So you want to start a blog? / Beginner tips

With lockdown, people have been digging back into their creativity and I’m so here for that.

Blogging is something that I think a lot of people want to do but fear of other people’s opinions hold them back. It’s a little corner of the internet that belongs to you where you can share whatever you’d like. Everyone has a story to tell and I think that blogging appeals to a lot of people’s skills and hobbies; it’s shooting, editing, writing and reviewing, recipe sharing or outfit styling. The options are endless.

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I wanted to give some tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the past two years. There are always new things to learn but these are lessons that I wish I knew when I first started!

Don’t worry about other people’s opinions

In this day and age this is such a big thing for everyone. If I hadn’t cared so much, I would’ve started blogging YEARS before I did. If you want to start blogging – go for it, I promise you you won’t regret it. I was so worried about what people would think but if people are going to judge you for having your own creative outlet – I mean… why??? That’s their problem, not yours. If you want to do it, please go for it. You have my full support and people will be a lot kinder than you think.

Buy a Domain Name

If you’re serious about blogging, this step is important in looking professional. You firstly need to decide on which webhost to use, I personally use WordPress as I find it very easy to follow. Then you need buy your own domain name ie sophiemort.com, sophiemortblogs.co.uk etc. Please think carefully about these, I started with ‘a rainy day’ because I didn’t want people I knew to find my blog, whereas now I’m proud of it, and I’m currently in the long-winded process of changing it to SophieMortBlogs which is harder than you think. Create a name that has longevity for you, not one that in five years you’re going to hate. If you’re not in a position to pay for a domain, or you want to see how it goes first, WordPress does have a free version but it just means that your domain for example would be SophieMort.wordpress.com. There’s nothing wrong with this as a hobby at all but owning your domain makes you stand out and also means that the website is entirely yours.

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Choose a clean theme 

When you first start a blog, from WordPress to Wix, you’ll notice that they have free ‘themes’ which are essentially customisable layouts for your blog. These can be brilliant but if you’re wanting to take your blog to the next step, I’d highly highly recommend purchasing a theme from third party websites. My favourites are ones from Etsy, Pipdig, and Flothemes. This very theme is Maryline from Pipdig, and on my photography website, the theme is LVY II from Flothemes. As you can see it gives you a pretty and cohesive page, and also provides add-ons such as the Instagram connection to my feed.

Create an Instagram for your blog

Instagram is such an incredible tool for advertising and getting yourself seen. The majority of my wedding clients find me through there, as well as ALL of the brands that I haven’t reached out to myself. Some people like to create a new Instagram in order to promote their blog away from people that they know, and some embrace their personal Instagram and then highlight their blog constantly – whichever way you choose, don’t be ashamed to promote yourself and share your posts. If you’re doing blogging for the right reasons then you should be passionate and proud of your work!

Connect with other bloggers

Again, something that I love Instagram for  – connecting with other bloggers. Follow bloggers that inspire you, that give you ideas for content (ideas, not copying), whose feeds make you feel positive and excited to blog. You can find bloggers from searching hashtags such as ‘#UkBloggers’ or even area specific like ‘#Birminghambloggers’. The blogging community can be a really lovely place and finding blogger friends whether you’re at the start of your journeys together, or if someone’s further along and can help you with advice, is absolutely wonderful. I know that I’m very grateful to have mine!

Write what you would like to read

When I first started blogging there was a real focus on your niche. ‘You must choose one niche’, ‘you must decide exactly what you’ll write about’ but now I’m so happy to see that blogs are blending into different categories. My blog reflects my life. I’m a fan of lots of different things: photography, books, food, fitness, beauty, and I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into becoming a beauty blogger etc when I couldn’t share my latest reads, or my favourite new skincare goodies. Write what excites you, and what you would want to read or you won’t be able to keep going.

Be consistent

I know, I know – the pot calling the kettle black. I’ve struggled with consistency. I have a busy life and I’m normally balancing about ten different projects at once but consistency is so important for running a blog. Decide on how many posts you can sustainably write a week. Me, I aim for one a week. If you can write four a week then go for it, but you don’t want to burn out or have a quality dip. It’s also better to write two a week, and then have extra back-up posts for when you’re busy or run out of ideas. (I wish I was this organised). For me one post a week is more than enough, it’s a full days work of shooting, editing, writing and promoting that post and I can’t commit to more than that without losing quality. Quality over quantity.

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Keep your integrity

So you’ve been posting for a while now consistently and brands have started to approach you. Amazing!? But make sure that you only accept brand deals that you believe in. I very very rarely write a negative review on my blog. Why? Because I don’t want to upset brands? Because I’m scared of losing PR? No. Because I deliberately only choose brands that I have purchased from before, or that I have been eyeing up already. Give your honest opinions and only work for brands that you feel proud to represent. It can be so tempting when goodies or money is thrown around at you, but if you pick and choose carefully about who you want to work for, you’ll attract the clients that genuinely suit you and your audience.

Are you planning on starting a blog? Get in touch, I’d love to help you out or be the new blogger friend that you’ve been looking for!

Soph x

 

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