So are you thinking of starting a blog? Or interested to see how to set one up, and what goes on behind the scenes?
Well you are in the right place kiddo, here goes…
First off you need to distinguish why you want to start a blog? Is it a hobby? Or do you want to earn a living from it? There is a big difference about how you approach your blog, dependant on your answer.
If you have a full time job, or do not want to commit to 3-5 posts a week, then trying to earn a living from your blog may not be realistic. For me this is the case, I have a full time job that I love, and I blog for these reasons:
- I love writing about food, beauty and lifestyle. I also love photography.
- I enjoy the social aspect, be it chatting with other bloggers or attending events.
- I love working with brands and being sent products to try, receiving invites from restaurants to review, and attending spas and events. Well it is always a joy. It by no means determines if I blog or not, 70% of my content is recipes I have made myself, or products I have bought with my own hard-earned cash.
Even though I do not earn a living from my blog, it has opened the door to so many opportunities.
I really give my all to my blog, and I have to be consistent with posts, SEO, updating my site, improving photography and creating innovative content. PR companies and brands have a lot of choice in the blogger world, and to get a shot at working with any of them you have to be professional, consistent and work very hard to forge and create these relationships.
I feel these are the basic things you need to do and know when you set up a blog, wether you choose to blog as a hobby or to earn a living.
1) Decide what your blog is going to be about? Beauty, Food, Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel, Self-Help, Relationships, Parenting. You need to have a good idea of the theme as when you come to market and attract readers to your blog, the content needs to be of a particular genre. (This is just to begin, as you grow your readership and social media following you will find you can explore a range of genres, as the reader has grown to like your style of writing, you, and your blog).
2) A name. Ah well this can be a tough one. No-one can tell you what to call your blog, it has to strike a cord with you. Whilst in keeping with the theme of your blog. My tip is ask friends, and have around 5 names and see what they like best.
3) Pick your platform. Blogger and WordPress both offer free sites. I have recently moved to WordPress from Blogger and I am so happy I made the switch. WordPress is the better option in terms of improved SEO, and the plugins. Visit both and see what you feel suits you best. Be sure whatever platform you choose that you have a contact page, with your email address clearly displayed. If a brand stumbles across your blog and wants to work with you, they will want to access this information easily and quickly.
4) Before you launch your blog, have around 5-10 posts already in your drafts. Readers like consistency. You will have to post at least a couple of times a week to begin. (If not for the whole time you decide to blog). A great tip is to always try and have a couple of back-up posts in your drafts for when you are lacking inspiration.
5) Before setting up a domain .com or .co.uk (I use Go Daddy) or creating a template (I use Pipdig) I would wait 6 months to make sure this is something you really want to stick at. No point forking out and then realising that blogging isn’t for you.
6) Set up social media platforms with your blog name: Twitter profile, Instagram profile, Facebook page, Bloglovin page, Pinterest profile and sign up to Stumbleupon.
7) Growing your social media is key to attracting readers to your blog. I have found the best way to do this is: hosting giveaways, commenting on other blogs, tagging and interacting with brands and other bloggers. Sharing all your posts on each social media platform is also a must, and adding hashtags so people can organically find your posts. Pin your images from your blog to Pinterest with a short description, and also share every new post on Stumbleupon.
8) Being consistent is key. What I have found is you can’t really post 3 posts one week and none the next, you will loose followers and readers in no time. Set a schedule and try to post at least twice a week. The same goes for all social media sites, you need to post and interact on each platform, daily.
9) I would recommend doing some light reading about SEO, affiliate links, fixing broken links, laws regarding disclosure in blogging, and DA and Page rank.
You should 100% be blogging at first because you enjoy it, as products and sponsored posts do not just land at your door, like anything in life you have to work very hard at it, and most of all be committed and love what you do.
If you are offered to work with a brand be sure that the product or topic is in line with your blog.
If you are a parenting blogger, the majority of your readers won’t particularly be interested in reading a review about the latest doggie treat subscription box.
When a product lands on your desk, try not to look at is as a freebie.
A decent blog post can takes hours/ days to photograph and write up. The item or product you have received, that is your payment for the time you will spend creating the post.
The bloggers that are making a living from their blogs graft day-in-and-day-out. They have a good knowledge of SEO, which is usually self taught. They have built and established great relationships with contacts and PR’s. They also spend a lot of time behind the scenes working on growing their social media following, updating their site, researching innovative topics, and they spend hours and hours photographing, and then hours and hours writing the blog posts.
I have a couple of blogger friends who earn a living from their blog, and trust me they work damn hard at it. If you do start to earn an income from your blog, be sure to register as self-employed with HMRC.
I would say that is the main jist and background of initially setting up a blog and all that surrounds launching it and growing readership. Like anything rewarding in life it doesn’t come easy, but the sky is really the limit. My blog has opened so many doors for me in relation to improving my computer and literacy skills, social skills, working with brands, and making a whole bunch of new like-minded friends.
If you love to write and share your thoughts and opinions, then it is a great way for anyone, no matter who they are, to showcase and share this passion.