You asked, I answered! Here are your main questions, struggles, hesitations, and fears you’ve asked about all things blogging.
How do I start my own blog?
The short answer:
1. Start writing
2. Post your work
The more in-depth answer is in this blog How to Start a Blog in 10 Steps.
But what I really, really want you to know is that nothing will happen unless you start. Starting is the big key here. You have to start and fail and keep going and failing until you figure it out. If you look at the end goal and allllll the steps it will take to get there, it can be overwhelming. Focus on short, attainable goals and grow over time!
What platforms do you use?
GoDaddy for my domain.
How do you make money blogging?
Through affiliate marketing, sponsors and partners, digital products, physical products, and advertising. I break them down even more in this blog post.
Do you take photos every day or do you plan out shoots?
A little bit of both. In the beginning, I was doing styled shoots and making them perfect and having Scott help me with everything. I quickly learned that wasn’t the type of blogger I wanted to be, nor was it fair to take up all of his time. I wanted to show more of real life and capture the everyday.
Now, I’ve shifted into taking the majority of my own photos and using Scott’s if he’s captured something I can use (like when we travel). I mostly use everyday pictures or ones I’ve taken in the past unless there is a specific purpose, then we’ll plan out a “shoot”. For example, we knew we wanted to sell our hats and do it in an outdoorsy setting so we headed to the woods and did a little photo shoot with a campfire and woodsy background.
What are some things you do every single day?
Wash the dishes. First thing. Every. Single. Morning. For real, it jumpstarts my day and helps organize my mind in the morning.
Ok, back to blogging. I start off by making a list of doable actions. It’s usually something like 3 things I know I can accomplish and a few smaller things in between. A day might look like social media in the morning. I post, reply, and interact for a while. Then I turn my phone off and get to writing, usually a blog or an email. I have my blog topics planned out ahead of time so I always know what I’m going to be writing about. This way I don’t have to spend any energy trying to figure things out and can focus on ONE task. Once I’ve finished writing, I generally do planning or proof other blogs and emails I’ve written. I try to batch my work and plan things out ahead as far as possible so if we jump in the car for a random road trip or a day gets away from me, I’m still on schedule.
How far ahead do you plan out your blogs?
About a month. I always have a running list of topics and ideas and then each month around the 20th, I make my plan for the following month.
I try to write a little bit every single day and have my blogs in the queue at least a week ahead of time.
How do I get visibility and traffic to my blog? How will people find and read my blog?
Consistency, quality content, and showing up for your readers. Also, promoting your work. I wrote this blog How to Create a Successful Blog that you should check out for more in-depth info on all of those.
Here’s the thing, you can’t just promote your work once and expect people to find you. You have to get out of your comfort zone and share your work with others. Talk about it, post about it, ask people to check it out. Use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share your posts. You can also utilize Pinterest for free. And never count out good ole word of mouth.
I feel like I’m not a very good writer, is that important?
Oh gosh no! You need to be able to make it literate but you’ll find your voice as you go. You don't have to be the best writer in the world to start your blog. In fact, I’d put money on the fact that you’re your biggest critic. Get out of your own way and start writing!
Bonus: I use Grammarly for some extra grammatical help as well as have Scott proof read each of my blogs before I publish them. Ask a friend or someone you know to do that for you!
I could never blog because I don't think I could ever be that vulnerable for strangers.
Always remember that YOU get to choose how much or how little you share. People don't need to know every single hardship or challenge or mistake you've ever made. Also, try to find other things you can share that aren't so focused on you. As you get more comfortable and develop a relationship with your readers, you'll feel more comfortable sharing a little bit of life with them.
What if I don’t have anything interesting to say?
That’s just it, you do! We are all an expert in something and we all have something to share.
And if all else fails, try this…think of 3 blogs, right now that you could write. The easiest blogs for me to write are in a list format. For example: 4 things I learned after graduating college. 9 of my go-to recipes. 3 reasons I love to travel.
Once you think of your 3, build from there! One of the hardest parts of getting started is that first post. We make it out to be this big, grand, everyone is going to judge me and my entire blog on this one post. Nope. Just pick something, write, and repeat.
How do I take natural and candid photos?
Find someone who makes your confidence go through the roof. That will keep you relax and naturally start taking more natural photos. Also, look at examples of the photos you want to take and start recreating them. Look at specifics like where they're looking, how they're sitting/standing, where their hands are, and what colors are in the photo. You can copy styles other people are doing until you start creating your own!
I like a lot of different things, how do I narrow it down to just one niche?
Pick your top 3-5 things and keep coming back to them. You can narrow it down from there or heck, be known for all 5! I’m into a lot of different things as well but some themes you’ll see here are blogging, married life/Scott, travel, inspiration/creating, and life now. That’s kind of the 5 I’ve chosen to focus on and it gives me direction when trying to decide what to write about.
I dooooo have to say that picking a specific blog niche is helpful. It gives you direction and a focus and lets your audience know EXACTLY what they can expect. It’s not necessary but it does keep things a little tighter.
I hate writing about myself, what else can I write about?
Well, that’s up to you but just know your blog doesn’t have to be your diary indulging your biggest, baddest secrets. You’re trying to help, educate, teach, or share something with your readers.
