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Apr 1, 2014

Blogging 101: Getting Started

well you asked, and i listened!  there were so many questions submitted for a blogger faq that it's actually become a series of posts! 

today's topic is blogging 101. these are some great questions to ask if you're just starting out, or considering starting a journey into the blogging world!  blogging can seem intimidating, but trust us, you can do it!  there's a lot of text in this post, but there's also a lot of wisdom, so grab a cup of coffee and join us!

i've asked a few bloggers to join me in answering some of the questions that have been submitted.  joining in today are meg of rivers & roads and elizabeth of oak & oats.  check the end of the post to find them on social media.  these girls have added some great advice from years of blogging experience!
  

How do I get started?

Start with a brainstorm session! Take a Saturday afternoon to write down your blog thoughts. Names, themes, ideas. Then just start! Read other blogs, reach out to bloggers you admire, and try new things. Blogging is an evolution - If you went back and looked at the first post from all your favorite bloggers I am sure you will notice a difference! It is something that you learn and grow in while you are in the midst of it! You cannot perfect your blog before you start so just dive in! – Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

getting started is probably the most daunting part of the process…but i’d say just start writing.  don’t worry too much about finding your voice right away, that stuff will come.  figure out a name that works for you, bounce a few ideas off of friends and family, find something catchy, and then ask yourself why you want to blog.  the answer to that question can be instrumental in helping you figure out what to write about!  -betsy, heavens to betsy


How do you choose a name?

Picking a name is an exciting thing! Before you slap the first thing that pops into your head all over the internet, here are three things you should do first:
1. Figure out what you want your blog purpose or mission statement to be. Find a name that represents that and at the same time is timeless.
2. Google said name and see if any other blogs are using it. If your blog takes off, you don’t want to not be able to own a custom domain name because www.abeautifulmess.com is already taken. Also, you want your readers to easily find you - not search through a list of “Whatever is Lovelies” when they are looking for you.
3. Pick a name that is unique but simple and easier to remember. When you are blogging you are starting a brand. You may end up huge or your may have a smaller influence but either way, it is always important to treat yourself as a brand. Value the work you do and take time to pick a name that can stay with you. – Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

I think it's important when choosing a blog name to choose something that encapsulates both your personality and what you want to write about! I love adventures and the outdoors, and I also write about those things a lot. So Rivers and Roads is a name that really fits me and who I am as a person and a blogger.  Also, if you are thinking of starting a small business, etsy shop, etc., that should probably affect your name choice as well.  Create a name that not only is a good blog name but also flows well as a shop name.  Most of all, be creative! It's your space and your name, so make it unique! –Meg, Rivers & Roads


I’m new to blogging…got any tips?

blog for you!  the moment blogging feels forced, that’s when you’ll feel dry creatively and that’s when it’s not fun anymore!  this community has so much to offer, so be sure to invest in other blogs by commenting, sponsoring, reaching out to other bloggers.  most bloggers i’ve worked with have been more than willing to help a sister out, so take advantage of that! –betsy, heavens to betsy

Be you, keep learning, comment on other blogs, and enjoy it! The only blogs worth reading are blogs that are written by people with passion and purpose! – Elizabeth, Oak + Oats


What platform do you use?  What’s the difference between blogging platforms?

I do not know a ton about this! I know I use blogger and so do a lot of other people. I know also, that a lot of people use Wordpress. I say, look into both of them and see which one makes more sense to you! – Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

i use blogger.  i like the ease of it, but as i’ve grown, i’ve contemplated a switch to wordpress more than once.  both have pros and cons, both can be customized to look like an awesome blog that reflects you, they just look different on the "backend" (the part that you, as the blogger can change and edit).  a lot of careful research can help you figure out what will be best for you!  –betsy, heavens to betsy


What should I blog about?

Take a day and think about this. What do you like to do? What inspires you? Why do you get up in the morning? What things can you not imagine your day/ life without? It is okay if you have a lot of things you want to talk about, they call those blogs “Lifestyle Blogs” and yes, I have a lifestyle blog! Make sure that you blog about what you WANT to blog about not what you feel you NEED to blog about. and also be YOU! There are so many blogs out there but there is only one (or maybe more) written by you! That is what you have to offer! Say you love healthy living and also sweets! Then blog about how you live healthy and still enjoy eating delicious sweets. OR maybe you love to bike to work but also look cute - show us your outfits that travel well and look fab! You can combine your loves into your blog and that is so unique! – Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

What are you passionate about?  Chances are, when you answer that question, you’ll know what to blog about!  my best (and favorite) posts have been on topics that I really care about or like to talk about.  if you love fashion, consider blogging about your favorite trends or outfits.  if you love cooking, share some recipes, successes, or failures (these can be really funny posts!).  the options are endless and there’s a niche for everyone.  –betsy, heavens to betsy


What would your advice be to someone who cares about how their blog looks - but has NO background in design (nor do they feel confident throwing anything together)?

there are options for you!  there are tons of bloggers out there that offer design services for small fees, and there are even e-courses out there that can teach you how to make your blog look great, even if you have no idea what you’re doing.  I’m willing to bet that if you look around, you know someone who has basic graphic design skills.  but truth be told, before i became proficient in adobe programs, i created all of my blog banners in Microsoft word!  haha….sounds crazy, but it’s true.  there are also websites out there specifically to help bloggers create elements of their blog like headers and buttons, and there are even bloggers who have created templates and allow you to download them for free (you just have to look hard enough!). –betsy, heavens to betsy

I highly encourage you to look into working with a designer. I tried to design my blog for a while and it was way too overwhelming! I am a writer, not a designer! And that is totally okay! I think that when we all come together and do what we are good at, GREAT things can happen! There are tons of options out there for designs & designers. From really affordable pre made templates to custom designs & brand development one-on-one meetings! Look at your budget and shop around for a design or designer you want to work with. Do not be afraid to ask for quotes and tell people you are looking around. The one you love most might even offer you a discount to keep your business! – Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

Here's the thing, if you're just dipping your toes into the blogging world and you're not sure how much you're going to blog or exactly what direction you even want your blog to take, I'd say to start small. Do you have a friend who is good at design? Ask them if they'd be willing to help you get started with a simple design.  Or check with some beginner designers.  Their prices are always lower ($100-$200 for complete blog design). Maybe you just want to start out with a cute and catchy header and a button so that you can begin advertising.  You can purchase design services a la carte most times, which is helpful if you have a small budget!  If you're looking to make a big splash and dive in head first, then go big or go home, sister. research different designers, compare prices and services, and don't be afraid to ask them questions! they are there to help you. the moral of the story is that a good design is a big part of what makes readers stick around. –Meg, Rivers & Roads

connect with elizabeth on the following social media sites:

connect with meg on the following social media sites:

9 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! It was fun putting this together!

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  2. Replies
    1. So glad! Thanks for your input! :)

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  3. this was great, betsy! so excited you have started this series! :) thanks for having me!

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    1. thanks for being a part of it meg!

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  4. I love this thanks! I feel like I needed to hear this because I just started a blog and I feel the need to blog and that stress is taking out the desire to blog. So thanks again :)

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    Replies
    1. so glad you found it encouraging!

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  5. Just stumbled upon this..and I love it. Thank you!!

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Hi! Thanks for reading! I read every comment posted here. Your thoughts are valuable to me! Thanks for taking the time to contribute!

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