7 Tips for Starting a New Blog

This post was originally published on my old blog, Ellipsis, over 3 years ago. I've learned a lot since then, so I've adapted the post to fit the current blogging climate. 

When I started my blog, I really didn't have any advice to turn to. I started blogging because I wanted to be just like Gala Darling (cringe!) but I've definitely grown since then. I see a lot of talk about advice for new bloggers. Here are my simple, 7 tips after blogging for almost 10 years. 

1. Start with clean, simple design. 

No matter what platform you use (Blogger, Wordpress, etc.) pick a theme that is clean & simple. I see a lot of "cluttered" looking blogs -- huge headers, double sidebars, crowded sidebars... it's incredibly overwhelming for readers! I'm a firm believer in less is more & I personally like designs that have one sidebar with a clean, organized look -- not too many icons, no random text, etc. Beyond that, remember to pick a readable font for your body text! The other day I went to a new blog that used cursive as the body font, that was near impossible to read. 

2. You don't need a fancy camera. 

I love my Canon Rebel t2i, but honestly, I don't use it as much as I used to! Most of the time, I use my iPhone to take photos or I use stock photos from websites like PicJumbo and Unsplash. If I'm writing a review post, I'll use my Canon to take those -- but an iPhone or point-and-shoot camera takes photos that are just as good. Remember, you don't need perfect photos -- just photos that clearly demonstrate what you're trying to show! 

3. Content is king. 

Your content matters -- from formatting to what you're actually writing, your content is the most important piece of your blog. The other day, I clicked to a blog that has 1000+ followers & had received a box of samples from Benefit -- really! -- and the first paragraph of that blog post? About 30 lines of text with not a single period. It was so stream of consciousness and it read horribly. Content matters. The amount that businesses pour into content marketing makes that very clear: write good posts and you will reap the benefits. 

4. Pick 2-3 social media platforms & use them to their advantage. 

Most of my traffic comes from Twitter and Pinterest. I also get a lot of traffic from Google+, which I don't even really use! Lots of people try to use every social media network, but that's not really necessary. Pick the ones you like best & work them! Post consistently, post intelligently, and post your links! (And if you decide to use Twitter, participate in chats whenever you possible can! I like #lbloggers, #fblchat, and #blogtrends the best!) 

5. Network. 

The blogging community is just that--a community. My blog is primarily read by other bloggers. If I find a blogger doesn't interact with the community, I'm much less likely to read their blog! It's totally fine to be busy, but replying to people on Twitter, asking questions, participating in chats, joining communities... it'll help you go further in the long run. 

6. For Love, Not Money. 

Ok, I have something to tell you: the blogging bubble has burst. There are just too many bloggers. It is certainly possible to have a creative career, but blogging will only be one part of that. To be truly successful, you have to have multiple streams of income if you are an entrepreneur: you can't rely on just a blog or just an etsy shop. You have to establish multiple ways to be successful & work hard at all of those things. Have passions, hobbies, and a career outside of blogging. It will all fall into place someday! Don't blog to get rich -- you'll only end up disappointed! 

7. Be yourself. 

This is something I cannot stress enough. I see so many blogs that are just carbon copies of each other. You don't have to have the perfect, pin-worthy home, an expensive camera, or new everything all the time to be successful. You just have to be yourself. When you blog in a way that is genuine to who you are, you will be successful.