Blogging Advice For Beginners


How do I start my own blog?

One question I really struggle to ever answer properly. The issue is, the minute it is asked, 1000s of answers pop into my head. So what tends to come out as a response is word vomit which doesn't tend to make much sense. So I thought I would take the time and create this post for reference, to link to when I need to, rather than just talking absolute rubbish.


The Commitment

Before even clicking onto a blogging site you need to consider are you actually able and wanting to commit hours a week of time into this? There is no such thing as writing a post and thats it. You need to look at the big picture. Photos for the post, editing the photos, writing the post,  promoting the post, time on social media, time on other peoples blogs commenting and interacting, commenting back on your own posts... the lists of to dos are endless, and you will have a schedule to keep. If you want the reality - check out this post. 


Rome Wasn't Built In A Day 

So you have committed the time and effort to your blog content: you now have to accept that probably for a good 6 months, no one will read it. JOYS. It will hurt, bad. Don't think that by knowing a blogger that will work either, or somehow you will magically just become the next Zoella from a first blog post. Blogging doesn't work like that, at all. 
And as for PR samples and Sponsored content.... well no. It took me a year at minimum to even be contacted by anyone, and even then it was for hair supplements and link placements to casino sites. No. Just no. Don't expect it, so when it doesn't happen you won't be upset. Forget about making millions too - not gonna happen. 


Platforms

The majority of us use Blogger or Wordpress. There is a thing called "Self-Hosted" which you will see people mention on occasion, but I wouldn't recommend it at all to first timers, leave it for something to move to in the future. 
Blogger is the easiest of the two to use, but you are limited to how much you can change when it comes to themes , etc. It can also be buggy at times (Thanks Google). Wordpress is harder to use, but you have more customisable options. 
Overall, I would recommend Blogger to the total coding newbie, and Wordpress to those a bit more tech savvy. 


Choosing a Name 

Picking your blog name can be tough, but the main thing I would suggest is making sure it is available on all social channels. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat. There is nothing more annoying than trying to find someone online but they are called BlogGirl online, then ErinBlog on IG, then something different again on Twitter. Make sure it is available before signing up to everything. It will just make everything so much smoother when people want to find you. 
I would also suggest picking something that is long-lasting. If you know you want to stick with beauty then go for it, but don't commit to parenting name when you feel like it won't last.


Theme & Comments

The first thing I would recommend purchasing for your blog is a theme. Don't feel the pressure to splash out on a super expensive one, they can be bought for as little as £3 on Etsy. Just a quick search and download will have your blog looking smooth and more presentable. 
For comments I would recommend Disqus, its just easy to use, quick to log into, then all your comments get pictures and everything just looks nice. Blogger comes with Google Comments, which is ok - but they can be hit by spam at times. Then there is the wordpress comments, which you need to write your name and email in to leave a comment (which can get annoying) 


Camera, Editing and Style

I've spoken quite a lot about Camera vs iPhone, and How to take Photos That Don't Need Editing... but as a general rule of thumb, you don't need a camera to have a blog, it just ups the quality. What I would definitely say is lighting is EVERYTHING. Don't take photos with flash, don't take photos in the dark, and pick a windowsill. If you do this your photos won't need huge amounts of editing, and if you are editing, go for something like the LightRoom app on your phone, it is really good. Just be careful with your whiteness tool, because it can make or break a photo. 
As for IG themes, and your general feel for photos it will come to you. Don't stress over it, play around with different props, colours and positioning. You will find what is right for you soon enough, just don't commit to the same as everyone else, use Pinterest for inspo, and find what suits you! 


General Rules & Advice

1. Don't Copy. If you love the look of someones blog, figure out what it is that you love, then take inspiration from it and make it your own, don't just copy it all. No one will appreciate it, and you are not being true to yourself by doing it. 

2. Don't Steal. This one should be pretty self explanatory, but DO NOT copy and paste content, DO NOT take other peoples photos, and DO NOT claim something as yours when it isn't. People work hard to product content, so by outright stealing it you are taking their hard work. This includes everything from their disclaimer to their pictures and putting "from Pinterest" under. It's not good. 

3. Don't Spam. You won't get anywhere by spamming blog comments with "GREAT POST" then 500 links. You won't get anywhere by tagging bigger accounts in your twitter posts or IG posts which are not relevant to them, and you won't make friends by following and unfollowing. The best way to grow a following is by being authentic and being NICE. 

4. Don't Buy Followers/Likes. Just don't do it. It may seem like a quick way to success, but it is the wrong way to go about it, and you will be found out now. It isn't as worth it. 

5. Don't Work For Free. When your first opportunity comes through it might feel like the most amazing thing ever. But don't agree to work with a brand to promote them when they are giving you nothing in return. Some brands will do a competition, or others will say "We may share your content" don't do it. They are taking advantage of you for their own SEO, and you are better off without. Also, if you choose to work with a brand, make sure to use a "no-follow" link.  

6. Do Promote. Twitter, IG, facebook everywhere. You need to share your content a lot for it to be seen now, so start sharing it. Twitter is the best place for this, but just go for it. 

7. Do make friends. Being nice can get you everywhere in life, especially in the blogging world. Taking time to interact with people, join in twitter chats, being supportive is the nicest thing! I have found taking the time to share other peoples content, congratulate them on achievements and generally being a good person is SO good. Everyone appreciates it. 

8. Do Comment On Other Blogs. This goes for all bloggers, not just newbies, how can you expect people to check out your content if you never check out any of theirs? How can you expect to grow a big following when you never take the time to follow anyone or interact? Blogging is a community, and you can check out that post for more info. 

9. Do Tag Brands. Featured one of their products? Tag them! They will be happy to see people organically raving about their products, and eventually it might just lead to a collaboration with them!. 

10. Do Have Fun. At the end of the day the majority of us blog for a hobby. So don't do it if you hate it, do it because you love it! Want to post about something totally random? Then do it. I work from a firm belief of #myblogmyrules. Don't ever feel like you are trapped in content, do what makes you happy, and what makes you smile. It will shine through in your posts! :) 


Are you a new blogger? Or do you have any advice for new bloggers? Let me know in the comments below! :) 


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 *These items were sent to me for review, but has in no way altered my opinion on them, and all words are my own, unless stated otherwise (usually in quotes!) 

 Links used may be affiliated, cause Erin gotta fund her makeup obsession! This doesn't effect at all what I promote, it simply means if you choose to purchase through the link, I get a small thank you from the retailer for sending you their way. This won't cost you any more money, and won't affect you're shopping experience, and if you are not comfortable with this, just google the item instead :)

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I would love it if you could leave a comment, I love reading them! I also love it when you leave your own blog links so I can go check them out too - But please make sure your clickable link is working - or I do need to delete the comment :(