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How to start a blog – tips from a professional writer

6-minute read

Young woman writing a blog on her laptop
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

5 December 2023

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Maya Angelou once said “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” and if you feel the same, perhaps you should start a blog.

Blogging can be a great way to express yourself, build a community around something you love, or even make an income. But how do you start a blog? The Content Team at Simply Business are here to share their best tips and tricks for writing online.

From coming up with ideas, structuring your posts, and a look at the best blogging platforms out there – we’ve got you covered.

How to name a blog

Before you even begin writing your first post, it’s important to give your blog a name. The name of your blog will be the first thing your readers see, giving them an indication of the type of content they can expect to read.

This means that you should use words that relate to your theme or chosen topic. If your blog is about baking, use some terms related to that. Or if your blog is all about showcasing your latest gardening projects, a nature-themed name can help show what your blog is about from the first glance. If you need some inspiration, using an online blog name generator could help.

It can also be a good idea to use popular keywords so your blog comes up in search results (we’ll talk more about SEO optimisation later in this article). Try to strike a balance between popular search terms and words that will resonate with your target audience.

Make sure your blog name is catchy and easy to remember. But most importantly, make sure it’s a name that you like. This will be part of your brand identity so it’s important that you feel it reflects your brand and what you want to be known for.

Blog writing tips – how to write a blog

Now that you’ve named your blog, it’s time to write your first blog post. Here are a couple of things you’ll need to think about before you get started.

Choose a topic

You need to choose a topic that you’re passionate about – especially if you’re going to be writing about this topic regularly. There are many different reasons you may choose to start a blog – perhaps it’s a form of advertising for your business, a way to make a living as a writer, or maybe you’re just passionate about words.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to choose a blog topic that you’re interested in so you can commit to a regular posting schedule and put out good quality content – so choose something that you’re both knowledgeable and passionate about.

For example, the writers here on the Knowledge centre are all experts on business topics – but we each have areas of business that we’re passionate about and interested in.

Conor Shilling is our go-to guy on the buy-to-let market.

Catriona Smith is passionate about tax, marketing, and business operations.

Zach Hayward-Jones, who previously worked as a pastry chef, loves digging deep into topics surrounding the hospitality industry.

And Rosanna Parrish loves writing about HR news and side hustles – including blogging tips.

If you’re starting a blog to gain exposure for your writing and don’t have a set topic in mind, a consistent theme in your writing can help you to build your readership.

Article structure

When it comes to writing a blog post, how you structure it is just as important as what you’re saying. Always start with a compelling introduction to entice the reader to keep reading. The following paragraphs should be organised into individual points.

Make sure you’re using headings, subheadings, and bullet points to keep the reader engaged. Large chunky pieces of text can be off putting for readers, so it’s important to keep your content digestible. Using images and graphics can also help to break up your words.

You should always conclude your blog with a CTA, or call to action. This drives your reader to wherever you want them to go next. This could be a related blog post you think they’ll enjoy, a product page, or links to your social media.

Blog posts on the Knowledge centre are roughly between 1000-1500 words long and all end with a CTA to a related page.

Best time to publish a blog post

There’s been many studies over the years about when the best time to publish a blog post is. But unfortunately, there isn’t one simple answer. The ideal time to post on your blog will depend on your audience.

To find the best time to publish posts on your own blog, you should use website analytic tools to identify your peak traffic times. You can also experiment with different publishing times and track when your audience is the most active and engaged.

Best day to publish a blog post

Much like the best time to publish a blog post, the best day to publish a blog post will depend on your blog’s audience. However, studies by both Shareaholic and Kissmetrics revealed that Monday was the best day to publish a blog post – so this could be a good day to start with.

Best platform to start a blog

The next step is to decide where to host your blog. There are plenty of blog hosting platforms available nowadays, so what you choose will come down to personal preference.

Things to consider include your technical skills, the features you need, and your long-term blog goals.

Here are just some of the most popular blogging platforms.

Wordpress

Wordpress offers a user-friendly blogging experience. Because it’s so popular, there’s a wide variety of plugins available which can help enhance your experience – such as SEO and analytics tools. You can choose a free subdomain or even pay for your own custom domain, which can add authority.

Wordpress has two options: Wordpress.com which is hosted by Wordpress and Wordpress.org which allows you to self-host your blog – whatever you choose will depend on your technical skills, with the .com option being better for beginners.

Blogger

Another popular option, Blogger is owned by Google and is one of the most straightforward blogging platforms available. Rosanna's first blog was hosted on Blogger and she feels it was a great place to start writing for the web.

There are plenty of templates available meaning you don’t have to have any experience designing for the web. But if you do want to add additional features, you can choose from a list of ‘widgets’.

A great selling point of Blogger is how it links to Google AdSense, meaning you can easily begin to monetise your posts as a side hustle.

Medium

Medium is an interesting blogging platform because it’s all about distribution and engagement. Medium promotes articles hosted on the platform, making it a great opportunity for you to engage with blog posts from other writers. This has the added benefit of a built-in distribution system for your own posts.

If lots of Medium members like and engage with your content, you may even get the option to join the Partner Program and earn money from your posts.

If you want to just focus on your writing without having to worry about website management – as well as be a part of a larger blogging community – Medium is a great choice.

Blogging on your website

If blogging is part of your wider business strategy, you also have the option to host a blog on your company website. This can be a great option if your blogs support products you sell or services you offer.

Read our guide on setting up a website to learn more.

Newsletter or blog?

One popular option that many writers are looking towards nowadays is forgoing the blog and instead starting a newsletter on a platform such as Substack. While more traditional blogs can be better for complex content and those interested in SEO, starting a newsletter could be better for you if:

  • you create simple content
  • you want to focus only on writing
  • you want the option to monetise your writing through subscriptions

Another option is to use both platforms: with your blog focusing on more in-depth content and your newsletter for quicker updates. For example, the Simply Business newsletter features monthly roundups of posts from our blog.

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Promote your blog

Now that you’ve written your posts, it’s time to get your blog out there and build up a readership. Here are a couple of things to consider.

SEO for blogging

One way you can start to build an audience for your blog is by using SEO techniques. SEO, or search engine optimisation, is about using relevant keywords to appear higher on search engines.

If you’re writing a blog about a specific topic, this gives you a great basis for figuring out your keywords.

If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, we’ve listed some of the best SEO tools for small businesses in our guide.

Promote on social media

If you’re serious about growing your blog, you also need to think about post distribution. Sharing your blog posts on your social media channels can help make sure that no one misses them.

Posting on social media also gives the opportunity for others to share your posts through reposting – while comments and likes will always boost your engagement.

Remember to include posting on social media as a final step whenever you post a blog.

How to make money from blogging

Some of the blogging platforms we’ve mentioned have built in ways to monetise your writing but there’s still a couple of other things you could try.

If you have a large enough following, one way to earn money is through affiliate marketing – with people paying you to promote their products. You can also consider writing guest posts for other blogs in your industry.

Have you found success as a self-employed writer on your blog? Share any blogging tips you have in the comments below.

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Photo: Andrei/stock.adobe.com
Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

​​Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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