Have you ever thought of having a blog? I'm sure there are a wide set of answers from all of you. Last month my blog turned three years old and so I thought it would be great to blog about blogging and to share information to help anyone thinking of starting a blog. Keep reading to learn about why I started my blog, my inspiration, and tips to success. I'll walk you guys through what I think are the best steps to start a great blog from beginning to end!
Why did I start my blog?
3 years ago, I opened up my laptop, googled for a blogging website, and started "Style by Kye". It was the summer after my sophomore year of high school and I thought that a blog would be a fun thing to have for the summer.
So why did I decide to start one? Well I have always loved fashion since I was a little girl and loved sharing my outfits online. I also would watch a lot of fashion videos on Youtube and saw that they had blogs. I was really inspired by Shirley's blog: http://shirleyswardrobe.com because I thought it was so cute and a great way to share my outfits. I loved the idea and just did it! Here's what I wrote as my first post:
As I wrote above, I was really expressing myself more at this time! When I started my blog I didn't think it would really turn into anything but I was excited to try it. I shared it with my friends and family and they loved it!
If you're curious about what my first blog posts looked like click here to see:
What will be your reason?
If you're thinking of starting a blog I think a good place to start is to ask yourself "why?" Do you want a blog as a way to express your feelings? Do you want to share stories with others? Fashion tips? Makeup? Because you think it will be fun? Maybe it's because you enjoy writing or you tried youtube but hated having to edit videos!
There are numerous reasons for why you may want to dive into the blogging world. Write down the first things that pop into your head, this is a great way to feel motivated to start and it will give you a baseline for the type of blog you want to have.
Be sure to reflect and make sure your reasons are genuine...if you're starting one because "everyone else is doing it" chances are you won't be successful. At this point don't even think about other people and their opinion- only think about what you want to do.
Having the Confidence to Start
Now you've asked yourself why you want a blog and you know why you want to start one it's time for the next step: finding the confidence to start!
It took a lot of confidence in myself to start blogging and I believe having this blog has helped me improve my confidence even more as the years went by. I think anything that involves putting yourself out there takes guts and courage! Here are some tips:
1. Don't think about others
Now I know that the whole point of a blog is for others to read it but I think when you're first starting out you should focus on yourself. Your future readers will be attracted to the genuineness in your content. It can be so easy to be fearful of the judgement of others and to this day I still feel this way from time to time. I fear that people will judge me and think I'm a "know it all" because I write blogs, but I don't let that stop me and instead focus on my intentions which are to share what I've learned with others!
The truth is that in life you will have haters no matter what, so don't let them stop you from what you want to do!
2. Keep it private in the beginning
You don't have to share your blog with the world right away! I suggest keeping it private at first while you get comfortable with blogging. You can share it with close friends and family and ask for their opinions, then slowly begin to share with more people. When I started my blog I did exactly that and I think this helped me to gain the confidence to have this platform that I do today!
3. You never know until you try
If you're reading this right now and thinking about starting a blog...do it! Start it today! The truth is that you never know the outcome of something if you don't try. You might try it and find that it's just not for you...or you might fall in love with it.
Starting a Website
Ok- so now we're feeling confident and ready! Next is to get that website up and running. Now I have always been pretty tech-savvy, in fact I would create websites just for fun when I was younger, but I know not all of us are experienced with creating websites and so I want to share some helpful tips.
1. Find a company Now a days you can really make a website with a click of your fingers. There are many blogging/website companies out there that will help you create a stunning site.
When I started my blog I used Weebly:
I found that it was very simple and easy to use. I just chose a template, customized it, and wrote my blogs. I think Weebly is very beginner friendly and I used it from 2015 to 2017.
About six months ago I decided that I wanted my website to have more features that Weebly didn't offer and so I created an account with Wix.
My experience with Wix.com has been great. I found that it was easy to use while still giving me more freedom to customize and add new features.
Wix has two different features: when you first create a new site you have two options, you can create a site from a template or have wix create the site for you. If you have them make the site for you all you have to do is choose what kind of site you want, put in descriptive words for your site, and choose designs that you want. I thought this was great, simple, and fast but personally I prefer to do it myself. I made my site from a basic template and found that it was easy to do as well. Here's what my editing my site looks like:
As you see above I have a lot of options. The bar to the left has features that I am able to click and drag to add to my site, these features include text, images, animations, subscription boxes and more. Once you get the hang of it I think it becomes really easy to use and if you ever need help they have lots of videos and step-by-step answers to your questions.
Now I will say tranfering my blog took hours! I worked on my new site for days and once it was done I had do redo almost all my old blogs. Switching sites around takes a lot of work so I suggest doing a lot of research because most likely the company you choose to start your blog will be the one you'll want to keep.
