I WANT TO START A BLOG...NOW WHAT? | HOW I STARTED MY BLOG & HOW YOU CAN START YOURS


First of all, good choice! You are about to embark on a very exciting yet potentially stressful chapter in your life. Blogging can be such an amazing experience, bring you such escapism and really unleash a creative part of yourself you may never have known was there.

For me, it's only been about a year and half since I made this decision and let me tell you, I didn't have the foggiest idea of what I was going to do at the start. This is why I've decided to put together everything I've learned over the last year and a half, to help you out when it comes to creating your little corner of the internet.

PLATFORM.



After making the decision to start a blog, you'll then have to decide who you want to create it with. Obviously you do have the option of a 'Self-Hosted' blog, but to be honest I wouldn't recommend throwing yourself into the deep end just yet.

There are quite a few blogging sites that will get you up and running and able to publish your first post in literally minutes. A few of the popular ones include Blogger, WordPress, Squarespace and Wix. 

What Do I Use?


Personally I use Blogger and have done ever since I started. To be honest, when I decided I wanted to start a blog I never really 'shopped around' and looked at other platforms, which is something I'd recommend you do. I'd just heard of Blogger and went for it. I know a lot of bloggers right now use WordPress as it does include a few more features than Blogger, however right now I'm glad I went for Blogger, and let me tell you why...

Blogger is super easy to use, and I mean super easy. If you've never had any blogging experience in the past, have no clue what to do, you'll get the hand of Blogger in no time. Granted Blogger's default themes aren't the best looking compared to WordPress and Squarespace, but that's where my next point comes in.

Blogger is highly customisable, and highly customisable for free. With WordPress, you have to have a paid subscription to be able to upload themes you've bought from a designer, and with Squarespace you have to have a paid subscription anyway. With Blogger, you're able to upload custom themes, and also use Google Analytics and Adsense for free, whereas you'd have to have a subscription for the likes of WordPress.

Obviously it's completely up to you, and what you're wanting to do. This isn't me slating other platforms, just letting you know what I use and how it compares to others. Blogger does have its downfalls, however. There aren't any plugins for SEO etc. available like there is on WordPress, and because Blogger's default themes aren't the most eye-catching, you'll most likely end up purchasing one anyway, so you'll be spending money that way.

What I'd recommend you do is have a browse around and see what different platforms offer and how it can suit your needs, and then go forward from there.

CREATIVITY.



To be upfront and honest, I've struggled with this ever since I started, and still do to this day. Finding a niche is something that everyone says when it comes to creating a blog, and I guess I'm just not there yet. Or I just love to mix up different styles, who knows. Personally I think if you've found a niche and you're willing to stick to it, amazing, if you haven't, don't put yourself down for it, just go with the flow.

If your blogging as a hobby alongside a full-time job or if you're in school or university like me, it can be quite difficult to find time to sit down, plan, write, take pictures for and 'promote' a blog post. In light of this, here are my 3 simple steps to creating content that reflects YOU.

1. Don't Force It.

Like I mentioned, it can become quite difficult and sometimes overwhelming when you're trying to consistently upload when also having a job or education as your main focus. So this is why I say to not force it. Around a year ago when I was at college during the week and working at the weekends, I literally had one day to come up with ideas, write the post, take the pictures, and put everything together. Because of this, I ended up writing posts about random topics that didn't even relate to me just to get something out there. I recommend not doing that. I don't really regret it, just because I learnt from it, and now I'm on the path to finding what I love, and it feels 10x better.

2. Don't Compare Yourself To Others.

Everyone is different. If you see a successful blogger, look at how amazing their content is and then basically decide to copy it, what is the point? There's already a them out there, and there isn't a you, so do you. I know how it feels when you see how insane someone's content is and you just wish that you could recreate that, I've been there. It's perfectly fine to take inspiration from someone, I mean literally everyone does, and so do I, just don't completely copy them because there's just no point.

3. Just Enjoy It.

Enjoy the content making process, enjoy the feedback and communication between your readers, and enjoy the feeling of uploading a new blog post and being proud of what you've done. It doesn't matter if you're super creative or you struggle with it, do what makes you feel happy and that will reflect onto your readers.

WHEN DO I UPLOAD?

If I had a pound for every time I asked myself this question, I probably wouldn't need to work again. Over the past year and a half I've realised just how hard it is to find the right day and time to upload a blog post, asking myself, is this the right time? Am I going to get enough traffic? Are people going to see it? There were points where I just felt like giving up. But don't do that. Everyone starts from the bottom, and you've just got to experiment. 

