Lately, I’ve found myself talking to a lot of my peers about starting their own blogs. I’m not sure if it’s because blogging seems like a natural continuation of the creative fields they’re already in, or because I keep talking up how fun creating your own content is, but the convos come up on a weekly basis. So, this one’s for you guys.
I put together my top tips of things you should be focusing on if you’re considering starting a blog, or if you’re a newbie blogger trying to improve. These are things I wish I’d done, and some things I’m still working on! If you’re considering diving into the blogging world or just getting started, this might be helpful to you.
1. set a foundation
One of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re considering starting a blog is to start building a foundation for yourself on social media. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook–make a profile on each one so you can start setting yourself up for success. Those followers, group boards, and friends will eventually translate to page views and product sales, so start building now!
But why do I need so many different accounts?
Well, each social site is used for an entirely different thing, despite being under the “social media” umbrella! Here’s a quick run-down of their basic uses:
• TWITTER: Tweet what? This site is used for fast-paced micro-blogging. You have a quick thought, graphic, or link that you want to share with your followers? Do it! Twitter has a character cap to to keep you precise and to the point. Make sure you include a #hashtag, so people interested in the same things can find your tweet and interact!
• INSTAGRAM: I think we can all agree that the algorithm has gotten a little out of control, but Instagram is meant to be a visual diary of sorts. It’s there to give your friends/followers a glimpse into your daily life. While it may have gotten a little too curated over the years, it’s nice seeing celebs as tangible when you can respond to their pictures!
• PINTEREST: Instead of comparing with the above two, imagine Pinterest as a visual search engine. You want to make graphics that will catch people’s eye, with captions that will pique their interest. If you don’t have anything to link to quite yet, you can still play around here. Create different “boards” in each niche you plan to cover, and start pinning to them! Check out mine HERE if you still don’t get it.
• FACEBOOK: This is arguably the most frequently used site, but also so dang annoying to grow a following on unless something goes viral. Still, maintaining a Facebook business profile for your blog is important for consistent branding. It’s also super easy to share your post from your business page to your personal page, where your friends who haven’t clicked like (um, excuse you) can then also engage! [clickToTweet tweet=”If you want to create a #blog, start by building your foundation first!” quote=”If you want to create a blog, start by building your foundation first!”]
2. find your target audience
A problem that a lot of new bloggers seem to have is that because they don’t know who exactly they’re writing to, they’ll write to anyone. The idea that people are even reading what’s being shared becomes more exciting than having the right person read the post. In having this mindset, bloggers tend to spread themselves thin with posts that might not be their best content, or that might not fit their niche.
Don’t bother wasting your time trying to snag everyone’s eye, and don’t waste your reader’s time putting together posts you know you’re not fully feeling. Let the person who’s not going to truly benefit from reading your blog go find someone else to follow, and instead, cater to the people who will. By doing this, you’ll build your target audience that’ll likely stick around repeatedly engaging with you, and ultimately build your own blog community.
I think it’s important to note that by not writing for just anyone, it’ll be easier to stay true to yourself. You’ll be less likely to chase blogging trends just for the views.[clickToTweet tweet=”Stop wasting your time, and more importantly, stop wasting your reader’s time by trying to please everyone.” quote=”Stop wasting your time, and more importantly, stop wasting your reader’s time by trying to please everyone.”]
3. plan your content
Let me start off by saying: y’all, do as I say not as a friggin do. I’m the absolute worst at this, but making moves on improving. This really does make a huge difference!
When you plan your content in advance, you give yourself a little wiggle room for those days you just don’t feel like creating. If you don’t have something to fall back on, you end up with huge gaps in your posting schedule (like TGS unfortunately has), which looks kinda lazy. Consistency is crucial not only to maintain and grow your readers, but it also looks great to potential sponsors!
I’ve found lately that the easiest way for me to start coming up with content ahead of time is by spending a quick 10 minutes once a week or so just jotting down a big list of potential posts. Anything that stands out, or anything that I’ve jotted down multiple times, gets a “draft” on here. When I’m taking a break between editing pictures, posts, or even when I’m laying in bed, I’ll thumb through the drafts and flesh them out!
A lot of bloggers will take it a step further and use a planner, a wall calendar, or google calendar to really map things out for important dates (like holidays). I’m the friggin worst sticking with a planner for more than a week, but I really encourage you to find something that works for you!
( Related: 7 Tips For Tackling Writer’s Block )[clickToTweet tweet=”4 things to do before starting that #blog.” quote=”4 things to do before starting that blog.”]
4. name your brand
I know that this is probably the thing that holds a lot of people back from even starting, so don’t get too caught up here, but please don’t ignore the importance either. Creating a blog name shouldn’t just be something you slap together without a care; you want it to be able to grow with you as you do! The name of your blog should be something you can envision eventually building into a brand if you’re lucky (and if you stick with your blog). This is your little space on the whole dang internet, let it be bold, strong, or at least something that can stand the test of seasons.
TIPS FOR PICKING A NAME:
• avoid current trendy words or phrases
• don’t be afraid to make it personal
• seriously, don’t copy someone else
• get creative with your wordplay
• look to the things that you’re known for
• feel free to utilize your first name in your brand
• use words like “the”, “blog”, or “diary” in your URL
I’d also suggest being wary of following the “these-and-this-dot-com” formula (IE: kissesandkittiesblog.com) I’m seeing in a lot of online communities. While it seems like an easy out, consider: do you really feel like those two things embody your brand??
I talk a bit about it here, but I stumbled upon my blog’s name because I intended for it to be between me and my sister as “The Gold Sisters“, but when one of us dropped off, so did the s, and this kind of clicked! When you find something that feels right for your brand, I think you’ll know.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t waste your space on the internet with a #blog name that doesn’t embody you!” quote=”Don’t waste your space on the internet with a blog name that doesn’t embody you!”]