Despite blogging on a weekly basis for over three years, I still don’t consider myself a very seasoned blogger. This little space of mine attracts regular readers and some sponsorships, which is always lovely. But this whole blogging thing is a never-ending learning curve. That’s why I love it and never get bored with it!
Friends, (online or IRL) who want to start blogs and know about mine, often ask me how to start a blog. How I do this and that. So today I thought I would put together a little guide to the blogging resources I used to create and maintain this little blog of mine. I hope you find it useful!
I’ve included mostly tools that are free because I think that it’s important to acknowledge that many people who start blogs don’t do it to make money and may not want to invest all that much in it, especially to start.
Last piece of advice before the actual advice: Don’t start a blog to make money, start it because you want to blog, write, share, inspire!
Starting a blog from scratch
For me branding starts with the name and what you want to make of your online space. That’s probably the first step you should take when starting a blog. My first blog name was ‘The Things I Am Crazy For’ which was a very generic name – which really represents what I thought of my blog i.e. nothing very specific. See, I had no idea where my journey would take me and I hadn’t even thought about it.
When I relaunched with a new name ‘Adventitious Violet’ I thought about it for a while. If you want to learn more about my name – read here. I picked a design made by a designer/blogger friend and we picked a colour for my brand. I don’t have more of a branding strategy, but I definitely love my current semi-niche which is a bit of lifestyle but mostly travel. While it’s probably good to have an idea of what you want to blog about, I don’t believe in restricting yourself to only one thing. Follow what you like and see what people respond to.
Truth be told – if I could go back in time I would self-host from the start. I think it’s the best option if you want to personalise and truly create a site that you love. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but personally this is what I recommend.
I self-host my wordpress.org site with Siteground (<< this is an affiliate link because I love it!). On all the blogger group that I follow, it is the most acclaimed self-hosting service. When I transferred to them, they were so helpful it was actually astounding. Their customer service alone is incredibly worth it. For those on a small budget, try to get a good deal with them – that includes their discount events such as Black Friday.
As for design, if you’re not sure how to design or where to start, make sure to speak with an expert. And I don’t mean me obviously! I’ve dealt with two design companies and they were both amazing. It’s worth paying a fee to get a good and well designed template. I’ve usually paid around $50 for my designs.
Maintaining a blog
>> Content is key
It all starts with content. Write write write. Every month I open a calendar and brainstorm a few ideas. After content, consistency is key. Something I struggle with… I personally aim to post every Tuesday and Friday. But to each their own! Create your own schedule – that’s what’s so great about blogging!
>> Designing and editing tools
People are visual so make sure to always add a photo or visual content to your posts. For editing, I tried Photoshop and Lightroom for a while and loved it. I think it’s probably the best tool for the techy people out there.
For the less techy people, and for those without a big budget, I would recommend free online tools such as PicMonkey and Canva. PicMonkey is perfect for editing and resizing photos very simply. Canva is great for designing, from social media posts and headers to whole brochures. (p.s. I actually design my CV with Canva too!)
Pro tip >> You should definitely resize all your photos to fit your blog width. That allows for a faster site load and takes less of your blog memory. Mine, for example, are all resized to 800px.
Engaging and getting an audience
>> Social media scheduling
Blogging wouldn’t be complete without sharing your wonderful work. Social media is one of the best places to share. One of the tools I used for social media scheduling free is Buffer. It is linked to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, among others. You can schedule up to 10 free posts, which is very useful!
>> Join a feed site
Apparently all the cool kids use Feedly and such. I believe I once signed up for it, but I still love using Bloglovin’. It’s interface is lovely and makes it easy to follow blogs. Recently it seems to have sold out and is always advertising big bloggers that you don’t even follow, but we shall see where this all goes.
>> Join linkups
This is the perfect way to find other blogs in your niche, make blog friends, and get new readers. I like to think my readers and the blog that I read as friends. It’s a little weird for non-bloggers, but in all seriousness, being personable goes a long way through computer screens.
>> Create an email list
This is the #1 item that people will tell you to do. I’m still not great on it and I only have a mailing list through my blog (not through any other means like Mailchimp or Mailerlite).
This was a fairly straightforward and concise post, but feel free to let me know if there is any questions you may have or posts you would like me to write about in greater details.
Do you have any tips for beginners on how to start a blog?xx