So you have a passion for health and are thinking about starting a blog. Great idea! Here are ten tips I've picked up in my five years of blogging to help you out. All of these tips can be applied to any type of blog you want to create, however I've focused mainly on health blogs for this post.
1. Decide what your 'niche' will be.
Maybe you're a runner who wants a space to write about your races. Or do you want to create healthy recipes? Are you a PT and want to share fitness tips and exercises? Perhaps you have a nutrition qualification and want to be an online health coach. Are you into wellbeing and natural remedies? Maybe you want to review healthy products. Or do you want to include a variety of posts so you don't feel restricted to talk about just one subject? (This is what I went for - my blog is a mixture of health tips, fitness inspiration, nutrition advice, recipes, reviews and more.)
2. Think about what you want your blog to achieve.
Do you aim to teach, inspire, entertain, educate, offer a service, or is it just a place to share your thoughts? Also think about how often you want to post. Consistency is important - maybe not so much at first, but definitely when you start to become more established. It's nice for your readers to know when to expect a new post and they may start to lose interest if your posts are few and far between. I aim to have a new post up every two days and I usually have about a week's worth scheduled or at least planned.
3. Read other blogs in your niche.
Before starting a blog, it's a good idea to suss out what's already out there and what other people are talking about. You may even get some inspiration for your own posts - however, don't steal other bloggers' ideas or blatantly copy their material. This is plagiarism and won't make you very popular in the blogging community.
4. Think of a name for your blog.
Try to make it one that describes what your blog is about and is easy to remember (and preferably one that you like. Before Nic's Healthy Life my blog was called Nic Spirational, which I quickly grew to regret - but not before I'd purchased the domain name nicspirational.co.uk and used it for my email address. D'oh.)
5. Decide which platform you will use.
Blogger and Wordpress are by far the most popular and both have their pros and cons. Do a little research online, ask other bloggers for their experiences with both and decide which will be the best fit for you and your blog.
6. Think about purchasing a domain name and blog layout.
This will show that you're serious about your blog and make you appear more professional if you're going to want to start working with brands in the future, although it's definitely not mandatory - especially if you only want your blog to be your personal space for sharing your thoughts and you're not thinking about monetising your site. I bought my domain from GoDaddy, but there are plenty of other inexpensive sites out there you could use. And again, before you fork out for a domain name, make sure you like it!
7. Write good quality posts.
Content is king! (I've always wanted to say that). Write with passion, about subjects that excite you - if you think a post is boring to write, it'll be even more tedious for others to read. Try to find your unique writing 'voice' and let your personality shine through in your posts - this will help your readers get to know you a little better. Add a touch of humour if you can, but don't force it. If you're not qualified in a certain subject, make sure you do a lot of research before you put your post out there. Interview experts in that field and find your information from reputable sources, such as medical journals. You might also think about letting other bloggers write guest posts for your site, about topics they're knowledgeable in. And always make sure you proof read and spell check your blog posts before hitting publish.
8. People love pictures.
Humans are visual creatures and prefer looking at attractive pictures to reading huge chunks of text. (As a matter of fact, I'm a little worried about how long this post is getting. Stick with me; just two more points to go!) Large photos are preferred by readers and photo-heavy posts often do well. However, you don't have to invest in an expensive camera to take blog photos if you can't afford one - even smartphones can take good quality photos these days, and you can always purchase stock pictures if you want to.
9. Promote your blog posts on social media.
It doesn't really matter how well crafted your posts are, or whether you have the most beautiful pictures, if no-one knows that your blog exists. In this day and age, self-promotion is important if you want anyone to take notice of you. There are plenty of ways to do this if you're a blogger. The first thing to do is to join BlogLovin' - you can set your posts to share automatically to the site as soon as they go live, and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers from around the world.
You should also have a Twitter and Instagram account for your blog, where you can promote posts and let your followers know when a new one is up. On Twitter, you can follow blog retweet accounts (I have one at @HealthBlogRT) which will RT your posts to their followers and help you gain some extra traffic. You can also schedule tweets to post when you won't be online - this is a godsend for busy days. My two favourite sites for this are Buffer and Twuffer.
Reach out to other people on social media who share your interests and start a conversation with them. And respond to people when they start chatting to you - you don't want to appear rude or unapproachable. Comment on other people's blogs and welcome interaction on your own. I often end my posts with a question to encourage people to leave a comment. And always reply to your commenters - it helps build a rapport with your readers.
10. Join health blogger networks and attend events.
Especially ones within your niche. My two favourite online networks are the Health Bloggers Community and UK Bloggers. Attending events is another great way to meet and get to know other bloggers and brands and will help you to grow your audience and support network. Top tip: always take a few business cards with you to hand out to people.
The most important thing when it comes to blogging is to ENJOY IT. If you don't love what you're doing then it will show in your posts and put people off. If you feel like you've lost your mojo, there's nothing wrong with taking a few days or weeks off if you need to. This will stop you from burning out and make you a better blogger in the long run.
Do you have any other tips to help people start up a health blog? Please share them with us in the comments!
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