Blogs and online magazines are slowly becoming the norm, as people tend to find mainstream media a bit out of touch with reality and no longer adapted to their values. In that sense, more and more people decide to create their own platform in order to share their ideas and point of view. And if that’s actually a good thing, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Back in September 2018, I created an online magazine called SLAE. Mag, a lifestyle magazine for millennial women - and I have learned a lot since then. So here are my 6 tips I wish I was given to get started with creating your own blog/digital mag.
Find the right platform for you
In order to create a blog you need a website right?
Well, the first step will be to choose on what platform to build your blog/online magazine. There are so many options available nowadays for you to build your website: Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace… and you need to pick one. I recommend trying the free version of all of them and see which one best suits your needs. For instance, if you don’t have any notions of coding and web design and you want a website that stands out in terms of aesthetics, I wouldn’t recommend going with Wordpress. However, platforms such as Wix and Squarespace propose different templates that you can play with - without any qualification needed.
Once your website is live, do not forget to create a Google Analytics account to get all the data related to your website traffic and to connect it to the Google console so that people can actually find your website on Google!
Find your specific niche
The blogosphere, and the internet in general is a very competitive place: we couldn’t count the number of websites that have been created and as quickly forgotten. This is not what we want right? In order to avoid that, you need to find a specific niche, define an editorial line and a tone accordingly - and stick to it. You basically need to find your “reason why”: what makes your website different from others?
Tips: try to write the identity of your blog/mag in one sentence. Whoever reads it should be able to understand exactly what your blog/mag is about and what content to expect on it - for that you’ll need to incorporate a few key words. For instance, here is how I describe SLAE Mag: a 100% honest, relatable and inspiring digital magazine for millennial women & non-binary people.
Pick your topics
What do you want to talk about? Fashion and lifestyle? Culture or entertainment? Or maybe all of the above. That’s fine either way but make sure you know what type of content you want to create. Although it doesn’t stop you from adjusting it afterwards - I have myself several times added or taken off some categories.
Create your visual identity
Now that you know exactly the direction you're taking and the essence of your project, you need to be visually identifiable. For that you need to come up with a logo, define your color palette. You can easily do that on your own using Photoshop and/or Illustrator or you can just ask someone to do it. There are also a LOT of logo graphics ready to be used on Pinterest and Etsy that are not too expensive.
If I’d have one recommendation, it would be to keep it simple. Indeed, it is really easy to get tired of a design if it is “ too elaborate/ too much”. Pick a design you’ll love in the long run.
Time to start writing: trust yourself
Now that you’ve defined the identity of your blog/mag, you need to create some content for people to read. I would suggest going live with you blog/mag as soon as you have about 3 articles ready. That way people will be able to spend a little bit more time on the website.
Now, writing your first article won’t be easy - we all tend to doubt ourselves and writing can feel quite awkward at first. We’ve all been there. But no matter the fear, you need to get over it and start writing. It gets better with time.
If you’re creating an online mag, I would definitely recommend looking for contributors to write for it. First, because as a human being, you cannot have all sorts of ideas all the time, no matter how creative you are. Also, the goal of a magazine is to showcase different points of view in order to create a shared platform. So once there is enough content on your website for people to fully comprehend the purpose of your project, look for people to contribute!