If it is still in your mind it is worth taking the risk. -Paulo Coelho
Hey guys! I am so excited to be starting this new project in 2017 and I hope you all appreciate the work that I plan to put into it! I am by no means an expert blogger and I don’t claim to know it all, but when I was first starting Poised Avenue, I spent hours researching how to start a blog and loved reading anything from anyone who had something to offer. So, this first post is going to be an overview of what to expect when starting a blog. I break it down into a few easy to understand steps and explain the process I used when starting Poised Avenue. I would love your feedback and suggestions for future topics in the comments!!
A Blogging Guide: Written for a Beginner, by a Beginner
So, if you are sitting at your computer screen with a blank stare and thinking “I want to write a blog! But where do I start?!” Well, that’s exactly the problem I am hoping to help you with! And if you need more help after you’re done reading have a look how this can help you create a blog. I hope to keep this short and simple, easy to follow and inspirational. But before I begin, let me give you a bit more about why I started Poised Avenue, what went into my decision to start blogging and the resources I used to help me get started.
Ever since blogging and the social media world began to grow and gain a huge following, I was obsessed! I loved spending hours watching YouTube videos or reading fashion blogs. I always thought that one day I would do something similar. It always felt right and it came naturally to me. After serious consideration, I decided to purchase a domain name. This was the hardest part. Poised Avenue came to me in a burst of inspiration, and it stuck. I then went to Go Daddy, checked it’s availability as a URL and when I realized it was available, I snatched it up as my own! I then spent a few days looking through blog themes and decided on one to purchase for my own. Once you have those two things under your belt, you are basically set to start creating your first post! I was on it after that, eagerly anticipating my first click of the “publish” button. Blogging is something that comes naturally to me, and I absolultely love working on my blog. I spend hours perfecting even the tiniest of things. I am still researching ways to better my corner of the World Wide Web, it’s definitely an on-going process that I don’t think ever ends, but I don’t want it to! I am definitely no expert per-se, but I think that any little bit of information helps!
Now, let’s get to the fun stuff… How to take the first steps into the blogging world and set up your own website.
Step 1: Why are you starting?
Really think about why you want to start a blog. Is it for writing? fashion? recipes? make up? Do you want to do it for fun, just as a hobby, or turn it into a brand? All of your answers to questions like these will influence every following step. Really think about your reason for starting your blog and what you want to put into it. Also, having niche will make it easier to choose a name and a website design. It will also help you connect with other bloggers and possibly companies to work with. For example, I am a part of many blogger communities in my niche. It gives me something in common with them, and creates a foundation to build future collaborations on.
Step 2: Creating and choosing your blog’s name
Here is where step 1 really makes a difference. What your blog content will be and whether or not you want to turn it into a brand, will influence what you choose as a name for your blog. What represents your content? What fits your personality? What will look good written out as a brand name? Will your name read well on a business card or on a tag? Will your blog name fit the type of font/ typography you envision? I really enjoyed a video by Dana Fox, creator of Wonder Forest and The Blog Beautician on YouTube. Her videos explain the beginning processes of starting a blog, but she has one that I specifically loved for choosing a name for my blog. She breaks down a name choosing “formula” that is easy to follow and helps get your creative juices flowing! Click here to watch it.
Step 3: Hosting and URLs
So now that you have your name, you need a domain. Decide on what host you will use, such as Go Daddy or hostiserver, just Google “web hosts” for more and find one that fits you best. I personally use Go Daddy. Paying for a service from a host means you are “self-hosted”. If you prefer to not pay to blog, you can use a platform such as Blogger or WordPress.com (different from wordpress.org, which allows for self hosting). A website like WordPress.com makes it super easy to set up a website, just choose what your website will be about, pick a pre-loaded theme, and choose a URL. While this is free, you’re limited on design aspects as well as the look of your URL. For example, if you were to use Blogger as a platform, your URL would look something like, www.blogger.yourblogname.com where as if you were self-hosted, your URL would look something like, www.yourblogname.com. In my opinion, a self-hosted blog looks more professional. But, if you are unsure if starting a blog is for you, or if you will be able to keep up with blogging, a platform like Blogger would be great! It’s free and lets you try blogging out, with out any serious commitments.
