5 Tips on Starting a Blog and Instagram | #THEMOMBLOGCOLLECTIVE Week 1
Today on the blog I'm sharing my Top 5 Tips for Starting a Blog or Instagram account! This post is the first in a new series on my blog called #TheMomBlogCollective! I’ve teamed up with 10 of my fave mom blogger friends and together we will be sharing the answers to the questions we get asked the most often about blogging, motherhood, social media, growing your brand and even making money. Some of us have been blogging full time for years and some of us are just getting started, but we all offer a completely different perspective and have a mutual desire to share and help others who might want to follow a similar path!Each week we will be focusing on a different topic and answering similar questions pertaining to that particular topic. Our hope is to share what worked for us, what didn’t, things we learned along the way, and things we learned last week. We know there are many ways to do this whole blogging thing so we hope to offer some perspective and encouragement to anyone hoping to pursue this path! This week we are each sharing our Top 5 Tips on Starting a Blog and Instagram.But first, a little background about my blogging journey! In 2012, I started as a beauty blogger. I was working at Sephora and my husband was on tour a lot and I wanted a creative outlet and way to connect with others who were beauty obsessed like me. When I became pregnant in 2012, I started my second blog to document and share my pregnancy with my family and friends (who are mostly located 6 hours away). Then came Instagram! I fell hard and fast for the visual aspect of Instagram and the way I could "microblog" on the fly, rather than compose an entire blog post. I started posting (really bad over-filtered photos - it was just so bad) and connecting with other moms and small shops. I posted to my blog every now and then but Instagram became my focus. Around 2014, my best friend and I started a motherhood/lifestyle blog called Three Little Crowns. We lived around the corner from each other, hung out every day and just wanted to share, inspire and connect with others. This was so fun - but SO much work! This is where I started learning how to work with small shops and got a taste of how this whole blogging thing could actually function as a job and potentially make some money! We agreed to end our blog in 2016 and I took a long break deciding what to do next. My Instagram was growing and I knew blogging was a LOT of work, but I missed writing and documenting and would get questions on Instagram that needed a longer response or that I thought others could benefit from. Which brings us to now. I launched this blog before Christmas last year as another outlet and way to share more thoroughly and document family life, pregnancies and anything else I feel like sharing. Through the last 5 years of blogging I have learned a LOT so let's jump into the tips!
Find Your WHY
You want to start a blog, or get serious about Instagram - that's awesome, good for you! BUT you first need to know why. What are your goals? What are you hoping to achieve through this? For some people, it's a desire for a creative outlet, having a place to journal and document their lives. For others, it's creating helpful content and eventually making an income. Others, eventually want to write a book, and use blogging to launch that. Of course, your "why" can change over time, but it helps to know what you are looking for when you get started. I put this first because I feel like it sets the tone and will help you to manage your expectations and workload moving forward. I feel like there is sometimes a lot of misconception about blogging. That it's all cute outfits and free stuff and that couldn't be further from the truth. It's sometimes emails and writing and editing for hours after the kids to go bed. It's deadlines and hard work and building relationships with brands. And it goes in waves depending on your why! Your why is kind of like your mission statement or vision statement for your brand/blog. Knowing it will help you discern what you should spend your time on and what you should say no to. It will also help you to be more successful if your why is that you genuinely love writing, sharing and providing interesting and helpful content to your readers. Ask any successful blogger, and most of them just started sharing because they loved it - and doors and opportunities unfolded from there. The why and motivation behind it needs to be genuine.
Decide on a Name and Vision for Your Blog/Brand
Have a little planning session for your blog/IG. You will first want a name. Try to come up with something meaningful and unique (this is easier said than done - naming Three Little Crowns took us like 3 months!) because people will ask what your name means. It's also good if your blog name tells the reader right off the bat, what they can expect from your blog. Once you have some ideas, make sure they are available across all your social media. It will enhance your brand if your name is the same across the board. You will also want to make sure your domain is available. I recommend a .com but there are other options as well. Now is also a good time to start thinking of a "look" for your blog. What is your vibe? Bright and colourful? Clean and minimal? How will you edit your photos? What kind of logo? This part is fun for me and makes me so excited when it all starts to come together. You don't have to be a pro and it doesn't have to be perfect. I use Canva or Pixlr to design most of my banners and logos and VSCO to edit all my photos. I also recommend sitting down with a pen and paper and actually writing down a bunch of post ideas. Then step back and look at them, grouping them together and deciding what categories you are most passionate about. Your niche will kind of reveal itself this way. You won't be able to blog about every category or thing that interests you right off the bat so just pick the ones you're the most passionate about.
Purchase Your Domain and Hosting
This is the boring but necessary part. There are so many options (Blogger, Wordpress, Squarespace, etc) and you can decide which is best for you. My blog and domain is through Wordpress and my hosting is Go Daddy. There are a bunch of youtube tutorials and Pinterest pins explaining this better than I can so go check those out for sure! It isn't expensive and doesn't take long and is a crucial step in actually having a blog. Once you've got all that set up you will be able to play with the look and back end of your blog. There are free themes available and you can also buy a theme off of Etsy (which is what I did).
Create Content, Post Consistently and Connect!
(I know that's three but they're all so important!)
Time to create that content! Start writing! At any given time, I have a note in my phone titled 'Blog Post Ideas' and I keep track of anything I think I could offer a unique perspective on or have a lot of fun writing. Your posts don't have to be long or even super packed with information. Just get something up there. It will be good practice and you will get to know the posts that are really doing well or getting a good response. Even if you haven't launched your blog yet, publish them anyway. That way when people come to your blog they will get a good idea of what you are about.Try to decide on a consistent posting schedule. Even if its once a month, be consistent with that. I'm not going to lie, I am not the most consistent blogger. I try to post really consistently on Instagram but sometimes I have to let blogging go, in order to have time for my other priorities. So with Instagram, especially when you're getting started, I would recommend posting once a day. It's better to post something often than to wait for the the "perfect photo" and post once a week.Now to connect - share your posts everywhere and try to connect and engage with other likeminded bloggers or Instagram accounts that you love (we are going to go WAY more into this in a couple weeks). It's important to not just throw your content up there and wait for people to come. They won't. It's a super saturated blog world out there and unless you're putting yourself out there, no one will find you and that can be discouraging. So make friends, leave genuine comments and start building that tribe.
This is hands down the biggest piece of advice I have for anyone who wants to start a blog or take their Instagram to the next level. Don't think it to death. Don't wait until it's perfect. Don't plan and plan and dream for months. Just start it. Get the ball rolling. Take a single tiny step in the right direction and you will be amazed at how that makes you even more motivated to take the step after that one. If I'm in a blogging rut or having some writers block, I'll take 20 minutes and play with my logo, make a list of potential blog posts or post to Instagram and ask a question about what my readers want to read. Even if doesn't seem like the MOST productive thing you could be doing, do it anyway. You won't ever be prepared or perfectly ready to "launch" your blog. You will always be tweaking and making improvements and you will ALWAYSSS be your own worst critic. So just start. Publish. Post. Reach out. Share it on your Facebook and then give yourself a pat on the back for even taking a tiny step in the direction of your goals. Tomorrow when you wake up you will be a tiny step further ahead then you were yesterday and that is something to be proud of! Thanks so much for reading guys and I hope this post was helpful! If there are any other specific questions or topics you want us to cover, be sure to leave them as a comment here or search #themomblogcollective on Instagram and comment on one of our photos!
And be sure to check out the other posts in the series (linked below):