December 03, 2016

How To Start A Blog


I've been blogging now for three years, and over that time my most asked question is without a doubt, how did you start your blog?

Starting and running a blog comes in a two parts, the technical side of things, and the confidence and work ethic side of things. To keep things simple I'm going to kick off with the simple stuff first - tech.

Getting your blog started.
Before I started this blog I had no idea how it worked, or where to start. I literally googled "how to start a blog." So, if I can go from there, you can too.

Firstly you will need a host for your blog. You can go self hosted, but that's way more complicated, and a story for another day. 
I host my blog on Blogger. To keep it sweet, blogger is basically the scaffolding of my blog that keeps it standing and allows me to write and manage posts. 
Another popular blog host is WordPress. This does the same as Blogger except it's a little more detailed and professional. If you're new to the blogging scene I would recommend Blogger, it's just a lot more simple and fuss-free. 

To get started on Blogger, you can set up an account here.


Naming Your Blog
 This is probably the most important part, and for sure the one thing you want to spend time thinking about. When you name your blog, don't think of something random in your head, take time to consider what your blog will be about and what you want to achieve with your blog.
Consider telling others the name of your blog, would you be embarrassed to tell them the name of it? Could you out grow the name of your blog as you get older? These are important things to consider.

Before you settle on a name, do a google search of your potential new calling to make sure there are no other blogs, websites or celebrities/people with that same name that might either confuse potential readers also searching for your blog or draw traffic away from your blog because they can't find what they're looking for.

Getting A Domain Name
A domain name is the address of your website or blog. When you start up a blog the standard domain will be for example, "www.sarabelleza.blogspot.co.uk" or "www.sarabelleza.wordpress.com". These come issued with your blog and most importantly, they are free. 

To have your own personalised domain you will have to buy one. I have bought mines from www.GoDaddy.com. It works by searching for the name you want for your website, so I searched for "www.sarabelleza.com" and the options appeared, and alongside them the price of that domain for the year. 
When you first purchase a domain typically speaking they aren't overly expensive, but as the years go on generally speaking the prices increase, but not drastically. A few weeks ago I had to renew my domain subscription and paid around £20, so all in all not that bad. 

Once you purchase your domain GoDaddy will give you step-by-step instructions on how to set it all up.

Utilising Social Media
If you haven't already guessed, social media is HUGE part of blogging, probably the most important part actually.
Before you settle on a sure name for your blog search Instagram, Twitter and Facebook etc to make sure that there are handles available similar to the name of your blog. Try your best to keep all of your social handles the same or very similar so that when potential followers search for you across different platforms, they can easily find you.

Blog Design and Templates
The blog design and templates that come with platforms like Blogger and WordPress are sometimes quite basic and plain. If you want to take your blog more seriously and give a professional feel you can buy templates from web designers. I recommend www.PipDig.com. Phil has implemented the current design of my blog and I am currently in preparations to move my blog from Blogger to WordPress which Phil is also helping me do. The templates Phil offers are amazing and a bloggers dream, if you want a great looking blog check him out.

Quality Photography and Visuals
It's no huge surprise that the quality of blogs as of recently has been nothing short of amazing. It's certain that to compete with these power houses the quality of your content has to be just as intriguing, but when you are just starting out in the blogging industry, bagging yourself a two grand camera isn't the wisest decision. I started using a point and shoot Samsung camera and my phone, and with phone camera quality now, the margin of difference isn't as drastic.

In my opinion, I think the quality of your content is way more important that picture or visual quality. If you can produce top level and honest quality, readers will still value your voice just as much if not more.

Give blogging a go for 6 months, and after this time period if you are still as in love with it as you first were then perhaps start considering investing in some equipment. Blogging is tuff and a lot of hard work, it would be a waste to spend hundreds on a camera to discover blogging isn't for you.

If you are curious, I currently use a Canon 700D with a standard kit lens and edit my photos on PicMonkey. 

Blogging Work Ethic 
I mentioned this previously, but blogging is seriously a lot of work. I was extremely naive before I started my blog and thought all it took was snapping a few pics, sharing what I thought and hitting publish. But it's far from this.
Each blog post requires planning, hours taking photos and editing them, more hours writing, perfecting and preparing your post to be published and even more hours of shameless self promotion on social media begging people to read, but no one actually does, then all your hard work seems worthless.
I am awful at this, but consistency really is key when it comes to blogging. Always having fresh content is important in keeping your readers interested and on their toes, but it also builds a relationship between a blogger and their readers that they can trust there will always be something new coming up.
But being consistent it extremely difficult when you are always busy. Get yourself a diary or a planner and schedule posts for a few weeks in advance to make sure you have plenty of time to prepare them. Make time to blog.

Finding Confidence To Start Blogging
Before I started blogging I was so low in confidence. I feared posting on social media because of judgement never mind publishing a blog. But this was something I always dreamed of, I wanted it so bad. I felt I had spent long enough putting off my dreams for other people. I took the leap and I am honestly SO glad I did. I know that the prospect of starting a blog seems like a string of horrible comments and giving people opportunity to laugh at you, and being so public about what you love can be embarrassing, but it is so worth it. The opportunities I had gained from blogging and how I have grown so much in confidence is priceless, it is worth all the times people gossiped and laughed.

If you are thinking about starting a blog, I cannot tell you enough to just go for. You will never ever regret it. Ever. It is a lot of hard work, and sometimes it feels like you're doing it for nothing because no one ever seems to care whether you post or not, but these are small and minor issues in comparison to the good that has come out of this journey.


If you take my advice and start a blog after reading this post tweet or Instagram me and let me know! If you have any more blogging related questions leave them below and I will get back to you. 


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