Best ways to start a blog?

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If you've been reading stuff that I write about, then you know I'm deeply interested (that'd be an understatement actually) in economics and history. I also happen to be a data scientist.

I see great many connections among the 3 fields and I'd like to start a blog where I can express my thoughts & analyses and possibly float around potential research ideas that I can build up on if I go the PhD route.

Right now I'm very much clueless. I've found services like Wix and SquareSpace that allows you to build websites. But I'm not sure what the right first step is.

Anybody have experience with running a blog? Where do I start from? How do I build some traction?

TLDR: Want to start a blog on intersection among econ, history, and data science. Looking for help on where to start and how to build some traction.

Comments (12)

 
Sep 9, 2020 - 5:59pm

Decide on your brand- what you want it to look like, the tone, logo, name, etc. You're better off getting some copy written up before the blog too. All this can change so don't get too worked up.

buy a domain, I've liked google domains since they've started. I think it's cheaper(starts at like $12/yr) and better to not go through your host. https://domains.google/

You'll need to find a host, they're the people who hold on to what you've written and distribute it over the web. this is the squarespace or bluehost or w/e. All of these operate differently so you'll have to choose your template or w/e.

 

 

Honestly, just get a free blogger account and set up a twitter for it to begin with. If you're happy then set up a domain. After that you'll have time to research and pay money if you find yourself needing more.

 
Sep 9, 2020 - 10:49pm

I run a blog right now trying to boost readership and our strategy for growth has been focusing on Medium while cross-posting to Substack. Seems to work so far. Reach a broader audience on Medium and we capture them, once they read the Medium article, on our Substack via a link to subscribe at the bottom. Eventually, we'll compile a pretty sizable list and port over completely. At least, in theory.

Show me the incentive and I'll show you the outcome.
 
Sep 10, 2020 - 10:01am

A few assorted thoughts: 

- Pick a place and get started. Wix, Square Space, word press - all good options. I'd probably err on the side of word press - it's easy, simple and literally built in many cases for blogs. 

- At the start - and really forever - it's content. That's what matters. I would recommend picking your theme - whether it's a niche (i.e. The crossroads - where data, economics and history meet) or whether it's you that's the focal point. There's not really a right or wrong answer - but I'd really think about that. Why are readers coming to your blog vs. another? I want to really stress this part - put yourself on the other side of the blog. What's going to capture attention. 

- Schedule your content. A good cadence, IMO, is crucial to help get the attention of folks. Random isn't really good until you have a brand built up and you can do it - even then, you'll notice, the most successful are consistently posting. 

- Getting it out there, start with blogs you are active on. Put it in your signature, be active on reddit in forums, etc. Leave comments on other blogs - that's the 'real' way to start getting some traction, your name out there and generate interest in what you are doing. If you aren't on twitter - get on there. Post witty comments, link to your blog. etc. 

- Medium is a good call, the traffic that can generate is astounding. Look for opportunities to cross promote yourself with others, etc. Find the people who are similar to you and really study what they do, how they do it, etc. 

- Think about email lists and building out a subscription list, where you can email out updates or other content to interested folks. If you get that going from the start, it can be helpful. 

With that said - my view is simple: content is king. If you have compelling, well thought out items the readers will come. Don't go buying key words, traffic, mailing lists or start writing pure click bait. If anything, learn copy writing to help have compelling titles, lead ins, etc. 

 
  • Associate 1 in PE - Other
Sep 17, 2020 - 12:01am

Start where you already have an audience might be a way to go. Linkedin perhaps?

Allows you to test content without overinvesting / eventually drive traffic to blog.

 
Sep 17, 2020 - 12:38pm

Shoot me a PM. Happy to chat through and discuss. I just set up a business website from scratch, and also have my own Wix site for research I will be publishing soon. 

 

I've heard that Wordpress is a better platform though. Too late for me too go that route though. Happy to help you set up a site for you and show you the ropes.

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