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Tips on starting and running a blog

Black man drinking coffee at a laptop

Updated on October 3, 2022

I’ve written multiple posts in the past about blogging, including how to pick a domain name, come up with topic ideas, and find free photos. Lately I’ve updated some of said posts, so I thought I should update an old post that folds them all together. Below are some tips on starting and running a blog, based on my own experience and what others have written online. I’ve also listed my blogging tips under a “blogging tips” tag.

Note I focus on traditional text-based blogs. However, some of this can also apply to photographers/artists, podcast creators, or vloggers.

Why run a blog?

While it’s not for everyone, running a blog has some benefits:

  • Gaining writing experience.
  • Writing about a subject one enjoys.
  • Generating site traffic.
  • Demonstrating expertise on a subject.
  • Explaining information to others in a written format.
  • Less work intensive than making video, recording podcasts, etc.; it also doesn’t require being telegenic or having a “radio voice.”

General blogging tips

British woman at laptop
Photo by UKBlackTech (UKBlackTech / CC BY / cropped from original)

Selecting a domain name

How to select a decent domain name

Selecting a good domain name for your site is critical. You don’t want to be stuck with something hard to remember, easily misspelled, or problematic. There’s also coming up with a domain name that isn’t already taken.

Coming up with blog topics

How to come up with ideas for blog content

7 tips on writing strong online content

Coming up with ideas for blog topics isn’t easy, despite what I wrote in these two posts. Still, any advice or possible inspiration helps.

Promoting a blog

Recommended Facebook alternatives (and why replacing it’s hard)

How I promote my blog online

Social media can be useful for blog promotion. However, social media does have plenty of flaws, especially Facebook. Fortunately, there’s alternatives to Facebook, even if not all of them are perfect.

Maintenance

How to check your site for broken links

How to manage older blog posts

Maintenance of older posts is also a part of keeping up a blog. Links break, and information can become outdated.

Sources of free photos

Sources of free stock photos featuring people of color

Sources of free LGBTQ stock photos

Plenty of free stock photos exist, featuring people of color and LGBTQ people. Creative Commons licensed photos and public domain photos help make this possible.

Final steps before launching a blog

What to check before a blog launch

Before letting your blog go live, there are a few things you should do first, from setting up search engine optimization (SEO) to making sure there aren’t any typos.

WordPress tips

WordPress logos
Image by StickerGiant (Flickr / CC BY)

Choosing WordPress .com or .org?

WordPress.com or WordPress.org: Which version to choose?

Depending on what your blog requires, choosing to host it on WordPress’ own service (.com) might be an option. However, bloggers looking to monetize their site, or want a heavy degree of customization, will probably want to go with a self-hosted (.org) version of WordPress.

Securing WordPress sites

Basic tips for securing WordPress sites

Securing WordPress sites is also an important task. At a minimum, one should install updates for themes and plugins when prompted.

Speaking of plugins, WordPress has an assortment of plugins that are useful, or even vital, in running a WordPress-based site. At a minimum, I recommend installing:

  • A general security plugin, such as WordFence.
  • A comment anti-spam plugin, such as Antispam Bee or Akismet; the latter is WordPress’ default.
  • A cache plugin, such as WP Super Cache.

Avoiding WordPress mistakes

15 basic WordPress errors to avoid

There are a few things to try to avoid when setting up a WordPress blog. They include slow loading times, running an old version of WordPress, and leaving in the default “just another WordPress site” tagline.

Photo by Thirdman (Pexels)

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