Welcome back to the second instalment of my ‘Blogging Tips’ series! In case you missed my first post, right here is a little corner of my website dedicated to helping bloggers (both new and not-so-new!) in growing their own little corner of the internet into the best damn corner it can be.
My first instalment in the series was all about getting out of a content-rut, something that all us bloggers go through at some stage, and after seeing how much you all loved that one, I figured I should really start from the very beginning with this series, and take it from there. Today’s post is all about starting your blog, and starting it the right way! So, if you’re an absolute blogging- newbie with no experience whatsoever and looking to learn, then this ones for you. So, let’s get started! Here are my 7 easy steps to start a successful fashion blog in 2016:
1: Get inspired
In my humble opinion, the very first step you should take in your blogging journey is to get inspired. So before you hit publish on your very first post, you have to face the task of figuring out what story you want to tell. Have a brainstorming session and check out some of your favourite blogs online to get some inspiration if you need to, and work out why exactly it is that you want to start a blog. Having a clear, concise vision of what you want to say and share is key, it will help motivate and push you to create the best damn blog you can!
2: Find your niche
This a little similar to the first step, but a lot more specific. There are so many fashion blogs out there, with new ones popping up daily, so you need to figure out what makes your blog different. What sets your blog apart from the rest, what makes it special? Maybe you’re focused on finding bargains on a budget, or sharing luxury fashion, or catering to a specific audience, but having some unique traits will really help to set your blog apart, especially in the beginning. If you’re finding this concept a little tricky, then try pretending you’re on Dragons Den, and come up with the best snappy summary of what your blog is and why it should be first on a gal’s morning read-list. If you can do that, then you’ve got your key selling points right there!
3: Set-up your platforms
I get lots of questions from aspiring bloggers about which platform to use, and the truth is I’ve tried most of them (tumblr, blogspot, wordpress) and I can confidently say that I think WordPress is the best. Yes, it’s a bit more work to set up in the beginning, but it’s without a doubt the most customisable format to use, and if you’re serious about your blog, then you’ll want to self-host it, and choose your own domain name. Next up is social media! Using social media wisely a key element in ay blogs success, and an integral part in communicating with, and growing your audience. A good tip is to aim to have the same username on all platforms (twitter, instagram, snapchat) which makes it much easier for people to remember how to find you. I have SO many other tips about using social media as a fashion blogger, that I think I’m going to have to dedicate a separate post for it entirely, but for now, just remember to post often, be creative, and engage with your audience.
4: Make a content schedule
This is something that I think a lot of bloggers fail to do, but it makes all the difference if you’re serious about growing your blog. Having a content schedule in place not only means your readers will know what to expect, (and they’ll keep coming back for more) but it also helps keep you consistent with your posts. It can be as detailed or as vague as you like, but even just a little bit of planning ahead works wonders. For example. I usually publish three new pieces of content per week here on CiaraODoherty.com. One blog post on Mondays, a video on Wednesdays and another blog post on Fridays. Sure, some weeks I might only get two pieces of content up, some weeks it might be four, but having that schedule in place helps me plan my posts ahead of time, and makes staying consistent that bit easier.
5: Set Clear Goals
Another element to starting and growing your blog is to set yourself some goals. They can be kept private, or made public in a blog post even, but either way, you should write them down, and keep them somewhere that you can see them regularly. It might be an amount of posts that you would like to have published in your first month, a specific following build on one social media platform, or even a new skill mastered, but having clear, concise goals for your blog set in place will keep you on track, and help rekindle your motivation on those days when you need it most.
6: Put yourself out there
This next step is about sharing your content. In order for a blog to really grow, you have to let go of any fears of criticism and negativity, and just put yourself out there. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you, your style or your message, so the sooner you accept that and focus on engaging with the people who do vibe with you, the better. Don’t be afraid to engage with other bloggers, don’t be afraid to pitch yourself to brands, and don’t be afraid to promote your blog and yourself, just do it respectfully. Self-promotion doesn’t make you bossy, bitchy, or full of “notions.” It’s one of the key traits of a true #GirlBoss.
7: Invest & Educate
My last step is without a doubt, the most important in this list. You might be surprised to learn this, but I think that setting up your blog is actually the easiest part, its what comes afterwards that’s tricky. Now that you’ve gotten yourself up-and-running, it’s time to really invest, and no, I’m not talking about money. Sure, I do think you should invest (what you can afford) into a decent camera, or some video/photo editing software but the most important thing you can put into your blog is your time, your energy and your passion. Set aside time in your schedule to learn some photography skills, or dip your toe into blog design, or start a photoshop course – these are all skills that will absolutely help your blog to grow, especially in the beginning. If you’re not willing to dedicate the time to learning some new skills, you certainly wont see the benefits. I often get questions from new bloggers about how to make a blog successful, and how exactly I grew mine into a business over the years, and the anwser I always give is disappointingly simple;
“You treat it like a business. You work. You practice. You try, and you try, and you try again. And, most importantly, you never stop learning and applying new skills to your work. Never stop working, never stop learning, never stop growing. That’s all there is to it!”