This blog post has been in my drafts for a while, but I thought that now was a perfect time to post it, as I seem to have had an increase in questions about this topic recently. Starting a blog seems to be a new year’s resolution for quite a few people, and I have been receiving some questions about the logistics, so I thought to finally post this blog post all about the basics of starting a blog and my most asked questions.
I have only ever had this blog so can only speak from my own personal experience, but this is how I did it, and mistakes I made along the way… that hopefully you won’t by reading this post!
These photos were taken by the lovely Ami Ford.
Which platform? Do I need to pay?
Actually working out how to start the site is truly the basics of starting a blog! There are many different providers that you can use to host your blog, but the two main options are ‘blogger’ and ‘Wordpress’. I personally have always used WordPress, so its the only one I can speak from experience for, but I genuinely love it. I find it very easy to operate with my limited technology knowledge, and there’s nothing more I would want it to do.
I know I can’t really offer a comparison- so maybe click here to be redirected to a blog post that does discuss the pros and cons of each.
I pay a small amount each year (around £30 I think) for my blog to be indigorosee.com rather than indigorosee.wordpress.com, but you could have the latter for free if you would like to. Its completely up to you and your budget! I am happy to pay as I think it looks more professional, but it is completely down to personal opinion which you decide to do.
Again, you can have your blog design for free using your platforms free templates, or you can pay to have a more personalised (and often prettier) one installed.
My initial blog design was a WordPress free one, and I had that for this first 18 months of my blog (is anyone still reading that can remember the square layout?), but I felt bored and when I started earning some money from my blog I thought it was time for a change. I then had one from Pipdig, but there was a bit of drama surrounding that and data protection, so in summer last year I moved once again to a design by SkyandStars.co. I found them on etsy, and went from there! It was a super personalised experience and I really like how it turned out. The privilege of a personalised blog design can set you back anywhere between £20 and £50, so its an investment, but in my opinion a worthwhile one if you are wanting your site to look professional.
Writing, uploading and scheduling.
So you have the basics of starting a blog down- now its time to get posting. I write my posts in advance and upload them via the WordPress desktop site, which gives the option of prescheduling posts in advance. I honestly could not live without this feature, as I pre-schedule all of my posts so that I can keep a schedule going and never miss an upload, even when I am at university and have other priorities.
I upload 2 posts a week (Wednesday and Sunday) but how often you upload really depends upon your other commitments and how much time you have. If I had all of the time in the world I would be doing more than 2 posts a week, and next year (final year of uni), I am contemplating dropping to one blog post a week. I think my only advice would be to do as many blog posts as you can at the start to build your audience and grow a following, but make sure you stick to a schedule.
One of my biggest mistakes at the beginning was not sticking to a schedule, and just uploading whenever I wanted to. Now I have my Wednesday and Sunday schedule, people know when to expect blog posts and therefore are more likely to click on my site on those days. Even if its only once a week- make sure you inform people what day of the week and time to expect!
Photos? Professional or iPhone?
One of the main features of a blog, and certainly one of the basics of starting a blog, is the photography. Every post requires at least one photo, and many people solely read blogs to look at the photos. I have a huge love for photography, even though I don’t have much time for it anymore.
If you have read my blog, you will know that I use a mixture professional and ‘home shot’ photography on my blog. I tend to use my own photos in the summer months because I tend to shoot more of my outfit content in the warmer months, and then rely on professional photos in the winter months when I struggle to shoot on my own. As you can see- these photos were taken on my shoot with Ami.
There are many ‘blogger photographers’ out there who will shoot many different outfits and locations within a certain time limit. It certainly isn’t cheap, but if you want to build your confidence in front of the camera and get plenty of content, then it is worth the purchase.
SEO- Do you need it?
My biggest regret of the first few years of my blog is not taking the time to build my SEO from the start. I didn’t understand that it was even something I needed to think about, and now I wonder where I would be now if I had looked at my SEO from the beginning. I only started working on mine at the beginning of 2019, and ended up spending hours going back and editing all of my old posts when I could have just done it from the beginning.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and working on it helps to get your website showing up on google. The higher your blog ranks on google, the better that your blog is going to do, and this helps with attracting brand deals etc.
I have a whole blog post on how to work on SEO so I won’t go on about it too much here, but before you start a blog PLEASE research and start using the Yoast plug in to work on SEO from the beginning. It will genuinely really help!
How do I monetise blog posts?
This is without a doubt one of my most asked questions when talking about the basics of starting a blog. There are 2 main ways to monetise your blog: advertising and brand deals.
I think most people will have heard of brand deals by now. This is where a brand or business will send me a certain amount of money in order for me to promote the product or service in a positive light. I don’t do half as many brand deals as other people as I have a lot less followers than a lot of people, but I do really enjoy working with brands and posting ‘AD’ content.
The other way that you can make money from your blog is by using google ads. I applied for google ads around a year ago, which means that you earn a penny or 2 each time someone passes an ad, and a little more if the viewer decides to click on the ads (so PLEASE click on them if you want to support me!). If you do want to monetise your blog, I would definitely recommend this. Im not going to lie- you couldn’t live off what you earn (I certainly couldn’t) but its worth it to earn a little bit of extra money just from people viewing your content.
How do you grow a following?
So you have your blog and you are producing content- but how do you grow a following? I think that the hardest thing about starting a blog is getting your name out there and growing your following. My biggest tips would be to work on your SEO, so that your content is more likely to show up on google, and also make use of the other social medias. I promote every single blog post on an Instagram story and then on twitter, and I find that these are the best platforms to promote my content to my other followers that also don’t follow my blog.
That was a long blog post! I hope that my discussing the basics of starting a blog from someone who isn’t very tech minded will help you if you are also thinking of starting a blog. If you have any further questions or I haven’t explained anything well enough, feel free to comment on this blog post or message me on Instagram, and I will be sure to get back to you. Thank you for reading my posts and I hope this has inspired you to start a blog this year!