Over the past few months I’ve had several people contact me to ask how to start a blog? While i’m no expert I’ve put this article together and sincerely hope it helps you as you venture into the blogosphere. The first bit of advice I need to give you is that starting a blog is not for the faint-hearted.
My blog Fit Like Mummy was published on the 28th of November 2018. It is an extension of my social media presence and my personal journey. The blog is my honest take on my personal successes and failures. Home of the Fearlessly Authentic and a place of inspiration.
That being said, I need to add that I’m not a professional writer and honestly, that’s the best part about blogging. Blogging is meant to be personal and more conversational. The more approachable your writing is, the more people will enjoy reading it. People want to feel like they’re doing business with real people, not robots. So keep it honest and real.
Should you start a blog?
Now that I’ve made it sound as glamorous as it looks, the truth is blogging is a labour of love that requires 200% commitment. It is clicky as hell and feels like high school on many an occasion. So, if you have incredibly thick skin, are determined AF and have unimaginable grit then I suggest you continue reading.
Over the past few months I’ve had several people ask me how to start a blog and while I am no expect this is what I have learnt. I need to add that I am merely winging it like a boss, but am constantly working hard with the aim to improve my craft as a Boss Blogger.
Determine your WHY
People start blogging for lots of different reasons. I started my blog to continue inspiring others and to be the voice of those who continue to live in silence. Some people start blogs for the sole purpose of making money, but heed my warning when I say that the blogging world is over populated, unregulated and often an unfair world. While there are some who earn enough from their blog to sustain a living, it’s more the exception rather than the rule. It is important to determine and understand your WHY behind starting a blog. It’s also important to never forget your WHY as it will keep you grounded.
Select a niche
You will hear this a hundred times over, that you need to select a niche and stick to it. I personally don’t abide by that rule. Maybe sometimes to my detriment, but my blog was created to inspire others. My life does not fit into a niche and the fact is people follow Fit Like Mummy for different reasons. Please know that it is perfectly acceptable to be a little torn and undecided when it comes to deciding on a niche. Maybe take some time and focus on your strengths. Most importantly be truly authentic and do right by yourself first and foremost.
Research the various blog platforms available and decide how much you want to spend. There are quite a few to choose from such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Wix. They will all offer various packages ranging from the basic free plans to the more professional premium cost plans. I started out on a free plan, but have learnt that to take ones blog to the next level one needs to invest some money into said blog.
*Tip – if you are trying blogging out for the first time, the basic free plans are really great! You can always upgrade later on when you want to. There is no need to spend too much money initially.
It’s all in the name
Decide on a name for your blog. If you aren’t really sure what you will be blogging about, or if you have a couple of different ideas, I’d recommend choosing a name that doesn’t define only one of those markets. Once you establish a following you will be associated with your blog name, therefore constantly changing it won’t necessarily bide well for you. Know your identity and own it.
Once you have a name in mind, go on google and check that it isn’t already taken. Do your research and keep in mind that you may need to tweak your idea here and there.
You’ll want to make sure that your chosen name is available across the various social media platforms as well. You will use you social media to promote your blog. Id recommend that the blog name and all social media handles are the same, making it easier for your following. Do check the following:
- Blog domain (WordPress etc. )
- Email address (gmail, yahoo, live, etc.)
- Google +
There are many others too, but the above are the most widely used.
You will need
- A computer
- A good camera but most cellphones nowadays take amazing pics
- Memory cards (at least 2)
- External hard drive (you always want to back up your info and pics)
- Power bank (some events are long and the worst thing that could happen at an event is to have your cellphone battery die on you)
- Media kit (there are templates on Canva)
- Rates card (there are no industry guidelines and standards on what to charge, but it will come down to how you value yourself and your time. Not all brands are prepared to pay, so brace yourself.)
- Note book
Register your blog
Okay, this is the super exciting part! Once you know your name, you’re ready to register! First you need to register your email address (because you will need that to register your name on all the other platforms). Then go to the blog host of your choice, and register your name with your preferred blogging platform (i.e. WordPress). Congratulations! You have a blog. Well, let me say that this is where the hard work begins.
