I know I may be speaking to the wrong people, as the majority who read (I assume, or at least interact?) already have blogs. I’ve always wanted to write one of these posts just so those who are new have a bit of a starting point, or for those who always wanted to write their own but weren’t sure about certain things. I’ll run through the basic points and, as always, if you have any more to add just let me know! It’s gonna be a long’un so apologies in advance…
WordPress or Blogger? | Oh this age-old debate. The answer will depend on who you talk to, really. Some adore Blogger for how simple and straightforward it is, some love WordPress for how much you can customise it. I personally use Blogger, as I think it’s great for those starting out and I’m perfectly happy with it. Plus, you can move to WordPress at any time and take your blog with you. It honestly depends on what you want and there’s plenty of sites to help you make your mind up!
Pick A Name | This may be one of the hardest things to do and most see their blog as a brand, so the name is quite important. I wanted mine to simply be ‘The Lovecats’ because it’s my favourite song by The Cure, but that was taken to I had to add ‘inc’ on the end of it. Weird, yes, but I guess it’s unique? Plus it means I could blog about anything and not be tied to a certain style via my name. Having fashion or beauty in the title is all well and good, but if you decide you hate style blogging and want to switch to food or travel etc, then your name may seem a little out of place. Of course, you can always rebrand whenever you fancy, but it’s good to have it sorted from the outset.
Once you’ve picked a name, it’s always good to switch the URL from blogspot.com (for example) to a .com or .co.uk. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds and there’s lots of help available online to guide you through it. Do some research on picking a domain host (this one is a good start) and once you’re settled, go for it! I personally think having your own domain name looks more professional and makes everything feel more unique to you. Some brands prefer blogs to have their own domains too, so it’s worth thinking about as it isn’t too expensive either.
Sign Up To All Of The Social Media | It’s worth having the same name across the board when it comes to social media I think, as if your blog name is ‘fashion-whatever’ (as a very rough example) then no one will think to look for a twitter handle of ‘jessicax19309’. When you decide on your blog name, sign up to all of the social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc) as the same name, or as close as you can get. Even if you have no interest in pinning anything, it’s worth registering your name so others can’t snap it up! It just makes everything so much more uniform and easier for people to find.
Get A Blog Design | This isn’t 100% necessary as you can, of course, just design something yourself with whatever blogging platform’s inhouse functions. But, and it’s one thing I wish I had done from day one, as getting a professional looking blog design makes a world of difference! I’ll always recommend pipdig, as their designs are customisable and affordable, plus them installing it takes the stress away (though you can easily install it yourself!). Have a good think about aesthetics you like and how you want your blog to come across, as blog designs can reflect a personality so much and once you’ve figured it out – get cracking on your own! If you’re stuck, check out my two posts on blog design and making your blog user friendly.
Get Posting! | Of course, the key to starting a blog is to actually blog! The schedule of which depends entirely on you and no one can tell you how often to blog, so posting once a week or every day (for eg) is a thing you’ll have to figure out. I post pretty much every day because I have the time for it now, but some of my favourite blogs only post twice a week, so it really does depend on the individual (see my tips post on getting organised if you need help). I tend to follow a bit of a structure in my posts so readers can become familiar with my style and know where to find everything (links to items I’m wearing etc). Same with my pictures, as the whole white background thang has become ‘my style’ in a lot of my posts. I personally think it takes a hell of a long time to figure out your style, so don’t expect to have everything locked down as soon as you publish your first piece, just keep working at it.
Engagement and Consistency Are Key | A lot of people start blogs thinking they can sit down, type up a post and they’ll have thousands of readers and PR emails flocking towards them because they have the title of ‘blogger’ – this isn’t the case whatsoever. I think in my first month of blogging, I was lucky if I had 10 views a day and that’s just how it is. You can’t expect anyone to come to you if you’re not willing to go to them. Take the time to read and comment on other blogs, engage in blogger chats (full timetable here) and interact with other bloggers. If you take the time to do this, and regularly too, you’ll notice a difference in not only your blogging experience (as we’re an awesome community) but in your blog feedback and readers too.
Remember It Takes Time | As hinted at above, building up a blog does take a lot of time. Everything from taking photos to writing posts to promoting it on social media to replying to tweets to emails takes literal hours, but it’s worth it. How you deem your blog to be successful is up to you, for some it’s reader count and others it’s relationship building. For me, it’s seeing regular readers and talking to lovely people. Of course numbers are nice, but it’s not my end game. Put in the effort and you’ll reap the rewards!
I think they’re all of my main points and I hope they help those of you wanting to start or even those who need a bit of motivation! I have a whole series of blog tips which you can look through, but here’s a few starting ones: