Sunday, March 9, 2014

How to Start a Blog

I’ve recently received several questions on how to start up a blog, so today’s post is a quick review of how I got started and the tools I use in daily blogging.

1. Before you start blogging – DO A LITTLE PREPARATION.  Think about the purpose of your blog.  Is it to promote a business, or just share thoughts on a subject you love?  Will your site be text or picture based?  Will you incorporate videos and be linked to YouTube?  etc… Once you have a clear definition of what you want your site to be, it will be much easier to create a template around that purpose.

2. Many people ask if this blog costs me any money – good news!  Nope, it doesn’t cost a dime – just time.  Consider FREE AVAILABLE WEB HOSTS (remote hosting) for starting up - Blogger and Word Press are both great and commonly used options.  I use Blogger.  I do a bit of html coding here and there to tweak things, but it’s certainly not required.  I also use Windows Live Writer to post instead of the normal Blogger posting tool.  This tool gives a bit more flexibility in regards to posting format and is also a great tool if you have multiple blogs, because you can post to each blog at the same time without switching between each (there’s literally just a dropdown bar to select which blog you wish to post to).

3. There’s also the option of SELF HOSTING.  This option will allow you much more flexibility in regards to defining template, but you do need to be more tech savvy to take full advantage and also will need to pay for the services.  Click here to read more on self hosting. 

4. If you’re interested in starting a fashion blog or any other blog where photos will be a main focus, it is helpful to INVEST IN A GOOD CAMERA AND HAVE A PHOTOGRAPHER BUDDY (if you’re lucky!).  I have the camera, though I’m certainly not the most adept at how to use all the functionality… I use a Nikon Coolpix P500.  I unfortunately have no one but myself to take photos, so I use a handy-dandy (full standing) tripod.  Not ideal by any means, but used by many bloggers and can still be very workable.  Another great option for photo based blogs is to USE DIFFERENT INTERESTING BACKGROUNDS  While I’m fairly limited – I take my pics in the morning before I leave for work – I admit that I absolutely adore blogs that have unique outdoor backgrounds.  Of course, it can be quite a time investment to do this, so make sure you can plan accordingly.

5. Decide if you’ll be open to ADVERTISING. If yes, Google Adsense is a super easy way to incorporate a few advertisements and make a few extra dollars!  That said, no one goes to a blog to be inundated with ads, so think about your audience, ensure any ads incorporated are relevant, and don’t over do it if you do decide to go this route.  If your blog starts to attract a good amount of traffic (much traffic can be tracked via Blogger “Stats” page and also via tracking followers via Google+, Bloglovin, RSS feeds, etc…), you’ll likely be contacted by companies to promote or review their products.  If you’re interested in this, ensure you have contact information available on your profile or main page.  Ensure you are also thoughtful on what you review and know that people will trust your opinion – so give it honestly!  Don’t endorse just to endorse.

6. You’ll also need to decide how you’ll want to PROMOTE YOUR BLOG.  Social media is an obvious path to take, but also can take up a considerable amount of time.  Consider how many avenues you’ll be prepared to update – Twitter, Google, Bloglovin, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn…  I love Bloglovin and Google, because it’s automatically sync’d with Blogger publishing, but for the others, you’d need to continuously and separately update.  Personally, I found the best way to promote your own blog is to get involved in others’ blogs.  No one really appreciates the “please follow me!” comments, but thoughtful real comments from like bloggers sincerely interested in similar content is always a great connection point.

7. Finally, KEEP THINGS FRESH!  Regular posting is important to keep readers engaged.  Continue to evolve, and play with your blog, the template, the background, etc… as you continue blogging.  Have fun with it!  If it’s not fun anymore, then it’s not worth it, because it does take a bit of time.

Hope this helped for those considering joining our blogging world.  Happy Blogging!


Sam said...

These are some really valuable pieces of advice...helpful to anyone wanting to set up a blog.

Elegance and Mommyhood said...

This was a very nice post. Very thorough and educative. I even learned a few things. I agree with you about everything, especially about having a nice camera and an interesting background.

Have a Great Sunday!

Andreea said...

Nice blog!

Diary of a Debutante said...

Great post! These tips are really helpful and applicable. New follower :) Hope you had a great weekend, lady!

Diary of a Debutante

Mica T said...

Great tips! :) Especially the camera and tripod bit - I used to have to get hubby to take my photos, or balance my camera on something and use a self timer hoping it didn't fall over before taking the shot, haha. Tripod makes everything easier! :)

Away From Blue

Diva In Me said...

It's always great to share thoughts and give pointers on starting a blog. I'm glad I made that decision to start one =)