Branding & Design
Like it or not, your name is your brand so when you decide to start your blog, make sure you like it. Create a logo that suits your name and blog objective, and try to define a look that will make your blog easily recognizable and uniform across the various social media platforms. Designing your blog gets a bit tricky but a blogging platform like WordPress has thousands of themes and a support system that will make your life alot easier.
Tell your story
This might be the hardest part, or the easiest part, depending on your creativity and writing skills. It’s time to tell your story and invite the world in. Always do your research and ensure that your posts are relatable and useful.
Promote your blog posts
After you have created your first post, you need to share it. Share your posts across the various social media platforms you already reserved above. Many of these you can link to your blog using the publicize function and share all at once with the click of one button. Sometimes it’s a case of copy & pasting.
Always remember, you might be the most amazing writer with the most innovative and engaging ideas, thoughts and perspective. But if you don’t share them, no one will ever know.
Engage with your audience. Reply to comments on your posts, follow a few blogs that you like to read. Read other people’s stuff (this is important). Follow people whose pictures inspire you. Share other people’s work on your social media platforms. Blogging is supposed to be about community. Know your audience and build a relationship with them, after-all you have made the decision to invite them into your life.
Speak your truth
Instead of telling you to mind your P’s and Q’s, I’m going to recommend that you speak your truth. Rather be honest than getting caught up in the lies. Step away from portraying something you are not. You want people to follow you because you are authentic, honest and real. As a blogger you have a social responsibility to positively impact lives. By being in the public eye you are indeed exposing yourself and always understand that you cannot please everyone. Just as many will share your sentiment, there will also be people who totally disagree with you, people who are easily offended by something you have written. As a blogger you will not be able to please everyone.
Bloggers need to
- Have knowledge and a real interest in your website/blog topic
- Be willing to research their market
- Need endurance, motivation and self-discipline
- Motivation to interact with other people
- Be prepared to invest in their business
- Understand terms like Paid Partnership, AD, Sponsored, Trade Exchange and Gift as this needs to be declared on all your posts.
- Be willing to constantly learn things that are outside your wheelhouse
Honestly, not all bloggers will be prepared to give advice or help, but there are people with the expertise to help you elevate the back end of your blog. This has always been a challenge for me and in December 2019 I contacted Carly from Blue Media Edit.
Carly is originally from South Africa and I unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to meet her before she relocated to the United Kingdom but she came highly recommend. I hired Carly to help tweek various aspects of my blog and I also did an online SEO course with her. SEO is something you have to understand and implement on your blog. Her services have been incredibly beneficial and I’ve seen huge improvements in my blog . I never seem to stop learning when it comes to the blog which is an awesome feeling. This week I purchased Carly’s e-book How To Use Pinterest as it is a fantastic source of traffic for most bloggers. I highly recommend that you chat to Carly to see what services are available and how you can speed up the process of getting your blog started.
Disclaimer : I have paid for the services of Blue Media Edit. I am merely recommending Carly’s services due to the level of professionalism and results I have received from working with her. I previously employed the services of another organisation and was bitterly disappointed, so wI really don’t want you to go down that road.
Hard work pays off
After pouring my heart and soul into Fit Like Mummy, I decided to enter my very first blog award. In all honesty I wasn’t expecting much but look what happened. You can use the link below to read more about us winning the Best Blog 2019 as determined by the South African Parenting Blog Awards.
Before you head off, make sure to meet the Fit Like Mummy team. Leave your questions in the comments and we will definitely get back to you.
Just start blogging
You will question your decision on why you want to start blogging, but now that you know how to start a blog my advice is to just start. The quality of your work, your images and knowledge of the social media minefield will come, all in good time, all through trial, error and experience.
I sincerely hope that this post helps you. I wish you all the best on your blogging adventure and cant wait to read your content.
Natasha aka Fit Like Mummy