With 3 years under my belt of blogging, a little but wonderful following, and what seems to be a weekly fashion of people popping up into my inbox/Facebook asking for some blogging guidance, I think it's about time I published this blog post.
A couple of years ago I wrote about my top tips for the actual blog starting process, this post is a bit more of the stuff you need to take into consideration before you take it up.
By no means am I a blogging Goddess, but I am pretty fluent in HTML, SEO and good ole' Googling the shit out of anything I don't know. And I got you here, to read this, so I feel qualified to probably give you some life advice if you do fancy starting your own online internet space.
It's probably worth mentioning, this is if you want to gain a following of some kind. If you want to start a blog for yourself and keep it like an online diary, you totally do you. This is for the people who would like to start a blog but are a bit baffled as to what it takes.
Establish what you want to get out of your blog. And if the answer if 'money' or 'free stuff' then I'm sorry to burst the bubble of blogosphere, but the likelihood is, you won't succeed. 99% of the successful bloggers I either know personally, or follow on social media, started their blogs as a hobby. You will only ever grow a following if you're passionate about blogging, and enjoy it enough to put in the time and effort. It's far more likely you'll be the one putting in money, through advertising packages or blog templates. Start a blog because you love what you're writing about and there's a chance you'll reap some benefits. But it should definitely not be a defining factor!
Realise from the off, a blog is a commitment. I never thought in a million years when I started Alice's Antics in 2013, I'd be blogging through my gap year and into my university time. But the balance of blog life/real life definitely has its ups and downs. The lovely Imogen actually wrote a blog post on how to balance student life with blogging, and I 100% agree with every point. It is a commitment, but it should never be a chore. Which is another reason you should write because you enjoy it!
Blogging also means nailing other social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr more specifically. You need to be active across the board. Your blog may be your outlet, but these are how people find you, read what you have to say, and follow you. It's a more personal connection and gives readers the chance to get to know the blogger. It's also important in terms of PR and Marketing, as a lot of companies who may be looking to work with bloggers, take across the board followings into consideration too.
SEO and DA are both terrifying and very real. Or in their longer terms 'Search Engine Optimisation' and 'Domain Authority'. Start Googling SEO, find out all there is to know to make your blog one of the first when people search for keywords. Domain Authority is a number between 1-100 which determines your blog as a status in its own domain (.blogspot.co.uk domains don't count because of the leverage of 'blogspot'). This is another thing PR companies look into if you're thinking of taking it seriously.
Consistency is crucial in keeping an active following. You've got your blog, your DA is through the roof and Twitter pretty much makes you want to be verified. You need to be consistent in your posting, so readers know where to come and when to expect a blog post. This works for all of the top Internet humans. Think of #SuggSunday, or how Hannah Gale posts 5 days a week or the Saccone Joly's have a video out at 6pm every day. People will keep coming back if they know when to expect you!
Not everyone is going to 'get it', register and be okay with that. When I first started Alice's Antics, my family and friends questioned me daily on my sanity. From 'Why would people care what you have to say' to laughing at me taking photos of everything everywhere. I'm 100% sure my first views are from bitchy girls and boys at school who wanted a laugh. Some of those people are never going to get it, the internet world isn't for everyone, and that should be absolutely fine with you. Similarly, some of the people who laughed when I started in 2013 have messaged me in 2016 asking me how to start a blog- so it's all swings and roundabouts. Have a tough skin, and brush it off. If you enjoy it enough, you shouldn't care.
Above all, it's vital to be passionate about what you're writing about. Blog because you love it. Readers can always tell when something is half-arsed, and as I've mentioned, NEVER let it become a chore.
I hope this helps clarify a few bits to anyone considering writing a blog!
Ciao for Now!