This Studio Wednesday I’ll be sharing with you all about starting (and running!) your very own blog in 2017! How exciting!
This is one of my most asked-for posts and I’m so pleased that today is the day I get to share all this with you!
Now, when I first started blogging it was rough. I didn’t know anything about anything about blogging and the blogosphere – nothing about platforms, live feeds, RSS, post scheduling, follow backs or any of the “important” things to know.
I was lost, and completely lost since I repel technology! (ya girl flunked computer class twice … yikes!)
But amidst all this – I was determined. And it’s such a beautiful venture!
It’s your own little bubble in the blogging world, and an open storybook for others to learn from and watch. It’s beautiful, and it’s worth it.
A lot of posts that I come by similar to this one start with picking a platform – but I feel that’s putting the cart waaaay before the horse!
Now, this probably won’t be the only blog post about this because there are many more things you’ll need to learn to really get into blogging, but these are my top 10 points for a beginner blogger.
In the next few minutes, I’ll give you all the advice I have on starting your own blog in 2017 – I hope you enjoy it!
1. Why Do You Want To Blog?
Before we get into the technical stuff and the fun design concepts – we have to start with what is the “heart” of every blog!
Why do you want to blog?
Is it an open diary of your life for the world to see? The live scrapbook where you share and store precious family moments and memories? Are you sharing the adventures you go on and the places you see?
Maybe you’re showing what life is like in a tiny home – or maybe you’re an international student archiving this time in your life and sharing with your family back in France or Italy.
Perhaps you’re a new mommy storing memories of your little and sharing each experience as they come, day by day.
Or your blog could be a portfolio of your best photography and design concepts for your blooming business!
Step 1 to blogging is figuring out in your own heart why you want to blog – a blog will not flourish without a heart full of passion and identity.
2. What Will You Blog About?
The next step is kinda a fun one where after you acknowledge why you want to blog, you simply decide what you want to blog about!!
Some advice here – allow yourself some freedom and grace. You may want to be, say, a beauty blogger and then realize that while you can explain things in person about beauty and beauty products you cannot write a blog post about it for the life of you!
Or, you may want to post about DIY’s only yo realize all the tiny little details and steps it takes to create a good and well balanced DIY blog post.
A photography blog post may be what you dream about – until all the editing, uploading and then detail works takes a toll.
At this stage, I would suggest you write down at least 5 different themes (or types) of blog posts you want to create and start with 2 of them. Try to create a nice, detailed post and see which one comes easiest.
You need to blog about something you love and are passionate about – or you will burn out within the first month of posting!
3. Create Your Blog Schedule
This is a biggie you need to really think about – you’ve got to schedule your blog posts in order to keep up and be efficient!
When I first started out, I posted 1x a week for about six weeks. This is a perfect starting point for beginner bloggers because it gives you precious time to focus on the quality of each post.
After this, I think I posted about 2x a week for six months and then stayed at posting 3x a week for about a year. This is a perfect building block!
Whatever you do, do not try to post 5 or 6 times a week! There is soooooo much more to blogging than just writing posts and hitting “publish” when you’re done – there is a lot to it and it will take you a good year to get the swing of things.
4. Blogging Platforms 101
Ahhh, yes – picking out your blogging platform!
This is where personal preference comes into play for the most part, but I still have my two cents to throw in there with each and every blogging platform available.
In my personal blogging journey, I did a lot of research on this one by reading other blog posts, watching YouTube and by visiting each and every site and comparing.
I would urge you to do the same because there are many types of bloggers and different sites seem to cater to all of the above, while others fall flat on their face!
I’m going to list them from best to worst below, so from 1 to 10.
(*this is not a paid blog post but rather my personal opinion and the collected thoughts of the majority.)
- WordPress.org. Simply put, this is the most expansive and rapidly growing platform with competitive professional features. Many people do not know that there are two WordPress sites, but the biggest difference between the two is that WordPress.org is the professional blogging platform. Exporting your growing blog from WordPress.com is extremely easy and takes only some thought and a click of the button.
- WordPress is the world most used and trusted blogging platform. It has the best-ranked customer service, no hidden fees, and also has the cheapest option to “go PRO” so that you can earn money from your blog or website. A lot of people that spend their precious time on other sites (Tumblr, Wix, Blogger) end up having to move to WordPress because they want to grow and connect – the best way for a blog to really be recognized and read. Wordpress has three or four different levels of a blog from $0.00 to $23.95 (billed yearly) where you can have complete control and start making money from your site and impressions.
- Blogger is the second one on our list! While it may be “second best” in the majority it certainly isn’t the worst. I tried Blogger for a month but noticed it just working out for me and wasn’t what I needed. Many of the people that do best on Blogger seem to be those who were there since when Blogger was just a baby. Blogger switches software and how things are managed at times which can be tricky. Also, Blogger has been known to “suspend” blogs without any notice after being acquired by Google in 2003.
- Tumblr. Ahhh, the good old Tumblr – this was what was “hot” when I was a teenager! Everyone and I mean everyone had a Tumblr account and was blogging their little heart out ……. and then it’s like everyone stopped. A good lul followed for Tumblr and that’s when they changed things up a bit and modernized it a little bit. The thing about Tumblr that many people seem not to like it that it is very limiting, has no growth space, and rarely changes. That is when things get stagnant – and people leave.
- Medium was launched in 2012 and would kinda remind you of a Readers Digest interface. Some bloggers use it for a while, but it seems that a lot more professional writers and business people use this writing platform.You cannot buy storage, and you cannot monetize.
