I am positive there are a hundred million posts on the internet telling you how to start a blog. I’m pretty sure if you Google them you’ll probably find a more comprehensive to-do list for newbie bloggers on how to go about it. However, I get approximately fourteen emails a week from readers asking me for advice on how to start a blog so I thought I’d write a post in case you’re curious. Here are my opinions (for better or worse) on what I’ve learned after five years of running a blog.
1. Get a Blog – Some people (we’ll call them fancy) decide to start a blog and they get to hire a design firm and be all official. Most bloggers, myself included, start with a site like Blogger. Blogger is a platform for blogging that walks you through the process, shows you how to set up your page and then let’s you have at it. It’s a great place to start to see if you actually even like blogging in the first place.
2. Get a Plan – What is your blog about? If the answer is “my life” that’s probably not a good enough plan. I don’t mean that your life isn’t great and interesting and super cool, I just mean that there are 18 million blogs online (literally, Forbes counted) so how are you going set yourself apart? Five years ago when I started my blog to promote my events company I wrote about myself. I’d talk about what I ate for dinner last night or my favorite Mexican restaurant in town and only my mom read it. One day an intern (bless his heart) asked me, do you know that a blog is supposed to be out something specific? The thing was, I didn’t know that at all but it’s true. Your blog needs to be about something specific — yes, you should be evident in it, after all, you’re the one writing it. But consider making a blog about your specialty. So maybe you’re the best blogger for home schooling a house of all boys. Maybe your the best blogger for knitting sweaters for dogs. Maybe you’re the best blogger for making tissue paper pom poms. The point is, if you establish yourself as a voice in a specific area it not only gives you direction but it quickly gives you fan base for like minded people.
3. Get an Editorial Calendar – I’ll sound like a jerk when I say this but I take entrepreneurialism very seriously and I want other women to do the same. If you want to start a blog as a hobby, that’s awesome. But if you want a business, you can’t treat it like a hobby. Get an editorial calendar… this means a plan of what you’re going to write about on which day. Whenever you write, do it consistently. So rather than writing a blog post when the mood strikes you, choose the same date and time every week so your followers know when to expect it. Having a calendar is a great way to plan out the month ahead and see if there are any posts that are too similar or don’t fit with that month’s theme.
4. Get Your Photo On – I am so lucky that I have extremely talented photographers on the Chic staff who take all of our pretty pictures but I didn’t start that way. In the beginning my pictures were terrible and here are a few things I’d wish I’d known on how to make them better. Take your pictures without a flash in indirect sunlight… mid-day near an open window is my favorite. Experiment with location, try the same picture in four different places in your house to see what you like best. You’ll quickly discover a favorite locale for all of your shots. Make sure all of your photos are the same width on your page. When you scroll through someone’s blog and the pictures are all a different size it’s distracting to the eye. Figure out the width of your post and then size all your photos to be that width, it just looks so much cleaner.
5. Get Social – If you’re going to run a blog social media is a HUGE component of that but it can be really overwhelming to find yourself on seven different social platforms. I suggest picking one or two you already really love to do and then just use those. If you have a Twitter but haven’t posted to it since last October this isn’t helping your brand. Build your blog up on a platform you love and don’t just use it to promote yourself. For instance, if I was the best blog for knitting dog sweaters I’d be sure and share all kind of content that other dog sweater people would be into. Be a curator of content your readers will love and they’ll identify you as the place to get the best information on the topic.
Nervous that no one will read what you’ve worked so hard to create? Read this –> HERE
Want tips for organizing your desk? Check this out –> HERE
Does the idea of how to start a blog make nervous enough for a cocktail? I got you –> HERE