• Abbie Tibbott

Friday Special: Blogging Q&A

Welcome to another Friday post! I did a Q&A about university a few months ago, and felt it was time for another one. I asked for questions over on my Twitter (@abbie_tibbott) and my Instagram (@tibbotttalks _study) and it seemed a lot of you wanted to know more about blogging.


[[This blog was meant to be published in late August/early September, but got lost, so my apologies to those who asked questions, they're here now!]]


I've paraphrased some questions where I've had duplicates, and everything is anonymous. Hope you enjoy!


How long did it take to set up your website? Was it difficult?


I started building my site on Wix in the summer of 2020, but because I was doing heavy research for my dissertation, it was just here and there. After I moved home, I dedicated the whole of October to getting everything perfect, so I'd say it took 1-2 hours a day for around 3 weeks. I'm slow when it comes to web design as I've never done it before, so I wanted to gradually build up my site. It wasn't difficult as Wix has tutorials and helpful guides for when you got stuck, so I'd say anyone with a laptop and a bit of spare time could get it done in a week or so.


Why Tibbott Talks?


I'm so bad at naming things! Coming up with titles for my dissertations was easier than naming my site, but eventually I decided that I wanted to use my surname as it's pretty unique and often misspelled. I also wanted to put the emphasis that my website is a place of free expression and learning, both of which I'm very passionate about.


Do I need to start a blog to do a degree?


No, this is just a passion project! Running a website takes time and may not fit your commitments right now, but if you go to university it could be a great thing to add to your CV, and show you've been productive outside of your course.


How much does your blog cost?


I ran my blog on the free programme for around six months, finally upgrading in April 2021. I paid for a three-year plan, which included a free domain name, technical support, a high bandwidth and analytical data. Everything was on sale, so I got all that for under £150, which works out at £50 a year which I think is really reasonable.


Never pay full price, as blogging platforms will often have deals for you if you're patient. I'd also say that paying for a blog at the beginning isn't the best idea, so wait a few months to see if your new project really sticks, then you haven't lost anything.


Are you happy just blogging? Do you want to do YouTube or Reels in the future?


I love blogging, and feel really on top of my content at the moment. When I go back for my PhD it's hard to say how much time I'll have, but I definitely want to keep putting out regular content, including more about postgraduate life.


In the future I'd love to try out YouTube, it's just finding the time to set everything up. I've done plenty of research but haven't taken the plunge, mainly because it's super difficult to grow on the platform. Instagram has given me a good taste of running a dedicated study space, so hopefully once I'm settled at university I'll be able to branch out. I'd also like to work with my university directly too if that's possible, especially within the history department.


Reels about study routines are a personal favourite of mine, so maybe I'll be able to do some of my own soon.


What are you planning for the future in terms of content?


I've got a list, but I generally want to focus on the practical elements of tackling university for September, such as organisation and settling in. Then I'd love to dedicate some time to postgraduate study, such as providing advice for MA students thinking about upcoming research, as well as placements and job experience. My MA was filled with opportunities, and I'd like to teach others how to access similar things.


How long does it all take?


For the moment, my content is completed one month in advance. I'll generally draft content in bulk, with six posts taking around 10-14 days to complete, which includes all the necessary research. Editing and scheduling a month's worth of content takes around two days, and it involves checking for errors, choosing images and making sure everything is linked and optimised for Google. I tend to schedule everything at the end of the month, so the middle weeks of each month are left for me to plan content and focus on Instagram.


A draft post takes me about an hour, but bear in mind that I plan everything on paper first, so it's more about turning those points into prose. Scheduling a post takes about half an hour, so I can do a few in a day around other things.


I like being a few weeks ahead as it allows me to work four to five days a week, see friends and get my admin done on time. I've been known to write two or three drafts in a day, it just depends on my mood.


Do you recommend any other blog sites?


I've used WordPress in the past, so that's the only one I can comment on. I think it's a decent site and I can see why many people choose it. I tried to start a blog several years ago (there's no trace of it now though) but I didn't keep up with it.


I chose Wix because it had a similar style to WordPress but I wanted to start off with an entirely new programme. All of them seem pretty similar, but just keep an eye on the prices if you want to upgrade.


Can you write more blogs about blogging?


Of course! I've written a post about planning a blog, as well as a reflection of my time as a writer, both are linked onto the bottom of this post. I'd be happy to write more about the process of coming up with ideas and seeing them through, as I think that's the part no one seems to talk about.


If you ever have any requests for content, my DMs on Instagram is the best way to reach me.


What's a domain name? Do I need my own to post blogs?


A domain name is essentially the name of your website, as how it appears in the search box. It allows you to be found by people using Google too. It isn't strictly necessary, as lots of sites will give you a free website address, but it won't be listed on Google so you'll have to give it out on social media directly.


Upgrading your site to a paid plan often gets you a domain name for free, which you can choose.

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog, even if it's a bit different from what I usually post. I think I'll do another one focused on Postgraduate study during the autumn, as I'm sure people will have questions. A big thank you to everyone who got in touch, no question is a silly question.


Happy studying!