know you care will build a strong community that will stay with you for years to come. But wherever you decide to take your blog, always do it with passion.
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