Starting a blog was a huge milestone in my life, but I just didn’t know it at the time. It’s something that I always wanted to do, having loved writing from such a young age, but I just didn’t know where to begin and I was beyond nervous of what everyone else would think. I remember constantly googling “how to start a blog” or “blog ideas” for years before I actually made the move.
Since starting, I’ve had people asking what websites I use and where I get my inspiration from. Although I’ve only been writing on here for just over a year, I wish I had a page with one solid answer to all these questions. I still have a long way to go with my blog and I’m learning every single day (not an exaggeration!), but I’d love to be that page to answer most, or if not all, your questions you have about starting a blog. Before I begin, I just want to say that making the move to actually start can be the hardest part, so once reading this, just take the plunge and do it! You never know where it will take you.
What platform to blog on
Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this, but I’ll help you narrow it down. Years ago, I started on Blogger: although I felt like I had myself together and knew exactly what I wanted to do (I absolutely did not, looking back), the platform just wasn’t for me personally. This may be half my fault for getting confused on things like “what’s my niche” or “what’s my blog name” etc., but the format of the website wasn’t my favourite. However, a lot of successful bloggers did start out/still do use Blogger, so don’t write it off straight away!
Within the last few months, I’ve increasingly seen and met (online) more bloggers using Wix. I’ve never tried it myself, but I’ve heard it’s quite easy to use – it is a website builder after all. Again personally, the layout of the blogs I’ve seen aren’t my style, so I wouldn’t gravitate towards Wix, but some bloggers do use it, so again, it’s worth a try.
For my blog, I use WordPress.com, not to be confused with WordPress.org: I learnt about .org a few weeks ago, but I wouldn’t recommend it to beginner bloggers as you’re very much left to your own devices. However, a lot professional bloggers are on .org, so this may be a move I consider in the future. But for now, WordPress.com is my absolute holy grail and top recommendation to all new bloggers: you get the feel of a professional site without all the hassle. You can create a beautiful blog with the free features, and I was on the free plan up until a few weeks ago when I revamped my blog. There’s plenty of assistance on the website (you get a checklist to help you out), as well as a guide to what is possible with the theme you choose to go with. It’s fairly easy to use and is my go-to when recommending websites. Saying this, everyone is different, and different sites will suit different people better, so do give them all a whizz before choosing.
Now I’m signed up, how do I design my blog?
If you’ve chosen a website with free themes, play around with them. If you chose WordPress, as I said earlier, there will be example websites with small guides on how to replicate some features. But my top tip? Google it. Google your themes, google different features you want to implement, Youtube a design follow-along – that’s how I learnt and added almost all my features. Designing will take some time, so don’t get too frustrated if you can’t figure it out straight away. The end result is worth it.
What if I can’t decide on a niche?
This is more of a question I would assume for those creating a blog for personal use rather than professional or work use. This is a question I debated for so long, and part of the reason I didn’t start my first blog on Blogger properly. I still don’t have a niche! I write about whatever tickles my fancy, and that works fine for me. If you don’t want to use my blog as your inspiration, take it from other bloggers: it’s become apparent from multiple blogger Q&A’s that it’s fine not to have a niche, and it can sometimes be even more beneficial. Sure, having a niche will make you easier to find, but don’t be disheartened if you don’t have one to start with. Write what you want, and as long as you’re happy, that will reflect on your writing. You may even find a niche whilst you’re writing!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere really! It could be from something I watched or read, from a random thought that comes from your head, or even from other people. I love getting inspiration from other people personally (just don’t completely copy them and/or be sure to mention who you got your inspiration from), but I’ll often get a thought throughout the day that I think will make a great post, and I’ll type it in my phone notes or a notebook to make sure I don’t forget it, because I absolutely will. Let your imagination run free when conjuring up ideas.
I’m nervous to start.
So was I, trust me. I didn’t tell the majority of the people I knew until May 2020 and I started in January 2020! One piece of advice someone told me that I’ll never forget is “if you keep on worrying about what other people think, you’ll never get anywhere in life.” A harsh truth, but I guess that’s what I needed. It’s a gradual process – I’m still a little nervous but my confidence has greatly improved. Trust me when I say you’ll be so proud the day you take the plunge.
Where do I find fellow bloggers?
Get an Instagram. Best decision I ever made! Join blogger communities, like @helloblogr, or browse hashtags that you would use on your posts (use hashtags that relate to your content to increase your reach!). You’ll find people that aren’t in the same topic field as you, but content you nonetheless enjoy and you’ll learn from. I never ever thought I’d follow marketing pages in my life! But here we are, and they’re great people and talented content creators. There’s a whole world out there that you’re yet to explore and that I still need to explore further, but joining Instagram and interacting with people is the best way to find people (everyone’s super friendly!)
The blogging world is a great one, and you’ll find your groove in time. Don’t stress yourself out about things like followers and your page not looking perfect – you’ll improve as you go along. Enjoy what you’re writing about and enjoy the process, as that’s what makes it all worth it. I hope this post helped you, and be sure to drop a comment or DM if you have any more questions. This was all written from my personal experience, but everyone grows differently – I’m by no means a blogging expert, but I try my best! I hope this has inspired you, and if it has, take the inspiration whilst you still have it and start that blog!
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