Recently I have been receiving a lot of questions about how I got into blogging etc, mainly from friends, family or people I know who are interested in setting one up themselves but feel they have left it too late, don’t know where to start, or are just curious what it all involves.
I am by no means suggesting I know it all about blogging, far from it. What I do know though is how to set up a blog and get it off the ground when so many other girls were already out there doing an incredible job. So I thought I would share my ten tips to remember if you want to start a blog in case any of you reading this want to start one up but don’t know if you can.
You have not left it too late- One of the biggest worries is that you’ve missed the blogger’s boat, the ship has sailed, people have already made their mark and you won’t catch up or be as good. Don’t, it is not true. If you have something say then go ahead and say it. Yes, blogging has been around for years but it doesn’t mean you can’t make something from it, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a new angle or perspective to share with the world. Blogging will also teach you so many new things and can be a huge platform to show yourself off to future employees so please do not worry others have been doing it for years it’s a big old place here on the internet and there is definitely room for you.
Ask for advice – Don’t be afraid to ask, I was and it made me go round the houses doing the simplest of things. There are so many of us out here doing this if you have questions just give one of your favourite bloggers a shout and I can guarantee they will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Invest in a good theme and layout – This is always a difficult decision, do you start with a free blog or do you go in fully committed self-hosted? I started with wordpress.com, I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I didn’t want to ask anyone in case they shot me down and asked why I was making a blog. Whilst I will always be grateful I started down this route because it taught me so much, it didn’t help me in the long run and it was less than a year before I took the leap and went self hosted. Despite my own ‘journey’ I would always recommend starting self-hosted. You should go into blogging fully committed, it will never work just half-hearted.
Don’t worry about your niche – I hear that not being niche is what doesn’t set you apart from other bloggers, which yes /I understand, there are hundreds and thousands of us out here tapping away at our keyboards, many confirming our love for Jo Malone, avocado and The White Company but you are your niche so as long as you are authentic and true to yourself you will be fine. I have found over the years if you pigeon hole yourself to one area, it often becomes difficult when you want to talk about something away from your ‘area’ and you feel like you almost have to apologise to your followers for saying something different. Whilst having a niche is easier to captivate an audience to start with, being yourself and your own blog gives you the freedom to discuss all the things that make up you which has worked for a lot of bloggers.
Don’t be afraid to share– When I started this blog, I wouldn’t share it anywhere, only a handful of my friends and family knew I had one. I don’t even think my Dad knew until the Christmas just gone. I kept it under wraps and whilst I wasn’t scared of what people who I didn’t know thought of me, I hated the idea of friends and family thinking I was crap. This was so daft, I was putting myself out there for the whole World to judge but I didn’t want to share on my own social media. This has changed and its made a massive difference to my daily views and I love receiving texts and messages from friends who I would never dream would read my ramblings saying how much they like it.
Social media is your best friend– Following on from the point above, use social media. I have to admit, Facebook is still my weakness, I can’t always bring myself to share things on facebook it is so personal and responsive I feel like I am always waiting to see how many people have clicked from Facebook and wondering who they could be. I did however set my own Facebook page up, so one I didn’t have to share my blog with people who wouldn’t be interested, and two because it meant I could set my Instagram up as a business account and keep an eye on that little analytics from my posts. Yup, it’s time-consuming.
Don’t go into blogging for ‘free stuff’– The number of times I am asked do you blog for free stuff? It is probably one of the most annoying and also quite insulting questions. The answer is no, I never have. Instagram has made the influencer market massive, it is so instant and visual, those with big Instagram followings and when I say big I am talking the 40K and up followers perhaps get free stuff but it doesn’t come easily, it is a lot of grafting, a lot of posing, a lot of contacting business for collaborations. You don’t just get contacted because you put your blog in your bio on Instagram. Yes I get sent products now and then but I am very careful as to what I would accept, it has to be a brand that I would 100% go out and purchase myself without them contacting me. I started blogging because I was interested in the website side of it, and because my friends grew bored of me endlessly plugging stuff I liked to them. It gave me a chance to teach myself something new and push me out of my comfort zone. I never in a million years set out to expect people to send me products just because I typed a few words on a keyboard. If I had I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this today because I wouldn’t have had the passion and motivation to keep it going.
Remember titles and content – I am no expert in SEO, to be honest, it still boggles my mind, but for the sake of my blog and to understand what my sisters are talking about at the dinner table I try. What I do know, however (and it is only a snippet) is the value of a good title. It doesn’t need to be for every post, I know I don’t, sometimes my titles make zero sense but a good title, especially for those ‘evergreen’ posts, will help you no end. I try to think of ways I type things into google and then try and reflect it back into my title and content. Spend a bit of time just researching SEO and how to apply it to your blog, it will help your page views no end.
You can do it with a full-time job – If you follow me you will know I have a full-time job, I also have a company with my sisters which do compromise the amount of time that I have to write blogs but it is doable, especially if you enjoy it. I find blogging really cathartic. It helps me escape from the stress of organising events and being customer facing so I will always find time. Photography is difficult, especially in winter, you want good natural daylight shots which are hard to shoot when you leave home and return in the dark but again you can always make it work, it just involves a bit of juggling around and sometimes just a bit of help.
Use resources – One of the biggest blog savers for me in the winter months when I didn’t have time to do my own flatlays was free stock photos. You can usually download a good free selection where talented groups allow you to have some free samples to increase their portfolio or you can buy some fab ones of ETSY. It is important to have a strong brand on your blog and this comes with the need for clear, bright, professional-looking photos. It is not a must if your content is strong then that is what people are reading, but that saying a photo speaks 1000 words is really important to remember. With so many bloggers sharing on platforms such as blogglovin now, an eye catching photo and a snappy title are what gets readers attention.
I hope this has helped, if you are looking at setting up a blog and have any questions please just ask me and I will do what I can to help or put you in touch with someone who can.
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