Tips for Starting a Blog: Part 1
I often get questions on how to start a blog, and with almost 3 years experience under my belt, I think its time I write a blog post on the simplest way to get started. I know there are a lot of you that just don't know where to start and that's ok! It's totally normal. As a matter of fact, most bloggers didn't know what they were doing at the beginning. We all started from nothing and it has taken a lot of continued learning to get to where I am at today. Even then, I'm not where I want to be, but I hope and know that over time of consistency, this little blog will get somewhere! It's already made great strides :) So here it is! Some tips to hopefully get you started!
Note: These suggestions are from my perspective and the questions I receive as it pertains to developing a blog. Each bloggers' experiences are different. Choose which route is best for you!
1) Find your Why
Figure out why you want to start a blog in the first place. This question is sometimes hard to answer. I wanted to start a blog because I wanted a place to create and dump all of my outfit ideas that others might find inspiring. I also wanted a little escape from the stresses of my 9-5 job. In addition, I wanted to somehow leave my little mark on the web, and most importantly fill this need to call something my own.
You don't have to know your why 100% right now but have an idea. Your why will change over time, which is totally ok!
2) Find your Niche
Try your best to figure out what you want to talk about or focus on and to whom you'd like to cater to. You may not know exactly to the T what you want to talk about now, but at least have an idea. At the beginning, I blogged about anything and everything. Overtime, I have narrowed it down (for the moment) to fashion, and life events which include my personal life. However, most recently I added a traveling category, started to create vlogs for the most important events and travels to showcase, and I will start developing a section where I can create posts kinda like this one that you are reading now. Posts that will help someone else grow personally.
When it comes to fashion, I enjoy finding affordable pieces that are under $50 (either because they are on sale, clearance or are just damn cheap!), and put together an outfit that makes it look expensive! I enjoy seeing peoples reactions when they find out how much something I am wearing costs! Although sometimes I will splurge (everyone does it!), keeping outfit pieces affordable and sharing those ideas with you is what I always aim for.
Even though there is a sea full of other fashion bloggers, every persons style is unique and the way I style something, might not be the way another fashion blogger would style it! If you want to start a fashion blog, then go for it! Your version of your style is just as much needed.
Note: Its ok to change directions later. I have tried several things to see what sticks and what works. Trial and error is a good thing!
3) Create your Brand Name
My name came from a styling agency I was working with at the time. It was short-lived but I do thank them for pushing me to start a blog (they wanted me to add credibility at the styling services). One day, while on the phone with this particular person, she just started blurting out blog names... and when she said "Vanessa in Dallas" I thought it wasn't a bad idea! It was simple and it was all me!
The best advice when picking a brand name is to pick something that you can grow into (or grow with), and not grow out of. You can even just use your name! I have seen some bloggers who start off with a name and then change it later; although i'm sure its not an easy task! Just remember, your name is your identity in the blog world. So come up with something that will work not only for now, but also for the years to come.
4) Name Check & URL
Once you figure out your brand name, check on all social media accounts to see if that name is already taken! Even if you are using your name for your blog. Search Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, etc. What you don't want to happen is to purchase your Domain Name (www.blank.com) and then for the name itself to be taken on all other social media accounts. If I would of bought vanessaindallas.com first, and then find out that the name is taken on all social media accounts... I would of been so bummed!
On that same note, also check to see if its taken as a www. For instance, I checked to make sure www.vanessaindallas.com wasn't taken, as well as on social media. Once you double checked, make further changes to your name if need be (sometimes just adding a _ underscore makes all the difference as far as securing your blog name on social media), and then register for a domain! Here are some websites where you can register your name.
Keep in mind that you may have to transfer your domain over to your website platform (i'll explain more later in the post!). Finally, this is where your first investment comes in, but don't worry! It's usually not a lot to purchase your domain name.
4A. Create a New Email (optional)
I created a new email just because I wanted to be "professional" like that. lol. But in reality, it was the best decision because I didn't know about brand collaborations and how creating an email with your blog name is more business-like. Some bloggers use their personal email so pick what you are most comfortable with.
5) Start with a free template
Once you get your URL Name (and you've secured the social media accounts), now it's time for picking your website platform!!! Most of these offer a free trial, so I suggest playing around with one of these to see which one is going to work best. Just make sure to cancel before getting charged!
Wordpress (.org & .com)
Any other websites that are not included one this page? let me know!
Free templates will have , for example, www.yourblogname.wordpress.com , or www.yourblogname.wix.com . If you don't want the yourblogname.wordpress.com , then you would need to purchase the template. Pricing on the templates/platforms vary so just consider the cost.
Note: You can change your platform in the future, but it will take learning how to transfer all your blog posts over to the new platform. You can learn yourself (lots of reading and YouTube videos) or hire a website developer to do it for you.
I know this is a lot of information which is why I'm splitting it into two parts! I have created a checklist for you to condense this information and also help you get started.
Subscribe here to receive your free checklist and worksheets to help you get started!
Before I start Part II, do you have any questions??? I'd be happy to answer!