How To: Start a Blog
This post was inspired by @ladymasterchef on instagram who asked me for some advice about starting a blog. What a better way to answer her question than by writing a blog post! Over the years I have learnt so much from other people, bloggers, the school of Google, my husband and trial and error. You might be reading this thinking that you want to start a Blog/Instagram/YouTube channel and might not know where to start.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BLOG ABOUT?
I wanted to help young married couples learn to cook and share what I cook on a daily basis. Choosing the name was the easy part because it was a running joke that I used to call Hungrybae “My Hungry Husband”. I also love fashion and for a (very) short period of time I wanted to have a fashion blog. If you see me combining the two every now and then it’s because I’m in a fashion-y mood! Whatever you want to blog about don’t worry about there being too many food/fashion/lifestyle blogs. There is enough room at the table for everyone, as we are all equally unique and will have different target markets. Start your blog for you and the people will come. As long as you enjoy what you do, it’s worth it BUT it is a lot of work.
CHOOSE A PLATFORM
I wanted a physical blog, which means that from the beginning I knew that I wanted an actual website where people could go to browse my recipes. I also wanted to leave room for future endeavours and did not want to limit myself to one space. When I bought my domain name I also bought a website builder – which ended up being the wrong product for my needs. What I really needed was WordPress. You can sign up for a free wordpress account but it will include .wordpress in the domain name, for example: yourdomainname.wordpress.com. This is similar to what Blogger does as well.
I bought my domain from GoDaddy and changed my account to a WordPress account. It is more expensive to have WordPress than just a plain website builder, but I think it is worth it because of my needs. GoDaddy hosts my site as well, you don’t have to use the same provider for both the domain and hosting services, but I suggest you do more research as there are so many options to suit your budget. There are tons of other websites that do this for free for example Wix which also has paid options. All of these come in monthly, annual, 2 year – 10 year subscriptions. It is a big investment so take your time! You can also just buy your domain if you don’t want to lose your name, while you take time deciding.
These platforms are specifically for having a written blog. If you want your blog to be more visual you can set up an Instagram account instead. Many people use Instagram as a blog. Make sure you choose the business account because it includes analytics. You can also choose to have a Facebook Page. Instagram is owned by Facebook so you can manage your Instagram insights from Facebook but not vice versa. If you setup a Facebook page it will be linked to your personal account. Twitter is another option but it totally depends on what you want to blog about! If you are witty, want to discuss and engage with your audience, Twitter is a good option.
I went with all three but my strongest platforms in order are:
This also correlates with how much time I’ve invested in growing each platform. If you take the time to work on any of these you will see results, that is guaranteed.
Now that you have a topic and a domain/platform just start! There is no other way to do it than to take these first steps. The first post is always the hardest. I had to teach myself a lot of things as I went along, but we all have the capacity to learn and it gets easier as time goes on. Hungrybae started a YouTube channel recently called Machina Media. He had to teach himself how to do everything from learning to edit his videos using editing software to sound engineering, but now he has over 20 videos on YouTube in a space of 3 weeks! Whether you want to do it as a hobby or full time you have to believe in what you are doing and your message and just go for it.
Making money from your blog is tougher than it looks. There are people who get paid to blog but that is an area I am not experienced in! I have not made any money from my blog, but continue to do it because I enjoy it.
Wherever you are heading on this journey you will need support. There are so many groups on Facebook dedicated to helping other bloggers. I belong to South African Bloggers Network on Facebook and there are really friendly people on there that have helped me a lot. Don’t be discouraged if some people are not supportive or are skeptical of what you are doing. Again, you are doing it for you and not them! If there are any bloggers that you admire, reach out to them for advice, you never know who will reply, you might be surprised. Anyways, it’s just good manners to respond and reply to people when they have taken the time to follow you.
- Be consistent, post regularly
- Post good quality content
- Reply to all the comments!
- Engage with your followers, see above tip.
- Like and comment on other peoples pictures too!
- Use instagram analytics to learn about your followers
- Don’t buy followers, there are so many websites that can audit your Instagram and find out what percentage of your following is authentic!
- In the same breath don’t use comment/like bots.
- Things won’t happen overnight, its a long haul journey!
So to recap this blog post about blog posts:
- There is no better time to start than now.
- Enjoy what you do, otherwise what is the reason for doing it?
- Believe in yourself and your potential and you will realise the possibilities are endless.
- Slow and steady wins the race!