– William Wordsworth
Blogging is hard work. I think when you tell someone that you are a blogger they often dismiss it as being something you do part time, sat from your sofa or a coffee shop. If you really want to make something of it then you will, if your heart and head are focussed then it will all go swimmingly. On Friday, I am filming “a day in the life of”. I have chosen a day where I have no meetings and nothing exceptionally exciting planned so that you can get a real idea of what I actually do. I will then do a follow up next week when I have some meetings and a photo-shoot.
I started blogging in 2010 and started taking on sponsors in 2012. It was ( and still is) a long, hard journey and at the time I felt slightly alone, other bloggers didn’t dish out their tips and tricks, they don’t tell you how much they charge, and I felt I couldn’t ask. I think other blogging communities have got is right such as beauty bloggers who have a #bbloggers tag on twitter and a #bbloggers chat every week. There is definitely a community feel, everyone is very helpful and welcoming, the same can be said of lifestyle bloggers (#lbloggers), however I feel wedding bloggers aren’t the same. I don’t know why, we just seem a bit more on edge/territorial.
A friend of mine has recently started blogging and asked me what she needs to get going. Whilst some items are obvious such as a computer and internet others may not be so here is my short guide to getting started!
An idea – this may seem utterly obvious. Well, it is really. But you have to be able to offer something to the industry you are wanting to enter. Everyone has something to offer, even your unique voice on topics is enough but to go further you will need something that makes your blog stand out.
A workspace – you will see when I vlog my day that I don’t really work from a work space. I know this is naughty, Annabel, Love My Dress swears by a workspace. I have a desk, I just don’t use it. I take my laptop round the house with me, sometimes I work from the kitchen table, sometimes the living room, sometimes my bed, sometimes on the guest bed. I change depending on my mood, the light and what I am doing. This is probably naughty isnt it? Just do what works best. I do have a rule to stop working at 7pm though.
Branding and design – my brand has changed since I first started on Blogger three years ago, but not dramatically. It has always been pink and grey, there has always been a heart and I did dabble in chevrons till the whole blogging world was covered in zig zags so I dropped them. There will be a slight tweak again for Spring but just a little tweak. It is important to make sure that whatever your brand you have it covering everything, from twitter to Facebook, your blog header to your email footers. Keep everything the same. It will take some time to get it just right, but it is definitely worth it, it is also worth hiring someone to help you with this. Make sure the layout is easy to use, whether it is a reader or a PR person looking for info, make sure its all there. Make a Pinterest board of all the colours/fonts/blog styles you like and keep updating it, your blog evolves just as you do.
Your own domain – Just do it, you will end up buying your own anyway so skip the .blogspot or .wordpress and head straight to it. It costs very little per year. I am registered through 123 reg. And it makes a good impression first time round. For the record, I have used both and much prefer WordPress.
Readers – this one is tricky as it takes quite a while to gain readers, especially loyal ones. I love my loyal readers, I recognise all of their emails whenever they comment or enter competitions and it makes my heart do flutters. Before starting out try making connections over social media, people will get used to you, your voice and what you are all about. Micro before macro blogging.
Technology and apps – good technology makes it all easier, a good laptop, a smart phone or table, a decent camera, photoshop (or alternative), blogstomp (this could be a whole blog post in itself) In saying this, I still jot all ideas down in a notebook. As for apps you can get dropbox, wordpress (though dont use this to write a post with as it crashes constantly, good for checking stats etc), twitter (I use tweetbot) Bloglovin, instagram, pinterest, mailchimp.
Content – An obvious one, the more brilliant content you can produce the better your blog will be. It is easy to swatch lipsticks, or upload a wedding but what readers really want is your personality to shine through. So never stop shining. Quality not quantity.
Basic SEO skillz – Ergh, yes. Just YouTube tutorials. I usually watch lectures from these guys. Alt tag your images, write SEO friendly tags and headers and just keep on top of it from the beginning, something I wish I had done.
A positive mental attitude – this will see through through the lows and the highs, as there are plenty of both!
I have probably forgotten something important, let me know if I have!