Wait, don’t leave yet! I know what you’re thinking…another post on “how to” blog?
I was at my son’s gym class the other day and two of his teachers asked me how I started blogging. They asked what I recommended, how to start their own, and where to begin. And since I have been getting quite a few questions about blogging lately, I thought I would put my two cents into the billions of “how to” blog posts out there. Take it or leave it!
I’m no expert blogger, but I have been doing it for quite sometime now. Do I make a ton of money? No. Do my posts go viral? No. Have I learned a lot about myself, people, products, and more? Yes.
This may not work for you and this may not be how you started, so feel free to tweak it or leave any advice below! We should all be a resource for each other; we should all be willing to help and encourage each other and welcome more friends into our own little culture on the web. Since there is so much to say, this will most likely be coming at you in a few posts. So let’s begin with today’s lesson, shall we?
1. Decide between Blogger and WordPress: I started blogging on WordPress and then switched over to Blogger a few months in. Why did I do this? I was told that Blogger allowed for a larger sense of community. When switching to Blogger, I felt that it was easier to navigate and understand but WordPress people will tell you differently. I also liked that Blogger allowed me to respond to comments straight from my email. I’ll touch more on that later.
2. Name your blog: Some of you may not know this but my original blog was titled “Adventures of an Army Wife”, which soon changed to “Hooah and Hiccups”, which then led me to “The Samantha Show”. Over the course of blogging, my direction and content has changed and I felt that I needed a name that encompassed more of what I blog about… which is everything. I’m running my own show here, if you will 😉 But think of a name that represents what you’ll be talking about. Make it unique, make it standout, and make it about YOU.
3. Find other blogs to read: No one is going to know you exist unless you start making your presence known. Check out other blogs by adding your blog to Bloglovin’ and scrolling through topics that interest you. If you need a recommendation on new blogs to read, I would be happy to tell you some of my favorites. But Bloglovin’ is a great place to browse different categories or find new blogs to read.
4. Don’t be a no-reply blogger: One of the best things about blogging is being able to respond to comments and have people respond to you. Being a no-reply blogger means there isn’t an email address associated with your account and no one can find you. When someone leaves you a comment, responding under their comment on your blog WILL NOT be seen by them unless they go back to check and see if you’ve replied. Which most people don’t, unless you’re a no-reply blogger because ain’t nobody got time to track you down.
How to make sure you’re not a no-reply blogger (if you’re connected to Google +):
1. Find the little wheel and drop down to Revert to Blogger Profile
2. Switch to limited Blogger profile
3. Enter your name (don’t worry, you’ll be going back to Google + shortly)
4. Click your name up top and select Blogger profile
5. Click Edit Blogger Profile
6. Make sure the box labeled “Show my email address” has a check next to it. Save.
7. Click the little wheel again and Connect to Google +
8. Check the “I agree” box blah, blah, blah and you’re good to go!
(Ps: Google + sucks and this literally changes itself back a couple times a month. Check frequently so that others don’t have to hunt you down… because sometimes, they won’t!)
5. Remove the word verification: Do you want comments? Take off the annoying word verification. Sometimes I will give up if I can’t get through after a few times and sometimes I won’t bother commenting if I’m on my phone.
6. Write for you. I know, this seems simple. But when you lose sense of who you are and why you started blogging, your readers will notice and you won’t be having fun anymore. It’s fun to make money (which comes with time and shouldn’t be the only reason you want to start a blog) but keep a balance. I try to only accept 1-2 sponsored posts a week and post them in the evening or on weekends, after my
regular content has already gone live.
7. Social media: Make sure to create social media accounts that match your blog name. This isn’t necessary, but I prefer to keep some pictures and information private. But all of my social media reflects my blog name so people identify them to my blog. And be active as possible! Sometimes, people don’t have time to read blogs but will scroll Instagram all day long 😉
8. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Since I’m a lifestyle blogger, I have pictures of all sorts around here. Whether it’s a fashion post, post about the kiddos, or anywhere in between, I always have pictures. When I first started, I would write novels and I’m sure people stopped reading after awhile. Pictures help illustrate your story and break it up 🙂 Be sure your pictures are large, clear, and pinnable. Which we will talk about another time…
9. Contact info. Nothing is more annoying than when I go to someone’s blog (trying to hunt them down because they’re a no-reply blogger) and I can’t find an email address. Be sure you have a contact page (and other pages) that let people know how to get a hold of you and tell them a little about you and your blog. My blog has an About, Fashion, Deployment, etc). If you’re on Blogger, you can do this by adding a new page under the Pages category. Let me know if you need help!
10. Blog design: I started with a standard template at first but eventually, I purchased a blog design. And then I switched it. And then I switched it again. It’s always good to go with a more “professional” looking design as your blog grows if you plan to work with companies and accept sponsorships. Which I will also touch on next time!
What types of things would you tell a new blogger? What kinds of questions do you have? Would you like to see more posts like this?
“Be sure to check out this month’s featured blog!”