Thursday, 23 October 2014

Blogging Advice: 5 Tips On How To Start A Blog

Have you been toying with the idea of starting a blog but you're not quite sure where to begin? Starting a blog is an overwhelming process and even with a sea of bloggers out there, it still feels lonely and scary to put yourself out there! There are so many aspects to think about but here are some tips to help and inspire you to start a blog today!

five tips on how to start a blog

Where to start? 
Buy a notebook and jot down some ideas on what you would like to blog about. It can be absolutely anything you like as long as you have a genuine interest for the subject. It doesn't have to be one particular subject if you don't want it to be - but I have found that it's better for the reader to visit your blog knowing what to expect. The beginning stage of starting a blog is where you can be creative and experimental until you find your feet. I've got a huge list of blogs that I read which includes film, food, travel, lifestyle, tech, photography and of course, fashion and beauty. It's fine to take inspiration from your favourite bloggers but don't worry about following the crowd. Go with what you're most comfortable with and passionate about, and this is where you will shine!

There is also the task of coming up with a name for your blog. This is the part I dislike the most because there is such pressure to get it "right". You might want to purchase a domain for it or make business cards, so think of a name you want to stick with for a while. I came up with a hundreds of names but I got bored with them all within a day. It would be awesome to have it mean something to you - but having said that - my blog name isn't personal to me, it's the name of a Paul McCartney song (a very annoying one, but it's punchy and it just stuck in my head!). As a starting point, imagine the header on your site, say the name out loud, ask people for feedback and have other people say it out loud. If it makes you cringe, move on to the next name you've got in mind. You'll KNOW when you've got it right!

advice on how to start a blog, blog business card

Which platform to use?
The word on the street is that Wordpress is miles better than Blogger, and I'm sure it is. So why am I still on Blogger? Why haven't I moved over to Wordpress? Partly because I'm scared of change, but for the most part, I find Blogger a lot easier to use. I may the only one on this opinion but I like the comment system on it too. I've got an account with Wordpress and I've tested it out but it didn't feel right for me at the time. Maybe I need to give it another chance! Both platforms are the major ones that everyone has heard of, and both has it's pros and cons, but my advice is to sign up to them and get a feel of what YOU prefer. You can always switch from one to another if, a few years down the line, you've changed your mind!

How to create content for your blog?
That notebook I told you to jot down initial ideas in? Keep it purely for blogging and add blog-related notes as you go along, and make lists to help you stay organised (blogging requires good organisation skills!). You might want to make use of your phone or tablet for note making but I definitely prefer the old pen and paper! With a book full of ideas, you can refer back to them at any time and turn them into an article on your blog. It's also advisable to write down technical tips too like html or photography advice but these things will come naturally to you once you've done it for quite some time, don't worry.

It's important to keep the format of your blogposts the same so ensure your photos line up, use the same font type and colour throughout the blog. This makes it easier for you each time you draft a blogpost, you'll know where you want everything to be. 

tips and advice on how to start a blog, staring a blog

How to gain readers?
There's no quick hit for this and I think you'll know that it won't happen overnight but familiarity and regular content is a good start. You don't have to blog every single day but try to keep up with a regular schedule. Go at your own pace to begin with and then if momentum picks up, then it's a bonus! If you only want to write two blog posts a week, pick two days and stick to it. This will let your readers know when to come back to your blog too! 

Once they're on your blog, give them something to stick around for. Customise your blog layout to how you want it to look but like I said in the previous advice, keep the aesthetics of your actual posts consistent so that it's user-friendly - so again, large photos that line up and text that is easy to read. Stay away from fancy, neon coloured fonts.

Promoting your blog is something I will write about soon, as it's a whole subject that I can go on and on about, so stay tuned for that!

But...What If?:
Is it the 'what if' questions that's stopping you from starting a blog? There is literally no limit to blogging, and blogging isn't restricted to a certain personality, age, look, race, size, genre of interest. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise! As long as you have computer/laptop and a head full of ideas, anyone can start blogging at any given anytime!

