Friday, 6 April 2018

How To Start A Blog


Today I'm going to tell you some simple steps on starting out as a blogger. Blogging isn't just for girls and it isn't just for outfits. Blogging can be for everyone, young and old, and about any topic you're interested in from gardening to tech! Once you're determined, everything will start flowing.





1. PLAN


You can't just start a blog over night, a lot of planning and thinking needs to go into it. I had been planning my blog for about six months before I set it up and I have a friend who is still planning theirs after about a year! If you care about the quality you will produce then time and effort is needed.

Start by writing down what you're interested in/what you intend your blog to be about. I love fashion and travel with some lifestyle pieces so they were the main areas of my blog in the beginning. I wrote down tonnes and tonnes of blogpost ideas and I brainstormed whether I would go with Blogger or Wordpress. I'll get into both later. Other than that you'll have to think of a domain, nobody wants .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com after the name of their blog. So investing in a domain name is essential.

You also need to plan how you are going to advertise your blog and new blogposts, i.e. through social media. So creating an Instagram for your blog, a Facebook and maybe even a Snapchat account. Each of these need their own planning too. I'll also get onto that later on.

You need to plan how often a week/month you will post blogposts and whether you'll have photos in them (it's preferred if you do). So organising this aspect is needed also.

Checklist:

  • Topic/s
  • Blogpost ideas
  • Blog Calender (how many posts a month)
  • Blogger/ Wordpress
  • Social Media
  • Shooting
  • Photography
  • Editing
  • Do you need to buy stuff for your content? (Reviews?)
  • Budget (How much are you willing on spending a month on your blog's maintenance?)
  • Domain name
Something I highly recommend to keep on top of this all, is a journal/ diary, it will save you and keep you up to date with everything.





If you wan't to start a blog for the freebies I would stop right there and rethink everything. Blogging isn't about the free things, it can be a full time job! So much thought goes into it that many people don't even realise.


2. BLOGGER OR WORDPRESS


You can also get your own website designed but if you're just starting off I wouldn't recommend it. I am almost three years blogging and I don't have my own website. I use Blogger which is completely free to use once you have a Google Account. I started CiaraSwalsh when I was a student in college so my funds were quite low so opting for Wordpress just wasn't for me. However Wordpress is a lot more secure and you can get better features with it. Technically Google own my blog and can terminate it anytime they want (although that would never happen) but if you have the money and prefer the idea of Wordpress I would highly recommend it. However, I wouldn't be afraid of Blogger, I've never had any problems and I find it extremely user friendly!

After setting up either Blogger or Wordpress you must select a theme for your blog, which is basically the layout of it and how the site looks. I personally bought my theme on pipdig.com they have the best templates and I'm looking to upgrade mine. They're so helpful too as they help you 100% with the setup!



3. DOMAIN NAME


What is a domain? A domain is the end part of the website URL. My domain is www.ciaraswalsh.com, I could go on to buy ciaraswalsh.ie/.eu/.co.uk etc. I bought it from GoDaddy.com for about €14 p/y. Another domain site I believe to be great is Blacknight, their customer service is said to be brilliant and if you've any problems, they're always there to help. I've never had any issues with my domain or setting it up so I never had to contact GoDaddy about anything. However, after almost three years I'm getting on just fine!



4. SOCIAL MEDIA


With a blog comes social media. You don't have to go the whole social media route but if you want to promote it I would 100% advise you to start up social media.

Instagram
My favourite platform is Instagram, I can show off my creative side there which I love. If you want your blog to really grow, I would suggest putting a lot of effort into your Instagram feed and interaction with people online. You can even make life long friends this way (I did).

Facebook
I only use FB for my blog nowadays, I get a lot of clicks on my blog there. One thing I would suggest, is to link your new FB page for your blog to your personal page by sharing some blogposts on there too. It'll make people aware that you've a blog and they'll start to interact more.

Snapchat
This isn't a must but Snapchatting the behind the scenes to daily life will make people interested in what you're doing. People are nosy and want to know what people are doing. Be open on Snapchat, show some behind the scenes, show the raw you and people will love you more. However like I said earlier, it's not a must.

My advice is to have the same username for each platform. I have CiaraSwalsh for everything and it helps people find me easier.



5. PHOTOGRAPHY


Photography is essential for my blog. I need it for my travel posts as well as my fashion ones. The quality of the photos are very important to me too. I won't settle for just any photo in any place. Everything has to be organised, the place (whether it goes with the theme of my blog/Instagram), the person who takes my photos (I can only trust two people, my sister Michelle and my boyfriend) and the editing of said photos. I particularly use the apps VSCO Cam and Snapseed to edit mine. Some people use Lightroom to edit theirs and I'm beginning to think that I need to use it too!
My sister took the photos for this post and aren't they just incredible? She is just so talented so thanks Cheech!!

If you want people to take your blog seriously and perceive it as professional, I would invest in photography equipment/ picture editing software. It will seriously bump up your game!



6. BUDGET

Blogging isn't free, or cheap at that. You need to invest a lot of your own money into it if you're serious about it, especially if you're just starting out.
You'll need to spend money on Wordpress (if you use it instead of Blogger), your domain name, photography equipment, a photographer if you have nobody else to shoot stuff for you, products for review, clothes (if you are in the fashion side of things), trips abroad if you're a travel blogger, basically the content you provide will require you to pay for it unless it's free (i.e. products from a P.R. or brand to review -which won't happen for a long time after starting blogging), your blogs theme, I could honestly go on.

The main thing you need to budget is what you are going to review on your blog, i.e. how much product you will feature in a month. As well as this you must put money into the upkeep of your blog. So budget everything, you don't want to spend every cent on it either.



Shop Today's Look:
Jumper: Tobi ( SHOP HERE) Theres 50% off!
Trousers: Penneys/Primark (SHOP SIMILAR HERE)
Shoes: JD Sports (SHOP HERE)

The last thing I will say is be consistent, don't compare, be true to yourself and don't do anything for the sake of money. Earn your followers' respect and just be a nice person, online and in person. 
I hope this helped and the very best of luck with starting your blog! If you've any questions of if you feel I didn't talk about something I would love to hear from you!

Blogging can be for everyone! The more the merrier!



Thanks to my insanely talented sister for the photos!


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1 comment

  1. Hiya Ciara!

    Thanks so much for this blogpost! Literally came at just the right time for me as I just decided to start my blog. So insightful!

    Shannen

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