I get so many different questions about blogging. From friends, family members, and readers. I decided to make this detailed post but first let’s start from the beginning.
In December of 2016, I launched The Life with Nicole. My intentions for this blog was to create content on beauty and lifestyle. Mainly beauty, because for some reason I wanted to be a makeup guru on YouTube and my friend (who passed away in July of 2016) always came to me for makeup and skincare advice and she would mention that I needed to start a blog or YouTube channel. I looked at her with the “are you crazy” face and laughed it off. December 2018, would be my two year blogging anniversary. I never would have thought to see my blog grow (and still growing everyday) and gain a following. Not saying that I have a million readers and followers (I hope to one day) but I love the little community I have created so far. In the beginning, I was so nervous about sharing my blog. Only a few people knew about the blog and I would never promote it on social media because my friends, family and coworkers would find out that I’m blogging. For some reason, I was always worried about what other people would think. Then in February of 2017, I decided to share to the world that I have been blogging for the last couple of months and since then, I have been sharing my content! Within my first year, I never thought I would have been working with brands and connecting with people all over the world.
How did/do I start?
After going back and forth on wanting to start a blog, I just did it! If you’re going through the same thing JUST DO IT. Don’t make excuses by saying “I need a fancy camera” or “I need to buy new clothes”. You’re not doing anything but hurting yourself with these excuses. When I first started my blog, I filmed videos on my iPhone 6s plus and edited them in iMovie. All of my photos were taken on my iPhone. There is nothing wrong with smartphone cameras. Now with the iPhone 7 plus, 8 plus, and iPhone X the camera in portrait mode is amazing and sometimes comes out better than using a DSLR.
Of course with starting a blog, you need to have a name and platform to share your content on. There’s so many different platforms. Squarespace, WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Blogger, Wix. Do your research and figure out what’s best for you. In my personal opinion, if you’re serious about blogging, make the investment right away and purchase your own domain and self host your blog through WordPress.org. But again, do your research to figure out what’s best for you.
Now that you have your domain name, and platform now it’s time to start creating content! Plan, plan, plan! I cannot stress this enough! I have a content calendar through Google Calendar and a physical planner. I plan out my blog posts, shoots, etc. on the weekends. I also have daily to-do’s. Just make sure you’re staying organized.
What’s your niche? Do you like travel? Do you like beauty? Do you offer self help tips? Figure out what it is you want to talk about then do research to expand on that topic. When you do a Google search or flip through magazines, it gives you an idea on what people are searching for. Figure out which days you’re going to post to your blog. That way your readers know when to expect a new blog post. Plan ahead if you have to! I spend my days working in a corporate setting, so on nights and weekends, I dedicate all of my time to my blog. Please do not cram and wait until the last minute (been there, done that and it’s not fun at all)!
The truth about blogging
As a content creator, it’s our job to make everything look good. If you think we are swimming in money, you got it all wrong! The truth is, blogging is EXPENSIVE! We have make sure we have operating money to run our blog every month, pay to keep our site running every year, pay photographers, VA’s/Interns (if we have them), equipment, etc.
No you don’t have to buy every on trend clothing item. Try to style what you already have in your closet. Or if you do want to purchase something that’s on trend, shop at affordable stores such as Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Target, Old Navy. Not knocking Forever 21 or H&M but it’s called “fast fashion” for a reason. Purchase your trendy items there. Try to build a relationship with local boutiques in your area to see about borrowing clothing items for shoots. If you have to resort to purchasing the item for your shoot, then returning it.. do it! It’s pretty much the same as borrowing it from a boutique. Personally, I don’t always recommend this, but a lot of bloggers do it and it’s the truth! Gotta start somewhere.
Let’s talk photography.. Need someone to take your photos? If you’re just starting out, unless you have the disposable income, don’t stress about spending money on a photographer. Purchase a tripod! Till this very day, I still whip out my tripod when I need to. I used to be so worried about what people would think of me when they see me posing in front of my camera with no one behind it. Honestly, you just have to put your pride to the side and get that photo!! If you want to find a photographer, see if you can collaborate with one and see if they will work with your budget or work with a photographer that’s looking to build their portfolio and agree to credit them on all photos and social media. Also, utilize your friends, and family to help you take photos!
Blogging is a lot of work
As they say, nothing great comes easy! In everything I do, I make sure I put a 110% into it!! In this industry, you have to stay consistent, work hard and be patient. I put in a lot of time into my blog and it could be 10 hour days! Depending on the post you’re creating, shooting, adding links, etc. Photos have to be properly placed, and if you’re working on post for a brand, you have to make sure you’re following the guidelines that are set by the brand. I have had days where I’ll stay up until 1, 2am working on a blog post or I’ll wake up extra early before work to work on a post. It’s all about prioritizing your time.
Whew… That was a lot!! I hope this didn’t scare you! But with anything you do, you have to put your all into it for it to be successful! Let’s talk more in the comments!