After you decide on what platform or host you want to use (if you are still unsure then you could always check hostingfoundry.com), you need to search your blog name as a URL to see if it is available. For example, I searched www.poisedavenue.com to see if a website came up. Thankfully, nothing came up! But if a website existed under the name you chose, no biggy! My sister’s blog is called “Ivory Rose” but the URL www.ivoryrose.com was already being used. She simply just chose the URL www.ivoryroseblog.com instead. Find something that contains your blog’s name, if just your blog’s name isn’t available. You can also search URLs through the web host’s website.
Step 4: Choosing a theme
Once you have your URL set up, you’ll need a theme. So, if you are using WordPress.com, Blogger or something similar, you will just simply pick out a theme that is pre-loaded and start blogging! But, if you are self-hosted you will need to search for a theme to purchase. These themes will be more detailed, individualized and easier to personalize. Don’t worry too much about the price! You can find themes in any price range. This is definitely one of my favorite parts of blogging. I love being able to personalize and design the look of my blog! My favorite place to shop for blogs is Creative Market. Dana Fox, who I mentioned above, also has blog themes for sale… find them here. You’re sure to find one you love! P.S. Be sure to buy a theme that is supported by whatever platform you are using! For example, buy a wordpress theme if you use wordpress, etc. I ran into a few problems with this when first starting out and themes are not refundable.
Step 5: Designing a logo
One of the last steps before you’re ready to publish your blog is designing a logo. You can easily do this in Photoshop if you have basic skills in Photoshop, or hire someone to do it. I am lucky enough to have a graphic designer as a dad, so he has helped me with a lot of this stuff. If you want to have someone design a logo for you, just Google something like, “design a logo” or “logo design” and I am sure something will come up! Or go to Creative Market and buy a font to create one on your own (you sometimes even get lucky and will find a free font you like!). Once you have your logo designed, you may or may not want a favicon. A favicon is the small icon that appears to the left of your URL on some browsers when your website is being loaded/ is loaded. You can really play around with your favicon, but I recommend it either matches your logo somehow or represents your blog. For example, my favicon is a simple “PA”, my sisters is an image of a rose because her blog is www.ivoryroseblog.com. Once you design your favicon, you can upload it under “customize” if you are using WordPress (that’s how mine works, at least!).
Starting a blog is such an exciting thing to do! I encourage you to follow your intuition when it comes to your blog, and I am sure it will lead you in the right direction. You don’t need to be an expert to start and you can learn along the way, I am still learning! The five steps above are what I believe to be the skeleton of starting a website, and it’s your job to create content and bring your website to life! Below are some other tips I think could be helpful when starting a blog:
– Use MailChimp and grow an email list with a subscribe button on your blog.
– Apply to blogger groups such as www.theblogsocieties.com or facebook groups for bloggers. There are so many blogging groups and they are a great way to network and share tips and tricks!
– Use high quality photos for your posts
– Be unique and write in a style that is true to you, and always proof read!
– Find ways to add something unique to your blog, like a Q & A or a post type that comes to your readers on a certain day each week.
– Be interactive with your readers!
– Broadcast your blog across all social medias
– Use hashtags on social media! These will attract a certain type of readers to your Instagram posts or tweets and readers who share interests will be more likely to be long-time followers. Some of my favorite IG hashtags are: #fblogger #sblogger #instastyle
– always tag and hashtag the brands in your photos, it links their account to yours and their readers may see your content. It also allows for the brand to be notified of your content, and could lead to a collaboration.
– Be interactive with fellow bloggers and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask to collab, for advice, or just to talk!
– The same goes for brands. When you’re first starting out, brands most likely will not reach out to you. Do some research, find brands that are willing to work with smaller bloggers/ brands just starting out. Introduce yourself and ask if they would be interested in working with you!
– Comment on other bloggers content, and link back to your blog. This engages their readers with your blog. But don’t forget to be genuine! Don’t just comment something meaningless. Just like you don’t like spam, they don’t either!
I hope I covered everything… but incase I missed something, please don’t hesitate to ask me about it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below and I will get back to you ASAP.
Good luck starting your blog!