There is nothing on this planet that feels the way starting a new blog does, is there? I remember that feeling. It’s like starting a brand new journal – you remember those? The ones you use a pen and paper to write with?
Now I’m by no means a Rachel Thompson expert on the blogging world or marketing yourselves but I recently joined some new Facebook Groups to stretch my reach and it occurred to me that there are a lot of people who want to get writing or blogging and are not really sure where to start. Or some of you have started but you stopped short at just writing.
I don’t usually post advice pieces on how to be a better anything really – especially a better blogger but I figured “hey I’ve been doing this since Live Journal was the first big thing, maybe I know some stuff.” So I thought I’d share some tips that I’ve learned over the years all in once place instead of answering one question at a time.
I hope this helps some of you guys navigate yourselves onto a very successful journey in sharing your stories. Are you ready? I’m so totally not (insert laughter here.)
Choosing a Name
First and foremost comes the name right? How do you pick a good name? What’s a name that people relate to and oh my god what if they hate your name? Who cares?! Seriously, the days of blogging and hoping that Hollywood will come knocking are over – sorry most of us missed the boat. There’s good news in the dissapointment however, just because that phase is over does not mean you shouldn’t blog. Do it, write and create your heart out.
There are ten billion kinds of blogs in the world but the ones that I personally will gravitate to are the ones that tell me something, that inspire me. I want to know about you slipping on a diaper filled with kid poop and the dog licking your face as you’re laying there wondering where you went wrong in your life. Tell me who YOU are and I am far more likely to visit your site than I am the next big popular thing as seen on CNN Oprah and Ellen. But that’s just me. So pick a name that relates to who YOU are as a blogger, a writer, a woman, a person. Define yourself. In however many words that might take.
2. Theme and Design
Now I don’t have a ton of great advice on this but I will say that if you’re blog is filled more with advertisements than it is content I’m probably not going to stay long. Your theme should be a reflection of who you want people to think you are….it’s even better if your theme represents who you are. Now in real life I am filled with chaos and stress but I
want need my website to be a representation of the things I want and need to manifest into my life. I try to keep the colors calming not because I think it will make my readers trust me more, but because when I look at the front page it calms my nerves and makes me smile. I hope that my readers feel the same way. (Please tell me you feel the same way?????)
3. Social Media
Social Media is important for two reasons. One you can meet some really great people from all over the world – which is my favorite part of Social Media. I met many of my best and most favorite people through the internet. Secondly and most important for those of you who want to use your blog to get famous it’s great for networking and marketing yourselves. Which I might add is my least favorite part of social media. Mostly because I hate screaming “HEY YOU NOTICE ME I’M RIGHT HERE.” Which is ironic since I’m a writer, I know it’s not lost on me not even a little. If you’re a writer though and you want to get advice, meet new people network etc sadly we need social media. So my suggestion would be is to use the platforms you’re comfortable with. I have Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram – I essentially have them all. The thing is I prefer Facebook and Twitter because I can have conversations on these platforms whereas I’m not as comfortable in front of the camera so I tend to use Instagram and Youtube far less than I probably should. Get comfortable in your “zone” and the rest will fall into place. Whichever ones you use though DEFINITELY make sure that they are easily found on your website so your readers can follow/stalk you. That being said my Facebook has friends from all over the globe and I’ve invited many of them to like my page but many of my private posts are kept for certain groups. So make sure that if you’re going to open your personal facebook up to the world you are careful with what you say and to whom.
4. ERMUHGAWD WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO WRITE ABOUT?
I’ve struggled with this over the years because like yourselves I am not a one dimensional person. I am a bit ADHD so I have trouble just focusing on one topic I tend to get bored a little easily. My site for instance you’ll find my thoughts on life, spirituality, politics, dating and sex, you’ll find a little bit of everything that I like to learn about.
There are some things I don’t do like DIY because I suck at it or Religion because it’s super personal and I’m afraid to go there. (which is totally fine.) You do you. Some people will tell you to define your brand.
