Do the research. I research everything I needed to know about blogging for 3 months before I launched my own. I'm not saying you need to take that long but you should do the research. Research:
- Affiliate Programs
- Affiliate Links
- Google Analytics
- Growing Engagement & Traffic
- Sponsored Products
- Media Kits
2. PICK YOUR WEBSITE NAME
- Make sure that name is focused on what your blog will be about but not so narrow that you might outgrow it.
- Make sure your brand represents you and that your name is related to what your blog will represent. For example; Cupcakes and Cashmere talks about fashion and her love for food! Makes sense!
- Pick a unique name, not something that blends with the rest of the list. The cyber world has enough "Blank & Co" or "Breakfast at Blanks".
- Make sure you will love it FOREVER! It's a business-killer to change your name mid-way!
- SUGGESTION: purchase your domain at GoDaddy.com
3. PICK YOUR PLATFORM
- Blogspot.com (Requires some coding)
- Wordpress.com (Requires SO MUCH coding)
- Wix.com (Requires no coding)
- SquareSpace.com (Requires no coding)
- SUGGESTION: SquareSpace.com
4. WHO'S YOUR TEAM?
- Who's gonna take your pictures?
- Who's gonna edit your pictures?
- Who's gonna write your content + edit it?
- Who's gonna do your social media homework and SEO?
- SUGGESTION: Ladies (and Gents), This is not a one person gig. This requires an Instagram Husband or such!
5. QUALITY + QUANTITY
Once upon a time I burned myself out and posted EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. My quantity went up and my quality went down. Now I've become so picky that if need be, I will re-shoot a post. Your pictures are EVERYTHING. I dare say that it's more important than what you write. Now-a-days people are more drawn and engaged to pictures than they are with content. Make sure your pictures are at the very least GREAT quality!
6. NETWORK + ENGAGE
If you want your blog to be out there, you gotta put it out there. AKA Network & SEO.
- Socialize within your social medias outlets
- Like & leave comments. Genuinely nice comments.
- Reply to your comments and messages.
- Join blogger networks and blogger groups
- Host Giveaways
- SUGGESTION: Look for blogger groups in your area on facebook.
- Don't be afraid to work with newbies. Remember we all start somewhere.
- Don't wait to be approached. Go to a local boutique, buy an item or an outfit, and then feature it on your blog for free and let the shop know you are featuring them!
- NOTE: Most shops will not collaborate until you have at least 1k in followers, so build your following and put some of your own money in at first.
I'm sure you're wondering when you can start charging and making money from your blog. The timing is all up to you! However, my SUGGESTION is: Wait till you have built a good base of followers. Most people do not start charging till about after 3k-5k. There are guidelines as to knowing how much you should charge per post (GO TO SOCIALBLUEBOOK.COM) But I always go with what I feel is worth my time and someone else's!
9. BE NICE OR KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS.
- Be approachable. You need to hear feedback from your readers. It's not always fun but it is necessary.
- Be helpful. You will get further faster and your competition will be nicer.
- Don't have negative feed/content on your blog.
- People will be rude. Ignore them or just be the better person and say something nice back. It will get under their skin way more than they did under yours ;)
- Don't come off as defensive, even if you know you have haters. If you come off rough, your readers will be too intimidated to contact you or even voice a harmless opinion.
- It's okay to have strong opinions BUT there is a difference between a strong opinion and a condescending opinion.
10. BE DEDICATED. BE PATIENT. BE CONFIDENT.
- Blogging is a full-time job. Make time for it and be consistent.
- Statistically you wont see a difference or growth in your audience until after your 20th post!
- Most bloggers don't go big or get huge opportunities till after their first year mark, But that is okay because we all have to start at the beginning. Think of it this way; We all have to drive with a restricted before we get our actual license !
- Don't just expect the freebee's to roll in at once. You have to show hard work first and build an engaged audience and followers.
- Now, go start that blog!