Tips for Starting a Blog

 

Starting a blog? My blog will be a year old on 13th January, which seems crazy to me. Starting it was one of the best things that I have ever done, but it was a steep learning curve.

 

18 months ago I didn’t even know what a blog was, so for me it really was starting from scratch and learning as I went when I started my own a year (almost!) ago. If it’s a path you are about to embark on, then here are my top tips to remember when starting a blog.

 

Tips for starting a blog

 

Choosing your blog name:

When choosing a blog name, you really do need to make sure that the name you choose will suit you for a long time. The word ‘mummy’ in your name might not suit you when your children are 15. Likewise if you choose to call yourself ‘Mummy of Two’, ‘Mum of Bob’, or anything with ‘baby’ in the title, then when your children get older or if your family situation changes, this name may no longer suit you – apologies if I have accidentally named any existing blogs, if you are happy with having these in your name then it is personal choice, but just something to bear in mind if it would bug you.

 

You can change your blog name later on, but it’s a real pain to do. Another thing to bear in mind with name choice, is how likely are people to remember it? If it’s a name that takes a lot of typing out and remembering, then people may not make return visits simply because they have no idea what your blog was called.

 

Also, research your blog name well. You really do not want to start a blog only to find someone else is already using the name, they really won’t thank you for it and may even have protected their name. Plus it would just be confusing.

 

Social Media:

 

Social Media

 

If you hope to become a blogger who is paid to write, or does reviews in the future, then it is a good idea to start your social media accounts for your blog early on. Some companies want you to have a particular number of followers on one platform or another, to work with you. The sooner you open the accounts, the sooner you can start building your followers up – how to do that is something for a whole other post.

 

Use the word BLOG – This is about your name on social media. You will find that there is a real blogging community, which I absolutely love and as part of that a lot of bloggers will follow and follow back other bloggers. If you have the word ‘blog’ in your name it makes you easier to spot by other bloggers and potential brands that you want to work with. This is something that has really worked for me and I have almost 10,000 followers on Twitter already.

 

Don’t send auto private messages on social media – There are mixed opinions on this one in the blogging world, but a large amount of bloggers that I am friends with will unfollow people when they get an automatic private message from them on Twitter. They can come across as very spammy and in fact I very rarely check my inbox on Twitter as it’s so full of spammy rubbish.

 

Follow other bloggers – This is a great way to grow your follower numbers, but do interact as well. Often if you have a lot of followers, follower notifications can be missed, but if you chat and retweet/share etc then the other blogger is more likely to notice you and hopefully return the favour.

 

One thing though, don’t tag random bloggers in to your tweets or other social media posts in the hope that they will read your posts, they more than likely will end up un-friending or even blocking you. I often retweet posts I like the look of, by choice not because someone spammed me constantly.

 

The main two that companies ask for your follower numbers on are in my experience Facebook and Twitter, however I have found a few ask for Instagram and Pinterest and I have picked up extra work before because my follower numbers on these are quite high. I am also on Linkedin, Stumbleupon, google+ and more though.

 

Google+ is also a good one to build, as those who follow you on google plus actually see your google+ posts higher up in their normal google search results than they would if they didn’t follow you.

 

It never hurts to be seen everywhere in the blogging/social world. You can find all my social media links at the top right side of my blog in my sidebar, it is a good idea to do similar for your own blog to make it easy for your readers to find you elsewhere.

 

Be Personal:

When I read a blog, I want to know who writes that blog, sometimes I come across ones where I have no idea even what their first name is, let alone any other details. One of the first things you should set up is an ‘about me’ page, that tells your readers a little about you, definitely mention where you live (rough geographic location obviously) as sometimes local loyalty leads to more return visits.

 

I sign off all of my posts with my name, I just feel it gives the personal touch.

Either on your about me page, a work with me page or even a contact me page, you should have either your email address for people and hopefully in the future companies to contact you, or a contact form for the same use and reason. If you go down the contact form route, then make sure you test the form yourself as I have been caught out by a faulty contact form on my site before, hence why I don’t currently have one.

