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How to Start Blogging at University

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A blog is an online space where you can store your thoughts and ideas as you learn and develop in life and in study. Some student blogs are academically driven, while others explore more personal themes.

Regardless of the type of blog you wish to set up, writing regular blog posts can help you improve your written communication, analysis and interpretation skills, as well as helping to develop a network of likeminded readers, students and friends – and even potential employers.

In building a student blog and a loyal network where you are able to discuss your ideas, you will become better at forming arguments, influencing discussion and, ultimately, at managing your time more effectively.

Read on for a range of blogging tips for new student bloggers, including information on how to start blogging, where to find the best free blogging platforms, how to get into guest blogging and what topics to discuss.

1. Choose what you want to blog about

Unless you have something you actively wish to write about or discuss, there may be little point starting a student blog. Think about things you’re passionate about, related or unrelated to your university studies, which may also be relevant to your future career aspirations. For instance, an English literature student interested in a career in journalism might start a blog about current affairs or fashion news, while an engineering student might focus on innovations in her field.

Another reason not to start blogging without a clear area of interest is because you’ll bore yourself (and your readers) to death. A student blog should be fun and something you want to keep coming back to, so make sure you’re engaged in what you’re talking about!

2. Remember it doesn’t all have to be about text

If writing isn’t your forte, fear not. A student blog can work just as well with visual and artistic elements. Photography, photocopied notes, artwork, sketches and mind maps are all good ways of presenting your thoughts without having to write long paragraphs of text, and a short caption alongside your visuals can summarize your process just as well.

Nor do you have to be a wannabe photographer to start blogging with images and snapshots – as long as the idea you present alongside the photograph is clearly expressed, it doesn’t necessarily matter how blurry the photo is!

Another good thing about using imagery and photos is that this can make your student blog more visually interesting for your readers, leading to longer site visits and better engagement.

3. Sign up to free blogging platforms

When first learning how to start blogging most people choose to use one of the many free blogging platforms available to host their blog. There are lots on offer, and they can be really simple to use – some only require you to input the text! If your blog gets fairly popular, you may want to think about paying for your own domain name, but until then, using free blogging platforms will allow you to develop your own style, a solid readership and an understanding of how to blog successfully without having to fork out any money.

If you want your blog to be unique, customization is the way to go. There are many templates available to users of free blogging platforms, and the process is as simple as choosing a ready-made design with a layout you like the look of.

Popular blogging sites:

If you are a whizz with a computer and want to learn how to start blogging, you can also consider using HTML and CSS to customize the layout of your blog. Although it’s possible to teach yourself the basics of these coding tools, there are also a number of useful sites which offer coding lessons and tutorials for free. If you study in the UK and are female, you might also be interested in an initiative called Code First: Girls.

See some examples of websites offering free coding resources:

4. Set realistic goals

Once you start blogging, the tough part is keeping it up. In order to keep yourself motivated, not only should you be writing about personal passions and interests, you should also make sure you set yourself realistic goals for your blog.

Do you want to publish 10 blog posts in the first month or would you rather just commit to one post a week? There’s no set rule here as the number of blog posts you publish will depend on how much free time you have in between university assignments, part-time work and your social life. Be sure, however, that you balance your work load effectively, scheduling time for each.

I know from experience that it’s easy to use a student blog as a procrastination tool, but if you remember that assignments always come first, you shouldn’t go too far wrong!

5. Stay up-to-date

Not only should you keep your blog updated with frequent posts, but you should also keep up with industry news (funding cuts or new innovations, for example), current affairs and other goings on in areas related to your field of interest. If you blog about sociology, perhaps you could discuss the latest episode of House of Cards through a sociological lens,or, if your blog has a political angle, perhaps you could talk about your views on upcoming elections or policy changes.

Just as Twitter users use the #Hashtag to stay on-trend, keeping your blog on the pulse of current happenings is a good way to keep your blog relevant to wider audiences. If you’re talking about something current, it’s also more likely that your work will get seen, as more internet users will be searching for this content.

6.  Be active in the blogging community

As a new student blogger, don’t expect to gain an international readership overnight; this will take time and dedication. The blogosphere is a very connected world, however, so with a bit of research into popular blogs with similar topics to yours, you will begin to see what sort of content works, who the main audience is, and what people are currently talking about in the field.

It’s important that you use these established sites and blogs not as a way of spamming with your own blog’s URL, but rather in order to connect and interact with likeminded people who can then ‘follow’ your blog if they like your work. If you take time getting to know the types of existing audience you can reach, you will be in a better place to promote your work, knowing that it is relevant and appealing.

7.  Consider guest blogging for an established blog/site

Guest blogging is a great way to publicize your work to large audiences without having to set up and maintain your own site. Or, if you already have your own blog, guest blogging can act as a way to reach a wider audience by tapping into an existing readership.

Another great thing about guest blogging is the motivation of deadlines. Most site editors will give you flexible topics and timeframes, but ultimately, whether they’ve given you a week or a month, you’ll be more inclined to write and finish a quality blog post if you know it’s being expected by someone else.

Guest blogging acts as a great way to build up a portfolio of work, as well as potentially offer access to an audience of thousands or even millions. The majority of websites will not pay guest bloggers, but will give you the chance to include an author bio as part of your post, with a link to your own blog or portfolio.

Before asking to become a guest blogger, make sure you have a strong idea about the site’s readership and whether your style of blogging fits with this. Although you will probably be able to choose the topic you write about, sometimes you may be asked to blog about a specific subject.

Here at TopUniversities.com, we offer guest blogging opportunities for home and international students, graduates and academics covering all aspects of student life, including places to study, university news, student initiatives, staying well, admissions advice, careers advice and more. To find out more, email [email protected]

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Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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4 Comments

Very nice article. Thank you for sharing

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Thanks for this post

Wish I read this post in my early days of blogging.

I have been blogging for years now and I can say blogging as a student is really cool.

My blog URL is https://www.bloggingprince.com

And you can read a similar article here https://www.bloggingprince.com/2017/04/how-to-efficiently-blog-as-a-student.html

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