Don't get me wrong, writing my own blog was never something I thought I would ever get around to doing or even enjoy - until I did it!
It has been an invaluable adventure so far with a plethora of learning experiences and growth opportunities. It is an adventure I would absolutely recommend to any student looking for a way to share their passion for their subjects.
A blog is a great way to explore your interests as well as inspire and motivate you and others to research and learn about a topic. It's a productive way to find your own voice about the way the world works and what you might do differently. Your opinion will change over time or you may need reminding, so it's good to keep a record somewhere!
You could be a GCSE student unsure about what your favourite subjects are. A blog can help you realise where your interests are drawn to. What you have an opinion on or want to write about is a good indication of that!
You could be an A-level student who wants to show off their reading to get into a great university or show some extracurricular skills on a CV. Universities and employers are always looking for that extra something that makes candidates stand out. You could be the most passionate scientist in the world, but it is very hard to prove it to others on paper without putting it into a personal project like a blog.
You could even be a university student (like I was!) questioning what your career might look like after graduation. As you learn a whole spectrum or areas in your chosen degree subject, it can be easy to focus on going through the motions and getting the marks without really using this unique time to explore the industry beyond what you are taught and come up with your own ideas and opinions. A blog like this will help prepare you for job interviews and back up your passion for a dream job - displaying this sort of vision is a great characteristic to show off!
Throughout, your years at school and beyond, you will amass a vast sea of knowledge. It’s a privilege to have this knowledge, but it's natural to feel like you are about to burst if you couldn’t do more with it – be the change you want to see in the world and share your ideas, who knows where it might lead?
So, here are our 4 tips for creating your own blog.
It's as simple to start as making a website and an Instagram account, both of which are super easy to do.
Nobody I knew had created a website before but luckily, we live in the era of technology and today it’s easier than ever to do so. This leads us to our very first tip:
Nobody is expecting you to learn how to code a website before you even start - don't worry! I decided to use Tumblr.com to create a blog website mainly because it is free.
It's ready-made for blogs and shorter posts and pictures of inspiration much like Pinterest, plus you can customise the style and colour schemes to your liking - if you feel like a challenge, you can even create your own design for blog page from scratch by learning to code HTML and displaying it on Tumblr.
Posting to Tumblr from other social media accounts like Instagram as you write them is also possible, which saves time!
If you want to make it look more professional and can afford to spend a bit of money, I recommend using Wix.com, partly because they provide a simple, easy-to-use (even for the most technologically challenged) web development service and partly because they often have fantastic offers. (“Squarespace” is another great option).
Web development services will allow you to create spectacular websites with no coding experience for free, but if you want to publish your website on your own “domain” – meaning make the website your own and give it your own website name – you’ll have to pay for the premium plans. These premium plans are really not too expensive, and it is an expenditure we recommend. Therefore, our second tip is:
No one’s going to remember your website with a title like “yourwebsitename.wixsite.com” or “yoursitename.squarespace.com”. They are far more likely to remember a simple name, specifically your blog name. My blog is “rjkdesign.me”, short and sweet. It also helps to indicate what you might be talking about. In my case, it was all about design.
Soon after creating a website and investing in my own domain, I started writing some articles. I chose a topic I felt passionate about talking about and just started writing. It
The most difficult part of writing a blog won’t be setting up the blog, it’s the content.
It may take some time for you to find your groove with writing, and our advice is just to keep writing and writing, ask friends or family for feedback and then keep writing and writing.
I eventually got comfortable with my style and length of article writing and started posting about 2 articles per week which is a good rate to aim for - even if it's about a homework assignment you didn't understand or a book you didn't like reading. Getting your thoughts written down can be helpful for remembering and you will be surprised at how many people may agree with you, it's healthy to be comfortable expressing your opinion on things like this for later in life.
Remember that there is more to be learned by consistent, quality posting than a large number of half-thoughts as you see on social media!
Top Tip: Try to keep things a little organised into categories eg. Cool Old Building and New Technology may look confusing to viewers if they are all on the same page.
However, the ultimate challenge remains - exposure. Don't break a sweat about this, it's harder than ever to gain a following and ultimately this blog should be about your own journey of self-discovery. Stay true to what you find interesting and if people want to follow you along for the ride, then that's a bonus!
You will quickly have to adapt your expectations with your blog. Don't expect a baby blog to get hits through Google or Yahoo, because there’s no way to compete with well-established, successful blogs out there like sciencedaily.com or nature.com that are optimised by teams of people to appear in search results. That's ok!
Be realistic about how people will come across your blog, and Instagram is that place. Although blogs can become an interesting business in their own right if they attract a lot of traffic - the vast majority are passion projects that are cathartic for the author, keep this in mind and you can't go wrong.
Instagram is a brilliant platform to gain an audience. With over 1 billion active users it’s the best place to share and promote your product or service. It's young, dynamic and filled with individuals hungry for entertainment. So, our last tip is…
Be it Twitter (soon to be "X"), Instagram or Facebook, you need to have social media platforms to reach people and promote your blog. If you need to, copy and paste snippets or whole articles from your blog on social media to widen its audience. The benefit of this is you will eventually attract some interaction and discussion which is where you will learn the most.
While you're there, be sure to follow @sherpaonline_ on Instagram, for fun facts, educational news and more!
To conclude, we absolutely recommend starting your own blog, you can even do it with a friend or partner to share the workload. It’s fun, it keeps your creativity active and you learn A LOT.
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