In December 2022, Monique Judge wrote that it’s time to bring back personal blogging for The Verge. She argued that the autonomy and community we got from the early internet’s personal blogs are what we need in light of the current internet landscape.
At WordPress, we don’t necessarily believe that personal blogging ever went away, but we agree there’s never been a better time to start a personal blog. Today’s internet tools make it easy to build a blogging space for yourself.
If you want to pick up personal blogging, you just need a WordPress.com account and some free time. I’ll show you how to start a personal blog and run it effectively.
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In this article:
- Join the millions of creators publishing with WordPress.com
- GET STARTED
- What is a personal blog?
- Why start a personal blog?
- Where to build your blog
- Examples of personal blogs
- How to set up your personal blog
- Personal blogging: The basics
- Advanced strategies for running a personal blog
- How to promote your personal blog
- Keep it personal
What is a personal blog?
A personal blog is a virtual journal where you can share your thoughts and stories about your life. While business blogs are often a multi-person affair, most personal blogs have one person at the helm. The posts on a personal blog often have a first-person perspective and involve the author’s life and opinions.
Most people start personal blogs as a hobby or to supplement their professional work. But, some personal blogs develop into bigger publications or businesses.
Why start a personal blog?
A personal blog provides these benefits:
- Ownership of your content: When you host your content on a blog, you own it — not a third-party platform.
- Expressing yourself: Your personal blog will give you a space to share your thoughts and have them heard.
- Connecting with others: Social features like comments and the WordPress Reader let you get in touch with like-minded bloggers.
- Developing your skills: Creating any blog genre will help you build your writing and critical thinking skills. Depending on the topics you cover, you might also improve your photography, art, coding, cooking, or craft skills.
- Building an audience or personal brand: You can also create a personal blog to build an audience for your professional work or support your personal brand.
While a personal blog can turn into something that makes you money, it’s also 100% valid to create one for fun. Your blog is yours — start writing for whatever reason benefits you.
Where to build your blog
Let’s focus on creating a blog using WordPress.com for the sake of this post. Here are some of the perks of using this platform:
- A versatile and easy-to-use block editor
- A generous free plan with paid plans you can scale to as you’d like
- 24/7 support for all plans
Learn more about WordPress.com’s benefits in our blog post on its uses and perks.
Examples of personal blogs
Let’s look at seven examples of personal blogs to inspire yours:
1. Monique Judge
Monique Judge is a writer and journalist covering pop culture, politics, Black representation, productivity, and tech. Her personal blog is equally versatile, sharing her latest work and thoughts.
Since Monique roots her professional writing in her viewpoints and experiences, her blog-exclusive thoughts blend seamlessly with her posts sharing her published work. Her blog demonstrates that you can be authentic to yourself while promoting your professional pursuits.
2. Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is an investor, adviser, and author of business books like The 4-Hour Workweek. He hosts a blog for his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, which features detailed introductions to each episode.
This example shows how you can use WordPress’s blogging features to promote multiple types of media. Use the podcast player block to create a new blog post for each of your podcast episodes.
3. Seth Godin
Famous marketer Seth Godin runs a blog with short-form posts that serve as snapshots of his life and expertise.
He keeps most of his posts under seven paragraphs, making them fast reads. But he makes sure each post has a solid point, maximizing the impact these quick reflections have.
4. Matt Mullenweg
Matt Mullenweg is one of the founders of WordPress and Automattic (and the reason there are two Ts in the latter name). On his blog, he posts about his life and updates to his products
While about 80% of his blog relates to WordPress, Automattic, or his guest appearances, he manages to make everything feel personal with the tone he uses. Every post he makes feels like he’s sitting down with you and telling you about his passions.
5. Katelyn Gunderson (The Plane Kate)
At The Plane Kate, airplane engineer Katelyn Gunderson shares her experiences to empower other women in STEM. She explains what daily life is like as an engineer and offers tips for joining the industry yourself.
Since Katelyn grounds her blog posts in her life and past experiences, everything she writes is incredibly down to earth. Even though she talks about a very technical topic, she breaks it down for anyone to easily understand.
6. Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman)
One of the most famous personal blogs out there is Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman. It’s now a full-blown brand and publication, but it started as Ree’s personal blog sharing her life and recipes.
If you plan on creating a personal blog that will become a business down the line, this blog shows how that trajectory can happen. Note that even though there’s now a full team behind the Pioneer Woman, Ree still shares her personal takes in some posts.
7. Joanna Goddard (Cup of Jo)
Cup of Jo is another example of a personal blog that evolved into a multi-person publication. It started as Joanna Goddard’s weekend hobby and now gets almost one million visitors per month.
Even though multiple people now write for Cup of Jo, their posts on style, relationships, family, and culture still have an incredibly personal perspective. Most articles use first-person language and personal anecdotes.
How to set up your personal blog
It takes just a few steps to launch a blog on WordPress.com. I’ll outline the process below, and you can read our five-step blog setup guide for more details.
Choose a name for your blog
Before you create a WordPress.com account, choose a blog name. You can change it later as your blog evolves, but WordPress.com will ask you for a blog name when you sign up.
In most cases, you don’t have to get too fancy with a personal blog name. You can use your own name or an original “brand” name. (For example, if you want to create a record of the homemade treats you make for your cat, your blog’s “brand” name could be “The Feline Chef.”)
