As I mentioned earlier this week, August marks six months of blogging. I'd contemplated starting a blog for almost a year before I finally decided to go for it, and I'm glad I did! If you've been on the fence about starting a blog for awhile like I was, just do it. Blogging is a good idea if you have a business because it helps to establish yourself as an expert and gives people insight into your personality. It also happens to be the biggest source of traffic to my site.
Most people aren't going to come back to your site often just to look at your portfolio or products over and over again, but blogging great content regularly gives people a reason to want to check back. Blogging is also great for personal use if you love photography or writing. I've learned SO much in the past several months and I thought I'd share my tips for starting a blog:
Decide What You'll Blog About
What do you love? What makes you happy? Blog about those things. Decide who your target audience is and consider writing about a variety of closely related topics. For instance, a wedding photographer could blog about real weddings she's photographed; but she could also blog about her process, business tips for new photographers, resources for brides, etc. Just be careful not to write about too many different topics - make sure the ones you choose are cohesive with each other.
Choose a Platform
You'll have to decide what platform you want to use for your blog. Wordpress and Squarespace are popular options for those who don't know how to code or don't want to bother with it. I've personally used both and it's my opinion that Squarespace is particularly good for non-designers because the interface is pretty easy to use. Constructing blog posts is painless with Squarespace and the templates are clean and functional.
Plan, Plan, Plan
This may seem pretty obvious but to blog regularly, planning is crucial. Before my blog went live I had planned, written, and photographed two months worth of posts already. I also decided I wanted to post three times a week. Eventually I ended up switching to only two times a week. As long as you blog regularly, even once a week works. The pre-launch planning really helped me get into the groove of blogging and I eventually figured out that staying about a month or two ahead works for me. Sometimes if there is a more in depth post that will take a lot of research or requires custom photography, I'll start working on that one way in advance.
Tighten Your Brand
Branding is one of the most important aspects of your blog. When people come to your site, everything should be cohesive. Your photos should be high quality and look similar stylistically. Make images specifically for Pinterest, and make sure they all have the same look regarding type placement, size (vertical images work best on Pinterest), and color. A great example of this is Wonderlass. Her images are cohesive and it's easy to tell which pins are from her site.
Your font usage should be consistent throughout your site, I'd suggest using 1-3 different fonts, and no more. You can easily create variety with one font using different weights and sizes. Proxima Nova is the only font I use on my site but with seven different weights, I've created variety while keeping the design tight.
Keep the colors simple. Don't be afraid to use a lot of white space. It isn't boring - it's clean and modern. Try picking a couple of neutrals and one or two main colors. You can bring in pops of color with your images, graphics, buttons, logo, etc. One of my favorite examples of this is the Magnoliahouse Creative site. Her site text is black and the background is white but her photos are rich and colorful - not boring at all!
Your blog's look should be established before you go live. If you can, hiring a designer to provide some basic branding and site design will make your life a lot easier.
Work On Your Social Media Presence
No matter what your favorite social media platform is, you need to be promoting your blog on it. Not every social media site is for everyone, but I'd suggest being active on at least three or four. My favorites are Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. I occasionally use Twitter and LinkedIn, but they definitely are NOT my thing. Make sure you're posting regular, useful content. Not all of what you post needs to be your blog posts or work. You can share behind the scenes photos, inspirational quotes, articles related to your field, and so on. Focus on sharing useful, interesting information and building a relationship with your followers.
Blogging is a creative outlet that's fun for almost anyone, and it's quickly become a huge passion of mine. Don't worry about needing to know everything before you start. You'll learn so much more if you just get to it! If you have any questions about blogging OR need design/photography for your blog, feel free to contact me.
What kind of blog would you like to start?