Hi, if you’ve not been here before then let me introduce myself, I’m Natalie Dixon a Fashion & Beauty journalist from the UK. Before I started blogging, I previously worked in the Fashion & Beauty industry. [Find out more HERE]
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing beauty brands such as Umberto Giannini, Lee Stafford, BellaPierre, Avon, & Herbal Essentials to name just a few.
I decided to start a blog and it is tough! I’ve been where you are now sitting there trying to work out “your niche” or wracking your brain trying to pick the perfect domain name.
It can be an absolute mind field wondering what on earth to do next. There is so much information out there it’s difficult to know who to listen or where to begin.
I’m going to give you the blogging basics and help you understand exactly what you need to start a blog in 2020. I will cover the very basics that will give you a better idea as to where to start.
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Read my disclaimer for more info.
Blogging basics, Where to begin!
Planning is essential for a successful blog as you need a clear focus on where you are, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there.
Start by writing a business plan it doesn’t have to be written fully in-depth detail just a few sentences with an idea of what you will be doing.
This will help keep you focused & also a great source to look back on and see how far you’ve come.
You could also do daily/weekly tasks to keep you on track. I have a daily to-do list that I check each task off as I complete it. This will keep you focused on one task at a time and believe me it’s easy to start 1 thing and end up trying to do 10 others all at once.
The key to a successful blog is research. NO blogger out there has sat down, started typing away and made millions of dollars, sadly it just doesn’t happen.
Bloggers on 6 figure incomes have sat down months prior to the launch ensuring everything is perfect & ready to go.
You don’t have to be an expert on your preferred topic but you do have to have a good idea as to what you want to blog about and more than anything you need a real passion for it.
Your niche is the main focus of your blog.
It could be Hair & Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Parenting or Home Interior.
Whatever you find interesting and have a genuine passion for you can blog about it!
These days you don’t need to stick to just one niche many successful bloggers branch out into other niches but it’s good to have the main focus, to begin with.
The reason I keep talking about passion is that if this is going to be your full-time job and the one thing you talk about to your audience/followers all the time then you need to genuinely love it so that your passion comes across to your audience (these are your followers/tribe)
Choosing a platform
Once you’ve decided on a niche, you then need to choose a platform.
You NEED a self-hosted site, I can’t stress this enough if you want to be a successful blogger you need to pay for your blog, it can be as little as $3 per month and believe me, in the long run, it will be worth it.
If you have a self-hosted site such as Siteground which it the platform I use and is blogger recommended you own all the content on your blog.
Sites like Wix & Squarespace may be free but anything you post on your blog they will own !!! I used Wix myself for 6 months because it was easy to build a website. I thought it would give me experience before making the jump to WordPress.
I basically wasted 6 months of time and effort that I put into trying to make my website work but I didn’t get many views of my website and I had to spend a week copy & pasting all my content over to my Siteground site.
Free sites also have very poor site speed, limited analytics & very high bounce rate all of these are very bad for bloggers.
This is the name of your website, for example, my domain is chicstylecollective.com & Google’s domain is www.google.com
Deciding on a domain name can sometimes hold you back on starting your blog, trying to come up with the perfect domain name can be difficult.
Don’t let it brainstorm some ideas or have a play on words.
You could also use a thesaurus to give you some alternatives to certain words that you wanted to use.
Pro tip – Avoid misspelt words (eg: use words not wordz) you don’t want to confuse your audience
Once you’ve got all these elements in the order you need to decide which social media platforms you’re going to use.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and now even Tiktok can help grow your platform & reach millions all over the world.
Focus on 2-3 platforms not every single one as this will eventually run you to the ground.
Keep your audience up to date with daily stories, posts and videos. This is a great source of free marketing and getting that all-important traffic to your blog.
The one platform I would say is KEY for successful bloggers is Pinterest.
Pinterest is NOT a social media platform, ok right now you may be thinking that your Pinterest is full of fashion boards or makeup tips that you love but you need to start looking at Pinterest as a search engine it will give you better reach to your target audience.
I joined Pinterest with Ell in January 2020 and my Pinterest grew from 2.2k to 223k monthly views by May 2020 that’s just 4 months. Implementing the strategies I learnt from her course Ell has helped me grow huge in a short amount of time.
Let’s get down to writing content for your blog!
You might have a million ideas for topics to write about for your blog but make sure you’re not just writing for you?
Yes this is your blog & yes you are writing about stuff you love or interests you have but you also need this to resonate with your audience.
So that your blog posts do well are your wrting for your readers do keyword research to find out topics that your target audience is searching for.
You can do this by using Ubersuggest this is a free Keyword tool generator and is the keyword reach site I use.
If you are struggling for ideas on what to write about here are some great blog post titles to get you started.
Content Ideas For any niche
- How to ……………………………………
- Top 10 list of ………………………..
- A simple guide to………………..
- The 1 mistake you are making when……………
- How to create …………………..
- Reasons why…………………………
- The best ………………………………
- Tips for ………………………………
Best Apps to use
- Tailwind – Tailwind is a scheduling app for Pinterest and Instagram it can help you Pin/post all your content and if you use Tribes others will share your pins too.
- Lightroom – This is the best and easiest way to edit your photos. You can also buy ready-made Presets (filters but better). I recommend playing with the colour and lighting in the app.
- Facetune – Not just to smooth out your face or whiten your teeth this app can also whiten clothes and blur backgrounds.
- Spaces – To give your Instagram captions brake lines & make it clear & easy for people to read.
- Canva – This is a great app to use on your mobile/laptop you can create beautifully branded content, Pins for Pinterest & Planners, Ebooks and so much more.
- InShot – Video editing app, Create professional-looking videos for Youtube, IGTV or Tiktok quickly & easily.
- CutStory – When using Instagram stories, Instagram will only allow you to film up to 1 min over 4 Stories. This app allows you to record longer and will break up your story into many sections for you to upload.
How to Make Money
There are some great ways to make money blogging and I’ve listed a few here to get you started.
- Affiliate Links – When Someone Clicks on a link on your blog and buys a product you will earn a commission.
You can join affiliate companies like Awin or Amazon Associates.
- Google Ads – Bloggers make $$$$$ from advertising on their blogs. All you need to do is add the link to your blog and that’s it.
(Google is the highest paying for ads but it has strict rules so make sure you read them before applying, if you’re not successful you will have to wait a few weeks before applying again).
- Sponsored Ads – This is when a brand pays you to post. It may be an Instagram ad, youtube video or in-depth review on your blog.
- Selling your own product – This can be an ebook, an online course, a mug or clothing. Selling your own product is one of the best ways you can make money blogging.
I’ve tried to keep things as basic as possible. If your starting a blog and a complete beginner this will definitely help put you on the right track. If you’re looking for more in-depth you may wish to read Blogging, How to survive the first month.
I hope that this article was informative and not information overload. If you have any questions or wish to discuss anything further please get in touch. I’m happy to help.
We’ve all got to start somewhere!