A little while ago I wrote a blog in response to an email about how to get started as a wedding photographer. No sooner did I finish that than I realized how many times I get asked about how to start a blog - any type of blog - by everyone from friends to family to new acquaintances! I am pretty passionate about blogging (I truly do consider it one of the best parts of my job) and I have tons of advice for anyone wanting to get started!
If you've ever thought about writing down personal thoughts or turning a blog into a business, here are some great tips to get you on the right foot.
1) Define what you want to do and to whom you want to write.
This is definitely the most important piece of advice I can give! If you are trying to write a blog that appeals to everyone you will end up appealing to no one, because you aren't targeting exactly how you write the content and to whom you will tailor it! Define your audience as clearly as you can (for instance, I write to my target brides and those who know me well) and write every single blog to that one person. Don't be afraid of being 'too narrow' because your goal audience will fall in love with your voice and continue to follow you!
2) Choose your platform.
There are SO many platforms on which you can start your blog. The major player is Wordpress, which is a great option. This gives you choices for great templates and is fairly easy to set up. The downside is that you will need to have a bit of extra coding and design knowledge to really make your blog stand out, although you can definitely get started without being an expert.
Personally, I use Squarespace for my website and blog. The advantage is a low annual fee, and you can switch templates as often as you want without buying something new - they're all free! The downside is that this comes with certain limitations, and you don't have total control. Overall, though, it is the easiest to set up and get started right away.
There are also options such as Weebly, Wix, ShowIt (for more advanced bloggers), and countless others. Research a few blogs whose look you love and see how you can best tailor the platform to meet your needs, then go with the one that makes the most sense to you! Most offer a free trial so you can try a few out before you dive all the way in and commit.
3) Set a realistic schedule.
I blog 2-3 times per week, which is honestly a lot and something I've worked up to over time. For new bloggers, I would recommend a goal of one post per week, or every other week if you're a busy person! Either way, set a realistic goal that you can be consistent with so you don't run out of steam after writing 4 blogs in one week and running out of ideas.
4) Write 3 blogs before you hit publish on the first one.
This, again, is absolutely key! If you write one blog and publish it immediately, it will be so easy to fall behind when you have a bad day, bad week, or run out of inspiration. Always keep a backlog of blogs so if you don't get around to writing one week you can simply use one of your already written posts. Stay 2-3 blogs ahead of the game to give yourself a little bit of grace as you begin.
5) Just get started!
It's so easy to get bogged down in the nitty gritty details and forget that you actually want to write the blog to begin with! Do your research, figure out your audience, but don't get stuck on reaching perfection before you publish the first post. I promise there are people who will love to read it - for awhile my mom was definitely my most faithful reader! She still is, but I've slowly and surely developed a steady blog audience through a lot of trial, error, and hard work. Make the first blog a good, compelling read and you will hook people right away - even if the look of your site isn't quite perfect.
I'd love to hear blogging ideas you have, or how this spurs you on to get started! Leave a comment below and let me know what your thoughts are!