*This was originally published in December 2019. Someone recently asked me for blogging advice, so I’m reposting this. I’ll write more about this in a later post.
Since I began actually sharing my blog with my friends and family, several people said they want to start blogs. I like to think I’m inspiring (ironic hair flip with zero hair). When I started mine in January 2014, I had NO idea what I was doing. To be honest, I still feel that way a lot. Here are five tips that I’ve learned or bumbled through which might help starting your first blog:
- Read all the blogs you can possibly read until your eyes fall out. I can’t express how important this has been for me. I read blogs for years before I started my own, even if it wasn’t in the travel genre. That helped me feel less lost regarding my niche, content, photography, colors, etc. It surprises me when bloggers say they don’t read others’ blogs. It’s like writing a book without ever reading a book. Almost comically odd, isn’t it? To find blog pages that interest you, Google it! That’s how I found some of the blogs I’ve been reading for eight years or so years now.
- Research the various platforms available for blogging. There are a lot of free options that you can later upgrade if you’re interested. I use and love WordPress because it was so easy to start. Making it look good was a bit tricky, and I still don’t know if I completely have that one down yet. Despite that, I would recommend WordPress to anyone, especially beginners. It’s the most used blogging format, according to the quick internet search I just did. If WordPress isn’t your thing, there are others like Constant Contact Website Builder, Blogger or BlogSpot (both owned by Google), Squarespace, or Medium. Consider if yours will be a personal blog, business blog, travel blog, crafting blog, etc. Having a vague idea of your niche is okay. Some blogs start as one thing and become something totally different. For a comparison of the most popular free blogging platforms, click here.
- Name your Blog. Once you’ve decided your platform, niche, and tone, now it’s time to decide what to name your blog. This step was so so SO difficult for me. I wanted to select the perfect name so it drove me crazy. I finally settled on Mae Goes West because as a travel blog, I was actually moving geographically west of Oklahoma. I thought it would be perfect. If I could go back, I would name it something else. Keep in mind you can change your name, but depending on how long you’ve been blogging, that may prove more difficult down the line.
- Choose a tagline. On most blog platforms I know, there is a space for a tagline. A tagline is technically a catchphrase or slogan for a “brand”. I have changed my tag line so many times, I eventually slipped into a decision paralysis. After five years of settling into my own skin and therefore my blog, I chose “Your Daily Delight”. It’s important to encapsulate the focus of your blog in your tagline. I often read taglines when reading other blogs to give me an idea of what the blog is about. If it’s something related to business, I move onto the next blog. If the tagline is something about mindfulness, cooking, LGBTIQA issues, photography, etc. then I take the time to read several posts.
- Just do the damn thing! I remember being so scared to start because I envisioned being a successful travel writer, my dream job. I thought about it for about three years before I found the gumption to find a platform that worked for me and to start writing. I wanted to make money off my blog which I had no idea how to do at the time (I have now officially made $2.50 on my blog! I know it’s not a lot, but it proves to me that it’s possible.) Now my blog has morphed into something completely different when I started it. But that’s okay! When I started my blog, I had recently decided to not move to Thailand to teach English because I needed and wanted to take care of my grandfather who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I wanted my blog to reflect where I am in life, and I think I’ve done that fairly organically.
Impostor syndrome was the main thing that hindered me from starting. I thought no one would be interested in what I had to say. Remember that there are some 4 billion people on this planet with internet access, so odds are, someone will read it besides your friends and family. Share your blog with me below, and I will definitely become a reader.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Now I’d like to know, what’s keeping you from starting a blog?