Some of the tips we offer for choosing a blog name at WordPress.com include using our business name generator and looking to other blogs for inspiration. You could also use some of the principles behind naming a newsletter to name your blog.
Create a WordPress.com account
WordPress.com handles most of the setup process for you when you create an account. Go to our account creation page to get started.
Once you enter your email, username, and password, you’ll get a prompt to choose a domain and plan. You can skip these for the time being and choose a free plan if you’d rather invest in a paid plan later.
Pick a theme
No need to dig into your blog’s code to design your blog — WordPress.com has themes to do the job for you. Once you finish creating your account, you’ll end up in your WordPress dashboard. Click the Appearance option in the left-hand menu to see your theme options.
WordPress.com has a wide range of free and premium themes, and they all work for blogs. But some of them are built specifically for blogs. You can find them here.
Personal blogging: The basics
You have a blog ready to go — time to fill it with posts. Follow these steps to start blogging:
Find your niche
Writers with long-term blogs usually write about a certain niche within their topic. If you want to blog regularly, choosing a specific niche will give you a topic area to turn to when you need inspiration.
For example, maybe you want to write about your video game adventures. If you want to identify a niche, you could think of genres of video games or a specific game you like to play. Like Stardew Valley? Make your blog about tips for playing the game or write about farming games in general.
Of course, your life is a perfectly fine focus area to have for your personal blog. But, you might consider choosing some areas of your life to focus on to help you come up with ideas.
Generate a list of topics to write about
Always keep a list of potential post topics on hand, so you always know what to write about. Create a list of ideas in a spreadsheet or document that you create before your first post and update about every month.
Our list of potential blog post ideas can get you started. It also shares a brainstorming process to use every time you think of post topics. Some ideas to ponder as you think of topics include:
- Topics that you have a lot of knowledge on
- Your thoughts and feelings on a subject
- Something you want to learn about
- What you like to talk about with your friends
Write your first post
With your blog plans established, you can dive into writing your first blog post. It takes careful consideration to write a good post. In fact, in our walkthrough of writing a blog post, the actual writing is step five!
A template or outline can save you time during the thinking and organization stages of blog post writing. They especially come in handy when you want to publish a well-known genre of post, like a recipe post. Want to just share your thoughts or stories about your life? Create a basic outline by writing down the broad-stroke ideas and organizing them into an order that makes sense.
It might take a while to write your first few blog posts as you get used to writing regularly. Let yourself take as much time as you need to create a post you’re proud of.
Advanced strategies for running a personal blog
Once you get the hang of posting to your blog, try these tactics for improving your content:
Create an editorial calendar
Remember the topic list you made in a previous step? Try plugging those ideas into an editorial calendar to build a consistent posting schedule. You can create a simple one in three steps:
- Decide on a publishing schedule: Decide how often you want to publish posts on your blog. Keep your schedule feasible — you can always increase your publishing frequency as you get used to regular posting.
- Map out your publish dates on a calendar: Mark publishing dates on your editorial calendar according to your publishing cadence.
- Fill out your publishing dates with topics: Plug your favorite topics from your idea list into your calendar. Order them based on seasonal relevance, available resources, and research time.
If you have a WordPress.com Business or Commerce plan, you can install plugins for your blog that add special features like:
- Optimizing your blog posts for search engines
- Adding an ecommerce store to your blog website
- Creating recipe cards for recipe blog posts
- Increasing your blog website’s security
- Building forms and polls
Plugins give you more control over your blog and help you make it look more professional.
Customize your blog’s design
As you get familiar with the WordPress interface, try customizing your blog’s designs. When you know how to manage your theme and post layouts, you’ll get a greater degree of creative control than using themes and blocks alone.
Customize your website page designs using templates and styles. While templates determine the look of individual pages, styles modify your blog’s sitewide appearance.
You can bring your blog post designs up a notch, too. Teach yourself how to use a program like Canva to create custom graphics for your posts. You can also use block patterns to create fun post layouts quickly.
How to promote your personal blog
At any level of experience with your blog, if you want others to read it, you have to promote it. These are three of the most common tactics for promoting blogs:
Optimize your blog posts
When you format your blog posts for better readability and search engine findability, your readers will have an easier time discovering your blog. Try strategies like:
- Learning the basics of SEO for better search engine performance
- Using an optimization checklist to ensure your posts’ quality
- Formatting your blog posts for easy readability
Integrate your blog with social media
Social media is another popular way for readers to find new content. WordPress.com has plenty of built-in social media integrations to make promotion simple. Display your social media feeds, automatically post to social media, and add social sharing buttons.
Send your blog posts in a newsletter
Add the promotional power of newsletters to your blog using WordPress.com Newsletter. After you add the Newsletter functionality to your blog, your subscribers will automatically get emails every time you post. If you get enough of a following to consider monetizing your posts, you can add the Premium Content block to gated content.
Keep it personal
Regardless of the reason why you started your personal blog, remember that keeping things personal goes a long way. A first-person perspective in your posts results in more original content that resonates with readers. Kick it up another notch with a friendly tone that helps your readers relate to you. You can also make your blog more “you” by expanding your blog with personal website pages like an about page or portfolio. WordPress.com lets you customize your blog however you like to express your experience and personality.
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