Now, I’m no expert. But if you’re reading this, I’m doing something right.
And if I can do it, you can do it.
Why would you want to start a blog? Maybe you want to spread the word about how great cruising is. Or, you had a fabulous experience on a ship or at a port, and you’re bursting to talk about it. Perhaps you love taking photos and need an excuse to get them out of your smartphone camera.
Whatever the reason, there’s no reason not to do it. It’s fun. And you can be as creative as you want to be.
So, how do you get started? I use Blogger—it’s simple and free. You just pick a template and go. Another big benefit is that it’s part of Google Plus. More on this later. See this article on some of the top blog hosting platforms.
What do you write? The quick answer: what others want to read. In other words, if you want to get folks to come to your blog, you need to pick topics that will be popular and write in a way that’s engaging.
And keep it short—use no more words than you need. Use bullet points and bold text for those who prefer to scan.
I saved the most important for last: use a captivating title. Think of yourself—would you read something if the title doesn’t grab you?
What about photos? Definitely. And the bigger, the better. They draw the reader. Think Pinterest. And Instagram. You get the picture. The web has made us more visual than ever. It pains the writer in me to say this, but do more photos and less text.
And other media? Sure! Upload one of your videos to YouTube and link it from your blog. Link to other blogs or websites.
Then what? Just because you post it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. You need to aggressively promote your blog. In fact, getting people to read your blog is more work than creating the blog itself.
If you use Google’s Blogger, once you publish a posting, it automatically posts to Google Plus.
Happily, Cruise Critic, the place for the most robust cruise conversations, allows bloggers to link their postings in their Boards section (see tab on top menu of their website), under Cruise Conversations/Cruise Blogs and Websites.
Travel websites and social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram are also good places to promote your blog. Also consider sites like Feedspot, which consolidates readers’ favorite blog feeds so they can get them all from one place.
Anything else? Join in conversations—not to promote, but to share your knowledge and ask questions. Develop online relationships and readership will follow.
Also, post often. If you want to develop a following, you need to keep writing. If readers don’t see new stuff, you’ll lose them and they might not come back.
A few last words
Think before you post. Posting is public. Anyone can see it, Google it and save it. Be smart about what you say and what you show.
There’s a lot out there. Try searching for “cruise” in a site such as Pinterest. The postings go on and on. If you can find a new and different way to help your blog stand out, you’re more likely to get attention.
See what others do. Study the blogs that you follow; see if you can identify what makes them successful.
If you do launch a blog, let us know how it goes. And if you discover something that works, please share! It's a new world for all of us and there’s something new to learn every day.