I have had quite a few questions recently on Instagram about how to start blogging so I thought, what better way to share some of my tips and tricks with you than through a blog post!
I started blogging just before I started university in 2014, mainly because of my mum. She started a patchwork and quilting blog to go alongside her business where she shared the things that she made along with tutorials and tips for other people to use. I was really passionate about sewing at the time too and I wanted a space where I could combine my love for photography, writing and all things creative.
My blog took a back seat for a few years as I went through university and I decided to pick it up again when I graduated. Since then, I've turned my blog into more of a lifestyle space and have been blogging on and off for 2 years. I'm still trying to get the hang of having a stricter, more regular posting schedule but it's not always easy! None-the-less, I enjoy coming onto my little space on the internet when I can and sharing my thoughts, tips and ramblings with you all.
There is no specific "right" or "wrong" way to blog, so simply take my tips as guidance and put them into practice whichever way you please!
Tip #1 Choose a blogging platform that you like
There are lots of great platforms out there where you can easily start a free blog. Some examples include;
I have used Blogger and Wordpress before but now I use Wix. I just find that it allows me to do what I want and it's also great at directing you through everything that you need to do in order to make your site visible and successful. If you do a little research into each one I'm sure you'll quickly find one that you click with.
Just remember that to have a free blog, your domain name will probably have to include the host site's name, eg. www.theyellowclover.wixblog.com.
To have a personalised domain like what I have, it is easy to purchase these through your host site or through other independent platforms. It helps to have a personalised domain if you want your blog to appear more professional or to work with brands.
Tip #2 Make your blog simple, clear and user-friendly
Most host sites will have various themes and templates to help you create and customise your blog. I recommend keeping your blog design quite simple and easy to navigate - you don't want someone to click onto your site and be overwhelmed or confused by lots of buttons to press, clashing colours or busy images.
Tip #3 Find Your Niche
What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy? Is it cooking, baking, styling outfits, sharing positivity, reading, traveling? Having a niche or theme of one or two things that you enjoy will help to grow an audience of like-minded people who will regularly come back to read your posts.
If you already have a presence online or another platform with a following, I feel like you can afford to then be a little more general with your niche because people will click onto your blog posts simply because it's you and they like you for your personality and content.
If you're like me and share general bits and bobs about life, hobbies and interests, then having a lifestyle blog is a good way to go.
Tip #4 Provide a Service
This doesn't mean that you necessarily have to be selling products or physically giving out a service through your blog - I simply mean that your posts need to be providing something like advice, tips and inspiration to your readers; there needs to be something for your readers to think about and take away from reading your blog. For example, a recipe for chocolate cake, tips on how to revamp a piece of furniture, the best travel locations in Europe, how to cope with anxiety etc etc.
I made the mistake early on of being too personal on my blog and simply writing posts about what was happening in my life without really giving anything to my readers to take away. I'm sure it was nice for my friends and family to read but I know that it was probably of no interest to people who didn't actually know me in real life or follow me on social media.
You can still share personal stories and experiences but I recommend doing it in a way that is still being useful to the reader. I feel like I strike a good balance with this through my wedding planning blog posts; they encompass my personal experiences with tips and advice that I have picked up along the way that I can pass on to my readers.
Tip #5 Consider your target audience
When writing blog posts, you have to keep in mind who you are aiming them at. Through my Instagram analytics I know that the majority of my followers are female and within the age bracket of 18-25, so that is who I aim my blog at since Instagram is my main source of traffic. It helps that I am also within that age bracket myself so I know that my content will be relatable.
If my target audience was young teenagers, there would be no point in me blogging about how to get a mortgage for example. Your topics of conversation need to be cohesive with your audience.
Tip #5 Use good quality photos
The most appealing blog posts are always the ones that have fab images interspersed throughout the text. Personally, I am a very visual person so if I come across a blog post that is just one big clump of writing, chances are I won't feel motivated to read it.
I encourage using your own photos or images to keep your blog personal, however, if you aren't able to do this there are plenty of great stock images out there that you can use instead. Just make sure that they are good quality and visually aesthetic.
Tip #6 Promote your blog
Don't be shy to share your blog posts on your social media accounts. It can seem a little daunting at first because you're opening yourself up to other people's thoughts and opinions but I promise that it gets easier. Yes, there are ways to promote your blog through search engines and Google but I find that the best ways are through channels where you already have an online presence. Put your blog link in your Instagram or Twitter bio and regularly mention your new posts through tweets and stories.
Pinterest is also amazing! You don't even need a large following to have successful pins and drive traffic to your blog, you just need to know how to correctly create and publish a pin. There are so many amazing tutorials online about using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog so simply have a quick look or let me know if you would like me to write a separate blog post about how to do this.
There you have it, my top tips for how to start blogging. There is honestly so much more that I could say but for this post I wanted to stick to the basics. If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me through the 'contact' tab at the top of the page or DM me on Instagram @shannonhollies!
Keep an eye out for more blogging related posts as I will probably whip some up soon to do with using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog along with how to make money by blogging!