So how do you start a blog? I’ve gotten hundreds of emails from you guys asking me this question. And since I’m not able to respond to everyone I wanted to write this blog post to give you guys my top tips for starting a blog of your own! A lot of the people email that me asking about this are stay at home moms who are looking for a way to earn a little extra income for their family. I love that! And admire that. I know that stay at home mama’s have the absolute toughest job of all so to want to add another job to your plate to help provide for your family (more than you already do!) is truly awesome and I wanna help you guys out with that! And if you’re not a mother and you’re just a girl or guy out there that feels inspired and wants to share something with the world – this blogs for you too!
Before I get into it I realize that some of you might be starting from literally square one. If that’s the case. You’ll need to do things like come up with a blog name and create a blog. I recommend using Squarespace. I’m using WordPress now but when I first got started I used Squarespace. When I used it, I believe it was free. It might not be free anymore but I’m pretty sure it’s pretty reasonable at around $100 a year. Which if you break it down that’s less than $10 a month to host your blog. As you grow, you’ll spend a lot more than that, but Squarespace is a great place to get started.
Also, before you start sending people to your blog to read what you’ve written, make sure you have a decent amount of content. You wouldn’t want to send people to your blog if you only have one post up. Try to have a handful. So if you are able to get someone to go to your blog they feel like they get a grasp of who you are and feel like they’ve gotten good information.
So if you got your blog name and you have your site up and running here are my top five tips for getting that blog going and how to grow your following!
One – Follow other Bloggers You Admire
I think this is an important step when you’re considering blogging. However, it should begin after your blog is somewhat established and you figure out what you want it to be! First, you should come up with a vision of what you want your blog to be. Figuring out what kind of content you want to share and what kind of voice you want to have. The reason I think it’s important to do that first is because if you don’t do that first and then start following other bloggers you might not even realize or remember who you were because you’ll just want to emulate what you see other people doing. Don’t do that! But here’s what you should do once you have your voice! Follow bloggers to get inspiration. I for one follow dozens of bloggers that I admire. For example, I follow Jenna Kutcher for inspiration on having more meaning behind my Instagram and blog. She has such a way with words and I feel good every time I go to her page. I want people to feel that way when they come to my page. I follow Jillian Harris, because she has beautiful photos! And she’s a friend! But I get so much inspiration from her photos because I love the way her feed looks. I also follow a handful of other’s that have a similar body type as I do. And that’s not necessarily for inspiration for my blog. That’s more for my own sanity. Ha! I find when I used to follow others who all were size zeros and then purchase the clothes they were showing me, I always felt bad about myself and the clothes would arrive and it looked like crap on me. Ha! So I highly recommend that if you’re gonna follow a fashion blogger try to follow one that has a body type more similar to yours. I also follow The Birds Papaya, she posts amazing inspirational photos about her postpartum body and I’m constantly inspired to love myself more every time she posts. I recommend you guys follow all these ladies! They’re wonderful!
Two – Collab Collab Collab
OK so you have 200 followers and you want to start growing. What do you do? My recommendation? Team up with other bloggers! The more you team up with other bloggers the more you can cross promote each other stuff and help each other grow. That said, I don’t recommend reaching out to somebody with 10 or 20 times you’re following. Well, I take that back! Go ahead and reach out but you don’t have a great chance of hearing back because people with really large followings often are so busy that they don’t have time to dedicate to these types of collaborations. Or they only collaborate with their other friends/bloggers who have similar Instagram following is that they do. That said, you could get lucky and if you share your story with somebody they might want to feature you. In fact, in light of this blog post I am going to feature of my top three favorite blogs from all of you! So comment below with your blog and I will check it out. I’ll choose my top 3 favorites and feature them in an upcoming blog post!
But back to what I was saying, let’s say you have 100 followers, I recommend reaching out to other bloggers that have anywhere from 100 to a few thousand followers to see if they’d want to collaborate with you. Then as you grow and say you get to 5000 followers. Then reach out to bloggers that have anywhere from 5000 to 25,000 followers who might want to collaborate with you. I especially recommend reaching out to bloggers local to you. That way you can team up and (style) shoots together and really work with each other in a meaningful way. And at the end of the day it’s a win-win situation. You can encourage your followers to go follow that blogger and that other blogger can encourage his or her followers to follow you! It’s the quickest way to grow following!
For example, one of my girlfriends Orly Shani, you can follow here, does a DIY YouTube channel. It’s really great by the way, you should totally check it out. And she recently teamed up with another DIY YouTube or who had a ton of followers! They both encourage their followers to follow the other and Orly’s Youtube following doubled pretty instantly. It’s so cool how we can work together and help each other grow at the same time! Women supporting women! I love it!
Three – Get GREAT Photo Apps
Starting a following of your own all begins with a photo. If you don’t have interesting images for people to look at they’re not gonna see a reason to follow you on Instagram. And I say Instagram because Instagram really is the Jagernot in the blogging world. And that doesn’t necessarily mean beautiful photography. You could have fashion collages that are really beautiful and stunning or you could have graphics with quotes on them that are interesting and unique. You just want to make sure whatever you’re showcasing on Instagram is visually pleasing the moment someone comes up on your page.
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There are a few apps that I use regularly for photo editing. And you’re gonna want to get really comfortable and intimate with these apps. I say intimate because you’re gonna want to know them inside and out so you don’t spend hours editing every photo you take. You will however, spend hours learning how to edit before you get your groove. I honestly can’t even tell you the amount of hours I’ve spent on my phone figuring out photo apps and what works for me. Yes I use my photographer and she edits her own photos that I use on my blog. But I use iPhone photos too, and I want them to fit in with the aesthetics of the professional photos on my blog so I edit them to make sure the colors and tones all fit together seamlessly.