 

Expectations:

If you are expecting to start a blog and then two weeks later start being paid to write posts, then the chances are you will be disappointed. Some bloggers can write for months or even years without earning a penny from their blog.

 

Write what you enjoy writing, write what you are passionate about and treat any review items or payments as a bonus when they do come. If you only write for the payments and the hope of gains, then this will show in your writing. People need a reason to keep coming back to read your blog, and if all you post is reviews with big gaps when you have nothing to review, then they won’t very often.

 

There is the opportunity to earn from your blog, and earn very well if you write well, but do not underestimate just how much hard work you will need to put in and how long it may take. They do say though, that nothing worth having is ever easy.

 

Fun:

Have fun with your blog and enjoy what you’re doing! It should never feel like a boring task to get over and done with, it is such an exciting world to be a part of, just think of the possibilities of what you can write and who you may even be able to help with what you write.

 

blogging

 

I write about Type 1 Diabetes, as my eldest son was diagnosed at the age of 5 and I have had a couple of emails from parents who have had their children diagnosed recently who have said that reading my posts made a difference in making them feel less alone and more positive about the future. That to me meant more than any pay cheque possibly could. I would blog even if I didn’t receive a penny for doing so.

 

I wish you luck with your future blog!

 

Stevie x

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41 Comments

  1. 2 January 2016 / 9:05 pm

    Fab post Stevie and great advice from someone I know knows !! It definitely takes time, I’m still finding my feet after more than a year. Sometimes I think you can try too hard and put pressure on yourself. I think if you do it for fun as well as everything else your more likely to carry on and succeed! Taking time to read and learn from others blogs is useful too X

    • 2 January 2016 / 10:48 pm

      Aw thank you Jess lovely, I have no idea how those of you with younger children and jobs find the time to blog at all, so I’m in awe of all of you! You are doing brilliantly, but you know where I am if you ever need help again :)

      Stevie xx

  2. 2 January 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Great advice! I didn’t research my blog name very well as I know there’s another Becster out there (a .org) but I’ve had it for so long that I’m not changing anytime soon!!

    • 2 January 2016 / 10:51 pm

      Ha bless you, just checked and the other Becster hasn’t updated for quite a while so you may be the only one soon you never know. Blogging is definitely a learning curve, even almost a year on I’m still learning new things all the time, and learning from my mistakes!

      Stevie x

  3. 2 January 2016 / 9:21 pm

    Awesome tips lovely and happy blogaversary! You’ve done phenomenally well in just a year :) completely agree with all of the above and I especially loath those automatic Twitter messages! x x

    • 2 January 2016 / 9:22 pm

      I spelled my own blog name incorrectly then – oh dear ha ha!

      • 2 January 2016 / 10:56 pm

        Ha I’ve corrected if for you, but will approve this message as well just for my own amusement ;) I have been known to write a tweet calling my blog a ‘bog’ by accident…then all the wise guys decide to retweet before I realise ;)

        Stevie x

    • 2 January 2016 / 10:55 pm

      Aw thank you Mim gorgeous :) It has been one crazy year, and I’ve loved pretty much every second!

      Stevie xx

  4. 2 January 2016 / 9:32 pm

    Some great tips, even for established bloggers. I still need to get my head round Google+ (any tips greatly appreciated!) and I’ve never heard of Stumbleupon so I’ll check that out too, thank you! :)

    • 2 January 2016 / 10:59 pm

      Google+ has changed recently, just to keep us all on our toes….to be honest I am still trying to get my head around it too! Follower wise though, I follow any blogger I see and hope they follow me back…it’s worked well so far, but if I ever find the time I need to work on it a bit more and follow my own advice ;) Stumbleupon is brill, I haven’t built up many followers at all yet as I’m too busy reading random things on there, it’s a bit addictive!

