I’ve been asked multiple times across social media for advice and tips on starting a blog and I always promise people i will write this post, but then something always comes up and it just hasn’t materialised. It could also be becasue i never class myself as a professional blogger. I’m just a girl stood in front of a laptop writing asking you all to like her…? No but seriously i just love blogging.
I’m still small in comparison to the big mainstream bloggers, but as i always tell people starting out, don’t let the numbers put you off, your voice is your voice and nobody else’s so go for it.
Plus the one thing i do have is longevity having been around this ol’ blogging block for 6 years now.
So i’m taking some of my own advice and here it is.. A quick beginners guide to blogging.
I started this blog over 6 years ago as a creative outlet for my fashion loving heart.
Neo, my son, was 10 months old and i felt like i needed to get back a little bit of me back, in the sense of motherhood can be all consuming and wonderful, but i wanted to still be me too, and getting up each day and getting dressed in clothes i loved was my way of doing that.
Style has always been my creative outlet, putting a great outfit together is my equivalent of painting a wonderful picture. I cant paint for shit, so this is my canvas and paints.
Blogging seemed like a great platform to share my love with like minded ladies and the whole blogging world was just taking off in the UK, so i began (after my sister nagged me to do it and literally set me up ready to write).
In 6 years i’ve worked with some amazing brands, met so many wonderful women and made some actual real life friends too.
Its been a journey that i have absolutely loved and never, not once, have i ever wanted to quit, which actually speaks volumes as i will happily walk away from anything that doesn’t satisfy me.
So first off YAY you want to start?
Lets do this:
1. Just Do it
It sounds silly but you will think of a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t, but just put those aside, no one would ever do anything in life if they only thought of the negative.
Just remember: Nobody has your voice so just use it
2. Choose Your Platform
There are a number of blogging platforms and websites to choose from as your base such as
I an only recommend Blogger as its always been the platform i’ve used.
Its always worked perfectly for what i need and because it is google owned, it words seamlessly with your gmail account, making everything nice and easy in one place.
I find blogger as a whole very easy to navigate. In “compose” you can write and add your photos just like a word document.. nice and easy.
However if you fancy using WordPress, which i do hear great things about, then don’t be scared to reach out to someone and ask for help.
3.Choose Your Blog Name
Quite the important step. It is something that will potentially be with your for sometime and represent you as a brand. It can be something that instantly draws people in or attract your tribe by word association (clothes, style food). For me it was the personal route and my name is right there so people know who i am straight from the off. It a personal thing so think it over before you commit. i actually started with a different name which i hated and changed after 11months to Rachel The Hat and have been happy ever since.
Super important (obvs) But know what you want to primarily blog about. Yes you may want to dabble in a bit of this and a bit of that, but know your voice and what your niche is.
Plan content, brainstorm some ideas, take inspiration from others and make some lists of blog ideas that you would want to read yourself. That way you know someone will want to read them too.
I’m going to pile in to this bracket photos too.. Its the one thing people say to be all the time
“i cant pose for photos, how do you do it?” Well let me tell you my friends, i used to look a complete plonker when i posed for photos, so much so that for my wedding photos i asked out photographer to just capture action shots and casual shots rather than posed shots as i hated having my photo taken that much. I used to do this crazy thing with my eyebrows raised and a big uncomfortable cheesy grin.. i looked bizarre to say the least.
Trust me when i say this, the more photographs you take the easier it will be. Take some practice shots, see which expressions you like in the photos, which is your best side (i’m fully aware that i sound like a tosser when i say that, but it is true) and which angles show off the clothes best (this is of course if you are wanting to blog about style and fashion), this will all help create better photos. After attempting to do it all myself at the begining and realising quickly that it was too difficult i enroled the husband, he was always supportive and told me to lower my eyebrows when i basically had my crazy face on.
Alternatively opt for a tripod and remote and just start shooting. The setup can be a little timely and the shots can be trickier but its worth taking a few hours to become acqauinted with the set up in order for you to take some great pics going forward.
Take lots of photos, you may use just 6-12 per blog post out of hundreds, but its better to have too many and then pick the ones that you are most happy with.
5. Write from the Heart
Nobody has your voice, it is only yours, and that is what people will tune in to hear. There are plenty of professional editorials and when people want to read that style they know where to seek that out. Just be you. Had a crappy day? Write about it. Loved your outfit because the lady in the supermarket commented on it? Write it.. People love to relate and read about the real you. Deciding what you want to share online may be a good thing to. I never thought about it at the beginning, but these days as blogs grow it may be worth you considering.
But get creative. Have fun with your phone taking photos and start writing around it.
6. Get Social
Micro blogging on platforms such as Instagram has become such an important part of connecting with others. It also gives readers an idea of what your blog is about.
Set up your social accounts with the same name as your blog, use the same profile picture throughout also so you are instantly recognisable..
Now there are obviously lots of social media platforms out there, but to bgein with just focus on one or two that you are comfortable with so you don’t feel overwhelmed as it can often be a lot to do. I still only really stick to Instgram and Twitter even now as they are the two i prefer. I lvoe IG as you all know so i pour most of my energies in to this platform.
Post regularly on your social media. For me on Instagram i post the same time each day so people will know when to expect your post.
Be sure to follow others who are doing similar, find new friends, comment, like and reply.
Build up the camaraderie and community with other like minded ladies.
7. Choose A Blogging Design
Once you’re up and running and have your corner of the world wide web you can start thinking of design. I say to think of this after going live as i know some people put it off on the back of “when i get the perfectly designed blog i’ll start” when in reality that never comes. Start blogging then decide what you want. Its like living in a new house a little while first before deciding how to decorate it.
I Highly recommend Pipdig for templates and implementation. I use them and they are fantastic. I am just looking at a new design as i type.. so keep and eye out for that.
The great thing is they aren’t expensive and they will literally get it up and running for you. Theres no need to spend hundreds on a design. These at Pipdig are perfect.
8. Post Regularly
Like with social media make sure you have regular blog posts going live. Even if its just once a week to begin with (although i assure you once you start you will want to log all the time ?.. it should come with a warning: Blogging Highly Addictive!) make sure you get a post live. Appearing in peoples inboxes/ blog feeds is important as you want your presence to be made and your name to not be forgotten in a sea of other blogs.
9. Join Link Up parties
Link up parties are a great way to get your blog post out there. I host one every friday and have 100 ladies join and post their links. Its easy to do, and you get to meet new bloggers and they get to meet you too.
10. Have FUN!
The one thing i hear all the time is how people don’t think their blog will be good enough/professional enough or polished, how their photos are only taken on their phones and therefore wont be amazing.
To this i say, stop putting barriers in your own way! Yes some blogs who have immaculate photos and enviable lives portrayed, which is great, but there is also a market for ladies who just want to post online and chat to other like minded people.
You are your unique selling point... you are one of a kind, just go for it.
Blogging should be enjoyable, it should be fun and if it turns in to a career that you love, then great! But just enjoy the journey. Start at the beginning, make connections, have fun, enjoy capturing moments of your life and like i said, just go for it!