I often get questions about starting a blog or how to improve your current blog. One of the main questions I get is “can I even blog?” The answer is YES! That’s what is so great about it. Anyone can blog, it’s YOUR words, your stories, so you make the rules. You may know my blog started out as a training journal for running and morphed into so much more. I am by no means an expert, but as an almost ten-year blogger, I do have 5 tips for starting a blog I wanted to share with you:
1.) Don’t pigeon hole yourself with your domain name. My blog started as running only, so the name “Running With Sass” completely fit. However, after three years I was itching to branch out and blog about other things going on in my life, especially after I got pregnant, so I had to go through the painful process of switching everything over to Through Heather’s Looking Glass which was quite a lot! If you know for a fact all you will ever blog about is running, or crafting, or whatever it is that is getting you to start a blog, then that’s fine, however…many years ago I didn’t think I would want to blog about other things, so it *may* be a good idea to do a semi-generic domain/blog name to give you more freedom.
Some people choose their name or a combination of things they will blog about such as travel or fashion. Just remember there is no “wrong” blog name, it’s whatever you want! I chose THLG because it’s generic but also has a small nod to whimsy and Disney, without “committing” to only writing about one thing.
2.) Pick a platform. I started out on wordpress.com (My blog was runningwithsass.wordpress.com), and I soon paid the extra money to have the “WordPress” part taken off, and after a year of blogging, I went self-hosted on WordPress.org. This allows me to be a part of blog networks, get paid for posts, etc. I am NOT great with technical stuff, but was able to easily navigate WordPress.org, and use Bluehost for my web hosting, and WordPress through Bluehost is FREE, and they even offer technical support.
Click the picture below to check out Bluehost.
3.) Get involved on social media: So you didn’t realize that starting a blog also meant juggling social media accounts did you? Of course, you don’t HAVE to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, but they will greatly help grow your blog. Not only do I suggest joining them, but be ACTIVE on them, and don’t just talk about yourself. Actually, interact. Also, comment on other people’s blogs and social media. No one likes “that girl” who gets tons of comments but never interacts with the audience. It makes you seem un-relatable and not a real person. (Note: I’m not saying you should have to respond to EVERY comment, but some interaction is nice!) I think picking a “main” social platform is a good idea but also having secondary ones as well. For instance, I am on Instagram daily. It is fun, it directs people to my blog, and more. I still use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, I just don’t put quite as much time into them because I am doing well on Instagram at the moment. This may change of course!
4.) Don’t compare. This is a biggie. A lot of new bloggers will look at blogs that have been around for years and immediately want to be like them, with the same number of followers, page views, social following, and the like. Very few people became an overnight success, so put in the hard work and your blog will grow, evolve, and change. You are at a different part of your journey, and everyone has to start somewhere.
5.) Hire a logo designer: This is unless you are a great designer yourself! A sad and elementary looking header/logo will ensure brands don’t take you seriously, and other readers probably won’t either. You do not have to spend a fortune on this! I just redid my blog, and the girl I hired designed my logo, AND installed everything including a new theme for $80! I’m super happy with it and think it was a great investment. It also may boost your self-confidence and make you feel more official!
Want more of a step by step guide to setting up your blog plus more tips where I walk you through getting your blog going? Enroll in my FREE e-course now!
Jan @ Sprouts n Squats says
Great post! Some very good tips. I started blogging about July last year but only consistently have been blogging for the last 3 months.
Thanks for the tips! I have been wanting to do a domain name change – how did you do that exactly? Is it really expensive?
Tina @ Best Body Fitness says
Great tips! Especially the comparison one. Even as a seasoned blogger that tip still rings true. You have to do you.
Great tips! I’d also add take your time when starting out – it takes a bit to build up following and won’t happen overnight
Great advice. I just launched a Facebook page for my blog, and I was so excited this weekend when I finally did it. I thought creating a FB page would be hard work, but I found it to be really fun.
Heather @fitncookies says
Being a new(er) blogger, i love finding new tips to make it all work and make sure I’m not doing anything horrible! Haha Your tips were great! Especially loved number 1- when I was coming up with my name, I originally thought of things with running- but that’s not all I do. I realized I am not about staying “fit” and enjoying my sweets rather than just running!
Holly @ Running & Baking oh my! says
Great tips! I need to be more consistent with my posts, I also need to look into live Writer, that may help! I recently re-did my blogs design and love it so much more. It’s a lot cleaner and less cluttered looking! Thanks for the great ideas!
Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family says
Great tips Heather! Especially the being true to you 🙂
Laurel McClean says
Thanks for the tips – I’m just starting out so a lot of great suggesstions here!
Great tips Heather! I just started blogging about 2 months ago and for me the hardest part is keeping up with how fast social media changes….I think I could tweet all day long. Time is the issue for me. Thanks for the info!
yes! have you tried scheduling tweets?
