7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started My Blog
This may be hard to believe, but Keep Calm and Chiffon is turning seven in June. Seven years I’ve been doing this!! If you told me back in 2012 that my little summer project of creating a website to document my daily outfits would still be something not only that I thought about today but that I actually made money from I would have been completely floored. I’m still pretty floored to be honest with you. This blog means so much to me and has not only been a great creative outlet throughout the years but is also something that has allowed me to publish pieces I’m really proud of and connect with so many amazing people around the country and even the world.
I asked you all on my Instagram stories this week what career post you’d like to see next on the blog and I got a request for a post about how to get over the fear of starting a blog. Since I think most of the time fear comes from uncertainty, I’ve decided to spin it a bit and share a few of the things I wish I had known before I started my blog. Blog aren’t going anywhere (you can read my friend Caitlin’s post to see why they’re still relevant) and there is always space for new voices as long as you figure out what makes you unique and use that to your advantage.
Just go for it
The hardest part will always be getting started. Don’t worry about what other people will think or let your fear hold you back. Create free website on Wix, Wordpress, or Blogger and focus on getting your first three posts up and ready to go. Start to tell other people about the launch so that you’ll feel accountable for actually getting it up and running. If you can’t think of a blog name, just use your name or create one based on your niche (ex: Style by Austen, Beauty by Austen, etc.) and know that you can always re-brand or change later.
It doesn’t have to be perfect
Do you know how many times I’ve changed elements of my blog? I changed my logo, moved my site from Blogger to Squarespace and have been through at least four re-designs. Nothing has to be perfect at first! If everything was perfect, you’d have nothing to improve on as you continue to grow. Just focus on making cool content that you’re excited to share with others. My first blog post was 100 words and had blurry photos. We all need to start from somewhere!
After you decide on a topic that you love and that you think your readers will connect with, start to learn to optimize your posts for SEO early on. There are tons of free resources on YouTube and other places where you can learn some basic SEO tactics, and be sure to share your blog posts on sites like Pinterest or Reddit so that other people can find them easily!
It takes time to earn money
If you want to start a blog because you want to make money from sponsored posts, it’s totally possible, especially now that influencer marketing budgets are bigger than ever, but it will take time to establish yourself. The first blog post that I got paid to write was four years after I launched my website. I had done unpaid collaborations leading up to that to help give my blog legitimacy and that’s a great way to start a relationship with a brand.
Consistency is key
My readers love knowing when they’re going to hear from me which is why I have a posting schedule. Currently I upload new YouTube videos on Monday and Friday, blog posts on Wednesday and my newsletter goes out Sunday. You can be consistent at a lower frequency and start out with just one blog post a week, but if you release those posts on the same days then you’ll be able to clue your audience in to when they can expect new content.
Create content that helps your readers
At the end of the day, your content should be serving your audience. If you’re posting about your outfits, be sure to provide some links so that your readers can shop your look or find similar items with ease. If you’re reviewing a beauty product, be sure to let them know at the end whether or not you thought it was worth the money. Providing useful context to your everyday experiences is one of the ways that you can really connect with your audience and make sure that they keep coming back to you for whatever they see you as an expert in.
Ask your audience for feedback
Plus, don’t be afraid to ask your readers what they want! This blog post came as a request from a follower on Instagram and I loved the idea of being able to share some of the things I wish I had known before I started my blog. You can take what they say with a grain of salt (and of course don’t give a second thought to comments from haters because they’re just jelly) and follow your instincts, but ultimately what you’re creating is there for the people who come to your blog. Find out what questions they want answers to or what problems they need help solving and provide useful solutions. I promise if you can do that they’ll keep coming back for more.
What do you wish you’d known about starting a blog? Leave your best tip in the comments!