- Squarespace comes at number five on our list, friends! I like to think with the majority on this one for a very good reason – Squarespace is commonly used as a blogging platform when it is really intended to service small business owners. Squarespace has been likened to the “LinkedIn of small biz owners” and therefore caters to that end of the spectrum. There is no free plan on Squarespace and the tiniest package is $16 a month and goes up from there. It seems to be best for eCommerce seeking business owners.
- WIX.com is used to build business websites and is commonly mistaken and used to build a blog. The problem with this is that they are not meant to cater to bloggers – but more to website developers and many bloggers leave after a year because WIX was not made for the blogger in mind. Also, once you choose a “theme” you can never change it. Much like Squarespace, the very limited upgrades available won’t help a beginning blogger grow. There is a free plan available, with plans ranging from $4.50 to $24.50. There are also no great ways to connect with other bloggers here since blogging is not the WIX interface.
- Joomla. To be honest, Joomla could easily be higher up on the list here but in the recent years people have figured out some of its weak points. While Joomla is flexible and seems pretty great, there are some key points where it just seems to fall. Users have to service their own updates, management, and backups. Plus – users are responsible for the security of their site on their own. Joomla is free to use but you must have an outside source for a domain name (required) which is a fee.
- Weebly.com is another place where bloggers commonly start, only to find that exporting the blog that they have created is very difficult to export. Once again, this platform seems very limited and not much growth is seen after a few years. With little integration from third-party applications, slow turnarounds, and customer service being a little lacking (from the voice of majority) it takes number 10 on this list.
5. Consistency Is Key
Once you’ve weighed all the blog platforms and decided which is best for you personally, you need to understand that consistency is key when growing your blog.
Even if you are eliminating or adding types of posts every week while you gain your footing – stay consistent.
There is a reason that professional bloggers making six-figure incomes blog as much as they do! Now, note this is not the only thing making them successful, but a big part of it.
In a month, try to miss as few dates as you can. The more you miss, people will begin to wonder where you are and why you even bother to post at all – it’s like telling a child they are getting a present, showing them the present and then throwing it out the window.
However, if there are large family emergencies or issues that you must take care of first, it is the polite and professional thing to do to write a short post explaining your absence.
6. Don’t Go In For The Fame Or Money
Blogging is the new “it” thing right now – over 60 and 80 blogs can be started within a week or month all over the world. It is competitive and hard.
Getting famous because of your blogging is going to take a lot of dedication, sleepless nights, a likable character and persuasive writing. It’s also not the reason I think a person should start a blog because fame shouldn’t be the reason you share your heart with others.
Same goes for making money – let this come naturally if it comes at all. Most blogs that make money are generally in their 5th or 6th year in the running because it takes a while to get responsive readership and even longer to gain recognition from retailers and brands that want you to be an ambassador.
A lot of bloggers think that this field is a “get rich quick” path, but soon find out that is not the case at all!
7. Let It Come From The Heart
Your blogging should be a raw, real extension of who you are. It should be a reflection of you and your interests and hobbies – a collection of your essence.
While it’s nice to maybe look at your favorite blogs and get pointers and tips, don’t try to emulate those blogs and sell both yourself and your readership short!
In a way, your blog should kinda be like an open diary of your life. Unless your blog is business based, this is the best way to approach blogging.
You will change over time and your interests probably will too – this will show in your blog, blogging style, and types of posts. You may lose a few followers on your way, but do not let that discourage you because the range of your readership will ebb and flow no matter what from year to year!
Just be you and let your blog grow with you, too.
8. Find Your Niche
Oh boy. This can be a hard one, let me tell you!
Unless you are a person bent on one thing, finding your blogging niche can be a doozie!
Either you love this one thing but can not for the life of you actually write about it or you are completely lost! This is because many people have at least two to three interests, and that is actually a good thing because again – you have to be able to write about the subject!
I know I keep bringing that up, but it’s a real #bloggerproblems when it comes to basic blogging matters!
Finding your niche in the blogging world should be an extension of your heart and, again, it may be that you change constantly until you find your place but just keep at it and at least be consistent.
9. Connecting With Others
This is the hardest thing about beginning a blog and the first one to two years of blogging, and it isn’t necessarily a bed of roses all the time.
Connecting with other bloggers has a lot to do with which platform you choose as well, and this hinders a lot of newbie bloggers!
People often think that bloggers connecting only needs to happen when you are trying to monetize your blog – but this can’t be further from the truth! You need this, and you need this bad.
You need to have a network of other bloggers to help grow your blog and help it succeed even if it is only a hobby type blog you post to once a week!
If you are on any of the platforms after number 4 on the Blogging Platforms 101 list, this may be especially tricky for you to carry about doing.
A fair amount of confidence is needed here, too, because you should not expect other bloggers to just flock to you if they do not even know you or know your blog exists!
Get out there! Ask to do a guest post, collaborate or work out a deal.
10. Making Blogging A Part Of Your Life
When you start a blog, you should do it with a clear mind and open heart because you will find that blogging will become a staple in your life.
If your blog is truly an extension of your heart – it will become a part of your life!
Is it always easy? No, not at all! In fact, I have even had sleepless nights playing catch up with scheduled posts or spent three hours taking and editing pictures for the next day of blogging.
It isn’t always easy, but I will say that it is always worth it!
Blogging is a hobby for some and a profession for others – whichever you choose I wish you the best and encourage you to take your blog as far as you can.
Let it grow with you, be friendly and nice to both readers and other bloggers, and always stay positive.
So darlings, I hope this has helped you if you are interested in blogging and want to know soome of the first steps!
Questions or comments? Keep it classy and comment below!