I get asked this question, from friends and strangers, a least 5 times a month: so, how do you start a blog?
And every time I’m asked, I find myself even more at a lost for words. Because to me, there is no simple answer to this question. In fact, about a million more questions come to my mind that need to be answered before I can even start to give a first step to starting a blog.
My mind goes from the super basic answer of just write something to the even more complex start with a strategic plan and a strategy.
So, I figured it would be easier to write out my thoughts here, and have a place to point people when they do ask this question. Hopefully I’ll be able to give a more exact answer and actually be of help to whoever is finding his or herself wanting to start a blog.
Ready, here we go…
Why are you starting?
No matter how I approach the original question, I’ll always have to respond with this one: why do you want to start a blog? There are typically two responses to this question: I want to build an established brand online (i.e you eventually want to monetize, work with brands, create products, ect) or I just want a fun, creative outlet (i.e blogging is your hobby and if you should happen to make money off of it, great, but that’s not the goal).
It’s totally fine if you’re starting for one reason and then evolve and realize a new goal for yourself or your blog. That’s absolutely normal and more than expected. But, it’s important to be brutally honest with yourself from day one about what your current end goal is, in anything that you do, but especially with blogging. I say that because you’ll soon realize that blogging can quickly become something that demands a lot of your time, attention and creative energy, so if you aren’t sure what your goals are, it can be more difficult to create a system of checks and balances for yourself.
If you’re blogging for fun
Having a blog is a great way to keep your friends and family up to date with what you’re doing, especially if you’re in a new city or have a large network that you want to stay connected with.
If you’re blogging for fun, here is how I would get started:
+ Find a platform that is easy for you to use. Don’t put too much thought into it, try and focus on how it will serve you in the moment. Is it easy for you to figure out how to share text and photos or videos? Will it let you upload all of the information you want? Is it within your budget, or would a free option be better. Make a short list of what you plan to share, and once you find a platform that does those things, create an account.
+ Name your blog something true to you. If you’re blogging with the hopes of family and friends finding you, keep in mind that you want to be easily found. If you’re just creating a new outlet and don’t want to necessarily tell the world, add a bit of mystery to your blog name.
+ Write, write, write. Did I mention you should write? Don’t fuss too much with design right off the back. In fact, I’d use a simple and basic template for the first one to two months, just so you can get used to learning your platform and deciding what your posts are going to be like.
+ After you’ve become comfortable blogging and you have some posts written and published and KNOW this is going to be a thing, design it. Find a simple template within your budget that works with your platform and inspires you to write more. Those should be the only true goals of your first blog design.
If you’re blogging to establish a brand
This can be broken down into (and will likely get) an entirely separate blog post. But, for the sake of this post, I’ll only share a few points for getting started in this arena. Hoping to establish a brand and grow your blog to eventually become something more than a blog requires a completely different start than when launching a blog as a hobby or digital diary.
Although these are just a few surface tips for starting out, it’s important for me to share with you that this will require a lot of thought, hard work, time, energy and dedication to make this goal come to fruition. It’s extremely rewarding, and definitely possible, but will require work!
+ Decide on the need your blog and brand will meet? What topics will you cover to help your readers and followers meet this need?
+ Choose a name, and make sure that name is available across the board — domain, social media, email accounts. You’ll want to own everything so that you will be able to be completely consistent with your brand.
+ Determine how your blog will fit in with your lifestyle. How often you’ll be able to blog, promote and grow your brand.
+ Write, write, write. Once your brand strategy is developed, it’s important to create a solid amount of content so that once you launch, readers can dive in and start to create a connection with your blog and brand early on. I’d recommend having at least a month’s worth of content created in advance of launching.
+ Create a unique and professional visual brand identity that is consistent across all platforms -social media, your blog, and any other products/outlets that will use your brand’s name.
I hope this post was helpful, and helps be to better answer this question on the spot in the future. If you’re a blogger, how do you typically answer this question? Feel free to offer up your tips in the comments!