When I first started my blog, I struggled with questions like “What am I going to blog about?” and “Who am I as a blogger?” It wasn’t until I went through the process of answering these questions and the necessary steps to starting a blog that blogging felt easier and I found my “happy place,” or rather I felt excited about where my blog was headed. I thought I’d share some of my knowledge about how to start a blog with a novice blogger checklist that I wish I had had starting out. Think of this as a “Blogging 101” exercise to get you into the groove of blogging and to help you find your “happy place” with your blog.
1. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to blog instead of just write in a journal?” Is it to help you find a job? Is it to showcase your photography? Are you hoping to start a business? Understanding why you’re blogging will help you with the next step.
2. Decide what your blog is going to be about. An easy way to do this is to write down a maximum of five categories that describe what you’re interested in blogging about. Start out with broad categories like “photography, fashion, design, art, books, poetry, film.” Then narrow it down to specifics like “tomboy fashion, fashion illustration, personal style, fiction book reviews.”
3. Write down five blog post ideas. You don’t need to worry about committing to any of these since your blog will probably evolve as you begin posting, but it’s good to set expectations for content.
4. Choose a blog name and domain. We discussed this in a post a few weeks ago. If you want a custom domain, be prepared to spend about $20.
5. Choose a publishing platform. Here’s the skinny on the most popular ones to choose from to help you decide on which is best for you:
- Blogger: very easy to use and the most popular amongst fashion bloggers.
- WordPress: robust and an easy cause of frustration if you don’t know code.
- Tumblr: easy to use and a fun community, but difficult for non-Tumblr users to leave you comments or interact with you.
- SquareSpace: great templates and easy to use.
6. Choose a template or customize a template. Pick a style that best reflects you and works with your ideas from #1, 2, and 3. Like we discussed a couple weeks ago, you may want to design a blog header.
7. Introduce yourself with your first blog post. In your first post, answer these two questions: who are you and why are you blogging? Make a kind of mission statement to what you hope to post about or what you hope to achieve with your blog. This will help set the tone of your blog and give you direction, making posting a lot easier in the future. Don’t forget to include relevant tags of what you’ll be blogging about. Be as specific as possible with your tags, ie. “personal style, Chloe Sevigny, Miu Miu, 60s fashion, Beyond Retro.”
8. Follow at least five blogs. A big part of blogging is the online community. Getting to know other bloggers will not only help you mingle (e-friends are fun!), but possibly give you ideas for your own blog or open up opportunities for you to collaborate with other bloggers.
9. Set some goals for the first three months. For example, “I want to reach 100 followers in the next three months,” “I will post once every week,” or “I will have done 15 blog posts by the end of November.”
10. Participate in blogger networks like Chictopia. Post your outfit and inspiration photos, vote and comment on other bloggers’ posts, and be active in the Forum. This will help you meet more bloggers like you and hopefully allow you to achieve one of your goals.
Share a link to your first blog post (from #7) in the comments - I would love to read it and provide for some feedback! For those who have been blogging for a while now, did you do all of these things when you started? What was your process like for starting a blog? Head on over to the Blogging Forum and tell us about how you approached starting a blog.