Friday, 8 June 2018

So you started a blog - Now what? Part 1

the five things I wish i knew when i started my blog including domain, layout and purchasing a template for my blog, creating a posting schedule, writing a fantastic about you page and how to choose and focus on a niche for your blog.

So you took the plunge, created that blog you've been thinking about, and wrote a couple of initial posts - but what now? I started my blog way back in 2015, and spent HOURS of my spare time every week trying to teach myself everything there was to know about my new-found obsession. And whilst, three years on, I might not be an expert on this blogging malarky, I have learnt a few things along the way.

Obviously its worth saying that your blog is your own little corner of the internet, and therefore there's nothing you absolutely HAVE to do should you not want to. But I thought I'd share some of the basic first things worth looking into should you want to take your blog from a hobby to the next level (I've split this list up into two parts as it turned into a monster of a post, and will share some of the more technical things next week) ...


Five things I wish I knew when I launched my blog

1 Layout 
I'm almost ashamed to admit I spent WEEKS tinkering around with my blog, trying to work out how to make it go from oh-so ameutrish to a professional looking site like the ones I loved to swoon over. I faffed about with layouts, backgrounds and fonts, only to discover you can actually buy blog templates that will do all that for you. I use one from pipdig, however you can find literally thousands for just a few pound on etsy. Usually you can customise your new template, and I would recommend looking for one that allows you to upload a header - meaning you can create your own fancy logo (more on that later!) 

2 Domain
This is the difference between having a URL of your own or not (eg. www.dovecottageblog.blogspot.co.uk or www.dovecottageblog.com) - I would definitely recommend having your own domain if you can as I think it looks more professional, and like you want to be taken seriously. I purchased mine from GoDaddy for a few pounds (there are loads of other places you could choose from though like names.co.uk for example) and I can honestly say the whole process is so much easier than I thought it would be. You can purchase the domain for up to three years, and simply install it through your blog settings so it redirects from your previous address. 

the five things I wish i knew when i started my blog including domain, layout and purchasing a template for my blog, creating a posting schedule, writing a fantastic about you page and how to choose and focus on a niche for your blog.

3 Posting schedule
When you first start a blog it's so tempting to get all your ideas out there and publish as many posts as you can to get things up and running. However this might leave you facing the dreaded bloggers block (I blogged about how I deal this here) and your blog becoming abandoned for a few weeks. Setting a schedule - even if its only posting once month, means your readers will know when to come back for new content. Its also a good idea to make your schedule really obvious too, for example I include mine in my Instagram bio with my blog link stating: "new posts every Monday" 

4 About you page
This is typically the most visited page of any blog, so its important to get this one right! Make sure you include some information about yourself (and a nice pic of you want!), the topics your blog will cover and how someone can get in touch with you should they wish. For this, I always think its a good idea to set up a dedicated blog email too, which adds a level of professionalism too (and means your regular inbox wont get clogged up with all the opportunities that come rolling in!). Don't forget to include a section at the end linking to some of your favourite posts - a good guide of where to start for a new reader.

the five things I wish i knew when i started my blog including domain, layout and purchasing a template for my blog, creating a posting schedule, writing a fantastic about you page and how to choose and focus on a niche for your blog.

5 Nail your niche
Probably one of the most important things to be thinking about when you start up is what you will be focusing on, and how you'll stand out from the crowd. Obviously I write about home interiors, but try to predominately focus on transforming somewhere that's not your 'forever home' into your dream pad, on a super tight budget. Have a think about how you can add an extra element of focus to your blog, and therefore pull in perfectly engaged readers.

For example, launching a fashion blog might mean you run the risk of getting lost in an already huge crowd - however what about focusing solely on fashion tips for a new mum? Narrowing your niche down to a select group of readers means you'll appeal to a certain type of reader who'll keep returning again and again as they know exactly what they're going to get every time they visit your site.

Hope this has been helpful, you can read some more of my blogging tips here, and as always don't forget to get in touch with any questions!

Thanks for reading,
Sam Xx


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3 comments

  1. Just found you Sam via Laura Ashley Insta page and love your Instagram and blog! Really trying to find my niche and love your tips above! Will be taking them on when trying to get my blog underway! Thanks again

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    1. Hi Gemma! Ahh amazing thank you so much, I’m so glad you’ve found this post helpful! All the best of luck for when you launch your blog - please do send me any questions you have, and I’d love to have a read when you go live! Thanks again for your lovely message! Xx

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