Friday, 18 October 2013

5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Starting a Blog

I attended BlogPodium, a conference for Canadian bloggers, for the first time in September. Although the focus of the conference was slightly geared towards design rather than fashion, there were a lot of great insights to take away from the event and other bloggers alike. Attending BlogPodium reminded me of the anxiety and struggles I felt when I first created budget brunettes and so I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of my tips and tricks for beginner bloggers who are thinking about joining the blogging community.

1. Create a Mission

Before you begin, think about the purpose of your blog. What am I trying to accomplish? Who am I trying to target? How do I define success? When thinking about these questions, be realistic and honest during your reflection. The purpose of the mission is that it will help guide and give your blog focus. It can also be used to help gage your progress further down the line to ensure that your content is consistent with the mission you created at the onset.

2. Pick a Platform that Works for You

There are many platforms out there to choose from: WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, SquareSpace etc. When it comes to choosing a blog platform, you should choose one that meets your specific needs, budget and technical expertise. Since there are an array of sites that break down the advantages and disadvantages of each platform, I won't bore you with those details here. Instead, I encourage you to do diligent research before choosing one. Just because you have started with one platform, doesn't mean you have to stick with it forever! However, do be careful not to jump continuously from one platform to another. It can be difficult to manage multiple domain names and more importantly can frustrate your readers.

3. Quality and Consistency is Key

Two factors that I consider the most important when evaluating what makes a good blog is quality and consistency. When creating content, the quality of your posts should be your focus. This should encompass grammer, writing style, layout, formatting, photo resolution, references sourced, creating original content and building reader engagement. I also recommend keeping to a consistent schedule using an editorial calendar. Whether it be one, two or three times a week, your reader should come to expect which day of the week a new post will be published. This way they know when and how often to look for updates.  If you are taking some time off from posting, you should communicate that information with your readers and let them know when you will be back to your regular schedule. 

4. Don't Isolate Yourself

The best part of starting a blog is that you are joining a community. The blogging community is surprisingly supportive and I encourage you to meet with local bloggers to learn from each other.  There are many organizations that provide bloggers with an opportunity to meet in person and share experiences. Setting up personal meet and greets with your readers is a great way to interact with them offline and increase engagement. Blogging can easily become an addictive activity especially at the beginning when it is new and exciting but remember, blogging is largely about sharing personal experiences so it's important to NOT isolate yourself in front of your laptop and continue to seek for new experiences offline.

5. Don't Wait for Perfection to Publish

Starting a blog can be overwhelming, nerve racking and well...let's be honest, terrifying. You feel as though everyone you know and don't know is judging your blog and by extension, judging you. Understandably so, you want to make sure that your content, design and photos are absolutely perfect before you launch. This makes perfect sense in theory, but it might not work so well in reality. The odds are if you continue to wait until your idea is perfectly executed, your blog may never come into fruition. Keep in mind that your blog will evolve as you improve from experience and you learn what works for you. Your idea of perfection now will not be your idea of perfection a year from now because your taste and level of expertise will always be changing. The most important thing is to jump in and to strive to improve as you go.

Good luck future bloggers!

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: Flow Photo

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