10 tips for starting a blog!
How to start a blog or become a blogger is one of the most heavily requested topics I get! I am by no means a pro but I do blog full time and have learned over the years what has worked for me. So I'll just jump right in and share how you can start a blog too!
1. Just START!
Don't wait for all your branding to be perfect or to have a huge audience to start blogging. Just create your website and get started right away. You can worry about the gritty details later. I suggest using Squarespace - that's what I use after going through a lot of other services and I've found it to be the easiest to use. I also love how the websites look - there are dozens of themes to choose from and even if you don't know anything about website building they have tons of tutorials and most things are self explanatory! Your blog needs at least an about page, a contact page, and a page that displays all your blog posts.
2. Decide what your blog is all about.
Are you more of a writer or a photographer? Are you a fashion blogger? A mommy blogger? Do you have a unique skill or interest? What kind of people will read your blog? Really hone in on who your blog is for. Choose a voice that is authentic to who you are. I wouldn't suggest focusing on a topic simply because it's popular or makes the most money: long term you will struggle to create content if it's not your own passion! You don't have to be stuck with one category forever but it's a good idea to choose generally what direction you want to go at least from the beginning! Every blog post you write should keep your reader in mind and do one or more of the following: entertain, inform, inspire, instruct, or build your brand.
3. Consistency and quality over quantity.
It's better that you write one or two blog posts a month that are high quality rather than trying to bust out a blog post every week or even every day if you're not able to produce high quality content that often. Figure out how much content you are capable of writing/shooting and then stick to a consistent amount. For example, I usually try to write at least a couple times a month so I make sure I go out and take photos at least twice a month to use on a blog post. That way I can focus on writing high quality blog posts instead of worrying about posting something every day!
4. Grow your following on social media and bring traffic to your blog.
Be authentic, post often and consistently, create a community by truly caring about and interacting with your followers, create blog posts that answer frequently asked questions, and collaborate with other talent in your area related to what types of things you want to share. For example you could collaborate with a local restaurant if you run a health blog or hire a local photographer to take photos of you and your family doing one of your favorite activities. When you work with other people in your industry, you are more likely to be found by like minded readers! You could even interview or ask another blogger to be a guest writer for your blog to increase views.
5. Share high quality images!
If you aren't a photographer you can invest in some decent equipment (see what I use + recommend here!) and editing software to make sure you are taking good photos for your blog and social media. People are way more likely to share your blog post if they love the images as much as the writing! If you intend on being in your images you can always trade with a fellow blogger to take photos of you or even hire a photographer to create consistent imagery for you to use. I also recommend creating a graphic you can share on Pinterest that will draw more attention to your blog post! I use a free online program called Canva - they even have templates for making Pinterest pins! A good rule of thumb for Pinterest photos: high quality, vertical (more likely to be seen on the newsfeed), and descriptive text.
6. Create a blog idea bank and write posts in advanced so that you stay ahead of schedule.
Open up a Google document or even use the notes on your phone to just brainstorm different ideas you could write about or go and shoot! Then when you're writing the blog post for the next week you have a whole list of ideas and you don't need to scramble last minute. I write blog posts a week in advanced so that I know what images I need to shoot that week and I can give myself time to go through and edit the words before it's broadcasted to my readers. Most blogs will give you the option to schedule a post or save as a draft instead of posting immediately! I will schedule my blog posts for the same day I intend on sending out an email to my email list, so even if you don't have an email list yet it will get you in the habit of planning ahead!
If you are having trouble figuring out what blog length to write, I try to switch between the following three formats:
1. Informative: create a list of tips or steps for something you want to teach such as a recipe or something similar to this blog post!
2. Inspiration / informative: 5 paragraphs - an intro, three paragraphs of examples or stories, and a conclusion with an action at the end.
3. Entertainment / image heavy: just a simple story at the beginning about what the post will be about and then whatever images/video you've created! This format is ideal for wedding photographers, fashion bloggers, etc - anything that uses a lot of visuals.
7. Get paid to blog.
The traditional route is to get sponsorships but truthfully unless you're landing major deals with huge companies, it might take a while to make any money off of blogging through working with brands. The better route, in my opinion, is to create a product or service that you can sell through your website. Your blog posts will simply serve to funnel people into your email list and eventually make them customers when they learn to trust what you're putting out there! So if you're a fitness blog you might release an ebook with workouts, or if you're a wedding videographer your blog posts would lead people to trust you to shoot their wedding video! Not every blog post needs to be super sales-y but the general idea is that it should create trust between you and your readers so they become interested in whatever you are selling.
8. Offer a content upgrade - or "freebie" - through your blog posts!
If you write a blog post all about what to wear to an engagement session, you might offer a free PDF download that references different outfit ideas or tips someone might want to have on hand while shopping! If you write a blog post about the benefits of protein powder, you might offer a free PDF with 3 smoothie recipes that include protein powder. The ideas are endless! But the key is that your freebie is related to your blog post and will lead them to sign up for your email list. When you have people signed up to your email list, your power to influence, serve, and sell to your readers increases!
9. Refine your SEO for each blog post.
There’s a lot that goes into good SEO for a blog, but basically you want as many sources point to your blog as possible. This means posting to Pinterest and Facebook as well as getting featured on other blogs. It also means using keywords, using text, image descriptions, and much more. A little research goes a long way!
10. Leave every blog post with a call to action.
Whether that's signing up for your freebie, purchasing a product you're selling (or a sponsored product), a question you want people to respond to, etc. You will get better engagement as well as a sense of what people are interested in when you leave them with something to do at the end! And of course, when people comment or share your article and you see it - always respond and interact with them! The more people see how responsive you are and that you actually care about their opinion the more likely they will feel inclined to leave comments.
So that's all I have for ya today! I hope these tips were super helpful and informative. Don't let blogging get too overwhelming: it should start out fun and eventually you can turn it into a full time business. You don't need everything set up all at once, just start now and you can build as you go.
Which tip was your favorite? Did this post help you? I'd love to know what you think - your feedback heavily influences what kind of posts I write in the future! Thank you so much for reading!
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