I started out uploading every Friday at 6pm. Not for any specific reason, it just felt like a decent time to upload. Ever since then I've tried Mondays, Sundays, Tuesdays and to be honest, I've not noticed much of a difference in traffic. They'll be so many articles and videos telling you when is the best time and when isn't, and then you end up feeling deflated when you try them times and nothing happens. All I can say is that consistency is key. No matter what time of day you upload, if you're consistent, people will start to take notice and come back. So seriously, don't worry if you've tried 100 different times of day and you're getting nothing back, be consistent and you'll start to see the change. 

MOTIVATION.

Tell me about it. The demon that haunts a lot of us. This goes back to earlier in the post where I say to not force your creativity. If you're not feeling it, that's ok. Not everyone can have hundreds of ideas floating around in their head everyday. I struggle with this massively because I'm such a perfectionist and I'm super indecisive, so this makes picking post ideas a nightmare. I might come up with an idea, start to write it, and then suddenly delete it, that's how my brain works. If I don't like something, it ain't going up. 

One thing that does boost my motivation slightly is by watching YouTube videos of successful people. Anyone else? Personally, if I see someone successful and how motivated they are, it makes me want to jump up and get started. Seriously, give it a try.

Structure can also have quite the impact. Get up at a certain time, get dressed, have a shower, maybe even do a workout...too far? Thought so. But create some sort of routine, write to-do lists so you don't overwhelm yourself, and like I said previously, enjoy what you're writing about, it becomes way easier if you're passionate about something.

PROMOTING YOURSELF.

So you're a new blogger, no one has a clue who you are, and you need some traffic. So how do I promote myself? Well, there are quite a few different options that you can pick from, but I would recommend starting with Twitter. Having Twitter, engaging with other bloggers, and tweeting about your blog posts can really secure you a place in the blogging world. 

But you may be thinking, I don't have many followers, how do I get people to see my blog post tweets? Well then, that's where Blogger re-tweet accounts come in. These are accounts that if you tag them or use their hashtag, will gladly re-tweet your tweet to their followers. In most cases, these accounts will have quite a few thousand followers, so it'll really get your name out there. They also post daily tweets where you can engage with other bloggers, comment on each others posts, follow each other on social media, and really get to know one another and create a community. Here's a list of a few blogger re-tweet that I use regularly:






Social media as a whole can give your a blog a boost from time to time. Pinterest is definitely one that a lot of bloggers use (which I'm still getting to grips with...). A lot of people say that Pinterest is their main source of traffic, so why not give it a go?! And as always, good old Instagram can give you some views. Post about it on your story, or even go all out and do a full on post about it and big yourself up a little, we've all got to sometimes.


And there we have it. My not so little guide of how to start your blog. Granted everyone is different, and this may not have helped you at all, but if you've even got this far, you deserve a medal.

Thank you for all your continued support, and I'll see you in the next one!

14 comments

  1. These are some great tips and advice for bloggers. I use Blogger too and have done all of my blogging life; I did try using Wordpress for my relaunch (I relaunched late June this year after not blogging for 2 years) but found it really complicated and a bit overwhelming - all I want to do is write to some people! For promoting; I find that sitting down on a Sunday or whatever and scheduling some promotion tweets or posts is the best way to maintain an online presence and keep up traffic but still gives me time to get on with uni stuff too. It can be really hard not to compare yourself to others; but I think by reminding yourself that blogging is entirely personal and for yourself that is a great way to stay on track. Really enjoyed reading this post Jared!

    Paige // Paige Eades

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    1. Thank you! I find WordPress quite confusing as well, I just want something simple and easy to use. I'm definitely going to try sitting down on a Sunday and getting all the scheduling done!

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  2. This is great. First starting a blog can definitely be overwhelming. I still feel like I'm learning a lot and I've been doing it for about a year.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and advice!

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    1. Thank you! I constantly learn new things about blogging everyday, which definitely helps me to grow!

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  3. Great post. I think promoting is blog is always more important than writing. I liked the images on this one. :)

    COT | Changeoftomorrow.com

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  4. These are amazing tips for someone who is starting out. I’ve been looking to grow my blog, so these apply as well!

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  5. Great post Jared, thanks for sharing. It certainly can be tough starting a new blog (I've been going for about 12 months) but hugely enjoyable too. The 'don't compare yourself to others' point is so true - remember that most of these people have been doing this for much longer and it takes time to get any real traction.

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    1. Thank you! It can be tough starting a new blog, especially comparing yourself to others, because like you said they've been doing it for so much longer. Things can take time, but we'll all get there!

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  6. Ah, this was really useful! I really needed that reminder to not force it just because you 'have' to post frequently. I've been struggling with this a fair bit lately and have to remember to just let it flow. Thank you so much for that list of blogger re-tweeters too, have taken note!

    Saloni Miglani | www.salonimiglani.com/blog

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    1. Thank you! You should never force it, always post what you're passionate about! I hope the blogger re-tweet accounts help :)

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  7. Ace Blog!

    Joseph

    Catch my blog @ http://www.desperately-seeking-adventure.co.uk/

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