I get asked all the time, “How did you start blogging?”
If I’m being vey honest, it started about the time I was 12, when I had my very own website dedicated to the ultra cool, super trendy, (wait for it…) Beanie Babies.
Laugh all you want, but for a 12 year old, that page was pretty flipping amazing. For not knowing what html meant, I was able to whip together a pretty rad website with a background made by moi, music, a comment section, AND various articles and links featuring all things BB related. (For those who weren’t on AOL yet at that time, I was able to print off a weekly newsletter and deliver to my subscribers in person. Eat your heart out, Mailchimp).
In high school, I had a Dead Journal (because that was so much cooler than those who blogged on Live Journal, right?) where I posted melodramatic poetry and wistful thoughts on unrequited love with teenage boys who wouldn’t look at me in the hallway at school.
I was destined for a life on the internet (and not in the inappropriate way. Come on, guys).
I believe that every single person has and needs a creative outlet, and I certainly don’t have the gene for drawing; so styling, writing, and blogging are mine.
I get asked quite often how I started my blog, how I designed my blog, and how I find content to write about. I’ve been asked about five different times already this week. So, I thought maybe I would put together my best five pieces of advice for those thinking about creating a blog and putting themselves out there.
Without further ado..
1. Just do it. Seriously, just start one. If you worry too much about what other people will think, or if anyone will read it, you’ll talk yourself out of it and never end up doing it. You would be surprised at the number of people you can connect with by putting yourself out there. Will everyone like it? No. Too bad. Do it anyway.
There are a lot of things that terrify me. I have anxiety, I’m scared of literally everything (no, I mean it. I get worked up about pretty much everything – ESPECIALLY if it involves a social situation). It would have been so easy my entire life if I would have let my worries keep me in the background. But I also know it would have been majorly unfulfilling. It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to fail. It’s not okay to not allow yourself to try.
2. Be patient. You’re not going to hit a million views or gather a million subscribers overnight. You might not ever. Sorry, but that’s the truth and some tough love. For awhile, your only reader and avid commenter might just be your mom. But you know what? That’s great practice, and that’s one supporter on your side.
Also be patient with yourself. You’re going to look back on your earlier blog posts someday and think “Wow. I really posted that?” That’s okay. Not every post is going to go viral. Not every post will deserve a literary award. Post anyway.
The technical pieces might be more difficult for some rather than others, but that’s okay too. You’ll learn. You’ll get frustrated, you might cry (I’ve only cried about 80 times when it has come to changing my blog format), but you’ll get it. Eventually, it will all make sense, and you will find your rhythm.
3. Utilize your resources. This can be in a variety of ways. For the technical aspect, I consult YouTube almost every single time I need to figure out how to code something different on my page. It seems completely complicated, and sometimes it is. But thankfully, there are literally thousands of how-to videos that you can find on the internet, plus plenty of community forums. You’ll find someone, somewhere, who can help you. And if you need to get up and walk away from your computer for a minute- do it. You’ll be surprised how much easier it might seem when you come back to it later.
4. Network. Find other bloggers, other people in your new community, and make friends. This is essential for so many reasons. The internet can be a mean, scary place. It can also be really great. You’ll need to have a few friends in your corner that you can talk to who get it. They’ll be great to bounce ideas around with, and you can maybe even form the occasional collaborations; which help get your followers’ eyes on their content, and their followers’ eyes on yours.
5. Don’t get caught up on a niche, and you’ll probably find conflicting data somewhere, I’m positive, but hear me out. This was a mistake that I made early on, and I wish someone would have told me in the beginning what I’m about to tell you. I was convinced that I could only blog about one topic. So when I started my blog, it was called Truly Simply Healthy, and I blogged about health/wellness.
But what I found in doing that, was that sometimes, I really wanted to blog about my son. Or blog about a fashion find that I really wanted to share. It seemed silly to post that kind of content on a forum dedicated to only health and wellness, so I held back a lot. I drove myself crazy doing that. Now, the title of my blog is pretty generic, and I blog about anything and everything. I don’t limit myself to only talking about serious matters, or only posting about fashion/style. I talk about whatever I’m in the mood to talk about, whenever I’m in the mood to talk about it. Because it’s my blog, and there’s something very freeing about that.
Now if you’re sitting here saying that you know for the rest of your blogging life you only want to talk about dogs, then more power to you. Make your blog about dogs and center your focus and I’m sure it will be great. All I’m saying is that you don’t have to do that. Either way, you’ll find an audience that appreciates your voice, and your content. Don’t be afraid to talk about whatever it is that you’re compelled to share, and don’t feel stuck only talking about one singular topic for the rest of your life. Our lives are beautiful and complicated and full of a multitude of experiences. Share them.
Some people have asked what is the best platform for blogging? I personally decided to go with WordPress.org (as opposed to the .com) because I felt it offered me more options. Options as far as overall control with the domain name, direction of my blog (career vs. hobby), and site design. There are literally hundreds of platforms though, and they all have their pros and cons. My best advice would be to make a list of what you’re hoping to accomplish or be able to do with your blog, and then start researching. You’ll find one that tailors to your needs!
Drop your questions/comments below! I’d love to know what specific questions you have and how I can help!