How to start your own blog

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Studies reveal that Arab women are very interested in publishing their thoughts, opinions and visions online.

Writing your own blog can be a lot of fun, so here are some pointers to get you started.

A little bit of research, before you dive in, can help you avoid some potential pitfalls later on. Check our guidance and start now!

First of all, why you should create a blog?

The first question to ask yourself is why you want to blog. Do you have something you’re passionate about? Something you’re an expert at? Can you add value?

Before you start, it’s important to do your homework. Understand who your readers will be. Look at the other blogs you’ll be competing with. Why should people read yours as well as, or instead of, these? Do you have something new to say? An unique perspective? Insider knowledge? Perhaps you just have a refreshing way of talking – an engaging ‘voice’?

Above all, you should blog because you enjoy it. Blog for the wrong reasons you’ll set yourself up for disappointment. So what are the wrong reasons?

Now here is a step-by-step with smart tips before you get started:

STEP 1

Choose one topic you like the most: fashion, beauty, travel, music, recipes, fitness… Any subject you are passionate and feel comfortable talking about will help you enjoy your business the most. Find your niche and readers will come to you. Remember: when it comes from the heart, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

STEP 2

Pick a cool name, different and easy to spell it: You need to choose a domain name (URL) for your blog. Keep it short. Make it unique. Ownable. Something that reflects your style, attitude and subject. Your name, or a spin-off of your name is a good starting point. Most web hosts have a search tool for you to see which domain names are available. We recommend starting with a “.com” domain name, as these are the default choice and most well-known. But there are a growing list of alternatives worth looking at, from country-specific options such as areas of interest: “.tv”, “.coffee”, “.kitchen,” and even “.guru”.

STEP 3

Choose your own host / platform: There are many ways to build your blog. Google’s Blogger and Wordpress.com are probably the best-known free options – they’re websites that make it simple to build your blog. If you want to own your blog and your blog’s domain name, you should pay someone to host it for you. Shop around and you can find webhosts that charge next-to-nothing. As with buying anything, the lowest price doesn’t always offer the best value. Some web hosts are simpler to use than others. And some have faster, better quality hosting and excellent 24/7 customer support.

WordPress also have a free blogging platform that you can host yourself! It’s the world’s most popular blog platform – with 82 million active users. It’s also free and easy to set up. And most good web hosts can install it for you at the press of a button.

STEP 4

Make it differently: there’s a million of blogs out there. So, you really need to know why you are different and why you should be starting this. Don’t get lost in all that noise! You need to take risks with your content. Talk about things that matter to you, don’t just try to be like everyone else. Be yourself!

STEP 5

Design it: Once you’ve got your blog software up and running, you should think about how you want your blog to look. Is it going to be image-heavy? Or words? Will it look simple and clutter free? Or busy like an online magazine? Your brand is not just your logo, it’s everything you do. Ensure your name, logo, design and style are all connected and all works together to be the best. Hire a professional to help you, choose a nice layout, colors, and font style. Search for international blog inspirations and make your own blog stand out. Use professional photos (not those from your phone), videos and graphics.

STEP 6

Manage the content: you’re going to post regularly. So, better read, read and read to get your inspiration on track. Buy magazines in your area, watch interviews, study and dissect books! Also, write about your own experiences. But keep in mind: the best content people will ever see is something that changes their lives. Lots of blogs by their nature are a kind of stream of consciousness – “look at me, this is what I did, I’m thinking about this today” – but you can bring more of an editorial angle. For example: what will help readers have a great day? What will they find interesting or funny?

STEP 7

Network is important: it’s your colleagues, readers, friends and the good relationships you build that will make you famous. How to do that? Make contact, share content with other bloggers, start discussions, use Skype and spy on what other bloggers are doing. Don’t get anxious about the amount of visits you get. Volume isn’t everything. A few high quality readers can be better than loads of traffic – especially when you’re starting out. Small can be beautiful.

STEP 8

Comments and moderation: blogging isn’t a one-way street. One of the best things a blog post can do is create debate. Readers’ comments are often better than the original post. But, before you allow comments on your blog, it’s worth taking a moment to avoid some rookie mistakes. There are five words that can kill your blog: “your comment is awaiting moderation”.

STEP 9

Word of Mouth: Social media can be a useful way of promoting your blog – particularly Twitter and Facebook. But social media can be distracting – so it’s good to remember that it’s the content on your blog that matters most.

Watch outs

Blogging is publishing. So you should be aware of what it is and isn’t legal to publish. It’s a good idea to understand at least the basics of intellectual property rights, copyright and defamation. Knowing a little can help you steer clear of potential legal troubles.

As a general rule, it’s best not to post anything that infringes the privacy of others without their permission. When writing about others, consider using false names or, at the very least, first names only.

The “M” word

Okay, so you’ve done the important thing – set up your blog for love not money – but there’s this fifteen-year-old blogger you heard about who’s already a millionaire and...

In a survey of 1,723 lifestyle bloggers in the GCC region, reveals typical earnings of around 4000 US dollars per year from affiliate marketing. So, for most people, blogs are a useful source of cash, on the side, rather than a main source of income.

Good luck!

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