Building your blog: What it takes

Posted on December 1, 2010
Building your blog

Photo by Paul (Dex) via Flickr Creative Commons

Given you’re a member of iFabbo, you’ve probably already got a blog (and a fabulous one at that). But should you be sans-blog, thinking of starting another one, or overhauling your current one, we’ve got a quick guide on what it takes to put a blog together.

A topic

Before we even get to discussing words, widgets or ways to get traffic, we need to start at the very beginning: you need a topic to blog about. As an iFabbo-er, that topic is most likely fashion, beauty or style.

Top tip: When it comes to blog topics, make your blog stand out from the crowd by asking yourself: What makes my blog topic different? This is especially true if you’re blogging about a general topic (such as fashion or beauty). One approach is to focus on a micro niche (for example: instead of blogging about beauty in general, pick a micro niche such as organic skincare).

If you’re undecided about your topic, consider three things: 1/ What area of fashion or beauty do you know the most about? 2/ What area of fashion or beauty would you like to learn more about? 3/ What emerging fashion and beauty trends can you identify as potential blog topics? (For example: with the introduction of iPads came clothing, cases and covers designed to suit it. A blogger who has noted this could start a fashion-meets-technology blog.)

Resources you can use:

  •   TrendHunter – A great site for identifying what’s new, cool and being talked about. Can also be used when looking for post ideas.

A name

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is your blog’s name. Choose it wisely! You want something that’s memorable, easy to spell, and preferably short. Mybesteverhairnbeautytips4u.com is a good example of what not to do :)

Top tip: It’s also a good idea to choose a name that you can register as a domain name. Calling your blog Top Fashion Tips when its domain name is bestfashiontrends.com will only confuse your readers.

If you’re a little bit keyword savvy and want to use your blog’s name (and thus domain name) for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, now is the time to consider this. For example: should your blog topic be on self-tanning, you could name it selftanningqueen.com in order to help you rank higher in Google for the phrase “self tanning”. This could sound a little techie, and it’s not essential, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Resources you can use:

  • Whois.sc – Use this site to determine if your desired domain name is available. If not? You might want to rethink your blog’s name

A domain name

Now that you’ve chosen a name, it’s time to get a domain name! Even if you opt for a free blogging platform (such as Blogger or WordPress.com) it’s a good idea to register a domain name. It makes your blog look a little more professional, and should you change platforms at some point, you get to take it with you.

Top tip: When registering your domain name, remember to steer clear of trademarked names and phrases (speak with an expert if you’re unsure). Also, .com domain names are considered by many as the domain name to buy (e.g.: yourblogname.com), so aim for this. However, don’t stress too much if you have to opt for something else (.me, .net etc) – if you create a blog worth visiting, people will check it out regardless.

When it comes to shopping for a domain registrar, they’re a little like cars – everyone has an opinion on what’s good and what’s not. So, if in doubt, ask a friend, family member or fellow blogger who they registered their domain name with.

Resources you can use:

  • Domai.nr – A fun tool to help you come up with .com alternatives

A platform

Blogger? WordPress.com? Tumblr? Which platform should you use?! There are many options in both the free and paid categories, each with their own set of pros and cons. Which one you choose can depend on a number of factors, in particular how much money you want to spend on your blog, how much you’d like to customise it, and to what extent you want to monetize it (some platforms have rules about the latter).

Top tip: Now’s a good time to learn that there’s a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is the free version. You pay zip (initially – there are premium options available). WordPress.org is the self-hosted version, meaning you need to find a hosting service which will cost you money (usually from as little as $5 or so dollars per month).

Take a moment to think about what you are hoping to achieve from your blog and write down your long-term goals. If in doubt, starting with a free Blogger account is probably your best bet – it gives you a chance to dip your pedicured toe into the blogging pond with no financial commitment (unless you register a domain name).

Resources you can use:

  • Blogger – The Google-owned, uber-popular and free blogging platform. Good for beginners
  • WordPress.org – A fave platform of many “pro” bloggers. Customisation options are endless

The content

With a topic chosen, a name picked, a domain registered, and a platform setup, it’s time to get to creating content – your reason for blogging. With your topic in mind, consider your approach, again asking yourself: “What makes my blog different?”. Think about the type of content you’ll include (words, pictures, videos, audio) and the way you’ll include it (Q&As, interviews, musings).

Top tip: You don’t necessarily need to be the world’s best writer to be a successful blogger. Some blogs are popular because the blogger has a great eye for collating or taking striking photos. Some gain an audience because of videos the blogger’s created. Others have a knack for finding and linking to interesting, timely content on the web. Think about your talents and which could help your blog the most in the long run.

Don’t expect your blog’s content to be perfect straightaway. For many bloggers, creating great content is an evolving process. You will learn over time what type of content you’re good at and what your readers respond to. And don’t be afraid to change your approach. If something isn’t working, think about it, and consider how you could make it better. Look towards other blogs for great ideas, and brainstorm ways you can put your own spin on them.

Resources you can use:

  • creativecommons.org – Gives a rundown on the types of content licences there are, and where you can find different types of content on the web for use on your blog
  • 30+ Mindmapping Tools – Get your content ideas written down and explore your thoughts!

If you already have a blog, which resources did you find most valuable to use?

One Response to “Building your blog: What it takes”

  • Although I’ve had my blog for going on 2 years I find that it’s not as successful as I’d like it to be. I wish I had these tips in the beginning. A little tweeking of my present blog and implementing these tips will definitely help my blog lift it’s pretty little head. Thanks.
    Amoure Jones recently posted..Happy ShoppingMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

  • FOLLOW & LIKE!

  • Subscribe via RSS!

    bloglovin Join us on BlogLovin'!

    Never miss another iFabbo post or
    important news update again!


    Subscribe via RSS feed here
    or enter your e-mail address:

    Delivered by
    FeedBurner