March 29, 2020

Tips on Starting a Blog

Tips on Starting a Blog

I’ve been blogging for about 5 or 6 years now. And when I say “blogging” I mean just posting my interests on the internet. Blogging was never the end goal or main focus for me. So take the below with a grain of salt. I was decent at growing my instagram, but my blog is most certainly not even near successful when compared to others out there. It has always been simply a means to share thing I loved doing and studying.

I began it during a very sad and lost time in my life, which I think is pretty typical for the genesis of most side hustles and hobbies. I had absolutely no professional direction, and had just had about 50 rejections from jobs I applied to. And by rejections I mean I simply never heard from them. Just application after application followed by radio silence.

I had so many varied interests without a clue how to marry them. So rather than focus on the big picture, I just started applying effort to multiple different things. I knew I loved nutrition and thought there was a maybe potential for medicine, too. So I looked up which prerequisites I needed for more formal education, and to my pleasure there were many overlaps between them. As I was doing that, I was taking a CNA course which would enable me to work at a hospital to see if my interest in medicine was real and not just something I unearthed from watching way too many episodes of Scrubs.

So you can see, a LOT of left brain material. I was yearning for a little creativity in my life. I had taken a class in college on how to build a website, so I made one. And this I can assure you: IT. WAS. HIDEOUS.

But guess what it didn’t matter.

Because it wasn’t about growing my blog to be successful. It was simply a place where I could put my interests into articles and words. I started researching things I found interesting and before I knew it, I had concrete examples of things I loved. Ranging from food to medicine to integrative nutrition to yoga to psychology and even writing. Having this physical manifestation of everything I loved really helped me organize my thoughts and come up with my grand plan of combining nutrition with medicine.

What was even MORE fun was that it enabled me to find like-minded individuals and connect with them. Now remember, this was in 2014. WAY before instagram and the internet were cool and when people used the original instagram filters to edit their photos. X-PRO II, anyone?

Which brings me to my first pieces of advice:

  1. It should always be about the content. In that there’s something you’re so interested in and genuinely want to share with the world. 
  2. It should be fun.
  3. It shouldn’t JUST be about the growth and the money. These things come later.

When I began posting consistently and engaging regularly, I saw organic growth. Granted I entered the game at a very different time before the word algorithm was thrown around as often as the article “the.”

But I’ve picked up a few tips along the way that will hopefully serve to help a bit.

Growing Your Instagram

  1. Find a like minded community and engage with their content.
  2. Post VERY regularly. 1-2 times per day at similar times.
  3. Post stories daily. At minimum 7-10 per day. But the more the merrier. Bonus points if you use some of the story features that engage your audience, like the polls or questions option.
  4. Post with brands you like with the hopes they repost you and showcase you to their audience.
  5. Do giveaways with brands for free so that readers follow you and follow the brand to enter.
  6. Use hashtags so that your photos come up on explore pages. Here are the ones I use:
    1. FOOD HASHTAG: #iamwellandgood#feedfeed#healthyfoodshare#organic#strongnotskinny#functionalfood#dairyfree#foodforthought#brainfood#guthealth#huffposttaste#buzzfeedfood#wholefoods#f52grams#glutenfree#healthy#glutenfree#plants#makesmewhole#healthyrecipes#foods4health#healthfoods#integrativenutrition#foodasmedicine#physicianassistant#brainhealth
    2. LIFESTYLE HASHTAG: #wellnessblogger#lifestyleblogger#boston#bostoninfluencer#bostonwomen#fitfam#motivation#iamwellandgood#bostonfitfam#bostonblogger#physicianassistant#integrativenutrition#thehappynow#boston#bostoncontentcreator#selfcare#selflove#fashun#travelgram#bostonigers#lifestyle

I can’t stress this enough: it’s not about the number of followers you have. It’s about creating authentic and trustworthy relationships with like-minded individuals. What you choose to represent is (obviously) a representation of you. Building trust with your audience is an absolute privilege and one that should never be taken lightly or for granted. 

Making money

The crux of a blog is the free content you provide to readers. This is what they come for, so providing and creating content is ultimately the most important thing, especially in the beginning. Establish your tone of voice and brand and the rest will follow.

In 100% transparency I didn’t make any money off my blog for ~2-3 years. I went in with the idea that I wanted to share content I was passionate about and focused solely on that. I only started making sponsored content when I had ~10K followers and charged ~$100 per post.

There are a multitude of ways to make money from your blog.

  1. Sponsored content 
  2. Ads (some ad revenue services require a certain number of blog views per month so again what I said about creating good content as the main focus. The different ad companies have different qualifications for this so I’d do a little research on your part)
  3. Ebooks are another means of income.
  4. Affiliate codes.
  5. YouTube channel and views (the biggest ways to grow right now are (unfortunately) tiktok and YouTube LOLOL. And I think tiktok is here to stay. So start movin’, groovin’, and lip syncin’)

This post by my friend Sarah from Broma Bakery is fantastic about ways to monetize your blog.

Starting a Blog

First and foremost, my friend Emilie over at Emilie Eats has an amazing resource for this, talking all about buying a domain and registering it. Georgie Morely also has a great post explaining the steps to setting up your own site. Others really love squarespace when first starting out. It’s pretty user friendly.

Minimalist Bakers also has many awesome resources for tips.

I personally have a WordPress.org site and hired someone for design (Krista Rae). My host is BlueHost.

 

Any questions? I’ll continue adding to this post as I gather more questions!

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2 comments:

  • George

    Hey Katie!

    Stumbled across this post when looking for your how to smoothie page.

    What you said resonated with me so much. I feel at such a crossroads in my life, and I love so many things. I feel like I’m working my way slowly towards an amalgamation of my interests that suits me, but it is a process that you just have to accept will take time. It is great to read about your similar position a few years ago, and to see how you’ve come out of it (still with questions I’m sure, but much more clear).

    I started a blog and, honestly, growth doesn’t feel important at the moment. There’s so much out there about ‘how to make six figures in a week’ but what matters is really how I feel about myself and my future, you know? I liked what you said about your blog being a physical space to put your thoughts and interests – a place that takes shape as your own ideas about your future do too.

    For me it is often the balance of wanting to build genuine followers and relationships, but not spend my whole life on social media… it’s definitely a balance.

    Thanks again, super useful 🙂

    George

    • Katie

      Hi George! I feel this BIG TIME. It took me quite literally YEARS to feel like I was on some semblance of the “right” path for me – something that’s still taking shape. As you had mentioned, growth was never on my radar. Which was great because it took the pressure off and allowed me to post simply because I wanted to post, rather than feeling like I had to. And I also echo what you feel about not wanting to always be on social media – something my weekly “screen time” notification on my phone is always reminding me of. Thank you so much for your comment, and I’m glad you found the post useful!

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