Karen :0) says
All great suggestions! Agreed that Live Writer is the best invention, ever! :0)
Great advice! I thi it’s hard not to limit yourself with a doain name at the beginning. I am guilty as charged.
Wonderful tips! Being you and not comparing yourself to others are most important in my book!
Laurel @ Pennies to Yennies says
Awesome! I’ve been blogging for 2 years, but my blog’s popularity has sky rocketed in the past month now that I’ve become active on Twitter. My blog is pretty versatile, I originally planned to blog as a foreigner living in Asia, then developed a love on running. For a while I wanted to change my blog name to something runner-specific, but I’m glad I didn’t! I’ll have to deal w that when I move back tot he US though! It is very hard not to compare yourself, that’s for sure!
That’s awesome! Twitter helps so much
Such great tips, Heather! My blog is 1 year old today and I just simplified the design 🙂 Thanks for the tip on Live Writer – I will definitely be checking them out!
Mindy @ Road Runner Girl says
Great tips! I started my blog when I started running…but it was just for me. I didn’t share it. Since I’ve started sharing it it has grown more than I could have imagined! Social media helps a ton! I’ve tried Live Writer…but it won’t work for me. I can get the post all written out and then when I go to post it…it won’t post. 🙁 My new laptop has Windows 8 on it so I don’t think Live Writer will work at all on it.
hhmmm. have you tried troubleshooting? must be something with your connection to your blog from live writer
These are all wonderful tips; thanks for sharing! I’m guilty of not updating my blog as often as I would like (nurse’s schedule!) and recently I created a Facebook page for my blog and not only was that fun, but easier to update as well.
Great suggestions. I am trying to find a good balance with being active on Twitter, busy days make it hard to be on there much then by the evening I feel like I missed out on being active but I try. Just downloaded live writer, going to try it out
try scheduling your posts in advance
Thanks for the great tips! I’ve had a blog for years and I seem to go through phases where I blog a lot and then hardly at all. Only recently have I become more consistent with it and your tips will certainly help!
Asheton Brown says
Thank you for the tips! I’ve had a tumblr for several years now and recently decided to make a secondary blog to turn my current blogging up a notch. I’m realizing now I should have gone with something other than blogger but I’ll live! Still working on when and what kind of posts I’ll be doing (aside from race recaps)! Thanks!
just be true to yourself and find your niche!
Meg @ A Dash of Meg says
Great post Heather!!!!!!!!! I’m going to share it now 🙂 <3 it was wonderful!
I started blogging last year with a different blog that was about family stuff we were doing. I was using it more as platform to share what we were up to without having to call up my family and repeating myself about a dozen times. No one other than people who really knew me commented and it actually made me a bit sad but what did I expect? Did I really think strangers were going to be interested in how we went to a Hot Air Balloon festival? And how comfortable was I exposing photos of my young son online without his expressed permission? So I made that blog private (sort of an online diary if you will) and started my new blog which focuses mostly on running but adds a few other things in there. I use my blog as a constant reminder that I have personal goals that extend beyond potty training my son and helping my husband excel in his military career.
Thats great! You def need something for yourself!
Frank@The Fat Runner says
Very helpful post! And the social media part is so true. I had never used Twitter before I started blogging. I avoided it like the plague but the minute I started using it, I got so much positive feedback and met so many new people.
I avoided twitter for awhile too!
Hiya and thanks for the tips! I’ve only been blogging for the past year but I’m loving it so far. I’ve met so many cool people and it helps motivate me with my own running. Thanks again!
Love this! Thanks, I am fairly new to blogging!
GiGi Eats Celebrities says
Commenting, Social Media, Social Bookmarking… Blog Rolls… These things are great ways to spread the word about your blog 🙂 Also, once you start building blogger relationships, people will start spreading the word for you – just as long as you do it in return! 🙂 But I am sure we all knew this already!
A lot of people don’t know though! I think we take for granted things ppl know, or at least i do lol!
Libby Syzdek says
Thanks for the tips as I am knew to blogging and am kind of just winging it! I just switched over to wordpress and I am very happy that I did. The one thing that I have to remember is to take pictures. I totally agree pictures make any blog better.
MAC users…what do you use to write your posts?
someone said mars edit for mac.
Amanda Tinney says
Windows Live Writer…who knew? It was already on my PC and I just used it to publish a post on my blog. Love how it resizes my images for me so I don’t have to do that before uploading to the blog. My site is very photo heavy so this will save me some time. Thanks Heather! ~Amanda
Girl! have you been composing your posts inside the wordpress composer all this time?!? This will save you SO much time!
