For me, beginning my own blog was an extremely spontaneous idea. I came across Christine Andrews' blog, Hello Fashion Blog, during a simple google search in March of 2019 and I fell head over heels over the entire concept. At that point in my short career, I was in my first year of grad school and knew I needed to be doing something on the side for extra cash. When searching per diem positions, nothing, I mean nothing, fit with my schedule or liking. I figured, why not? A career in the blogging world didn't really sound too bad and to top it off, it was everything I was interested in. I decided to take the leap and began researching how I could make it work.
I designated one whole notebook to note taking on everything that had to do with blogging and starting your own website/business. It was a lot to take in. I remember constantly doubting myself and my capabilities. It wasn't until July (four months later) when I decided to create my blog's Instagram account (by then I had gone one whole year without my personal Instagram and to be honest, it felt a little uncomfortable being back on platform). I originally deleted my Instagram because it was taking up a lot of my life. I always found myself scrolling and at one point it became pointless for me... so needless to say, it was a huge adjustment for me being back on the platform.
After beginning my blog's Instagram in July of 2019, I began designing my website. After many overworked days and countless hysterical episodes, I was finally able to get my site to somewhat of what I wanted it to be and launched on February 2, 2020. I remember it was the super bowl that day, but I was so happy and proud to finally share it with the small audience I had built on my Instagram at that point (I spent about five hours in a coffee shop that morning making sure everything was perfect!).
Creating my blog was one of the best ideas I’ve had in my entire life and if these words can help encourage you to follow your dreams, I really hope they do. My motto is to always take the leap because you never really have much to lose (other than money but money will always come and go). If anything, you will always learn and grow from your experiences so why not make the most of them.
Here are 7 Blogging Tips to help you get started at creating a living through your passion.
7 Blogging Tips (That Actually Help):
+ Find your niche. Before you do anything, you need to figure out what you want to focus on and what you're going to bring to the table. You need to set yourself apart from others and motivate people to want to follow your content. Always think to yourself... What do I have to offer? What am I giving back? What skills am I teaching my audience? What is my purpose? Do this while sticking to an overall topic. I chose a Lifestyle Blog because it gives me a broad range of topics to focus on like beauty, fashion, experiences, travel etc.
+ Research other platforms in your niche before choosing your brand's name. I spent maybe three months trying to come up with a name for my blog and thankfully, I researched before I committed. It is always important to research before committing because there may already exist a company or brand who have already chosen your desired name. Overall, take your time because this is something that will be extremely difficult to change later down the road.
+ Decide which platforms you are going to use. I learned the hard the way. I started creating my original website on WordPress and wow was that the worst experience of my life. For some reason, I just wasn't understanding anything, even with the one million YouTube videos I was watching. I ended up paying a website developer to create my site. About two months later (after endless back and forth email because they resided in India), they finished the site. Little did I know, this would not be the end of my issues because I still needed to learn how to upload blog posts and edit the site whenever I needed to. Long story short, I abandoned my WordPress site and transferred to Wix. Best decision of my life. I plan on switching to a more advanced platform if and when my blog gains a larger audience.
+ Stay consistent. I can't stress this enough. Once you create any platform for your brand, you need to be consistent and engaged with your audience. If you aren't posting on the regular, you give no reason for users to follow your content. I definitely know this is easier said than done because even I struggle with getting Instagram stories and photos up each day. Sometimes, you just want a break. I always try to remember; this hard work will always pay off in the end. Here are my efforts for staying consistent. For Instagram, I try to always have an active story and I try to post one picture either every day or every other day. Going three days without posting a photo is definitely pushing it (if your new to Instagram, I wouldn't stress this too much, you can probably get away with posting every three-five days). Come up with a schedule so your audience knows when to look out for new content.
+ Don't be afraid to turn down a collaboration. I get the fact that getting paid and getting free products is nice and all, but you will not gain the trust of your audience if you are recommending crappy products you do not believe in. Don't accept a collaboration just for a free product or easy cash. Ask yourself: Do I like this product? Would I purchase this product myself? Does this product resonate well with my audience? (meaning if majority of my followers are twenty years old, I am not going to recommend designer purses majority of the time). These are all questions you need to ask yourself when communicating with a brand on a certain product. If the answer to one of these is "no," the collaboration isn't for you.
+ Everything you do has to always be better than what you did last. Okay, that probably sounds a little complicated, but I swear it's super simple. My motto for Instagram is my newest picture has to always be better than my last and if it's not, it's not quality content. YOU NEED TO LOVE YOUR CONTENT or else, why would you be posting it? You have to always stay true to yourself and if you feel that you’re slacking off, start over. Don't half-ass anything that has to do with your brand, and I mean this. Mean what you post and try to be the best at it. Let's be honest, if your feed is low-quality or you’re posting just to post, no one will engage with your content. Love what you create and take pride in it because it’s your business and success on the line.
+ Engage with your audience and be present. Obviously the larger your audience grows, the harder it gets to reply to each and every person. I used to begin replying to comments immediately after I post a photo, however this easily became overwhelming, especially during the day when I was trying to do one million things at once. Recently, I began a new strategy where each night, I'll designate about thirty minutes to one hour before bed to answer all the comments on my post and to reply to any direct messages I haven't gotten to throughout the day. I get that it can get overwhelming sometimes, but your audience are your people and realistically, if you never take the time to reply to any of your followers, why would they want to follow your content?