We live in a millennial’s universe where to have a blog is known as social cred currency. It’s true.
From restaurants that allow diners to pay by Instagram post to incredibly being able to browse from a dedicated section of books written by online influencers, the blogging community is finally being rewarded for its insurmountable influence and inspiration. I know for one that I don’t know where I’d be without this space to turn to each evening. I began my blog when I felt (ironically) disenchanted by my fashion journalism degree. I was beginning to learn that the industry wasn’t what I thought it was and I understood that there might not ever be a place for me where I wanted one. So, I started a blog.
From holidays, wardrobe decisions, the way I approach everyday life and take stock of everything around me, my girl gang, how I have an exact notation of how I’ve spent almost every day since I was 18… Daisybutter has been my bread-and-butter and has opened so, so many doors for me.
It goes without saying, therefore, that I’m asked all the time for my tips on how to begin a blog, so I thought I’d share a 2018 guide to getting the basics down on your very own one. Like with all of these sorts of posts, this isn’t a holy grail reference point and there aren’t any hard and fast rules, just a few pointers that I’d totally go by if I were to start this blog again.
Your Social Channels
If it weren’t ardently obvious by now, I never started my blog, Twitter or Instagram platforms with a view to becoming known online. If I could easily go back and change things, I’d match my blog with its social handles and also be a little wiser with my blog name! (My blog name comes from the MySpace graphics ‘site’ that I used to run when I was about 16.) Regardless of that, I think my blog name has become an extension of me now and forms part of my identity as a twenty-something, how about that?!
- Use the same profile photo across your platforms for a cohesive approach. In a sea of blogger faces, this is a simple way to begin making yourself known.
- Keep your bio short and snappy. Yes, you’re restricted by a character limit, but it should still read nice and short. I’ve also got a post here about why I’m not including self-given titles in my bios.
Despite what you may or may not think, there are millions of blog styles out there and you don’t necessarily need to pigeonhole yourself into a particular category. I began this blog documenting my thoughts on my favourite runway shows from Paris Fashion Week, moved on to exclusively reviewing LUSH products, then aggressively shared badly shot outfit photos from my Uni halls, before finally beginning my journey to how this blog looks today. While of course I don’t blog about any particular topic, I’d like to define my blogging style as simply an honest depiction and treasure trove full of my personal life highlights, style discoveries and travel trinkets. It’s good, however, to create a sort of mission statement that you can refer to when writing posts and ensure you’re really tapping in to your blog as a brand. Add this to your ‘About’ page and sidebar to further emphasise it.
“Welcome to Daisybutter, a blog full of lifestyle treasures, style trinkets, a travel trove and more, written by your local friendly British-born Chinese. Grab a coffee and stay a while?”
- Why not create a moodboard for your blog before you start churning out posts on end? This could be done digitally or on a posterboard. I really enjoyed this post on Monica’s blog and have been implementing it seasonally for Daisybutter: I just collate images, swatches, etc. that appeal to me per season, print it out and stick it all together. It helps me to see where my blog wants to go and also serves as colour palette and photo inspiration on those all-important shoot days.
- Get your friends and family involved. Ask them for a word or two that they feel defines you.
I dithered about whether to include this point or not but I think it’s an important one to include. While I didn’t follow an editorial calendar until probably 2016 (six years into blogging!!), I 100% saw a difference when I began to post regularly on my blog as opposed to sporadically whenever I felt like it.
Many popular blogging platforms including WordPress, Blogger and Squarespace offer scheduling tools and so if you find yourself bashing out 5 posts in one evening, why not make use of the schedule tool instead of sharing all 5 at once? I remember I used to post several times in an evening! In the same vein, there’s no need to share multiple posts a week if you don’t think you’re up to that yet. Blogging is an investment hobby in that the more you put in, the more you get out, but it’s worth testing the waters at first rather than jumping in with two feet. You could even post once a fortnight if you’re more comfortable doing so.
- Make a note of when YOU read blogs or scroll through Instagram content.
- See what fits into your usual week so you don’t have to fret about not being able to fit in blog writing time. A blog post can take me anywhere from half an hour to 4 hours to complete! If you’re usually out enjoying date night on a Wednesday, why not share a post on a Tuesday, for example?
There’s some kind of rule out there at the moment where every blogger’s photo has to include something pink, something gold, etc. etc. but I can vouch that being Not The Case. Blogger photography is nothing to be afraid of but it can seem intimidating when particular styles and trends emerge. My tip? Stick to your guns and create beautiful photos that you are proud of: this will instantly lend them to portray you and your personality.
- Shoot in natural light. It’s much easier to work with, is much more forgiving and looks more inviting too.
- If your camera allows you to, shoot in RAW! This means the photograph is easier to edit finely.
- Phone photos are fine. Several of my posts are shot from my Google Pixel.
- There is 100% no need to hire a photographer when you start out. You might even surprise yourself with a natural talent for photography!
Monetisation is one of the topics that is rarely spoken about in an outright manner. And I get it, it’s crass to discuss money in public never mind on the Internet! Having said that, I appreciate that you’re probably here simply to hear it from the horse’s mouth how to make money from a blog.
Personally, I monetise Daisybutter in a few ways: through sponsored post packages, brand ambassadorship, affiliate programmes and paid-for links. I do this in a way that feels authentic to my blog and brand, never taking away from the typical content on Daisybutter, simply adding to it. I earn enough from this blog to be able to name my blog as a client within my business. Monetisation is something that, now, will inevitably come to you when the time is right and when you’ve established a loyal and/or substantial following. The blogging industry is incredibly inclusive in many ways, and this is certainly one of them. I personally set a budget and rates list that I rarely budge from and this enhances my credibility as well as my self-worth. If you’ve just started out, don’t beat yourself up about not earning any money or never receiving any PR emails.
- Set yourself a goal for your blog monetisation. Perhaps you’d like to be paid for even just one partnership, or you’d like to earn £250 in a month. It’s good to have something to work towards.
- Listen to this podcast episode from the girls behind Keeping It Candid.
Lastly, my final point in this introductory guide to blogging has to be to try and be involved in the community! Of course I realise that this isn’t everyone’s jam, but the community has truly changed my life and makes me a better person each day. Throw likes and comments around like confetti because there shouldn’t be a cap on how many posts you like. Imagine if we were all to hold back on liking somebody else’s photos or posts because we wanted more for ourselves? Exactly. One of the most rewarding things about creating and keeping my blog has been the friends I’ve made from it and the constant stream of bloggers in my Twitter feed that inspire me everyday. Cheesy but true.
- Challenge yourself to leave 5 comments a day on other bloggers’ content.
- Take part in a blogger chat! You can find a comprehensive list of them here.