Blogging Series: V1 // Getting Started

3.08.2015


First things first...
Making that decision to begin blogging first began with the idea of sharing my adventures as a brand new teacher in kindergarten. It was a thought that was both fun and terrifying at the same time. I was eager to share lessons, crafts, books, and other ideas but I quickly noticed that I wasn’t the only one with that in mind. In fact, there were a good million of other, more established, teacher bloggers out there and it was quite intimidating just starting out. However, I pressed on and managed to gain a little following of my own. Literally had about two followers. Humble beginnings, people.

In the end my kindergarten blog ended up on the chopping block because it was a bit unrealistic to think that within my first year teaching (aka survival) I could manage the energy to post on a regular basis, keep up with linkups, and have enough relevant material to write about. Flash forward to the present and having taken what I’ve learned about blogging I’ve managed to build a little nest of my very own in the form of two blogs. Yes, two blogs! See one here and, well, you’re reading my other one. ;)

Although I’m not at the point where I can brag too much about stats, the point is that blogging has been fun and mostly because it’s been authentic to me. So, if you’re thinking about starting your own blog but have some reservations, I’ve decided to write my own little post about starting a blog in the hopes that it will help you become inspired! Please understand though that I am a humble, small-time blogger who enjoys sharing everything about my life in this little space. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve developed my own understanding by learning from others out there. I hope you find this post helpful :)

V.1 is just the basics of beginning a blog. My plan is to break this up into sections so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed. A lot of blogging is simply trial and error and you will figure things out as you go. I will also post helpful links that do the explaining better than I can and are meant to be resources to you! Let’s get started...

1. AUTHENTICITY
The first thing you need to consider when beginning a blog is that you need to be 100% YOU. It’s easy to get caught up in the stats (see my blog post about that here) and constantly compare yourself to the tens of thousands of other bloggers out there. It’s going to happen, trust me, but keep in mind that even the most successful blogs started out right where you are now. Slow and steady beginnings. So, with that in mind, keep your blog your own. This means:
  • post about topics that are interesting to you but are also interesting for your readers
  • be relevant to what your readership would want to read about
  • have opinions and don’t be shy about sharing them, just respect the other viewpoints people may have
2. THE LOOK
No matter what platform or hosting site you use (there’s multiple articles on the Blogger vs. Wordpress debate) it’s important to invest in your blog. The free templates are okay but depending on the level of seriousness you’re putting into blogging, it’s worthwhile to invest in getting a custom blog design that best represents you. You know, going back to that whole being authentic thing. I have been using Shiny Magic Designs for a few years and love her work!
  • DO: use photos to spruce up your posts. Make post banners (those photo headers) so that your readers have a heads up on what they’re going to read about...plus those are the photos you want your readers to be able to share via social media.
  • DON’T: use copyrighted photos and ALWAYS give credit back to the source whenever you’re using photos or ideas that are not your own. 
  • DO: use a ‘pin it’ button for your photos so you, and others, can share them via Pinterest
  • DO: have social media buttons easily available on your blog. It should be easy for your readers to find a way to follow you.
The other piece to this is your blog name. Keep it simple but direct and with meaning. You also want to do a healthy check to see if the name isn’t already taken. Bloggers don’t like it when people steal...even if you don’t mean to. The internet is a big place so make sure to do your homework first. This is because many bloggers eventually use their blogs to make commissions or use it as a business and it just creates a lot of problems if you have the same name or something very similar.

  • Consider paying for a domain name. It’s worth the investment because you get to have your very own .com website, which makes it easy for readers to find you.

4. SOCIAL MEDIA
This piece is necessary if you’re living in the modern world. Everything is connected through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. It’s an easy (and not to mention free) way to promote your blog, posts, or Etsy store. Gaining followers is important because, yes, you’re writing for yourself, but you’re also posting it for your readers in order to build a community and spark a discussion. Even if you don’t know how to use it or for one reason or another you’re against it, if you’re going to begin blogging I highly recommend making yourself more available.
  • DON’T: over advertise on social media. I don’t want to see only ads for your posts. As a reader I want to get to know you personally and this means sharing about YOU and YOUR LIFE...not just you as the blogger.
  • DO: link your blog to your social media accounts. This shares your post across all platforms and makes sharing easier.
RESOURCE LINKS:

5. JOIN A COMMUNITY OF BLOGGERS
One of the best decisions I’ve made is joining with other bloggers in various communities such as The Peony Project. I am able to share my own blog with others but most importantly, I have a safe place to bounce ideas off or get feedback about anything blog or post related. Finding that right community is great and it gives you a sense of belonging meanwhile establishing and fostering positive relationships.

6. ACCEPTANCE
Your blog is going to change and evolve over time and it’s not a bad thing. The original idea you have right now for your blog might change in a few months or even years from now. I first wanted to share my outfits and link up with other real fashion bloggers but found it to be too time consuming and eventually all my blog posts consisted of linkups and not authentic posts. Now, my blog represents me as I am right now and I don’t feel the pressure of having to ‘catch up’ with other, more professional, blogs (I mean, really, I don’t know how these ladies can be done head to toe with makeup, hair, and manage to have a professional photographer take shots of every outfit throughout the week!).

Blogging is the ability to learn as you go. There’s always going to be something new that you’ll learn or ways to improve your blog. I hope you’ve found these little beginning tips to be helpful and I’m excited you’re thinking about taking this first leap!

If you have found other helpful blogging tips be sure to share them in the comments!

Check out this month’s sponsor...

Forever Ashley

4 comments:

  1. I’m in love
    with your blog It was so interesting to read your posts and also I’d like to
    say that you have beautiful photos! I know that it requires so much time to
    update blog, but keep doing it!)




    Diana
    Cloudlet

    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are spot on with all of these points! I think that authenticity is a great point. There are so many other bloggers out there! It's important to just be yourself and don't try to copy other people. I would also include thinking about why you want to start a blog. If it's solely to make money, don't do it! Blogging is hard work and you have to love doing it. Besides, it's so easy to see through those bloggers who are just out there to make money.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with you about the process of thinking “why do I want to start blogging?” It is a long process to get the following you want and if you’re in it for the wrong reasons then you’ll never feel anything but frustrated or disappointed. Blogging should be fun and an enjoyable experience, by both the blogger and the reader. Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate readers like you and I’m happy that you’ve enjoyed a few of my posts. Time is definitely key but so rewarding!

    ReplyDelete