You might be a worrier like I am but remember that sometimes it is really rewarding to take a leap of faith. I could definitely use some of my own advice here, but thoughts that might run through your mind could be "What if you receive a negative comments? What if my friends and family find out and think it's stupid? What if this happens, what if that happens, what if people shout at me for a spelling mistake, what if something goes wrong, what if I'm not good enough, what if I'm not pretty enough, what if I'm not clever enough, what if, what if, what if". Those were my exact same thoughts (sometimes, it still is) and for the first three years of my blog, no one knew what I looked like and I was adamant that I would never ever show my face on here. I was scared and I didn't feel confident enough. Even now, before I hit the 'publish' button on each and every outfit post, I still feel a teeny bit nervous. I think I'm still getting used the idea myself, but the process of creating content is something I really enjoy. It's supposed to be fun and you will learn new things as you go along.

I am such a 'cup half empty' person (oh, I am a bundle of joy, I am!!) but it's the blog that actually helps in keeping me positive and that's a really good reason to start a blog! Now lets turn those negative 'what if's' into really positive ones! ...What if something really good comes out of blogging? What if it leads you to do amazing things? What if you meet some awesome people? What if you actually learn lots of new skills? What if it becomes one of the best decisions you've ever made? What if it helps you overcome certain things in your life? ...

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11 comments

  1. Such a great post!
    I particularly agree about the "what if?" part. I was so nervous when I first decided to start blogging (and I still get a bit weird when people in real life know about it), but it has become such a great hobby and I am so glad I took the plunge!
    Thanks for the great tips Sarah!

    Lauren xx
    laurenloveslaughter.blogspot.com.au

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  2. Hello Sarah!! I loved your advices and your blog, by the way! I think the same about wordpress and blogger, and I identify me with your thoughts, the scare to change and so on.
    Thank you for this post, because some tips that You talk I use, already, but the others are so much important to remember and to pratice.

    If you want, visit my blog too.

    http://cleniadaniel.blogspot.pt

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  3. Great advice! I started blogging after I graduated to keep me busy while I was job searching, but over the years my blog has turned into so much more! After 3 years of blogging, I still have those exact fears every time I publish a post!

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  4. I love these kind of posts anyway and this is one of the better ones I've read on the subject. This will be so helpful for aspiring bloggers!
    I use and prefer Blogger over Wordpress too. I did look into Wordpress but found it quite confusing and often find blogs on that platform harder to navigate. Maybe it's just because I'm more used to Blogger but I'm happy sticking with it.
    Raffles Bizarre Blog

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  5. Your business card is cute Sarah :) I get nervous before publishing posts as well, thinking no one will get it or like it but I've learnt to push those thoughts aside. If I'm happy with the content then I'm sure someone else out there will feel the same :)

    Hanh x | hanhabelle

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  6. This is such an inspiring blog post ! And nice pictures too !

    Sara,
    http://thecrimeofashion.blogspot.fr

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  7. Great post, I've never considered switching to wordpress worried I won't be able to use it! x
    eleanor's adventures // UK Fashion & Beauty Blog

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  8. Great tips! Keeping a notebook is the best thing a blogger can do. Ramblings and ideas all concentrated in one place!

    xx
    Ana Leote

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  9. Great post! Really helpful :)

    bblacktulips.blogspot.com

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  10. I think the notebook is a great idea - I use OneNote rather than pen and paper, but it has the same effect. I really appreciated this post - it was very helpful for me as I am just starting out with a new blog!

    http://organizedchaos.bravesites.com/

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  11. I've just published my first blog posts (after years of it being on my to-do list), so this post was a great help. My notebook is now full of ways to improve the blog (that has nothing to do with the writing part) so I'm doing plenty of research atm. Have you published the promotion post yet? I'd love to know how your blog 'took off' within a few months.

    www.strutup.blogspot.co.uk

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