Last week, my wonderful friend Lauren finally launched her blog, The June Twenty Blog. We’ve been friends since college and bonded over our love of lifestyle blogs and websites – we’d always talk about launching our own, so I’m thrilled she’s finally taken the plunge!
I love having blogging friends, and a few other people have told me they want to start a blog, too. Now, I’m by no means claiming to be a massive blogging success – my numbers aren’t anything to write home about, and sometimes I certainly get life/work/etc get in the way of blogging. But for me, it’s an immensely rewarding hobby, and it’s fun to see my work and thoughts and ideas out in the world. It’s even more fun when people who aren’t just your mom and dad start to read it, too (love you guys, though! Appreciate the support!)
So, without further ado, here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up in my first almost-year of blogging:
Just do it!
I am 100% stealing Nike’s slogan right now, but that’s because it totally applies. Honestly, if you think blogging might be something you might want to do – just start! Yes, there is a lot of work that goes into a blog, but you can get a free or relatively inexpensive website and just start posting. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect – but you can’t practice if you don’t do it. Start writing, see if it clicks, and you can learn and build as you go along. In fact, that’s basically what I’ve been doing with A Little Leopard – I got the name, the domain, the host, and I’m figuring out the rest on the way.
Host it yourself
I do highly recommend beginning with WordPress.org, if you’re serious about blogging and think you may want to make money from your blog eventually. Sure, many bloggers started on Blogger or the free WordPress.com or even Squarespace, and they worked in the beginning. When they wanted to take their blogs to the next level, however, they needed to migrate to WordPress.org – and apparently it was a huge ordeal. Signing up for WordPress.org from the get-go, with a good, reliable host like Bluehost, saves that trouble – and to me, it’s worth it.
However, If you’re strictly a hobby blogger and/or just really don’t want to pay for hosting right away, I think Blogger is one of the better free services. I’ve had Blogger blogs in the past, and even heavyweights like Atlantic-Pacific have .blogspot domain names. Plus, there are plenty of designers who make gorgeous themes for Blogger as well – including 17th Avenue Designs, who made my theme! Themes are far cheaper than a full hosting package, letting you further customize your blog without worrying about sacrificing professionalism on a free platform.
Be consistent, but patient
Posting regularly is important. You don’t have to post every day, but if you want to attract and keep readers (which I’m assuming you do!), then make sure they know what to expect from you. Deserting your blog for an extended period of time – which I am totally guilty of doing – looks unreliable. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were most blogs. Blogging takes time and hard work! Cut yourself slack, know that it’s a journey, and celebrate the successes along the way.
Gather your resources
No one expects you to know everything from the beginning – or even in the middle. There are lots of bloggers, designers and others who have come before you and are more than willing to share their knowledge. Even before I started A Little Leopard, I was reading and saving articles on all different aspects of blogging. Below are some of my favorite resources, and for more, visit my blogs + design Pinterest board:
- Independent Fashion Bloggers was one of the first sites I read regularly for blogging tips and tricks, and it is still a treasure trove of resources and information.
- By Regina is one of my absolute favorite “infopreneurs,” and has amazing posts and resources for both creative entrepreneurs and bloggers. She covers everything from editorial calendars to business plans in approachable, actionable ways.
- I just love White Oak Creative’s design, aesthetic, and practical blogging advice. Whether you need a complete site overhaul, are looking for gorgeous moodboard to get inspired, or need to figure out more about how SEO works, Lindsay is your girl.
- The Golden Girl is one of my favorite Chicago bloggers, and a couple of months ago Jess started an “Ask Jess” column all about blogging. I look forward to her videos in my inbox every week – you can access the full archive when you sign up!
- I also have a few favorite resources for blogging goods and services (some of which I already mentioned above!):
- My theme is by 17th Avenue Design – they offer amazing pre-made templates at great prices for both Blogger and WordPress
- For hosting and domain names, I’ve been incredibly happy with Bluehost
- Need a name for your blog still? You can always use this generator for a good laugh – or perhaps a legitimate idea!
- If you don’t take your own photos or know a photographer, sourcing good imagery can get tricky. Death to the Stock Photo sends a monthly bundle of 100% free stock photos that don’t look like, well, stock photos – including every image in this post!
- Want to get lost in pages and pages of gorgeous typefaces, templates and more? Creative Market is your answer.
Whew! This post is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a start. Have you ever thought about starting a blog – or do you already have one? Would you like to see more of this kind of content on A Little Leopard? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear from you!