I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, but for some reason just kept putting it off! I would say I get asked a handful of times each month how to start a blog, how to grow a following, how to land collab deals, etc.
Though I’d love to respond to every single person in great detail over Instagram DM my personal experience / tips & tricks I’ve learnt – it’s just not possible! Which is why I wanted to create this blog post. If you’ve been curious about anything to do with starting and/or running a blog… I’m writing this for you, homegirl.
First things first…
I want you to really ask yourself why you want to start a blog. Over the past few years, social media has become SO saturated with all types of bloggers: fashion, mommas, home decor, food, lifestyle, travel…. the list goes on! Because of this, I would say it’s not the most ideal time to “jump in” to the blog world, especially if the main reasons you were wanting to start one is because it “looks fun” or you want “free stuff”.
BUT – if your reasoning behind wanting to start your own blog in any of the fields I’ve listed above is more passion-based / you can visualize a niche you’d be perfect for that’s currently missing in today’s blogging market, then keep on reading my friend! 🙂
What platform should I use to create my blog site?
I personally use WordPress, but there are lots of different options out there – you just have to google it! The reason I really like WordPress though, is because they offer a free .org version which is what I used for my first year. It allows you to get your feet wet, learn how to use basic WordPress functions and again – its FREE! Eventually, you will probably find you’ll want to move to a licensed site so you have the freedom to literally customize anything you want. My blog currently runs off of WordPress.com and my site host is Siteground. I pay a yearly fee to keep it up & running and have had to learn the basics of CSS/HTML coding for customization purposes. Aka, I google the sh*t out of anything and everything I don’t know or don’t understand lol.
How do I build a brand / following?
TIME, CONSISTENCY, & QUALITY CONTENT. There literally is no “fast lane” when it comes to blogging or building a following on social media. Unless you happen to have a post go viral – I would say that is one of the only ways these days to exponentially grow your following authentically in a short amount of time.
I use the word authentically because technically, you could buy followers and likes these days very easily if you wanted to. However, brands (and real people who actually want to follow you!) are getting smarter at figuring out who has an authentic following and who doesn’t. Choosing to buy “bots” really hurts your exposure, reach, and just overall reputation in the long run and I feel it’s one of biggest mistakes you could make in the beginning. I know it’s hard and sometimes frustrating when you just want to grow, but if the main thing you care about is the # next to your Instagram handle/post – you aren’t blogging for the right reasons or you have forgotten what your authentic reason was for starting it in the first place!
Liking & engaging / making friends with bloggers in a similar niche to yours will also help you grow. It makes sense if you think about it – if you want people to like and engage with your content, you should be doing so with theirs! I set aside time every day to engage with accounts I genuinely love/have built a relationship with.
How do I connect with brands/land collabs?
Reach out to them via email or Instagram DM! I still “pitch” to brands I want to work with weekly and though some respond, you will find that not everyone will. This part of being a blogger can be super time consuming and sometimes discouraging. The biggest piece of advice I can give when it comes to connecting with brands is only reach out to those you think will be a good fit for you & your own brand. And on the flip side to that- only agree to collaborations that make sense for you/your niche. I have turned down so many (often paid) partnership opportunities in this last year simply because I did not feel it was a good fit for my fashion blog.
But once you do find a brand you love & know you want to work with – spend time researching what’s important to that brand, and form your pitch around that information. Also, don’t give up! There are companies I have been pitching to since the very beginning that JUST started working with me within the last few months! (again – showcasing consistency and allowing yourself time to build a “resume” sort of speak is so important when it comes to blogging)
When do you start getting paid/how do you set your rate?
This question is dependant on a lot of different factors so is kinda tough to answer! For me personally, I didn’t start getting paid for some of the content I was creating until I had built up a decent following (at least 5K) and a little credibility / relationship with brands. I set my rate based on a number of factors, some of which are: following #, exposure, total reach, engagement rate, the brands budget, time/cost it takes me to create the content required. Fohr is a great resource for calculating an average rate based on the factors I listed above as well as what the current industry standard is in your niche/area.
How much time/work goes into running a blog?
Again, this one is kinda a tough one to answer because I think it varies depending on the type of blog you have & how much you personally want to put into it. For me, I chose to start running my blog as a business, which means I put in regular business hours (anywhere from 4-8 hrs/day) most days. Since my family is and will always be my first priority, some days it’s less time and other days I’m up until 2am trying to meet collaboration deadlines. Those who choose to run their blog as more of a side hobby would say it is less of a time commitment. You get to decide how much time and effort goes into it – which I feel is one of the perks to blogging!
What camera/equipment do you use?
I have a Nikon D5300 and use either my 50mm lens or my Sigma 35mm lens for the majority of the shots you see on my blog and Instagram feed. As most of you know, I usually just take my own pics with a tripod and remote (which can be a real struggle all in itself!) but will also ask a friend or my hubby to help me out when necessary. I would argue you don’t have to have a fancy lens or camera to be a successful blogger, but you do need to have quality content (ex: crisp images) that stay true to the aesthetic/theme you are wanting to present. There are so many successful bloggers out there who take the majority of their pictures with an iPhone – and power to them!
Hoofta. I think this is probably one of my longest posts to date lol. But if there’s something I missed you were really wanting to know the answer to – ask me in the comments of this blog post! In a nutshell, this is the best advice I have: Be your authentic self, stay consistent, only put out content that you are proud of, and blog first & foremost because it makes you happy/is a true passion!
Thanks for reading & continuing to follow along on my personal blogging journey – you’re all a bunch of beauties.