If you are reading this you have most likely just started a blog or are still in the process of deciding whether this is for you or not. If you fall under the last category, I only have one piece of advice; just go for it my frieeeeeend.
Where to start; Mindset
Now I don't want this whole post to be around the importance of mindset and vague motivational quotes but honestly, it could be. Without the right mindset a successful blog seems pretty far away, I don't mean to be harsh but with the amount of competition there is right now, mindset is everything. Take a look at your goals, have them closely with you everytime you do anything around the topic of blogging. Do you just want to document your travels for your own friends and family to see? Great! Read on and I will show you how. Do you want to run a successful blog in a matter of months, monetise it and use it for your other bigger plans in the future? Also great! Read on and focus on the mindset you will need for this.
It doesn't have to be hard, all the resources you will need are out there and I will serve them to you on a silver platter because I want you to succeed BUT keep in mind that it is down to you to take that platter and create something magical.
I KNOW you got this otherwise you wouldn't be reading this right now. I want to share a bit more about the mindset you need to start implementing before, during, and after you start blog.
Before you start your blog, think about why you want it so badly. Create a vision of yourself in any future point whether this is 6 months from now, a year or 5 years. Who do you see? Think hard about your reason and hold on to this, write it down asap and let it be the starting point of everything you do after this.
During the process of starting your blog, don't let the perfectionist in you get the better of you - trust me on this. I look back and think about the amount of time I wasted on creating the ''perfect'' logo, colour scheme, layout and platform and all that time I could have spend on writing posts and promoting my content. Yes all the design aspects of your blog will be important and it's what makes it so much fun to start but you won't reach anyone if you have zero content in place, no matter how pretty the font of your header is.
After you finish setting up your blog is when the real hustle comes in, a common piece of advice is to write as often as you can and post as many times as you can fit into a week - wrong. This is outdated blog advice and there is really no need to be writing every day. Instead, I would encourage you to write 5 high quality evergreen posts. Don't get sucked into ''the perfect introduction post'' like I did, save that for your about page. An evergreen post is a post that will stay relevant forever, or for a long time at least.
Example of an evergreen post title: ''10 outfit ideas to wear on a hot day in summer''
Example of not an evergreen post title: ''10 outfits that are on trend this summer, 2019''
Where to start; Resources
One word; Pinterest.
Honestly though - I have found the best advice and tips just scrolling on Pinterest for countless hours finding more and more articles from how to monetise to how to find the best blog post titles (even long lists full of title inso!)
I have collated all the best articles I have found over the years and pinned them to this board; Blogging Tips.
Other than Pinterest I would strongly suggest joining Facebook groups that are specific to your niche - that's where you will find the most advice and support.
For example, because I am based in London I am part of a specific group just for London bloggers as well as others which is niched down to style, haircare and network marketing.
There is no question out there that doesn't have a million answers on Google already, good luck! 😉
Where to start; Hosting
My BIGGEST piece of advice is to go self-hosted, trust me.
I made the mistake of choosing free platforms the I first started out and whilst they are great to learn, the self-hosted option is really easy to navigate too and it will save your ton of time in the future when you are trying to switch platforms.
I would recommend going with SiteGround hosting on WordPress.org - I have been with them for about 2 years now and never had any issues, plus their customer service is great.
Some of the benefits of going self-hosted;
- You will instantly look more professional
- You have all control over designs etc and any plugins you want
- It is easier to monetise - for monetisation you really need to be self-hosted so if this is what you want in the long-run, you might as well set yourself up for success.
- You get more benefits to take your blog further such as SEO optimisation etc.
- Some say it builds more trust with your audience, I disagree. i don't think trust comes from hosting at all BUT you can provide more for your audience in terms of web design and easy opt in plug ins for your email list or subscription etc.
When you go self-hosted you will need a domain name too, (which is so exciting!!) your own domain name is so so important and I honestly jumped around the living room when I got mine because it is just so cool to have your own URL to something you created online right?! Or do I just not have enough of a social life to get excited about these things. I went with Godaddy for my domain name and it was really easy to set up since they will show you step by step, depending on the platform you are planning to use.
Where to start; Monetising
Monetising your blog is definitely something you need to consider right away - even if people tell you otherwise.
I personally am SOOO tired of hearing ''if you are in it for the money, you must not really love it and you won't succeed"
Excuse me? Can I not love something AND pay my bills from it at the same time? i think it is time we leave this in the past because we all have our rent due every month, and no one has time to spend writing free content for hours a week, taking photos, creating and managing a website and everything that comes with blogging - for ZERO income.
I am not saying everyone should start blogging and expect to be a millionaire, but setting some financial goals is really healthy in my opinion, and doesn't make you a bad person.
You can read many articles about monetisation - more than I will be able to write in this small space but here is an overview on what to start thinking about.
A few popular ways to monetise your blog;
- Affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is where you promote a certain product or service and a company pays you a percentage of the sale when someone purchases through your link. Many fashion bloggers for example will use affiliate links to link back to the outfit that they are wearing in photos - you can also see it on many 'how to make money' blogs by for example linking to credit card companies etc!
- Sponsored content. This is where a company pays you a certain rate in order to be written about and/or to be featured on your blog, whether that is a whole post dedicated to them or just part of one. Usually you can do this after getting your page views up so get yourself on Pinterest and promote like crazy!
- Ads placement. Another very popular one, can be effective HOWEVER I would personally be careful by the amount of ads you place on your website as it can look messy and overwhelming for your readers.
- Network Marketing. My personal fave, I would recommend all bloggers partner with a network marketing company that suits their brand. You can read more about my experience here. I might be biased, but for good reason. You can start with literally 0 page views and 0 followers and be successful in network marketing and you have more control over your income than with any other source if you do the work.
You can monetise your blog in any of the above ways by ensuring your content AND REACH is worth getting paid for.
Where to start; Networking
The one thing I recommend you do even before you start is network with other bloggers. It has helped me a lot on my journey, knowing you share the same interests and having people to go to for advice or sometimes just to let some frustrations out!
My favourite ways to connect with other bloggers;
- Facebook groups! Literally type in any niche in the Facebook group search bar + the word blog and you will have yourself the perfect group of likeminded people.
- Blogger courses - usually every course has a Facebook group so say you do a course on beginner blogging, there will be tons of others in the same boat as you!
- Insta DM is where I connected with most of my current blogger friends! When I moved to London I just searched for bloggers in London and sent them a message asking to meet up and go for a coffee / shoot content together.
Last pieces of advice
- Do your own research - there is A TON of incredible advice out there but equally a ton of bad advice too. Some bad advice I have read in the past includes: "It's too late to start a successful blog now'' It's never too late honey, you go get 'em.
- You should spend most of your time promoting your content. Dive into the world of Pinterest, Tailwind and SEO and set most of your time apart to promote your posts - how else is anyone going to find you? Yes, content is king but there is no point if no one is able to find this king, is there?
- Listen to YOUR readers, your brand and your niche. No matter what others claim to be the secret to success, you will only know what is best for your brand in the end so listen closely to all the signs and do what fits with your target audience.
- Just start - notice how my title is 'Everything you need to know' rather than 'Everything there is to know' ? It is because you already know what you need to know to start. Have a little faith in yourself and STOP PROCRASTINATING 😉
Love, M x