One of my favorite bloggers wrote a post sharing her favorite themed puzzles to try out. It was so simple and yet gave me something of value. Puzzles. Who would have thought? I remind myself of this one when I’m trying to think of the next best, this is for sure going viral, I need to share every update that’s happening in life, with my readers and instead opt for something a little more geared toward real life.
What’s your advice for taking better photos?
Good lighting! You don’t need a fancy DSLR to take great photos. The majority of the photos I post are taken on my phone. I loovveee my Google Pixel 2 and use the wide angle Moment Lens probably 80% of the time (but always have it with me) when taking pictures.
Also, something I’ve done is find an example of what kind of photo I'm looking for and then go and create that. Recently, I wanted that classic computer, coffee, notebook, blogging look so I googled stock image blogging. Then, I pulled my coffee table up next to a window (good lighting, good lighting!) grabbed some notebooks, a candle, a coffee mug, and some other fillers and started snapping away. You're capable of more than you think, you just have to take actual steps to get there!
I struggle with planning, what tips do you have to get better?
For me, it’s all about seeing the end goal and reeling it back in. In the blogging and working for yourself world, it's really easy to get side tracked on things that don't matter and always feel like you could be doing more. The important thing is to focus on things that are actually going to move your business forward. Just because you see people creating all of these wild and crazy things, doesn't mean you're there yet. Identify what you need to do to have a solid foundation, do that extremely well and consistent, and then grow from there.
I’ve found three things that really work for me and wrapping my head around what actually matters for my business.
Having a “dump” list; it’s a list that I have everything under the sun that’s even remotely on my mind.
Having a week list. I write out what an ideal week would look like and what big projects I’m hoping to accomplish each day.
Having an everyday list. I plan things out to a T. I usually have 3ish things I know I can accomplish that day and the tiny steps in between that I need to do to make it happen.
Do I need a Facebook business page to go along with my blog?
Nope! At least not right away. Having some sort of social media account and presence, even if it’s a small following, will help you reach your audience easier but as far as a Facebook business page, a regular account will be fine.
However, If you’re ever looking to grow your blog even more, you could start a Facebook business page and keep posting content on there in case you ever want to sponsor a post and reach more people. I started my Facebook business page to have content and a presence already established in case I want to utilize it in the future.
How do Amazon affiliates work?
You promote a product with a unique link to you and if someone clicks on your link and purchases anything on Amazon within 24 hours, you get a commission from that purchase. I wrote a blog breaking it all down to make it easier for you. I'm all for encouraging people to sign up for it sooner rather than later!
How do I pick a name for my blog?
Choose something that pertains to your niche or when in doubt, choose your own name. You can always change (remember, a new domain is only $11 a year....). Of course, it’s a pain to rebrand but don’t let picking your name stop you from actually moving forward with your blog.
Do I need a domain name?
Yes, if you want to take blogging seriously. Otherwise, the free platforms generally include their name in the URL and it’s just way too bulky. The good news is domains can be like $11 a year so it’s really not that big of a deal.
That's another bonus about blogging is that there are hardly any expenses involved. You can start building it as a side hustle in your free time and the payoff is exponential!
It sounds silly but I'm mostly afraid of what my family is going to say after they read my blog. Thoughts?
I get it, I really do. I felt the same way and sometimes still do. It's something you're just going to have to overcome and find the courage to post, but I will say that once they start seeing you take it seriously, they'll take it seriously too. Oh, and I'll also add that "You've got this!!!" This blog thing is for you. You to share, you to help others, you to educate, you to remember your life. Just go for it (easier said than done but still true)!
How often do you post a blog?
Twice a week, at least that’s what I aim for. I’d say you should be posting a minimum of once every other week to call yourself a blogger and at least once a week if you’re taking it seriously. That being said, studies show that websites who posted a blog more than 16 times a month (4 times a week) received 3.5x more traffic than those that posted 4 times a month (once a week). Basically, the more often you post, the more likely people are to be visiting your website.
I’m just starting out, do I need to make my content highly clickable?
No. You need to make sure you’re consistent, creating quality content, and showing up for your readers. Something you can do right off the bat is be intentional with your writing. If you’re looking to blog as a side gig and make money as soon as you can, well, create posts that are beneficial to your reader but also have a more likely chance of bringing in money.
For example, I wrote 21 Gift Ideas for the Ultimate Adventurer around Christmas time and filled it with lots of Amazon links. I wanted to provide something of value to my readers and share different gift ideas that we absolutely love and own but also start generating money through my blog. It was a win-win and my most successful blog post!
Phew! That's it, some of your most popular questions, fears, and hesitations about blogging. I know it can be overwhelming, but blogging is the coolest little community and you get to share life with others. What starts as a side gig can turn into a full fledged career and it can give you the freedom you've been searching for.
Take it one step at a time, make goals, write your bum off, surround yourself with encouraging people and just go for it. I promise you will fail but I also know that you'll only wish you had started sooner. Go get it my friend!
What other questions/fears/hesitations/celebrations/anything under the sun, do you have about blogging? I'd love to hear them and continue sharing my own experiences with you!
Here are some other posts I think you'll enjoy.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be used throughout this post which means I might make a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you click on them.