      Stevie x

  5. 2 January 2016 / 9:53 pm

    This is fab Stevie. Lots of great advice. Congratulations on all the success you have had over the year. Xx

    • 2 January 2016 / 11:00 pm

      Thank you Stacey, lovely of you to say and it has been a pretty amazing year! :)

      Stevie xx

  6. 2 January 2016 / 10:04 pm

    Some great tips here – I really want to make more of my blog in 2016

    • 2 January 2016 / 11:01 pm

      Thank you, I’m hoping to get around to some more blog tips posts for different bits and pieces including plugins at some point, hopefully they’ll come in handy and good luck with your blog, I wish I’d started mine years ago!

      Stevie x

  7. 2 January 2016 / 10:24 pm

    Thank you! I have just started a blog and am feeling totally lost. I blog as its my way of coping with my life, but it would be nice to know if people read it. I have found a great community on Twitter, which I am not very good at using. However, I have liked lots of relevant bloggers on Facebook and they haven’t returned the favour. Have you any tips? I am so much more comfortable with Facebook! Anyway, if you have a mo, maybe you could look at my site and let me know if you have any tips on my blogs. Thanks again. Gilly (The Un-Yummy Mummy). Xxx

    • 2 January 2016 / 11:05 pm

      Ahh now Facebook is a tricky one to build up, but one thing when you like them don;t like them from your blog page. Page to page likes don’t count in the follower numbers. Instead like them from your personal account, and pop a comment on their blog saying something along the lines of ‘Hi I popped over from (tag your blog page here) with a personal like, have a great day’. That way they know where you cam from and may repay the kindness – not all do but a good percentage do. Also some facebook blog groups have ‘like for like’ threads on them where you can follow other people’s pages in return for them following yours – again though you need to use your personal account to like not a page.

      I will pop over to your site soon lovely, happy to take a look for you, Stevie xx

  8. 2 January 2016 / 11:19 pm

    Great tips here. The name thing is spot on! I’ve had my domain since 2004 and really want a change but am uninspired.

    • 2 January 2016 / 11:39 pm

      The hardest part is thinking of one, luckily mine was pretty easy as I had to take advantage of the Cornish link, it means I come up in a lot of search results in the holiday season!

      Stevie x

  9. 3 January 2016 / 12:51 am

    I can’t believe you’ve been blogging for only a year! I’ve been blogging on and off since 2008 and had 3 different blogs. My current one is 3 years old, but I feel like a newbie as I only went public 5 months ago. There is just so much promotion involved that I’ve found it hard to get my head around. Well done on such a great blogging year and best of luck in 2016. I love your blog header btw. Makes me want to go to Cornwall!

    • 3 January 2016 / 1:25 am

      It can be pretty full on, a few months ago I was too obsessed with my klout score and stats and stressing, but I’ve remembered to enjoy it again now and if I forget to share something to facebook or don’t tweet any of my post links for a day I don’t stress. The most important bit is the writing and enjoying what you do in my eyes. I love the blog header photo too, annoyingly my boyfriend took it ha we’re a bit competitive but I had to admit his photo was better than mine that day ;)

      Stevie x

  10. Robyn
    3 January 2016 / 8:02 am

    Congrats on one year in the bizz! Great list of tips here and some that I’ll be following up on even five months in. Interesting to hear your comment about Facebook pages likes from other pages not counting as a follow. I’m finding all other social media streams pretty much grow on their own but Facebook is dishearteningly Hard Work! I’ll use your tip and see what improvements I can see – thanks!

    • 3 January 2016 / 4:19 pm

      Thanks Robyn, I still find Facebook hard work ha but then I find the ‘likes’ mean more to me as they don’t come easily ;) If I ever find out the secret to making FB likes easy I’ll make sure to share it!

