Hi friends! I don’t usually pop in on the weekends, but since our regularly scheduled plans were cancelled, I had some extra time this morning and am inevitably stalling on all of the things I should be doing.
That’s what Saturdays are really for, right?
Plus, there’s a subject I have been meaning to get around to writing about, so I figured now is as good of a time as ever.
By no means do I consider myself a blogging expert, but over the past couple of years I have received the same types of questions from personal friends and readers in regards to my blog and how I dove into the online journey you see me document today.
If this introduction into my little corner of the blogging world goes over well, I plan to publish more start-up content and blogging tips down the road, but for today, I wanted to go from the beginning and focus on my tips on how to start one.
Lets talk blogging!
• Decide why you want to blog.
More than ever, people are creating personal blogs and websites to leave a virtual footprint behind their name.
I often get inquiries asking advice on the best way to go about starting a blog, and the first question I ask them is “What are your blogging goals?”
Do you simply want an online journal to share with friends and family?
Do you want your blog to have a focus and fit into a specific genre?
Do you eventually see yourself blogging frequently enough to potentially use it as a platform for income?
I have different answers to all of these questions, and we will get into that down the road.
• Decide on a blog focus.
This is something I wish I was personally more prepared for when I began.
I started blogging as a way to keep up with long-distance friends and family while documenting our wedding plans. That’s where my initial focus stopped. I had no idea I would eventually transfer my content onto an entire new platform and revamp the material I consistently write about.
When I first got the idea of starting Housewife Glamour, the content I thought I would be producing the most was healthy recipes, DIY projects, beauty tips, entertainment highlights and the occasional at-home workout.
I wanted to showcase that just because you get married and settle down with children, it doesn’t mean you have to stop being you. After a couple of months, I realized we weren’t quite ready to start our own family, and in the mean time I started getting other interests. Healthy living interests.
As time went by, I found myself less interested in writing about home improvement and more interested in health and fitness. I wish I knew this was going to happen from the beginning. But, I guess that is why I’m sharing my story with you.
When you decide you want to start a blog, think long and hard about what niche you would fit into the best. A mommy blog? Fashionista? Fitness?
On the contrary, if what you want to write about is not what you’re passionate writing about, then it isn’t the right focus for you.
I have personally seen over a handful of healthy living blogs turn into something completely different over the last year or so! Do yourself a favor and blog about what you enjoy doing the most from the get-go.
• Decide on your blog title and learn to brand it.
Once you have a focus, come up a blog title that represents what it’s about and helps it stand out.
This is one point I need to take my own advice on.
Had I have known I would eventually focus on healthy living, I would have rethought my title and probably left out the housewife part. It doesn’t fully represent the information I put out there, and I often feel like the odd man out when I’m surrounded by other healthy living bloggers and their titles.
But, I feel like it may be too late in the game to change it, so I’m learning to roll with it.
I know some people change their blog domains, but I also know it’s a long and complicated process that might do more hurt than help. I’m currently checking into my options, and will only move forward on a changeover if it makes sense.
Until then, I’m embracing my title and branding the crap out of it.
(I could write an entire post on branding. Stay tuned for more info here!)
• Get a domain name, and keep it simple.
Whether you get started on Blogger or WordPress, you have the option of purchasing a condensed version of your domain through that platform.
I started my wedding blog on Blogger, but then realized that I liked the widgets and applications I could access through WordPress better. Blogger is definitely more user-friendly and easier to start with, but WordPress gives you more options and the majority of all the successful bloggers seem to go that route. Really, it’s your choice.
When I first started blogging, I didn’t have a focus beyond wedding planning and my domain was misspreshnmrhess.blogspot.com. Not only did that not match my blog title, but it was formed out of nick names nobody else understood. After we got married, I changed it to heather-hesington.blogspot.com, but it was still a mouthful.
The best thing you can do is to take the .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com out of your title by getting (and purchasing) the rights to it through that platform.
That is, of course, if you don’t plan on self-hosting your blog. But that’s another long and complicated topic that goes back to the first point of why you want to blog.
Since I am the furthest thing from an expert on this, I’ll now point you in the direction of Katy’s tips on self-hosting. She’s pretty much a blogging ninja and seems to have an answer for everything!
