Summer Project: Start a Blog
Whew. It’s finals week. And I just finished my last paper ever. Well, until I consider grad school that is. And now it’s time to start thinking of the summer. Sure, you’ve got that internship. Or maybe you’re in the boat of those graduating. Either way, you’ll probably have some downtime this summer. The summer project I’ll be writing about today is starting a blog.
Why start a blog? Why not? You’ve got nothing to lose except a few bucks paying for hosting and a domain name. We’ve been advocating that every student needs a blog, and it’s great to see a bunch of students jumping on board.
Choose Your Platform
HackCollege uses Squarespace. If you want to create anything that’s more than just a blogroll, Squarespace is the way to go. Back in the day, HackCollege was on a WordPress.org installation. As part of a Squarespace sponsorship, we ported the site over to Squarespace. Gone were the days of me waking up early in the morning to restart our server. We’ve never looked back, nor have we needed to. HackCollege has never been down since. I can only say nice things about Squarespace. Also, I think if you’re paying the $8/month for a hobby, you’re more likely to give that hobby due diligence.
Recently though, I’ve been more and more turned onto Tumblr as a serious platform. If your goal is to make content that is easily shareable, this platform outta New York is the way to go. Tumblr’s ability to “reblog” things makes sharing your content easy. It’s not the easiest thing to create individual pages in Tumblr, so a project with larger goals might run into hiccups eventually. There’s a certain flavor of content that tends to perform well on Tumblr and it’s a little tough to describe. Things like Fuck Yeah Nutella are surprisingly popular Tumblr blogs with not much to them, other than awesome Nutella-related things.
Here are the top 3 HackCollege-recommended blogging platforms:
One of the biggest hurdles of blogging is not starting one, but keeping one going. There’s some bullshit statistic that says one blog is created every second. How many of those blogs live past the first month or ever collect more than 10 posts? Not many.
Before starting a blog, you should have a solid idea of what you will be writing about. Be wary of just “writing about whatever.” This is often the easiest and most difficult thing to write about. You’ll have nothing to distinguish yourself. Years ago when we started HackCollege, the lifehacking student community did not exist. It does now. Content doesn’t get more specific than “lifehacking for early-adopting college students.”
Before you pen your first post, you should brainstorm at least 100 post ideas for your blog. (Want to challenge yourself? Do 200.) This will help you write on the dull days and help put things in perspective.
Above all, remember that blogging will not make you an overnight celebrity. Harsh truth: nothing does these days. If you want to make a serious name for yourself, it will take years. We’ve been hacking away at this site for almost four years. Might as well get started while you’re still in school. Hell, a blogging/pre-gaming routine is a good way to get posts written.
One of the greatest assets in blogging is not yourself, but everyone around you. That great post you wrote means nothing if it’s published in a vacuum. Reach out to other fellow student bloggers. We’re friendly folk; we answer our emails.
Get used to sending emails out to folks whenever you’ve got a post you’re proud of. Don’t overdo it, though; nothing is worse than getting relegated to someone’s spam folder.
Here are some of the people we like to work with:
Starting a blog this summer? Let us know what you’re calling it and what it covers in the comments!