How To Start A Blog | A Beginner's Guide


blogging on laptop

morkie sleeping on bed

Recently, I've been receiving a lot of questions about blogging. How to start a blog, blogging recommendations, pieces of advice, how to make money, what is LiketoKnow.it, etc. I'm always happy to respond and have no qualms talking about this subject, but it's such a long answer it can be quite time consuming to email or DM repeatedly. So I thought I'd create a post with simple steps on "How To Start A Blog" for anyone interested. 

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A couple of quick disclaimers: (1) I'm not writing this as a blogging "expert" because I do not consider myself one at this point in my journey. I'm writing this as a simplified checklist of items and things to think about before and after you start your blog. The building blocks of getting things started I wish I'd know at the very beginning. (2) Blog consulting is a full-time gig so this isn't intended to be a "How to create a successful blog" post or a "How to get rich blogging" post. (3) This isn't the only way to start a blog, just my personal experience and what worked for me.

1. Ask yourself why you want to start a blog. I feel strongly the first step in your blogging journey should be to ask yourself "Why?" Do you feel passionate about sharing knowledge or stories with your future followers? Do you enjoy the creative aspects of technology... taking photos, editing photos, writing quality content, incorporating SEO into your posts, using Photoshop, etc. (I'm not saying you need to know HOW to do these things right now, but would you enjoy it? Because these are things you'll definitely be working with or doing along the way). Do you have a niche that will set you apart from the rest of the pack? Do you want to blog solely to get free stuff and make money? (If the answer to this is "Yes" then go ahead and stop here.)

Blogging is something you HAVE to enjoy... or LOVE rather because you're not going to write your first post and suddenly get inundated with hundreds of emails about collaborations and sponsored posts. You probably won't even get one. I don't say this to scare you or to make you feel defeated, but like all good things, they come with time and lots of effort. You have to show companies and brands that you're in it for the long game and that you have established a substantial engaged audience. These things take time and everyone is different. Depending on your income and resources it's totally possible to go full-time in one year. Or you may work full-time and it takes seven. We are all running our own race, and that's important to remember! 

2. Think about your content. Content is crucial. Pretty pictures and a cool web design are wonderful but the content is the meat of your brand. Content is the true purpose behind why you're creating a blog in the first place. Thinking of content isn't always easy. Everyone has writer's block or times of un-inspiration but that's totally normal. To make things easier, try creating some sort of schedule or lists of different topics you will cover. For example, I do Motivation Monday, Wear It Wednesday, and Face It Friday which makes writing my content much easier. I've seen a lot of Friday Favorites, or Wedding Wednesdays... you get the idea. Just make sure you aren't copying your content off of someone else. Researching other bloggers can be very helpful but coming up with unique content and ideas is what will help you to succeed. The blogging community is a small world, so if you steal content or photos people will know.

3. How often do you want to blog? Think about how much time you have to devote to writing a blog. Most bloggers post 3-5 times a week and you want to make sure you're consistent. Try not to bite off more than you can chew... at least at first. You can always ramp up later! Keep in mind that most companies and brands look for consistency and blog post frequency. Answering this question may also be a good indication if starting a blog is right for you. 

4. Come up with goals and a game plan. Goal setting is going to be your best friend! Especially if you already work full-time, part-time, have a family, etc. because it can be really hard to juggle everything. At first, you may not think so, but 24 hours in a day is seriously never enough once you start a blog - at least I don't think so. I've always worked multiple jobs while blogging and suggest making yourself a monthly list of posts, goals, and even a time schedule. That way you know what is coming and you aren't stuck the night before trying to think of things to write about. I also like making a daily time schedule so that I can stay on task throughout the day. Even if you don't stick to it exactly, you'll have important things to do at the top of your mind. And finally, goal setting - increasing your blog views, Instagram followers, etc. It's a great way to stay motivated! 

5. Choose a blog name and make sure it's available (and that you like it - a lot). This is IMPORTANT. Your blog name is your brand. It's going to stay with you for a very long time and is a representation of you and what you'll be writing about. And here's the thing... you may think of some awesome blog names, but most of them will already be taken so make sure to Google them before doing anything else like buying a domain. You also want to make sure your name isn't too similar to anyone else's so you can stand out. I use GoDaddy for my domain name and you can go to their website and plug in website names to see what is taken or how much it will cost. Using your name is always a great idea since it's unique to you. Granted, some names are more common than others but it's a good place to start. Also, try to make your blog name specific to your content. For example, if I was writing about food I wouldn't call my blog Amanda Fashionista lol.

Again... try to be creative... no one in the blogging community wants to be copied and bloggers spend a lot of time, money, and energy creating their own unique brands. 