      Stevie xx

  11. 3 January 2016 / 10:20 am

    Fab tips Stevie, I just need to be self hosted now – techno fear ha! Thank you for sharing lovely xxx

    • 3 January 2016 / 4:21 pm

      Apparently TSO are brilliant, I’m on a friend’s server at the moment no idea who with ha but loads of bloggers love TSO and they are meant to be quite cheap as well :) I think they are great at helping with the tech side of moving too, how exciting :) Good luck with it lovely

      Stevie xx

  12. 3 January 2016 / 11:19 pm

    This is a great post and definitely the sort of thing that any new blogger should read – great tips! x

  13. 4 January 2016 / 11:15 am

    Fantastic post Stevie,wish I’d put a bit more thought into it before I started.I would have self-hosted from day 1 now I’m too scared to make the jump!Hindsight is a wonderful thing. xx

    • 4 January 2016 / 2:40 pm

      It’s easy to do apparently, companies like TSO host who are meant to be good and cheap can actually move your site for you I think! :) I had a blogger blog for a few weeks before this one, but decided to move to wordpress – I literally copy and pasted the posts I had on the old site as it wasn’t that many,and just go for it self hosted, haven’t regretted it luckily :)

      Stevie xx

  14. 5 January 2016 / 2:54 pm

    Love this! Some brilliant tips and advice for beginners!
    Charlotte // charlottespicks.blogspot.com

    • 7 January 2016 / 11:17 pm

      I’ve just rescued your comment from my spam! Glad you liked my post :)

      Stevie x

  15. 7 January 2016 / 10:02 pm

    This is such an informative post! I am completely new (& equally clueless) so thank you :) Your blog has grown so much, its beautiful! Happy 1st Anniversary on the blog! x

    • 7 January 2016 / 10:16 pm

      Aw thank you! and welcome to the blogging world, it’s a bit crazy but there are so many lovely bloggers and the friendship/community side of it is one of my main favourite bits :)

      Stevie x

  16. Shelley Jessup
    25 January 2016 / 11:38 pm

    Thank you so much for all the advice. We (mother & I) would like to start a blog together so I have bookmarked your page to help me in the future :) Keep on growing & happy 1st blog anniversary to you!

  17. Becky
    24 February 2016 / 11:32 am

    I love this article. I’m a single mum & been thinking a lot lately about starting a blog as my daughter starts full time school soon & I currently work part so I’m really going to notice her absence during the day, and like you too found, everyone I bother with work during the day. I also love your diabetes posts as I was diagnosed with type 1 aged 6. In fact I accidentally found your blog via Instagram after your profile popped up as a suggestion after another type 1 Instagram user followed me lol.

    • 24 February 2016 / 11:39 am

      Hi Becky, just do it :) It’s a brilliant community and I haven’t regretted starting mine for a second! My little man was 5 at diagnosis, six and half years in we’re still vaguely sane ;) I was bored and lonely before starting my blog, but this year has seen me make so many new friends including some I get to meet in real person ha ;)

      Stevie x

      • Becky
        24 February 2016 / 12:43 pm

        Haha I feel your pain, I sometimes wonder how I haven’t gone crazy myself yet over the last 25 years. Diabetes care has changed so much I’m constantly having to learn new things, which I see as a good thing :) The more I’m reading on blogging, the more I’m seriously considering it. It’s fantastic how much you’ve achieved in the last year Stevie, you deserve to feel proud of yourself, well done :) x

        • 24 February 2016 / 12:49 pm

          Aw thank you that’s so lovely of you to say x Blogging wise to set up on wordpress is completely free, it only costs money if you go self hosted like I have and self hosted is mostly if you want to earn from your blog so not necessary to start with. You can ease yourself in on the free wordpress and see how you get on!

          Stevie x

          • Becky
            24 February 2016 / 1:53 pm

            Brilliant, thank you for all your advice :) x

  18. 3 September 2016 / 11:49 pm

    Some good tips there!! Especially for me cos I’m new to the blogging world xx

    • 3 September 2016 / 11:56 pm

      Thank you! Hope it was helpful and welcome to the blogging world ;)

      Stevie xx

  19. 4 September 2016 / 6:54 am

    Thanks you foe this Stevie – it’s really helpful. Congratulations on a year in – you’ve done amazingly well in that time! The blog is lovely – I share some bits with my mother-in-law as her son was diagnosed at 8. (now 26 but she still carries those early years with her). I’ve not done much work with brands yet as mine started as more of a mission, and I’m not yet self-hosted, but looking at campaign work going forward, so this stuff is super handy! Amy x