Basically, if you plan to blog for anything more than a hobby (hope to gain sponsors, get paid for product reviews, produce sponsored content, display advertising with an ad publishing network… i.e.: make money), self-hosting is a must.
• Start with the basics and write for yourself.
All of that self-hosting talk I just mentioned might sound overwhelming.
I get that, and totally thought the same thing at first. So let’s back up and put that on hold for a minute.
If you’re not ready to invest in your site or jump into the whole hosting debate with yourself, start with baby steps.
Set up an account through Blogger or WordPress, name it (maybe even with the .blogspot or .wordpress.com still in the title) and start writing.
Create content, but keep it private for a while.
(This is something I didn’t do, but pass it on as something I wish I did!)
The first couple of blog posts (or even months of blogging!) can be a little all over the place. It usually takes a while to get into the groove of your writing style and get it to what you like to produce.
Personally, this took me years to accomplish! When I look back to some of my first posts, I absolutely cringe. There’s just no need for that many capital letters or that many explanation points in a row. Ever.
Once you feel confident in your material, make it public and invite readers to join along in your blogging experience.
• Get on social media.
Once you feel ready to share your blog, make sure you reserve a name for it on all major social media platforms.
At the very least, create a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and share your latest posts, stand out photos, and other related links and articles on those pages.
(Also, this could also spark another entire blog post. Stay tuned!)
• Give your blog it’s personality.
I honestly only come back to read blogs I can relate to.
A blog can consistently spit out the best content in the world, but if I can’t picture or relate even on a small level to the person writing it, my interest is often short-lived.
I’ll click over for information from time to time, but my favorite blogs I subscribe to and keep up with on a regular basis include the bloggers that show their true personalities through their writing.
If I can virtually get to know a blogger, I’m more apt to value their opinions and take their advice on things, and especially products.
I feel like I keep it real with you guys. I don’t always have incredible days, and I don’t just post the perfect.
On the other hand, I don’t want to ever seem negative, so I mostly point out the bad with a light heart and a sarcastic smile. That’s pretty much what I do in real life and who I am outside of the blogosphere is who I strive to portray right here on the blog.
Be genuine with your words and in your topics. Don’t write anything that feels forced, and remember to stay true to who you are.
If it helps, write like you’re chatting with someone face-to-face, and the rest will flow naturally.
Now, I could expand on each of these points with many sub-categories, so I’m going to stop there.
If you have any specific questions about starting up your own blog, please feel free to utilize the comments section or personally email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully, this is just the first installment of a new series that comes about every now and then.
Good luck on embarking on your own blogging adventures!
Strength and Sunshine
Love this Heather! I always enjoy reading these types of posts by other bloggers to hear their take on blogging and what they think is most important!
Me too! I guess that’s why I finally decided to write my own. It’s great because they all seem to be different. So in my opinion, the more advice that’s out there, the better!
Laura @ Prairie Sewn Studios
One thing I would love to hear more about is how to get readers to your blog. My mom and I blog together about quilting and crafting, but it’s hard to get readership. Any tips?
Once again, I’m not an expert at this but getting involved and communicating with your online community helps in a big way. Engage in social media and read and comment on other blogs. It’s all about putting yourself out there! I plan to eventually get to this topic for a post as well. 😉
Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
I new to blogging and I really appreciate this post! I am slowly getting the hang of things, but would love a series of posts like this 🙂 Thank you so much!
Awesome! I’ll keep ’em coming!
Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections
Great tips, Heather! I think what I want my blog to focus on is the hardest aspect for me, and it definitely does change with time. At first, I wanted my blog to be semi-healthy living but also spiritual. Lately, I’ve been too busy to really take the time and write out those harder to write posts about faith, so I haven’t had much of that going on lately. And then I took up running, so my blog kind of turned into a running blog on accident. But I’m just going with it!
Thanks! Ha, sounds like you are going through something similar to what I did. And you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes our focus does change, and if what you are writing about now is what you actually want to write about, then it’s totally fine. Your readers will eventually connect to YOU, not just your content. 🙂
All sounds so familiar from when you were helping me!! :)) It was great to read it. Thank you SO much again for helping me get started!!
Glad you found my tips useful. I’ve love seeing your blogging journey blossom!
Great post! Very useful information!
Thanks for reading!
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