6. Choose a URL and make sure it's available. This goes along with #5. After you have a blog name make sure it's available as a domain and affordable. Cost varies depending on the words you use. The most unique to you, usually the cheaper the cost. You can also try putting "blog" after the name in the URL if needed. Again, I use GoDaddy and have been very pleased. I renew my blog domain every year for a very affordable amount and it's as simple as that! Note: you don't have to buy a domain name but it looks more professional. On Blogger (see blog platforms below) it will automatically give you a ".blogspot" after your blog name as a URL but you can switch this after you purchase from a domain site. 

7. Pick a blogging platform. Next, you'll want to choose a blogging platform. The two most popular are Blogger (what I currently use) and WordPress. Here's the simple breakdown: Blogger is FREE and very intuitive, meaning you'll have an easy time figuring out how to create your posts. You can also design your own layout but I encourage you to use a service that specializes in this and offers skilled graphic designers (I didn't want the stress of figuring this out). WordPress comes with a yearly fee and is more technical BUT you can do much more in the way of search engine optimization (people finding your content online) and have more creative liberties. I suggest starting with Blogger if you aren't super tech savvy and aren't 1000% sure you want to blog forever as it's a good place to get your feet wet without the financial commitment. You can always switch over to WordPress at a later date. 

8. Network appropriately. Networking, like most industries, is crucial in the blog world. I've met so many amazing, beautiful, smart ladies through blogging and social media - some have even become good friends! Having a network of other women and men who understand blogging is huge and they can become a fabulous resource for you along the way. A good sounding board or a place to ask questions if you are unsure of something. It's also important to network with companies and brands so you can acquire collaborations and sponsorships down the road. But please read this: DON'T force or ask other bloggers to follow you. I've had this happen to me and no one wants to get guilt-tripped into following someone they didn't form a relationship with organically. And most nice bloggers will do it but it's not a great way to start things out in my opinion. Also, when it comes to companies, keep in mind they want to see that you have an engaged, ever-growing following before they'll agree to work with you. Reaching out day one for free stuff or money may not be the best idea. I've been blogging for over three years now and, to date, have never approached a company. I like to use brand outreach that comes my way as a measure of organic growth. That's not to say you shouldn't, many bloggers I know do, and are very successful... just make sure you are prepared and have content and numbers to back up your requests.

9. Never stop learning. Blogging and social media platforms are ever-changing so it's good to try and stay ahead of the curve but gosh there's still so much I don't know! I could read articles and posts for days on how to become a better blogger and on technologies to use. Take note of things others are doing well and try to incorporate those things IN YOUR OWN WAY... best practices are "best practices" for a reason. There are also lots of webinars and accounts that send out tips and tricks that are really helpful! I really like @bloguettes and @blogwithme on Instagram. 

10. Be consistent! Consistency is so important! I can't emphasize this enough. In order to grow a loyal following, you need to give your readers and subscribers content to look forward to on a regular basis. Another reason why you want to be committed to blogging before you take the plunge. You don't want to leave your fans hanging when you don't feel like writing, or you aren't feeling well, or you have too much to do. Obviously, there are exceptions, like my cross-country move and lack of wifi but for the most part, you don't want to take personal "holidays" or skip your usual post days. 

What tools I recommend for blogging.
iPhone or camera (I use a Canon Rebel T6s with a 50mm lens)
Photoshop Elements
Lightroom

I also get lots of questions about LikeToKnow.it. I'll be doing a post super soon on how to sign up for their emails and to download their app to shop my, and other bloggers, posts. As far as how to become an LTK influencer I really can't say much because their acceptance criteria isn't public and I honestly don't know what it is (I'm sorry). What I can say is that I would give your blog and your following time before applying. 

I really hope this post was helpful! I get so many questions about blogging and where to start. If there's anything I've forgotten or that you still want to know please shoot me a comment, message, email, or DM. Just remember, there's no secret sauce to blogging (or gaining followers on IG). It all comes down to dedication, engagement, and consistency. Everyone grows at a different pace and you have to compete with yourself. If you love what you're doing and sharing, success will be sure to come your way. 

Thank you so much for following!

2 comments

  1. Cannot stress the point about picking a name you like. I got inspiration from a bridal boutique that I used to work at. Now when I say my blog's name, everyone is always so confused lol. Do you have any advice for changing your blog's name? or any ideas for a new name?
    Thanks!
    Kate || KATE KOUTURES

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are there other ways to get your blog out there beside just your own social media. I have a lots of friends and people on my fb, but they are not the kind of people that really like fashion and beauty things :-)

    ReplyDelete

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