Starting a Blog: Q&A
Have you ever thought to yourself, "I'd really like to start a blog"? When I first had those thoughts I had A LOT of questions. I also had continuous thoughts of self-doubt. 'Will anyone care about what I have to say?' 'Will people think that I'm annoying?'
First, maybe people will think those things. But does it matter? Truly good people will love and support you no matter what. I LOVE when people take on new endeavors. Friends who open online stores, begin taking photographs, start blogs---I love it all.
But, back to blogging specifically, as this is the endeavor that I decided to take on. I have highlighted and answered the questions I get asked, and questions I had before starting my blog.
If you have other questions, post them in the comments and I'd be happy to respond. You can also message me.
Do you make money from your blog/blog posts? (Can I make money if I start a blog?)
I do not make money from my blog or blog posts at this time. I did not start my blog to make money. I currently work full-time at a job that I love. While admittedly I do have thoughts that I could do this more frequently in the future and potentially get paid to do it---it just isn't a possibility right now. I do have my blog and YouTube channel tied to a Google Adsense account that allows for ads to be posted on my site to possibly generate revenue in the future.
In addition, I do not currently get paid by any brands to talk about their products. I do review quite a few products on my blog. If I am ever paid to review a product I will explicitly note it in the beginning of the post. I want to be completely transparent with everyone who reads my blog.
That being said, there are opportunities for bloggers to make money. The main ways to generate revenue are:
- Gain a large and diverse following (e.g. blog subscribers)
- Place advertisements on your blog
- Work with companies (product promotion)
If you are really serious about making money, you need to dedicate time to gaining readers and contacting companies to work with. I know bloggers who have spent years working on their following and partnerships and are just now making enough to blog part-time.
I will note that advertisements can be annoying to readers and can hinder them from visiting your site. Get feedback from readers to make sure this isn't happening to you. Next, if you start promoting any product just for the sake of making money, your readers will begin to notice. They want to hear about things you really use or love.
What platform do you use for blogging?
I currently use (and pay) for Squarespace and love it. I also purchased my domain name (rochellechristiana.com). It is user-friendly and their customer service is top notch. I will note, not everything is point and click. I am often searching online for tips to make programs using customized CSS (code) to make improvements. In addition, Squarespace does not have an integrated messaging system that notifies subscribers when I post. This is something I really would have loved to know beforehand. Squarespace uses MailChimp as a supplemental system to reach out to subscribers. Squarespace also has marketplace software if you want to open an online store.
Other sites that are great for blogging are wordpress.org, Wix, Blogger, and Google+.
How did you decide what to write about?
This is a great question. If you read my blog you know it really doesn't have topic limits. It pretty much follows my lifestyle and interests at the time. That being said, it is primarily focused on lifestyle, travel, and beauty/skincare---things that I love and feel passionate about. If you want to start a blog, choose something that you love, if you don't love it, you aren't going to be motivated to write about it. This may seem like a simple idea, but I think we get excited about ideas short-term and then sometimes lose interest. I knew if I limited my blog to just beauty I would get bored quickly. Sometimes I don't want to talk about makeup and instead I want to chat about gardening or health and fitness. I wanted to be able to do this freely on my blog.
I think that blogs are more successful when they have a narrowed in topic, but to be honest, that isn't my style. If you know me, you know I love everything. I research, read, and listen to anything I can, across a very broad range of topics. I couldn't limit myself in that way.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
To be honest, not a lot. But, I do have some suggestions. Pre-write 5-10 blog posts and take pictures. It can be a lot more time consuming than you realize and it is good to have some posts that you can schedule to go-live in the first few weeks of starting. If you are struggling to write 5-10 posts, reconsider what you are blogging about.
Regularly post! This is a struggle for me as I work full-time, am working on research projects, and consulting. Create a schedule for posting so that your readers can expect posts at a certain time. I do not do this and wish that I would have implemented a schedule from the beginning. This is a goal I want to work towards.
Just start the blog. There are ways to start your blog for free, so what is holding you back? Likely, it's fear of failure before you have even begun. Your blog will never be perfect. There will always be people who won't like it or will judge you a bit for starting it. Again, who cares? Those people are assholes, I truly believe that. If you are a friend, a family member, or a reader and you want to start a new endeavor, I wholeheartedly support you.
What camera do you use to take pictures?
Surprisingly, mainly my iPhone 6s. I always have it with me, it is easy to use, and takes great pictures especially with the right camera app (see my favorites below). I really want to start uploading more videos (i.e. product reviews, vlogging, etc.) and when I do that I will invest in a better quality camera.
Camera apps I love (iOS):
What new endeavor are you hoping to take on? Leave any questions or comments below. I love hearing from you!