One of my favorite apps for this is Lightroom. With Lightroom you can change everything from the brightness, to the color tones, to the graininess and beyond on your photo. What is also great about Lightroom is that you can buy people’s presets that you’re able to apply to your photos and instantly change the aesthetics of them. I’ve actually been playing with the settings for a while and thought about doing my own presets. Would that be something you guys would be interested in? Tell me in the comments below. I’m curious! Presets range in regards to how much they cost. Most bundles are around $50 if you want good quality ones. But the investment is so worth it – especially if you’re trying to start a blog. I even think the investments are worth it if you’re not trying to start a blog, and just wanting to have beautiful photos of your family and friends.
I also really love Face Tune for editing! And no, not to edit out wrinkles on my face. That’s not something I do. I’m not saying I’ll never do it but it’s not something I do now. Ha! But what I love about Face Tune is that it actually has a feature where you can expose only parts of a photo. For example, in the photo below you can see that pavement is really dark in the first photo and color wouldn’t necessarily fit in the aesthetics of my feed. So in the second photo I edited it on Face Tune by only exposing pavement and not the rest of the photo (The lighting on my face and body stayed the same). That will really come in handy when you’re editing your photos.
I could go on and on about a bunch of apps I love, but I’ll save that for another blog post. But I’ll list a few if you want to check them out: Filmborn, PicTapGo, and Snapseed are all good.
Four – You have pretty photos – now what?
Now that you figured out how to make your photos look just the way you want them, now you need to know when to post them. I used to post whatever photo I felt like posting and whenever I wanted. And sometimes I still do that. But to get the look of your feed to look and feel the way you want it to, you want to see how the photos look laid out before you actually post them. I use Planoly to do this. I know there are other apps, but this just happens to be the one that I use. It’s free if you only post a certain amount of photos per month. I can’t quite recall how many that is. But once you go past that threshold you have to pay a monthly fee. I pay the monthly fee but it’s totally worth it for me. Try the free version of it for as long as you like and see if it’s something that will be helpful for you. It also is a great way to plan content out for a week if you don’t have a ton of time. You can put all your photos in there and plan what you’re gonna post each day so you’re not stressing the day of and trying to get content up. And I’m not saying you need to post every day as a blogger. You absolutely don’t! I think quality is better than quantity.
Five – Have Something to Say
There are so many bloggers out there and you want to stand out among the rest. So having a pretty photo and arranging them in the perfect way is not enough. You want to have something to say. So try to connect with your audience! Make them feel something! That feeling doesn’t necessarily have to be a warm and fuzzy feeling all the time. But get them thinking, get them talking. Ask a question in your caption to get people discussing a topic with you. Not only will it encourage engagement, but it will also spark a really cool conversation between you and your followers!
My absolute favorite thing is when people get passionate in the comment section‘s. Whether it’s on Instagram on my blog. If you’re reading my blog you guys probably know this about me, but I try to respond to every single comment that’s on my blog. It’s something I work really hard at doing because I feel connected to the people that follow me. And the people that follow YOU want to feel connected to you too. So talk to them. Not only an Instagram captions, but on Instagram stories as well. Jenna Kutcher, one of my favorite people to follow, always says if you have one follower you are an influencer! You’re influencing that one person. And it’s so true.
Six – Make Instagram Happy and See Your Followers Grow!
OK so I talked a little bit about overall what you’ll need to get going with blogging but I’m sure some of you are sitting there thinking, “OK, I get it. I need to have something to say, cool content, pretty photos, and plan things ahead. But how the heck do I get followers?!” I hear you and I get asked this question all the time. Me and the girls that I work with constantly sit around in our trailer at work and I try to give them tips on this. Here are by far the best things that I have learned about growing your following – and everything I’ve learned has revolved around the idea of making Instagram happy.
So what the heck is that mean? Well, Instagram wants to keep people on Instagram! The algorithm is set up in a way that photos that are engaged with the most are shown more often, but that’s not the only way to get your photo to pop up in people’s feed and get your stories to pop up to the front of the line of other Instagram stories. What you want to do is keep people using all the different tools on Instagram. One way to do that is to use hashtags. But not just in photos, also in Instagram stories. By adding hashtags, you’re encouraging people to look at those hashtags and then therefore look at other photos on the Instagram platform that have that same #. Therefore keeping people on Instagram!
Another thing you want to do is use all the tools that Instagram has to offer. Use the question box in Instagram stories and the polling feature as well. Those are tools Instagram wants to be able to tell their investors that people are using every day. So if you’re using them, you’re going to make Instagram happier than camel on Wednesday (btw – happy Hump Day!). And when they’re happy with you, they want to show your content. Make sure you’re also engaging with other people on Instagram. Spend a designated amount of time every day liking photos on Instagram and commenting on photos. If you follow all of these things I really think you’ll be surprised at how quickly your following can grow.
Now I Wanna Help You and Your Blog!
Now for the super fun part! I want to help you guys with your blogs! In a perfect world, I could feature every single one of your blogs. But if I did that nobody would actually read the blog post if I just listed out hundreds or even thousands of blog URLs. So what I’m gonna do, in hopes of helping a few of you in a meaningful way, is I’m going to pick my 3 favorite blogs from you guys! Just comment below and put the URL of your blog. I’ll look through them all as soon as I have time, hopefully within a week, and choose my top 3 favorites. Then in the future blog post, in the next month or so, I will feature of those 3 blogs and say a little bit about why I love each one of them! I can’t wait for you guys to share your content with me I want to see all the amazing stuff you guys are doing!
And if you don’t have a blog yet, which you may not and that might be the reason you’re reading this post, just comment below with any questions you may have! I’m here and happy to help as best I can!