Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why I Love Blogging and How to Start Your Own

When I first started my blog, more than six years ago, I had no idea it would become such a big part of my daily life. The friends I have made blogging and the things I have learned are invaluable. Blogging has become a part of who I am.

I often get asked all of the reasons I blog and how to go about starting a blog. This post is a brief overview of both items. Honestly, each one of the bullet points in the how to start a blog section could be its own post and hopefully soon they will be, until then, if you have any questions let me know. Let me start off with telling you why I blog.

Why I Blog

1. All of the friends. I have been astounded at the wonderful friends I have made blogging. If you had told me when I started I was going to meet some of my best friends blogging, I am not sure I would have believed you. My blogging friends make a good portion of the people I interact with on a daily basis. Our kids play together, we go out together, we text each other pictures of outfits for opinions when we are shopping. It is incredible to be a part of.

2. It gets me to try new things. I have done some many things since I started blogging that I never dreamed of. I took my entire family skiing, even the 4-year-old, I have tried boxing and all sorts of different food. It has been an adventure.

3. It allows people to hear what I have to say. I studied photography and writing in college, but decided to stay home with my newborn baby right after I graduated. I missed having people read what I had written and getting feedback and validation on my thoughts. Blogging was the perfect outlet for me, especially after I moved far away from my family and friend. It allowed me to say what was on my mind and keep in touch with everyone.

4. I work for myself. At first blogging was just a hobby, but now it is my job. I love that I have a say in my deadlines and I can choose to which projects I would like to take versus having someone tell me what to write about.

5. It keeps me motivated. I am more motivated to create new things, dream up new ideas and try new foods. There are some weeks where we try up to four new recipes for dinner. It keeps things fresh and fun.

Starting a blog

1. Decide on what kind of blog you want. Are you a family/lifestyle blogger? Do you want to write about clothes? Are you a craft blogger? Blog about what you are passionate about. If you aren't passionate about it, chances are you will burn out quickly.

2. What platform are you going to blog on? There are free and paid options for blogging. If you plan to blog for more than just yourself, I suggest started with a paid option and your own domain name, such as WordPress. With WordPress, you will need to purchase a domain name and pay for a company, such as, Web Hosting Hub, to host your blog. Prices depend on the service you use, on Web Hosting Hub they start at $4.99 a month and come with a free domain name for your first year.

3. What is your name going to be and what is your blog going to look like? Your blog name is one of the most important decisions of starting a new blog. Shy away from something that is temporary, such as defining yourself as a mom of a certain number of kids, or a newlywed. You don't know how long you are going to be blogging and that name might not apply to you anymore at some point. Are you going to design your blog yourself or pay a designer? There are a number of affordable designers out there who will make you a whole blog package including, background and header.

4. Create beautiful content. Beautiful photography is huge. Make sure to take clear photos and make them a big part of your post. You don't need a fancy camera to get great pictures, but you do need great light. Great lighting can be found as easily as opening up your blinds to let in natural light. Stay away from direct sunlight and shoot without the camera flash.

5. Share, share, share. In order for your blog to be found, you need to share your posts across all of your social media platforms and share often. Create a Facebook page and post your content to it. Tweet about your latest post and make sure to create a pinnable image. Make it easy for people to share your content with social media buttons on each post. Respond to people when they comment on your blog or social media. You want to create relationships with your readers. You can find more about how to extend your blog's reach through social media in this post here.
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