Last year I had a dream of starting a blog. I wanted to inspire and motivate others to be healthy, happy and fit. After my 80 pound weight-loss four years ago, people were always asking me how did I lose weight, how do I keep it off, what do I eat, how has my life changed? Then one day I realized I should start a blog. I can write about the madness I call my life and everyone can follow along.
Why not start a blog? I love to write. In fact, I’ve always been a writer. As a child, I wrote short stories for fun. My dream has always been to become a writer and health coach. So when I decided to start my blog, I was so excited. I thought I would setup my website then happily post away my thoughts on health, fitness, recipes and work toward my life goals.
Not quite. I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Blogs costs money. You need to purchase a domain (i.e. www.skinnyfitalicious.com) and a server to host your domain such as Blogger, Go Daddy, etc. You can do this at a reasonable cost utilizing standard website templates. If blogging is a hobby, you can do this for under a few hundred dollars.
If your goal is to make money with your blog, then you need to brand and advertise. You should invest in a unique design to build a brand. I’m currently working with a designer on my site. You can expect the cost to be upwards of $1000. Advertising via Facebook and Twitter ads is a good method to grow your audience. It will also cost you a few Ben Franklin’s.
You may also invest in a good camera to advertise your brand. Depending on the type of camera you buy, it can cost you several hundred to a few thousand dollars. With a camera, you also need photo props and a picture editing software like Picasa or Pic Monkey.
The point is blogs aren’t cheap. You need to budget for your blog as you do your groceries.
Blogs break and require technical intervention from you. Blogs get automatic fixes pushed to them and sometimes things break or things just break for no apparent reason. How many times have you seen on your smartphone “updates available?” It’s the same thing with a blog. Even though I’m in IT, I have been stumped a few times. You need to expect to spend time fixing things, reading forums for suggestions and asking other bloggers for help.
Blog posts should be relevant and fresh. Plan posts at the beginning of every week and focus on a theme. This makes it easier to come up with content. You don’t have to publish every day. Focus on quality not quantity.
Publish posts regularly and at the same time every day. Consistency not only helps you manage your time but also grow your audience. If readers know when to expect a post from you, it’s more likely they will continue to follow you.
Pictures are king. Good pictures are blog advertise. Pictures entice readers to click on your site and read content. I post food recipes regularly. Having good pictures is a must. Think about it. No one is going to consider a recipe with poor quality pictures. Pictures should have readers drooling. It’s also a way to brag about your creation.
Read other blogs with similar content, comment, follow and build a network. Having a network of bloggers, allows you to make connections and you can reach out them when you have blogging questions. It also gives you a means to compare your content and brand. Most importantly, I have met AMAZING people in the blog world. I have made several friends in the blogging community. It’s awesome to have a support community to lean on to give you support, encouragement and virtual hugs. It will help you stay happy with your blog.
You need to be on multiple social media platforms to drive traffic to your site, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Bloglovin, Google + & Stumbleupon to name a few. Publish your posts to your social media always. This is free advertisement and easy to do. When you setup your blog, you set this up to occur automatically. You also need to be active on social media – befriending others, commenting and sharing other blogger content.
Blogs require time. You need to write content, publish content, participate in social media, network and fix technical glitches. In my case, I also have to factor in time for testing recipes and taking pictures. Bottom line. A blog is a commitment. You need good time management skills to juggle a blog with your life.
If you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s this. Be yourself. Never be ashamed of who you are or try to be someone else. Be open and honest. Share yourself and feelings with your readers. It’s your blog. You make the rules. Just be you.
So there you have it. I’m sure I missed one or two or fifty things, but that’s OK. I’m still learning. We all are. Every day. Something I haven’t figured out yet is if I want to share my blog with my co-workers. I like to keep my professional and personal life separate, but I feel like I’m leading a secret life by not telling them about it. Like I said, still learning and I’m sure I will figure out the answer.
Are you thinking about starting a blog? Other bloggers, what have you learned from your blog? What’s something you wished you would have known before you started?
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Lots of Health, Food & Love,
Linking up with Amanada @ Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud