I’ve written plenty of blog posts about blogging in the past. But one thing I’ve never done is written a post for those that haven’t start their blog yet, or are in their first weeks of blogging.
So here is my advice for you.
This post is going to be pretty basic, so if you’re been blogging a while it’s probably not worth your time to read! Spend your time Tweeting me nice things instead because I love attention and gifs. 😀 @skinnedcartree.
From what I’ve seen, most people tend to start out using Google’s free blogging platform, Blogger.
You can set up your blog for free using this. Your URL will be blogname.blogspot.com unless you buy a domain/URL.
WordPress.com has a similar service.
If you are wanting to set up a free service and not pay for your own hosting, then I’d recommend Blogger over WordPress.com. I’ve not played with WordPress.com loads, but from what I can tell, Blogger is a lot more user-friendly than WordPress.com.
Though if you are willing to pump a bit of money into your blog, then self-hosting and installing WordPress.org is much better. Here you can install themes, customise them and use thousands of different plug-ins to make your blog your own.
I started out on Blogger and I bought my URL from GoDaddy. When I moved to WordPress.org, I re-directed my URL my TSOHost hosting account. It was a bit of a pain, but doable via tutorials on Google.
It seems many bloggers start on Blogger then move to self-hosted WordPress, so if you are serious about it, it might be worth going self-hosted straight away and save a job later down the line.
If I was to start my blog from scratch, I would buy the URL from TSOHost too, then it saves faffing about which is worth it for a few extra pounds.
I pay £2.50 a month for my hosting and host all 3 of my blogs on the same account.
Pretty nifty, right?
Another blogging platform that isn’t as well used, but very much loved by those who do use it, is Square Space.
So before you set up your blog it’s worth thinking about and researching which ones of the following you should use. Take a look on YouTube and watch some people demonstrate how to use them and see which takes your fancy:
- Self-hosted WordPress
- Square Space.
Naming your blog.
If you are already set on what your blog is about, it’s always a good idea to tailor your name to something to do with your niche as this is good for SEO.
Travel, beauty, fashion, style, home, children, pets, books, games.. thing if words that relate to them.
Of course, you should be aware that if you do, for example, call your blog something like Lipstick Lover, but then decide you don’t want to focus on lipstick or makeup anymore, your name may no longer fit.
If you’re the fickle type and are likely to change the direction of your site (ME ME ME), then you might want to have a more flexible blog name.
Remember that blogging could potentially lead to working with brands or going to events and meeting people. Please don’t pick a stupid name like I did. Because then you have to introduce yourself and be like MY BLOG IS SKINNEDCARTREE.
Yeah. I cringe, every time.
When I first started blogging, I tried to blog every day but then ran out of topics pretty quickly and slowed down the pace for once every 3 days.
My advice would be to just post as and when you want for the first couple of months, then start to think about what’s realistic for you long term. I posted every 3 days for a year, then every other day for a year and now I’ve been posting daily for a year and a half.
You can always amend your schedule but it’s important, to be honest with yourself about what you can commit to. Just because it’s very easy to beat yourself up if you’re not blogging as much as you promised yourself you should!
You might not even want a blogging schedule.
You can write posts in advance, too.
This piece of gold took me months to find out! You don’t have to write a post there and then and hit publish.
You can write a post a week, a month, even a year in advance and set the time you want it to publish, then you can go off and do this when you want! This means that if you want to blog 3 times a week but work weekdays, you can write all your posts on a Sunday and set them to go live on different days through the week.
Get yourself signed up to at least Twitter.
If you’re easily overwhelmed, just stick to Twitter. Find bloggers that write about the same topics as you and follow them. Follow them hard. Engage with them. Comment on their posts. Retweet their Tweets. Join Twitter chats and find out what hashtags people in your niche are using.
Promote posts and love every minute of it, because getting to know new people is fun!
Don’t go nuts, just get to know a dozen or so bloggers at first and then take it from there.
It might seem scary to talk to someone who has a lot of followers, but we’ve all been there. I notice people when they Tweet me or comment on my posts often. I don’t care about their follower count!
My photography when I first started out was shocking. But phone cameras back then weren’t what they are now. I’m sure most of you will have a phone with a decent camera, so don’t worry about going out and buying an expensive camera for now. Just stick to these tips:
- Have bright photos. Take them in natural sunlight.
- Edit your photos using a free web-based editor like PicMonkey. Adjust brightness, highlights, shadows and sharpness.
- Aim for your photos to be as wide as your blog post.
- Avoid clutter in the background. If you’re taking a photo of a product, keep the photo clear and only include other items or props that are meant to be there to make photos look nice, not your dinner plate with a half-eaten cheese sarnie on it!
You write what you want. How you want to. You can use what words you want. You can even swear or ignore proper English, but here are a few tips:
- Proof-read. Mistakes are easy to make. Proof-read 3 times. I do and mistakes still happen and make me feel like a dick.
- Don’t use light text on a black or dark background. Black, grey or dark colour text is great.
- Make sure your font is readable.
- Don’t centralise your text (I used to!) or have it aligned to the right. I prefer to justify my text, but having it aligned to the left also works.
- Avoid writing about things that can cause controversy – weight, race, politics, religion, sexuality are all hot topics and can cause a lot of debate. Remember this is the internet and if you want to talk about things like this, you should be aware that you could and up attacked on social media. I’d take some time to settle in the community and ensure you’re able to communicate your views in a fair, objective way before causing a stir. Be sure your heart can take the hate thrown at you. People online have no filter and won’t be afraid to tell you to die and go to hell. Doom.
On that note, I think I’ll leave it there.
What advice would you give to a brand spanking new blogger?