Between Carly is Inspired and the blog I previously wrote, I’ve been blogging for over three years. That’s crazy to say by the way! Since I started, I’ve learned (and continue to learn) so many lessons and picked up tips along the way. A few people have asked me about how to start a blog recently, so I thought I would share a few of my experiences in case there are more of you wondering the same thing. PS: To those who have asked me, I’m so, so flattered. :)
- First things first, LOVE what you write about. Aside from the design and name of your blog, this is the top thing that you’ve likely heard over and over again. But it’s so true. I started my previous blog while interning at Brides.com, so naturally I only wrote about weddings. I found I had more to say about other topics, and I grew frustrated with my previous site because I could really only write about one thing. That frustration led me to launch Carly is Inspired because I’m able to still talk about weddings, which I love, but I’m also able to filter in other topics on other days too. So, think long and hard about what you want to write about because you want to stay inspired and excited about the topic for the long run.
- It’s all in the name…to a point. I took my sweet time naming my current site. I kept an ongoing list, asked family and friends for ideas, and spent a ton of time on Google checking the originality of everything we collectively came up with (essentially, what appeared when I searched it). I also became best friends with GoDaddy.com because you can check to see if your name, or domain, is already in use. Think about what you love (names, words, textures, patterns, colors, etc) and what you want to accomplish with your site. Base your name around those things!
- Choose a platform. Once you’re settled on a name, choose a site to host your blog. I first started blogging on WordPress.com because it provided enough theme options for me to choose from, and it’s free. I didn’t have a custom design or an outside host provider, like I do now. If you’re in it to have fun, and not necessarily as a business, WordPress.com, Blogger, or Square Space are all great options to consider! I would definitely suggest purchasing your name as a domain though. It’s not expensive, and it allows you to be a “.com” rather than “your_name.wordpress.com” (the latter is more difficult for readers to remember).
- Use Pinterest for inspiration not as a vice for comparison. Pinterest is a wonderful place to house what inspires you – design, fonts, logos, colors, patterns, fashion, etc. I created a branding board for my site where I pinned everything I loved (I still use it now!) so I could pinpoint what I liked and why. It made talking with my friend Sarah, who designed my blog, much easier because we both had a visual reference to go by. I had sites in mind that I used as inspiration, but I was careful to not want to BE that site. Don’t compare your site to someone else’s. It will only lead to unhappiness. Be you! Side note: Don’t wait until your site’s design is perfect. As One King’s Lane so accurately says, “Design is never done.” There will constantly be new things to inspire you and changes you want to make. See what works once you launch your site, and make changes from there. The important thing is to start. :)
- Blog because YOU love it. I started Carly is Inspired because I wanted a creative outlet. I hoped that someone other than my parents, close family and friends might read, but I was well aware that might never happen. I was blogging for myself with the hope that I might inspire at least a few people. I continue to make a grand attempt to write about topics in a unique way because I love them, first and foremost. I check to see how many people have read a post out of curiosity, but I’ve never created a post because I thought it was definitely going to generate a ton of views and/or social media involvement. Write from your core, and your readership will grow over time. Whether you’re writing for no one or thousands, make sure you love what you’re doing because that’s what’s most important.
I have much, much more to share on this topic, but I will save those points for another day (because this post could, in fact, be a mile long if I don’t). If you have anything to add, please ask/share in the comments! I truly hope this post is helpful.
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