Greetings one & all! Recently I have been getting a lot of questions regarding how I started my blog and gained a following which can seem rather daunting if you are starting out! However--- I am here to tell you it's not as scary as it looks. I have always been interested in writing and have kept journals which are filled with my inner thoughts & crazy fun experiences I've had. I love the physical act of writing on paper and keeping things like guitar picks given to me, Polaroid photos, tickets, backstage passes, etc. all for my book that I plan on writing some day. My blogging journey started pretty much right out of high school. By the time I graduated I had about 6,000 followers on Instagram from just messing around and having fun with it (I'll talk more about growing that following in another post). Having this following was a good foundation for me to start sharing my writing online. Now definitely don't feel like you need a certain follower count to start a blog, that is not necessary, but it can help! Anyway, as I was writing in these journals I really had the urge to share more with others as things were actually happening in my life which will also be great to reference when I am writing my book which is somewhat inspired by Pamela Des Barres I'm With The Band although I was writing and wanted to create a memoir before I knew about her, she has inspired me to continue!
And so my blog was born! I went out and bought a computer since at that time all I had was my phone which was less than ideal to type out long stories. I got the smallest Mac Book that Best Buy had so it was easy for me to carry around and travel with which was my main concern since I'm a ramblin' woman! I opened myself up a wordpress account and went to town. I would get off from working at a corporate office in St. Paul, MN and head over to a coffee shop (since I didn't have WiFi) and I'd stay there writing for hours! I still have that same passion which is key when starting your blog and keeping up with it. Here I will walk you through some of the first steps to get your blog up and running:
1.Create Your Brand
If you have a following somewhere already you probably have some kind of brand going already-- and I mean "brand" like your writing topic, who you are, who your target audience is, what's your niche? What's your vibe, man? Some may say aesthetic-- you know what I'm sayin'! For example, me: I write about fashion, beauty, life, travel. I am a young adult, no kids, just trying to figure out life... ya dig? My audience is mostly women I guess according to statistics and most of them are ages 18-24. My niche is vintage style and music (Mostly 60s & 70s). Figure out what you are passionate about and don't be afraid to make it your own! This is about what you like! But have a clear theme too-- people like consistency.
2. Choose Your Platform
I have actually changed platforms a couple times so hopefully you'll learn something from me... idk maybe it just didn't work for me though. Starting off I used classic Wordpress but tbh it was super duper expensive! Then, I tried Blogger for a bit only to make the change to Wix where I am now. I wanted my own domain (www.crimsonandcloverblog.com) and freedom to design my website how I wanted without having to buy different layouts or packages and Wix has seemed to be the best option for that IMO. Wordpress and Blogger I know are very popular for other people but I was just paying a TON for my Wordpress blog and Blogger just seemed so constricting to my creative process for design and layout.
3. Your Website Address
I highly suggest paying for a personalized domain for your blog (maybe unnecessary starting but eventually...definitely do it). It looks more professional and people are more likely to remember it when you use a ".com" rather than "whateverblog.wordpress.com" ya feel? Personally, I used Name Cheap but there are others like Go Daddy and Domain.com where you just search out the domain you want and can see if it's available and then buy it yourself! Typically, they aren't expensive-- I believe mine was like 1.99! Make it something you're gonna want to keep... no pressure or anything. HA no, but really just make it make sense & have it fairly easy to remember. I question my own on this a lot but I've had this username for a while and I can't part-- it's a piece of me! Don't over think it, really. Nothing is stopping you from changing down the road, it would just be a bummer I feel like though. Lots of work and confusion.
4. Time To Customize
Besides using a custom domain name, there are other very important ways to personalize your site - like the look & layout. AKA the fun part! Now you get to create your very own website-- oooh ahh! Get excited!!! Another reason I like Wix is because they give you plenty of ways to make it your own and the other sites you had to do some weird preset layout thing that was so constricting-- you could buy more but I was like eh no. I was trying to help my Mom (shout out to Bobbi-- YOU ROCK MY WORLD) set up her blog and she had used Go Daddy and Blue Host and Wordpress and I was royally confused. Anyway, we got it rockin' & rollin' but it was one heck of a ride to get it there! I could just be extremely feeble though and have no idea how that site works haha. Definitely have some fun with this part and spend some time on it. This is]important. People are going to visit your site and make some first impressions there, so don't feel bad doing a little extra work on it.
5. Create Content
Here's the time to finally do blogging thing-- write about some stuff! Keep your brand in mind, it should definitely tie into your writing somehow. Ex. I write about vintage fashion/ styling & my life with a musician boyfriend who happens to play lots of 60s music (that worked out pretty sweetly, Andrew you are a magical being). I would get a couple blog posts up before doing your big reveal to the public (whether that's a following already built up or the most wonderfully supportive group of family and friends! OR BOTH! Just get up some stuff so people can spend some quality time with you're fresh new site! Woo! But remember quality too-- first impressions are important!
6. Link Accounts
Make sure there's a spot on your site where people can see your other social media platforms! I use Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook-- I made a Facebook page specifically for my blog. Make sure there is a link embedded in the text some where, clearly marked, so that people can easily access them! People like things that are convenient! Also, this is important to grow a bigger following overall and as that happens more people will have exposure to your work!
7. Share On All Platforms
Make yourself a Facebook page for you blog (super easy and is way worth it). Once you've done this, switch your Instagram page over from "personal" to a "business" account, doing this you will have to hook up that Facebook page to you're Instagram but it is so good because then you have analytics to help track growth and your demographic! Sweeeet, mate! Now go tell the world, baby! Let everyone know about your new site so they can check out what you've got to say! Post it on your social media, tell your mom, show your pals!
Hopefully this was somewhat helpful to those who were asking me and other people who may be have been thinking about creating their own too. If you liked it please let me know, maybe let me know if you have any other questions-- I am happy to help with what I can!