How to start a blog

How to start a blog

Evening all! The essence of this blog post is; just fucking do it. I frequently get asked how I started blogging, this question is often asked with curiosity because they have an interest in starting their own blog. I regularly talk to people who say "oh I keep meaning to set up a blog/would love to blog etc". This post will break down the very basics for you, and by the end of the it I expect you to have set up your own and sent me the URL when its live. Deal?

I have been blogging since 2009. And whilst I don't like to mention it *shows awards shelf* I have done OK from it. Many accolades and money aside, I find it rewarding and exceptionally cathartic to blog. Whether that is in a Weekend Edit or about how much I bloody love weddings. Blogging has changed majorly since I started and if you have always thought about it then now really is the time. 

The world doesn't need more bloggers, and you cannot add anything special - utter bullshit. There is so much room on the internet for everyone. You can add your opinions/voice on anything you choose (within moral code of ya know not being some right wing Nazi, mainly because I am not sure how you'd make that instagrammable or what the SEO is like). So here is what you need to get going:

A concept/idea - if you have an instagram account and you end up writing long winded captions or chatting a lot in the comments it may be worth taking your content to a blog. Your idea doesn't need to be original (is anything online anymore?) all it needs is you. Whether it's interiors, renovations, baking, flowers, weddings or everything and anything in between, your instagram account is already a good base for a blog. 

Start with an intro post, why you are blogging, what you'd like to share etc. Something like this one. Then the world is your oyster, don't put pressure or a schedule on your blogging at first. The joys of social media is that you can tell everyone very easily when a blog post is up so your new readers wont miss it. You can also remind them on insta stories/twitter/facebook. Recycle other bloggers ideas, favourites posts, weekly roundups, recipes, baby diaries etc. 

A name - you could use your username. Or, one of my favourite things is this hipster name generator. ( I am joking...or am I?) Choosing a name is hard but it isn't the end of the world if you want to change it in time. 

A platform - once you have the name of your blog you need a URL. Over the years I have used many companies but I have been most pleased with 123reg for the domain registration. I have hosted on Wordpress for SYGM then with TSO Host, and this blog is on Squarespace. If you are a total beginner then I would go for a wordpress hosted blog. If you fancy a challenge then go for Squarespace ha. Wordpress gives you lots of excellent free themes so you can start customising straight away. It also has an awesome help forum if you get stuck. 

A typical domain name will cost Β£10 a year and hosting for a year is usually Β£8-Β£10. If you are not wanting any outgoings then you can set up a free wordpress blog then pay for a domain and hosting later down the line. No excuse really hey?

Branding and Design - to be honest, this may seem important but your content will speak volumes. I chose a very minimal looking design for this blog and that is kind of where my 'branding' stopped because I wanted my photography to entice people in (is that working?!).

With SYGM it is very different as that is a big brand in itself so instant recognition was important. Branding can be changed and added down the line so don't dwell on this too much. If you want to ping some ideas my way then go for it. 

Technology and apps - As long as you have a laptop or tablet you are good to go. Photography wise, your iphone is enough until you may want to venture in to the land of Dslrs. Just use natural light and keep the imagery crisp. In saying that, I often put shit pics up on the blog as an extension of not wanting to put them on insta but they are relevant to the post, so don't get all Annie Leibovitz on yourself. 

App wise, this has changed so much since I started blogging, twitter/insta/pinterest weren't really that big of a deal. Now, I can run most of my blogging from my phone. Whilst I have ditched pinterest I have a few that I use religiously:

Instagram - SYGM posts 6 times a day (I started SYGM dedicated insta about 18months ago and now have nearly 20k followers) and I post whenever I want for SW, I try for daily but I know the more you post, the more followers you will get.  

Afterlight - I edit all of my photos on this before uploading to insta and the blog. I have a few filters/adjustments I always make to keep the edit looking the same. 

Dropbox - I use this to store images. Photos can easily be uploaded via the app from your phone then accessed via your laptop. Likewise you can keep a bank of 'insta worthy' photos from the blog to instagram at a later date without cluttering up your phone memory.

Basic SEO - Ergh, yes. Just YouTube tutorials. I usually watch lectures from these guys. Alt tag your images, write SEO friendly tags and headers (wordpress has an amazing plugin called Yoast which handles it all for you) and just keep on top of it from the beginning, something I wish I had done. 

Down the line you make look at upgrading your tech, branding, style etc so that you can start to potentially make money. That is a separate post which I will publish soon! 

So there you go, head over and get your domain and get god damn blogging!! 

Products shown: 

I Am Nat planner, Kate Spade Notebook, Canon G7X and Macbook/iphone.