One of the most common questions I get about blogging is what are my tips for starting a blog. It most often comes from real life Facebook friends (i.e. acquaintances) who see my blogging from afar but also know I am just an average woman sharing her life on the internet.
I am always baffled at what to say. Most often I simply say, "just start!" But I realize that is not what people want to hear. So I thought I would break down a few tips I have about starting a blog. And in case you think blogging is dying, I fully agree with this.
1. Just start.
I know we all like to have our ducks in a row before we embark on something that appears big and scary. But honestly blogging is so low risk. Just start.
I put in a good year of blogging (back in 2008) before people really started even noticing me. In today's fast paced blogosphere that is ages. But not everyone becomes a blogging celebrity overnight. If you have a knack for making it in the blog world it will not be because you picked the right website host or have the best photography. It will be because you have something to offer the world.
Your first posts, whether they be five or fifty, may never get read. By anyone. In order to find a groove, you have to just start. Blogging is hard work. It takes a large amount of time and discipline. Just like any other job, you have to put in your time. Start putting in your time now if you ever want your blog to be more than a personal online journal.
2. It doesn't matter what blogging platform you use.
Sure there are pros and cons to what platform you use. But at the end of the day it is your content. As a frugal do it yourself blogger, I say go with free first. You can move on to bigger and better things when you get famous. But if you don't, you have not made a financial investment in your blog. That is just my basic financial lifestyle advice.
I still use free ol' Blogger to host my blog. I went down the path of considering self hosted WordPress at one point but at the end of the day I decided I did not want financial ties to my blog long term. Sure I make money blogging, but not enough that I depend on or live off of. For those serious full time bloggers, that is a different story.
I pay for my url, some Google storage space, and hosting my ebooks through e-junkie. That is all. You can have a successful blog without spending a lot of money.
3. Find your people.
Just like in real life, blogging is about finding your people. Most bloggers are pretty friendly. They are just busy. Find a few that you admire and kill them with kindness (in an authentic nice way). Leave comments and visit them on social media. Just be nice and let them know how much you appreciate their blog.
Kindness goes a long way on the internet. Chances are if that blogger you do love is in fact pretty amazing, they will respond. Eventually. It might just take awhile. Most of my blog friends have been readers who took the time to comment--a relationship built over time but only because it started on their effort. The same goes for bloggers that I admire. I put in the time and eventually we became friends.
The internet will tell you this is networking but I honestly believe they are friendships. Networking only goes so far in this fast paced business so I strive to create authentic relationships. This is where community starts and you start building a readership.
4. Find your voice.
Back when I started blogging I followed a few southern homemaking blogs. I loved their blogs and their lives and it started to rub off on me. I started saying things like "y'all" in my posts. You know I am from California right? We do not say y'all here.
It took me awhile to find my voice. I started as a crafting blog then merged into home decor. I finally settled into the idea of creative homemaking because I needed my own niche. There are not a lot of blogs out there that are like mine. While that makes the whole networking thing difficult, I found my voice that sets me apart. Because I was able to pave my own way of what this blog looks like, I offer something else to the online world. And when there is a sea of beautiful home decor blogs out there that I can barely compete with, I needed to find my own voice in order to be heard in the loud noise of the internet.
5. Research and learn.
I cannot even begin to count the hours I have spent online researching and understanding blogging. I watch what other bloggers are doing--bloggers I admire as well as bloggers who are paving the way to success in blogging. Look at their photos, how often they post, how their blog layout looks, and where they are hanging out on social media. This is not to copy anyone but instead to learn from those who are doing it well.
Find blogs that are about your size in readership and see where they are at. It is not about comparison but about learning what seems to work. Making friends with other bloggers who are about your size also seem to be the people to reach out to when you have blogging questions.
Almost everything I have learned about blogging I read online. I went to my first blogging conference last year and everything I heard can be found on the internet free of charge (really you are paying for the contacts you meet at conferences in my opinion). If you have a question, Google it. Someone somewhere wrote a blog post about it. Thank you very much.
// Do not be afraid of blogging. You have nothing to lose. I had zero expectations of what blogging would turn into when I first started and to my surprise it is now a very large part of my life. If you truly want to start a blog, just start. It will emerge and change with you as you find your rhythm.