The digital age is here and ready for you to play and one of the most popular questions I get asked is:
“But isn’t it too late to start a blog?”
The answer is no, it is by no means too late but it is definitely harder to gain success. Everybody wants a slice of the cake, to try to make it online and that means there is way more competition than there was 5 years ago.
Don’t worry though because I have a simple guide on how to start your blogging career and how to start making money.
Finding your Niche
What is it that you actually want to blog about? The biggest advice I can give you is that you need to be passionate about what it is you are blogging about because that passion really shines through and makes your blog stand out.
Whether it be about fashion, food, home decor, travel, sport, books…Whatever it is then stick to it and create the best content you can around that subject.
You can of course expand your niche in the future but it important to build your brand around one certain niche is the beginning. Maybe you are a food blog that wants to start talking more about fashion or travel and that’s absolutely fine but when you are starting out, make sure to just concentrate on the one.
Choose a Name
Probably one of the toughest parts of the starting a blog is choosing a name for it. If you want to earn an income from your blog then you need to think it well.
Things to avoid
- Vague Names, e.g: Sports Fan
- Vague Names with numbers, e.g: Sports Fan 1990
- Common Names, e.g: The Travelling Girl, The Fashion Babe
There has already been so many names already taken and you don’t want to fall in to the trap of using the one you liked but that was already taken and trying to add something different.
You Wanted: The Blonde Abroad and it was taken.
You Change it To: The Blondie Abroad
You will see thousands of accounts with similar names to those that have already succeeded. Try not to follow suit and really spend some time coming up with different ideas until you find one that really clicks.
You have to think that the name you use will become your brand name so you have to decide;
- Is it catchy?
- Can you market it?
- Does it stand out?
- Does it represent you well?
Find a Reliable Host
Once you know what you want to blog about and you’ve found your blog name, you then need to find a place to put all of those wonderful ideas and content. I use WordPress and always have done but there are a few others to consider:
Like I mentioned before, your blog is a reflection and an extension of you. There are tens of thousands of blogs out there so making yours stand out is priority.
You can get creative with planning your blog layout. Think coloured card, marker pens and post it notes. Create a colour scheme and layout you love and that you think represents you and your topic well.
Draw it out first and once you have some idea of what you like, then you can get to work transferring your ideas to your blog.
The Perfect Journal For First Time Bloggers
We all know that Social Media is the top dog. These days you don’t even need a blog to make money, with many just making an income from apps such as Instagram.
Social Media is a powerful tool to use and is one of the top things you should be putting your time into.
Top Four Social Apps
There are of course many other apps to consider and there isn’t such a thing as being on too many. You need to be spending anywhere between 1-4 hours a day (if not more) on your chosen social media channels.
Top Tip: Choose just 2 main channels that you want to focus on the most. If you spread yourself too thin, you will start sharing sloppy content as a result of your lack of time.
I chose Instagram and Twitter.
Other Apps to Consider:
The Importance of Instagram
I am going to delve a little deeper into the world of Instagram because I personally feel like it is one of the more important platforms to be on if you are wanting to build your audience and promote your blog.
There are over a billion users and Instagrams power is unstoppable. If you succeed in building a quality following on instagram, you will start to see many doors open for you.
Social networking is an important task in many jobs and it’s no different for bloggers. Instagram is the perfect place to find like minded people, to connect with them and to learn and grow.
- Share high quality photos
- Engage with other who have a similar interest to you
- Utilize Instagram Stories and Live
- Post 4-5 times a day
Instagram allows you 30 hashtags but choosing them isn’t as easy as you think. Hashtags such as #travel, #happy, #love and so on are over saturated and your photo will just disappear into the millions of other photos that are posted there.
Do your research and try to find great hashtags that have less than 1 million posts. Also note that Instagram can penalize you for using the same hashtags over and over again. Try to mix up your hashtags every few posts.
Creating Great Content
I cannot stress just how important this is, not just for your blog but for your social media channels too.
“What camera do you use?”
This is probably the most common question I get asked. I use a Canon 1300d and I love it. This is a basic/beginners DSLR and is the perfect camera for those who want to learn the basics of photography and who would like to take great quality photos.
My Camera Kit
Editing Your Photos
Another very common question I get asked is how I edit my photos. I use Adobe Lightroom as do many other professional bloggers and personally I think it’s one of the best editing programmes out there and I highly recommend investing in the monthly subscription if you are serious about taking your photos and blog content to the next level.
Monetizing Your Blog
Ok, so you’ve done all of the above and you are happy with how everything on your blog looks, you have a steady stream of readers and you’re ready to start making money.
The best way of doing this is through affiliate marketing. This is basically promoting an item or brand on your blog through links, banners and so on and when a reader purchases an item you have recommended, you will get a small percentage of the what they paid.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Google Adsense
- Amazon Affiliate
- Hotels Combined
Reaching out to Brands
I get asked a lot about how to land a collaboration deal and working with brands.
“Do the brands approach you first?”
In many cases yes but that should not mean that you shouldn’t send an email first.
Top tip: Always email a company rather than send them a DM on Instagram, it is much more professional.
Also only work with brands that you actually like and respect.
Do not say yes to every opportunity that comes your way because not every opportunity will suit you or your blog.
If you do, your blog and social media channels will become clogged with adverts and promotions and you will begin to lose followers and respect.
Read as many blogs as you can and as many books as you can.
‘Crushing It’ by Gary Vaynerchuk is a fantastic and very insightful read for those who are really serious about becoming a great entrepreneur.
Thanks for reading!