I've gotten multiple emails over the last few weeks from people asking for tips on how to start a blog and I'm really excited for them! Starting a blog is one of the best decisions I made, and I'd like to share a few tips to help others begin this journey of their own. I've made this into a two part series because there is so much to cover! I could definitely write more than two posts on this, but I want this to be a starting point for new bloggers as well as a refresher for those of you who already have a blog but are looking for ways to improve it. :)
To start off, why start a blog? Good question! I listed 7 reasons why I started my blog here in my very first post! Like the cake I made? ;) Start off by making your own list of why you want to blog. Is it a creative outlet? A place to document your life? Somewhere for you to write stories? This list is something you'll look back to when you're in a blogging rut, so it's handy to have.
Next, narrow down your focus
What do you want to blog about? Fashion? Food? Decor? There are a lot of different niches and categories but many bloggers categorize themselves as a "lifestyle" blogger, including myself. But I also have an overall theme. My posts are all centered around encouraging others to chase their dreams and inspiring them to live an intentional life. I provide tips to help make their lives easier, but I throw in some personal posts as well.
So even though I'm a lifestyle blogger, you can see that I blog with intention. And I believe that blogging with intention is what will set you apart from other bloggers.
[Tweet "Blogging with intention is what will set you apart from other bloggers. via @britthouchins"]
Your next step is to narrow down what you'd like to blog about. Begin by listing topics you like, such as decorating or cooking; don't worry if you find yourself listing a lot of topics, we'll narrow it down :) Next, try to group topics together into main categories. Then think over each category: Do I have enough knowledge to write multiple posts on this? Does it fit my current lifestyle? I had a lot of categories when I first started out, but now I have them condensed down to five. Over time you'll discover what you like and don't like to blog about and your blog will grow as you grow.
Create a blog vision board on Pinterest
Now before you jump in and pick your blog name, I recommend creating a blog "brand" vision board on Pinterest. I'm using the word "brand" because essentially, your blog will be a brand. Cohesive brand elements are what makes great blogs stand out from the rest.
Pin photos that convey the look/feel of what you would like your blog to have. For example, my blog brand board (which is a secret board, so I can't show you guys :( sorry!) is full of beautiful handwritten script fonts, simple and clean lines, my favorite inspirational quotes, and bright airy photos.
You should also pin blog layouts and templates for inspiration. Take a look and see what they have in common. Are they all minimalistic? Do they have bold lines and colors? Determining the style of your blog is the first step to creating the blog of your dreams.
Brainstorm and choose a blog name
Now is the fun (and sometimes really hard) part! Choosing a blog name is serious business, because it's something that you will be known for. Make a list of 5-10 blog names that are relevant to your topics and you can see yourself using multiple years from now. Coming up with 5-10 names may sound like a lot, but it's a good idea to have backup ideas just in case the name is already taken on social media sites or the domain is already bought.
Write a blog mission statement
Like I said earlier, you can’t blog about everything if you want your blog to be successful. You need a focus; a purpose; a mission. Having a blog mission statement enables you to have a constant reminder of what your purpose is.
Don't skip this step! Many bloggers, including myself, don't usually do this until after their blog is established. But if you do it before you even start, you are way ahead of the game! Use this post I wrote solely dedicated on how to write a mission statement for your blog for guidance.
Purchase a domain
Once you've decided on a name, the next step is to purchase your domain name. Purchasing your domain name adds a professional appearance to your blog as it takes away the .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com in your domain.
There are multiple ways you can get your domain. The most popular option is to purchase directly from a domain registrar, like GoDaddy.com or Registrar.com, for anywhere around $5-$20 a year. Even if you decide to not spend money on anything else for blogging, I highly recommend buying your domain.
This is where we'll stop for today. Starting a blog doesn't happen overnight; it takes a lot of time and effort. These first few steps set the foundation of your blog, and they are incredibly important, so don't try to jump and skip ahead.
In Part 2, I'll help you decide what blogging platform to use, choose a theme/design, and provide tips on promoting your posts! So be sure to check in next Monday!
Do you want to start a blog? If you have any more questions, be sure to let me know!