Consider this a new dose of Punk Rock Positivity. I spent years writing and having no one read my site until I began to really put myself out there and connect with others. Until I decided that I was just going to write for me – if other people like it that’s a wonderful thing, but my work is for me. This entire site is a legacy that my children will be able to look at one day – they’ll be able to get to know the woman their mother was before she was able to give them life. That’s a beautiful thing and I’m really proud of every piece I’ve written here. I’m honored people react to them, and that people relate to them but at the end of the day your writing is about YOU no one else.
4. Grabbing a Logo
Now you can go to Fivvr which is a really great and inexpensive way of having a logo designed, but if you’re anything like me, a little chaotic you’ll find that over time, a logo that is supposed to represent you might represent who you used to be instead of the person you are or the person you’re wanting to be. I’ve had several over the years, mostly that I’ve designed myself. The one I used for the Featured image I did myself and took me less than 30 minutes. I might use it for awhile and as I grow and evolve as a person I might change. Maybe that’s my brand…Evolution of a Synner :P.
5. Have some fun!
Writing a book can be a painful experience, but we’re not talking about writing novels or books. We’re talking about you sharing the silly fun and weird experiences of your life. The reason that most people read blogs is because they want to learn – they want to know that they aren’t alone. Whether it’s a tech blog and people are trying to figure out a problem, or they’re wondering if they are the only one who ignored their dogs who had to go out until he shit on the carpet and they ended up slipping in the pile of dog diarrhea and spraining an ankle and fucking up a knee (yes this happened to me okay?!) they want to connect.
So spit it out people. Maybe keep some anonymity if it involves real people (don’t wanna lose your job right?) but be yourself. People can tell when you’re faking it even if it’s through a blog. (Hello Rachel Dolezal. You big Faker you!) So crank your favorite tunes, grab your coffee and get writing. Usually I pick topics that relate to how I’m feeling and as soon as I’m settled into my right hand corner of the couch (god knows why but it’s always this corner) I’m off and running.
6. Nope sorry, works not done yet.
Now here’s where social media really comes into play. You’ve already signed up for all the various platforms and you’ve posted a blog entry now what? Now you share your post on the platforms you’ve chosen to use. If people don’t know it’s there they won’t know to come to your website unless they’ve followed your website. Let them know that you’ve posted and remind them (some people say to do it in every post – I don’t because I feel weird about it) to sign up for your blog so that they will be reminded to return.
7. Newsletter time? Aka “Growing Your Brand”
If you’ve gotten this far I say go for it, rock it baby you so got this! I just recently started my own newsletter (notice how I slipped that in there?) with it’s own Facebook Group (aren’t I so subtly clever? :P) and the whole idea is to bring new voices together. Real people sharing real stories, instead of Real people who are trying to sell you something my whole Newsletter is sharing positive uplifting stories and throwing a few links to blogs or writers that have inspired me. So before you can even begin to create your newsletter you need to decide what it is you’d want in a newsletter. I use Mailchimp because once you get into it it’s super easy to design and it’s really fun. Just another creative outlet to reach out to your followers and readers. Now keep in mind I started this blog just a little over two years ago so rushing into a newsletter is definitely not something I would recommend. Take your time because when you decide to do it, it needs to matter, it needs to count!
Now I didn’t throw this in at the topic but another thing that’s been on my mind lately is whether or not to switch to a .com. Personally I LOVE using this WordPress.Com platform. When I had my own domain I didn’t connect to other writers and readers the way that I do here. I still have a lot of work to do in connecting because at my core I’m actually pretty shy when it comes to introducing myself to new people. Domains are great if you have thousands of followers, but if you’re just starting out I highly recommend sticking with the platform you’re most comfortable with.
I am genuinely wishing all you beautiful new bloggers the best of luck. If you guys think that I missed some tips or tricks please let me know in the comments below because you won’t just be helping me but you’ll be helping other new bloggers as well.
All my love to you and yours,
Here’s the full version of the Featured Image I used for this post: