It feels very odd writing this post because to be honest I am still very much a blogging novice! I have had my blog for around five months now and I have plenty of things I want to change so I am definitely not an expert. However, I asked on Instagram if this post would be useful and the resounding answer was yes! I could write a giant post with everything I have learnt so far but I have narrowed it down to the five tips I think are most important. At the end of this post I have also linked any sites I use regularly for my blog as well as other posts that have really helped me along the way.
BLOG FOR PASSION OR FOR PURPOSE
With the rise of social media influencers and ‘mummy bloggers’, blogging has become a viable and lucrative career for some. However, if you are starting a blog purely with the intent of being sent free products or to earn an extra income it can be a hard slog. I started my blog at a time when I was really struggling emotionally. Creating my blog gave me a space, just for me, where I could write down my thoughts and carve out a little bit of time for myself. I did it because I love to write and I thought that by sharing my honest experiences I might help another Mum feel less alone. Start a blog because you love to write or because you are passionate about something. That way, whatever happens, writing won’t be a chore.
OWN YOUR DOMAIN
I won’t pretend to know all of this ins and outs of this but basically if you think you are going to stick with blogging I would highly recommend buying your own domain and going self-hosted. This post goes into a lot more detail about why. As a quick example, if you own your own domain and are self hosted your website address would be yourwebsite.com rather than yourwebsite.wordpress.com. For me, I wanted to have my own domain so that my blog address was easy for people to find. My blog is hosted by Bluehost and I pay a few pounds a month for this but the platform I use is WordPress.
CHOOSE A THEME THAT REFLECTS YOU & PERSONALISE IT
When you set up your blog on WordPress you will have the option to choose your theme. The above is what my theme looked like when it was first set up. As you can see, it looks very different now! Everything from the font, colours and menu bar etc has all been changed by me. I am not a coding wizard at all so if I can do it so can you, but basically you will have a section named ‘Customize CSS’. That section is where you can paste and edit ‘code’ in order to personalise your theme. I have found that Google has been my best friend during this process and you can find out how to add any code just by googling whatever you are trying to achieve. My blog has shades of dusky pink which isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but that is okay, you want your blog theme to stand out and to reflect your personality!
ADD YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
This is really important if you want people to be able to find you and to read your posts! If you use Instagram, you can integrate your feed into your blog to link the two accounts together. This post explains how to do this in detail but it involves downloading a plug-in (easy to do once you know how!) and then adding a widget that sits in your sidebar. As I mentioned previously, there is a tutorial for everything out there! If you use any other social media accounts it is worth creating buttons for these and adding them into your blog too. The two plug ins I have found most useful for this are ‘Easy Social Icons’ and ‘Ultimate Social Media Icons‘. If you want to create custom colours for your icons then iconmonstr is an easy way to do this.
GET INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY
Since, I converted my Instagram into an account all about Motherhood and created my blog I have met so, so many other lovely Mama’s. Some who also blog and some who don’t. We have shared lots of ups and downs together and it has been so reassuring to know that what Freddie is doing or how I am feeling is normal. It has been the best thing to come out of this whole experience so far and I am so thankful for the lovely people I have gotten to know. Instagram is my favourite social media platform and the one I invest the most time into. I have found using hashtags has helped me to find other Mama’s with similar interests and other bloggers too. Some of my favourites are #honestmotherhood, #motherhoodunplugged, #mymamahood, #cameramama and #littlefamiliesofig. I created a Twitter page recently and have started to meet other bloggers through the #MBloggers and #Pbloggers hashtags as well. Whatever platform you use, get involved by liking other people’s pictures and starting conversations- you never know where they might lead.
FAVOURITE (USEFUL) WEBSITES
Canva – Great for creating Pinterest graphics and blog headers etc.
Color-Hex – Find any colour code you like and use them to personalise your theme.
Buffer – Schedule Tweets to let people know about new posts (caution: make sure you interact on Twitter too, lots of scheduled tweets can irritate!).
Guide To Setting Up Your Site – This is a comprehensive and easy to follow guide but do be aware that BlueHost is not the only hosting option.
LunaPic – This is a very basic website but I have driven myself crazy trying to crop pictures into circles and this is the best website I have found for this.
Wow, that was a comprehensive post! I really hope this was useful if you are thinking of setting up your own blog. I would love to know what your top tip is if you are a blogger too!
Thanks for reading and see you on Wednesday,