So this post is a continuation of my Behind the Blog series that I started quite a while back (my first post was my answer to the question: How do I do it all?). I had intended to keep the momentum going with this series, but these kinds of posts are very hard to write…they require a lot of thought and time so I figured that I would just do them right and post them when they’re ready!
So here goes with Behind the Blog Part 2: How to start one of your own!
I get asked this question A LOT, like almost once a week. And I never know how to answer it in one or two sentences. So I sat down and really really thought about the things that I wished I would have known when I started, and the things that worked for me. When I first started blogging 3 years ago, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was blindly stumbling the internets trying to figure out coding, and linking, and how to take pictures… I’m telling you I was clueless (just look at some of my first posts…they’re terrible but they’re all a part of my journey). But being clueless didn’t scare or bother me in the least, in fact I found it exciting and challenging (and still do). I needed that exact challenge at that exact time in my life (and still do). I like the challenge of learning new things and figuring stuff out.
I’m actually quite amazed that people ask me this question, because I still feel like I’m figuring out how to blog. Every day I learn something new about blogging, and I relearn that none of us really knows what we’re doing. It’s all trial and error. And it’s changing all the time. All. The. Time. There’s always some new social media site to use, or one that’s no longer in use. There’s always some new open letter telling us that we’re doing it all wrong. That we should be doing this or that or don’t do that…it’s hard to keep up. So I don’t. I do my own thing.
So if you’ve always wanted to write a blog, I say do it! It’s not hard to have a blog…you just have to take a leap of faith and get started…learn as you grow.
So let’s get to it! First, let me just say that I am not a blog expert by any stretch, and trust me when I tell you that I do not have the answers. This is a very simplified how-to, actually it’s really more the mechanics of how to get a blog off the ground.
And remember, I’m still learning too…as are most bloggers. But if I can share a love of blogging with you, and provide any little tidbit of advice or help then I will! So here goes…
- Just do it. Seriously, it’s a good time. It’s a creative and therapeutic outlet.
- Start your blog on Blogger. Use Blogger as your platform to get going. Now a lot of people will not agree with me on this one. Like at all. They will say start out on WordPress! But I say no! And how can I say that when I am in fact, on WordPress.org (not to be confused with WordPress.com – I’ll get back to that in a minute)? Well let me tell you. First, Blogger is FREE. Second, get your blog established then pay for hosting. I am on WordPress.org but I paid for the structure and theme of my blog and I pay monthly for the hosting. These are not things I think one needs to worry about when starting a blog for the first time. Blogger has an amazing and FREE platform that will easily transfer over to WordPress.org in the event that one day your blog outgrows Blogger. But to start out, Blogger is the best. It’s free people. And easy to use. Super easy. Like point and click easy. And it has a universal commenting system, which the free version of WordPress does not. The other WordPress I was talking about and said I’d get back to in a minute, is WordPress.com. WordPress.com is free as well, but in my opinion it’s way too complicated to use and it’s completely not flexible. Start on Blogger!
- Pick a name that you can picture on a billboard and that you’ll be proud of and will feel timeless. I saw this tidbit when I first started out and I thought, oh whatever, I’ll just change it later if I hate it down the road. Just no. That won’t work. After you pour your heart out into your blog and market yourself and your blog all over the place, the last thing you can do is change your brand. I mean it can be done, but it’s hard, and it will feel as though you’ll basically be starting all over again. Think long and hard about the name you choose. Also, don’t pick too specific of a blog name like ‘How To Grow a Rose Garden Blog’, then realize a month down the road you want to share a pie recipe or a paint tutorial…know what I mean? Another thing you might want to consider when choosing your name, are your social media handles. And this leads me on to the next point…
- Grab all of your social media handles stat. Once you have decided on a blog name, get your Facebook Page, Twitter Handle, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram names to match your site. This is not easy, especially now with all of these sites saturated with people. But you want them to make sense. You may even want to find all your handles before confirming your blog name. And this does not mean you have to use any of these sites until you want to, or ever for that matter, but at least you’ll have them in case you do.
- Don’t make a hard and fast decision about what you want to blog about. What I mean is, don’t pigeon hole yourself into a niche, because you might want to change directions in the future. I don’t mean blog about everything under the sun, have a general idea but I don’t think you have to be too specific right away. This is a good thing to keep in mind when picking your blog name too. There are a lot of opinions on this, and many will disagree with me, but when you’re first starting out, blog what feels right to you. Your blog WILL change over time. I have never chosen a niche…I started out mostly with crafts, but over time I’ve moved more to food, with some life, crafts, home and DIY sprinkled in. And someday I may change again. And that’s ok.
- Blog consistently. Keep your voice consistent. Make sure your topics flow somehow. Have a schedule. Do you want to blog once a week or 3 times a week or everyday? Just be consistent if you can, because your readers will get to know how you work, and will come on by when they expect to see a post up!
- Don’t blog to make money. At least not right away. Do it because you just want to blog, then do a good job, and the money and opportunities will come. But don’t expect to be a millionaire haha!
- Find a tribe. Find a group of bloggers that you admire and trust, then lean on each other. Share ideas, help promote each other. I’m telling you a tribe is so important…I love mine! :)
- Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers. Just put your head down and get going. Blog what makes your heart feel good. There is room enough for us all!
- Have fun! Blogging is supposed to be fun, so enjoy the process! It’s your space on the internet do with what you choose after all!
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That’s it. Really, it’s all just about getting started. Get that name chosen, then hit publish on your first post…after that it will all flow!
Still have questions? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer!