Dear Jonesie, How do I get started blogging?
I can only imagine the number of inquiries you have received and the number of moms you have inspired- you can add 1 more mom to that list. Believe it or not, my husband actually sent me an article discussing your story as he felt it was relevant to ideas I had recently shared with him related to my pregnancy as well as being a mom. I wanted to reach out to you for your professional view on where to begin as a blogger. I have so many thoughts and ideas to share with other moms, but not sure where to begin. You certainly have a lot to manage so any advice you can provide would be very appreciated and if you have time, I can even share my journey with you during my pregnancy.
There was even a time I was listed as a “top blogger” or influencer. Paid well for my work that I was able to and did resign from my full-time job. I wrote what inspired me, built up my traffic and following and received paid opportunities. Plus I freelanced for a number of great sites that saw the value of my worth and paid me good money for a minimum of 500 words. I attended conferences, I went on press trips. I was featured in a number of outlets. Even had a TV appearance or two.
Between blogging and my influencer agency, The Network Niche, I was earning a good living.
Then I was given a great opportunity to return to full-time work outside of the home. My days were very busy. Eventually, things had to slow down. I decided I had to put life first. I made the decision to sleep more than five hours a night, spend some time with my kids after dinner, maybe even relax a little. I could not do both anymore. My blog took a back seat.
When I started, it was 10 years ago and the industry was totally different. Today, you can go into blogging with the intention of earning a good living and building a successful business. Or, you can go into it simply with the intention of finding an outlet to write and build a community. Whatever your reason to get started blogging, here are my tips and my favorite tools and resources to help you get going. Leave your questions or thoughts in the comments and I’m happy to answer them!
How To Get Started Blogging*
- Decide your URL and Brand. Think of your domain name and see if it’s available by searching for it on Bluehost. This is a pretty important first step because it sets the platform for your brand moving forward. Decide if you’ll use your name or something else. Here’s a great article on Branding for Bloggers over on my sister site, The Network Niche with tips from three of our top influencers.Once you decide, buy the url and a hosting platform so your URL is “parked” somewhere on the web. I like Bluehost over GoDaddy for many reasons but most importantly, Bluehost offers great tech support and often will walk you through any fixes/questions you have at no additional cost. They also have great DIY videos.
- Pick a blog design. The best platform for blogging is on WordPress. Don’t use Wix or Blogger. You can build or design your site on WordPress using many templates. Some even free. There are thousands and thousands of themes/templates available but Pretty Darn Cute Design is my favorite designer for lifestyle/mom bloggers. They offer several suppppeeer cute designs that are perfect for this niche and food/travel/DIY blogs too. Bonus. The designer also offers online workshops called the “Tada workshops” so you can learn to do things on your own. The Pretty Chic Theme is another great option for lifestyle blogs and very easy to use.
- Set-up your blog. Hire someone to set up your WordPress blog using your theme. I recommend investing in someone to install and customize your template. My favorite guys to do this work over at Pix-l Graphx. If you’re on a tight budget, I actually paid someone $30.00 on Fiverr to customize this template I’m using to make it look just like the demo. My guy’s name was Cemscan. You can search for him on Fiverr and ask questions before you get started or find anyone that can set-up the theme you purchased. I was very doubtful it could work but it did and I saved myself $500 dollars, at least. But I had the advantage of having WordPress knowledge when I went into this.
- Set-up social media accounts. At the very least, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and a Facebook page. Follow same branding as your blog. Use same image for your profile. Make your entire brand cohesive. The end.
- Write a good bio. Readers and brands will want to know more about you. Use an image. Include city/state where you live. Fun facts. Goals. Whatever other info you want to include to help them get a sense of who you are. And remember, you can change this page and update as needed when needed. You’re not locked into anything unless you lock yourself into something. Read our tips on what to include in your blogger bio.
- Start writing. What should you write for your first post? How about a welcome to my blog post? Let your readers know why you started, your story, introduce yourself, have fun. Continue to build your story. Share what inspires you. Don’t over think this. Just start writing.
- Get inspired to write. For subsequent posts, know that there’s inspiration everywhere. Write on a challenge you faced that week, a solution you came up with, reflect on something in the news, whatever. Don’t over think it. Some blogging pros will tell you to spend 15 to 30 minutes just free writing whatever comes to mind every morning or every night and soon enough, a blog post will come. Another idea, look through your pictures in your phone and find stories in them. I often find a story in my gallery on my cell phone and can write great reflection posts from those.
- Spread the news. Tell your mama, tell your cousins. You have a blog. Share your links on your Facebook page, get your social channels up and running. Share the post, share it again, share it another time.