Weebly and Wix are the sites I have experience with but there are countless others, here are a few more you can check out:
Look at their templates. Are they useable for your level with technology? What are the prices for a premium account?
2. Branding Yourself
Once you've chosen your company you can start customizing your website. The first thing you're going to need is a name. Go back to that list you wrote about why you wanted to start a blog. For example I started out wanting to blog about my outfits and so I came up with "Style by Kye"
If you want to blog about various topics you could do something like "Thoughts with Tammy" let's say. Or simply your first and last name .com. If you're doing a travel blog you could do something like "Around the world with <insert name>" Be creative and have fun with it!
A blog is a great place to express yourself, you can decorate your website in ways that show your personality. Add little fun touches and make it reflect you. Someone should take a look at the website and be like oh yeah this is totally her/him. Your personality should be shown!
By doing this you are branding yourself and your content! There is only one you and so by being yourself you're actually creating your brand.
Tip: Another writing assignment! Write down five words to describe yourself. As you create your blog look at it....are those five words shown?
What to Write About
Now that the website is ready it's time to fill it with great content. There is so much you could write about! You could have a focus like being a fashion blogger or food blogger or you could blog about various topics like I do now. No matter what you decide you will need to come up with content, topics, and ideas and I have tips to help with that!
As I've said before I started off only posting "OOTD" posts and I considered Style by Kye to be a fashion blog. Slowly I started to write more about what I was doing when I was wearing each outfit and more about my experiences and I got really great feedback from my friends and family. I realized that I wanted to share more about my life and decided Style by Kye would become a fashion AND lifestyle blog.
What does a lifestyle blog mean? To me it meant that I would share parts of my life. I wrote blogs on my feelings about graduation, about going to college, and then I wrote my first "Monthly Update". I really love being a lifestyle blogger but it also made me start thinking more about the content to write about...here are my tips:
1. Create Categories/Series
I think that this is the best way to be able to post often and come up with new topics. My first series was my "Monthly Updates" it is something that my readers could look forward to and the end of each month and it is one blog out of the month that I don't have to think about because I already know what I'm posting. My newest category is "How-To's" which include some of my favorite blogs such as "How to Stay Motivated" and this post!
No matter what type of blogger you are, you can have categories! If your focus is fashion you can have "Night looks", "Day looks", "DIY" or a thrift store series where you take your readers shopping with you!
Categories can help to keep your blog and content organized and it really helps you think of new ideas.
2. Should I share this?
One thing to remember about a blog is that it is PUBLIC. It's on the internet and anyone can read it. With this comes a big responsibility to ensure that you don't post something that you will regret later.
Also being a blogger doesn't mean that you HAVE to share every little thing about your life. What I love about having a blog is that I could choose carefully what I want to share with others.
Surprisingly, my blog actually helped me to share less! There were a lot of things that people didn't know until I blogged about it because I decided to wait and share it on my blog rather than posting about it immediately to social media.
So how do I decide what to share and what not to share? I always think to myself is this information going to benefit my readers, will it motivate someone, will it make them happy, will it teach a lesson. If it answers yes to any of these questions then I'm willing to share it.
Think about the goal of your blog and this will help to guide you on what to share and write about.
How to Grow an Audience
Now you're confident, you've built your website, you're putting out content, everything is great....except that you don't have a lot of viewers. How can you grow your audience? Well first I will say to make sure that the amount of views you get are not the most important thing to you, stay focused on your blog and if blogging is right for you you'll feel happy writing even if one person is reading it.
With that being said, of course after all the hard work we want people to read our content. The first thing I will say is put yourself out there! This is where that confidence comes in. I began to share my blog on all my social media accounts. When I created my new site I actually sent the link to people and to group chats. When meeting new people I would tell them about my blog. You really have to be your own publicist! And all this again comes with being confident in yourself and your content.
Another tip to gain viewers is to post consistently. I think at least twice a month would be a good minimum. I try to make posts weekly and started "Style by Kye Sundays", by doing this people know when to expect a blog from me. It also shows people that you take blogging seriously.
To post consistently first decide when is the best time for you and how often can you commit to posting. Next write down all your ideas as soon as you get them. When you have free time look at your list of ideas and start making a post, this way by the time your post day comes along all you have to do is publish and promote your new post.
Finally search for fellow bloggers! As a blogger I enjoy reading other's blogs and I'm sure others feel the same. If you have a blog send the link my way I would be happy to be a reader!
I hope you all enjoyed this post! And thank you so much for supporting my blog for the past three years, I love having this platform and enjoy blogging so much.
If you want to start a blog I really encourage you to! I hope this post helped you and if you have further questions feel free to ask me anytime.