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I don’t have too many blogging how to posts because I am still new to the scene in the grand scheme of things but I feel like I have learned a ton of wisdom from the what to do and what no to do over the year plus that I have been blogging. Especially when it comes to setting the groundwork for success. My other post which I would recommend checking out my Blogging Essentials. I decided to do this post because I have been getting tons of emails from amazing women over the country saying they have been a closet reader for some time now and what would I recommend on how to start a blog. I once used to be that closet reader until I decided to take the plunge into this crazy blog world. So without further ado here are my top 10 tips for starting that blog.
1. Get a Site Designer
I know this is a little controversial but in my humble/honest opinion if you want to hit the ground running having professional looking site from the beginning puts you ahead of the game. There are a ton of great designers out there with really affordable prices. Next you are going to ask me Blogger or WordPress? The website I run for Mark’s law page is on WordPress and it still confuses the heck out of me. I’m sure if I took more than 20 minutes to play around with it I could totally get the hang of it. However if you are starting off and want the most user friendly (and free) platform I would recommend Blogger.
Next you’ll ask me. Amanda how do I pick a site designer??? Well what I did initially is scrolled to the bottom of some of my favorite bloggers pages and found who created them and then sent out some feelers. I would tell you to give an estimate around $50 for a pre made template with install is a good starting price. No need to drop the hundreds until you really commit to it.
2. Have a Vision for Your Site
My initial vision for my space over here was a fitness, health and lifestyle blog. Kind of all over the place if you ask me. I think the best piece of advice is to sit down and outline what your daily posts will be about. For example, my Mondays are usually more lifestyle because they outline the weekend shenanigans. Tuesdays are when I talk about what I’m digging lately, it’s a favorite product roundup of my day to day loves. Wednesdays have been more of a Wedding wednesday kind of vibe. Thursdays is a mix bag/fashion/fitness/etc and Friday is my Friday Favorites Linkup. If you are having difficulties with thinking about your days check out the linkups floating around to give you some inspiration and connect you with other bloggers.
You don’t have to post Mon-Friday but as everyone will tell you over and over……..
3. Be Consistent
I know I know this isn’t anything you haven’t heard but it’s so important. If you decide to commit to this blogging thing you have to be consistent, especially in the beginning. I have had a lot of friends reach out and start one. I help and support them but then it is like weeks before they post again. One post in December, another one in January and then one in February. That is hard to really get going when there is such sporadic posts. I’m not saying you have to post Mon-Friday. You can post 3 days a week if you want just make sure they are consistent. Otherwise people won’t keep dropping by to see if anything is kicking around.
Nothing makes you rage more then seeing “great post….follow me back….kisses“. Or “Happy Birthday” and it clearly wasn’t my birthday but someone else’s party I went to. If you only have time to stop by 10 peoples blog in a day that’s fantastic. Read their painstakingly long to write posts and actually take the time to leave a thoughtful comment. Like you read the entire post comment. Then hopefully they will drop by your little home and that’s how you…..
5. Build Relationships
Like why else are you doing this? If you’re blogging just to get words out of your head and out into the world go for it. However if you want to get to know other amazing women who you can literally throw a comment out like “hey girls what do I do to get mascara out of my silk top?” Or “major sale at Nordstrom head there right now“. Like what is the point? I have met the most fabulous women through blogging that I talk to/send selfies for approval in dressing rooms/text and watch the bachelor with on a daily basis. We have met up IRL (in real life) and are planning a trip this Summer together with <3 you Pamela and Biana! These are the girls who help you build your blog & brand while being the best sounding board for furthering your growth.
6. People Like Pictures
There I said it. It’s the truth. Do you need the million dollar camera to start off with? No. Do I have one? Yes. Do I use my iPhone more? Yes. Is that bad? Probably. Do I care? Nope.
I mean here is a picture with the fancy camera.
Versus this candid picture with the iPhone…..I think you appreciated the one with the giant 100 year old lobster better right?
Best piece of advice ever. Get a full length mirror. Find some good lighting and show us what you scored on sale.
7. Ask Yourself These Questions
If someone reads my blog are they going to learn something new? Will they be inspired? Or can I make someone laugh?
I really strive to find high end looks for less. Or that super expensive purse you’ve been lusting over, how you can snag it on sale, with this coupon code, ordering it while standing on your head and clicking with only your left hand to get that ultimate deal. I know that is an exaggeration but it’s the truth. I was really motivated to get going mainly due to my sister. She is an amazing superwomen. She is a Nurse Practitioner like myself (hence how I got into this field). She works full-time, has 3 beautiful children and still manages time to workout. You know what she doesn’t have time for? Shopping or finding deals. So I always made sure to include her in all my time and well researched finds. Now being shared with y’all. Also my absolute favorite posts are the ones where I can make you laugh. Nothing better then getting an email back saying someone spit out their morning coffee. Mission accomplished.
8. Respond to Your Emails
I used to follow some well known bloggers WHO NEVER RESPONDED TO ONE STINKING COMMENT I EVER WROTE THEM. You know what happened? You guessed it. I stopped going to their site. Please refer back to point #5. What is the point of blogging if you’re not building relationships. I respond back to every single comment. Even if it is at 1 in the morning (which I’m sure some of y’all may have noticed). If you take the time to thoughtfully comment to me. I will give you that same time back.
On that note. SO IMPORTANT. Please make sure you are not a no-reply blogger. Chasing down emails gets very time consuming. If you don’t know what I’m talking about check this sweet little post.
9. Find a Mentor – Sponsor Others
One of the best sponsors I ever had was Helene. I didn’t sponsor right away. I took the time to do steps 1-8 first and then sponsored other well known bloggers. Helene was by far the best. I saw a major jump in my traffic and she has been the best mentor to me. She probably doesn’t know that I self appointed her my mentor but she is so sweet with always replying to my emails about those blog questions that have been burning at me but I was embarrassed to throw out into the blogasphere. She also does consulting because she is that good. I do think I have helped a few people out along the way and I’m always down for answering your emails about the blogging land. You can sponsor my sweet little space here if you were wondering (shameless plug…..I mean it was just too easy of a transition).
10. Blogging Takes Time
Whatever you thought it would take. Double it. No wait. Quadruple it. If you think you’re going to start a blog so you can quit your day job and makes 30,000 a month……you’re in it for the wrong reason and it’s not going to happen. My typical posts take at least 2-3 hours to sit down and write, find visuals for, edit, grammar check etc. Times that by 5 posts a week. Not accounting for the research, picture taking, husband begging to take pictures, searching for content etc etc. That’s on top of the email responding, dropping by all your friends blogs to thoughtfully comment while also trying to complete your other jobs responsibilities. So yeah. The amount you spend is astronomical….especially in the beginning. Is it worth it? Hell yes. Did I know that when I started? No way. Would I trade it for the world? Absolutely not.
Those are my tips for starting a blog. I hope you learned something new, inspired you and perhaps even made you laugh (#7). If you are one of those closet readers who has never responded please do! Or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you thinking of starting a blog but didn’t know how to take that first step? All my fellow blogging gals out there what else would you add? I hope you are having a fabulous day! xoxoxo
p.s If you liked this blogging tutorial definitely check out this one on my blogging essentials! Great tips on how to make pictures etc.