I’m really interested in having a blog about my hobbies, especially gardening. I just need some help getting started though. Any advice?
To start blogging about your hobbies, you’re going to want to research what it will take to get your blog up and running (e.g., hosting, theme, plugins). Once you know what you’re doing, create a draft post outlining the topic of your blog with a title and thesis statement like “Gardening: The Passionate Pursuit.” Spend some time researching different blogs that have the same topic as yours. Read them and see what they do to attract readers.
When you’re ready, publish your post. The idea now is to get other people reading your blog. One way to get started is to share your post on social media using hashtags such as #gardening and #gardeners, or by sharing it with gardening forums and groups in Facebook or Google+.
Once you have some regular readers, start collecting comments and responses on the post. Ask for comments and response in the title of your blog post. The idea is to engage other people as they read, so comment on their posts or ask them questions in a comment. Don’t forget to network!
Here are some tips to get others reading your blog:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you don’t know the answer. People enjoy helping others out, especially if you’re telling a story or asking a question that relates to their personal experience in gardening. If people respond with helpful information, write it down so that you can cite it later when writing a post about the conversation.
It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. Have you ever had a hobby blog that started with good intentions, but just kind of fizzled out? If this happens, don’t worry! Use your backup plan. Sometimes hobbies are seasonal, and there may not be a lot of things to write about during the off-season. Don’t let this discourage you from blogging about your hobbies, and don’t be afraid to pick it up again in the fall or winter when things start picking up again.
Here are some resources to help you get started blogging about your hobbies:
General Blogging: We’ve written posts on the general steps for getting started with blogging. Some of these ideas are easy steps that you can accomplish within a couple hours. Others may take more time, so read through all of them before doing anything to get a sense of how much time and effort you’ll need to put into getting your blog running.
Hosting and Theme: There are different ways to host your blog, but here’s a short list of options we recommend in the article: Wordpress plugin, WordPress themes with custom code, or self-hosted blog or landing page using Blogger.org or Blogspot.com.
Plugins: The easiest way to get started writing your blog posts is using WordPress plugins. Plugins let you customize how your blog looks and feel, and are a lot less difficult to set up than creating a full theme. You can find plugins to add categories, tags, or commenting on other people’s posts. Blogger.com even has their own blogging engine that makes it very easy to get your blog started with one click publishing right away! Here are some other possible plugins: Post Categories, Tag Cloud, Comments on Posts, Members Comments in RSS Feed, Tags Ticker with Google Shortcode integration (when you click the tag cloud in the sidebar), Facebook Like Box SocialLikes Plugin.
Theme: If you don’t like how WordPress plugins look, or you want more control over your blog design, you can also create your own custom theme. Here’s an article on WordPress themes for beginners that will help you get started.
Creating a Sticky Post in WordPress: If you have a post that is important, but not vital to all of your posts, then consider creating a sticky post in WordPress. By creating a sticky post that disappears at the end of the month, it will automatically appear at the top of your blog. This will keep readers engaged with what’s going on in your blog over time since they won’t be missing out any posts.
Comments: If you’re going to allow comments on your blog, it’s important to have a way for other people to contact you if they have questions or want to get in touch. Here are some options: Use your personal email address instead of your website email address so that people know they can contact you. Sign up for a Gmail account or any other free email service. You can also set up a separate email account to help manage your blog and remain anonymous. A Google Voice number has the ability to send and receive SMS messages, emails, and voicemail. It’s free to set up a number, and people can call you on it or send you an email from your Google Voice number. Find free WordPress plugins that allow people to leave comments on posts anonymously.