Jill Barnes says
My husband originally created our blog (almost 5yrs ago) when we were living in Nashville & we became pregnant. It was a great place, years before Facebook, for us to keep our FL & GA families up to date on hat we were doing and the pregnancy. The blog was “crashmattb & family thinks aloud” but after Abigail arrived I became the primary blogger. I blogged regularly until she was 18mo, she was on the go and my camera broke…so I took a break from blogging. I’ve gone back to “back blog” things/thoughts I want to remember at times. Since I started running last year, I’ve wanted a place to track my journey & progress. I decided to give the blog a new look & rename it “MRScrashmattb thinks aloud” since I’m the only one who has blogged in the last 4yrs. I’m still trying to decide what I want out of it so this post was a refreshing read! Thanks Heather.
you are welcome!
David Geddings says
This is an awesome and timely post as I am trying to get my blog off and “running”! You have inspired me in my blogging! I am using WordPress also, and it works great for me. Can you email me more on the “self hosted version on WordPress.org”? I also like to know how you get involved the product reviews you do for companies & your giveaways. Giveaways are a good idea for getting people involved I would think! I just downloaded LiveWriter to give it a shot, thanks for the recommendation! Have a look at my blog if you would, and offer up any advice you can. Thanks for your blog, it is awesome! Great job. David
Ashley Cannon says
Thanks for making this blog. I definitely need patience. If I know people are interested I will be more likely to blog often! 🙂
It can take awhile to build up a following, just keep going and let it happen naturally
Great pointers! Will be applying them to my new blog that I JUST STARTED!! If you haven’t yet, come on over to visit! 🙂 herhappysoles.blogspot.com
I will check it out!
Karen Orozco says
Is it wrong that I felt like you wrote this just for me?!? 😉 I just started blogging and this was very helpful. Some of the things I had already thought of (as in my name) but since I really just wanted a place to journal and share my journey to train for The Princess 1/2, I started with that. I don’t have any problems changing it in the future, I really didn’t envision tons of followers or anything. It’s a bit overwhelming in the beginning! I’m learning each day as I go, but I appreciate your tips!!
🙂 It can be overwhelming, just remember you don’t have to do or know how to do it all right away!
Christine @ Love, Life, Surf says
Great tips Heather! Definitely remember to have fun. That’s why we started this right?
Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's says
Great tips! I would add, for mac users, I love mars edit to write posts, and I just schedule them in my phone (wordpress) app.
mars edit? Someone was asking me what to use for mac, thanks!
Christina @TheTinyRunner says
I have only been blogging for about 2 months so I find this extremely helpful! I definitely struggle with comparing my blog to other blogs. I need to just relax and enjoy it! Thanks so much for this post! Needed it!
You are welcome!
Great advice…I’m really proud of you and the things you do! Keep it up, girl!
Than you so much, I hope you are doing well!
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast says
These are great tips, Heather!! I’m mentally bookmarking this post to send others over, as I’ve been getting that question, too. And I love that you included interacting with your readers, I think that’s what has helped me the most, plus you really build relationships with other people and develop all these virtual friends!
thanks! I put a lot of time into it!
Thanks for the tips, Heather. I definitely have been trying to work on consistency. In the past I’ve just posted when I feel like it or had something to say but I know that is frustrating to someone who is looking for new material to try and find a pattern. Thanks again!
Mariajose - MJ Runs says
Love this! I’ve found that social media will pretty much give you ideas on what to discuss or what your readers want. I, personally, love to interact with my readers, whether on the blog or on Twitter & Facebook. Pinterest still seems a bit hard for me but I’m getting there. I’ve also started adding some more pictures and although I know that I don’t want my blog to be about much other than running, I like to share some moments from my personal life and special occasions in my weekly recap post. Love your blog & thanks for the tips!
Sarah M says
Thanks for the Live Writer tip, I had never heard of it. I compose all my posts in WordPress, I’ll have to look into Live Writer!
oh my goodness it is SO much easier than composing in WP!
I’m going to try Windows Live Writer. Thank you for the great post! Blogging can be very overwelming at first. It’s nice to see post like this one. 🙂
GL with live writer, I love it!
I Just started my blog this month and I find all your tips very helpful! I found this artilce off of Bean Bytes..
Thanks so much!
Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) says
Love all your tips, Heather! I knew nothing about blogging when I started and am so lucky I ended up with a blog name that can grow with me. And YES, when I found Live Writer I was so bummed by all the wasted time I spent in wordpress- hah!
Michaela @serifandspice says
Great tips! I am a new blogger myself. I find writing my posts on wordpress incredibly frustrating sometimes, especially when my browser is out date and cannot be updated unless I buy a new computer. I am a Mac user though. Do you know of any software for live writing on that platform?
The practical icon set is superb, lots of thanks
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Moral Fibres says
Great tips – thanks very much for sharing these!
GiGi Eats says
This first thing ANYONE had to do is figure out the GENRE in which they want to blog about. I find that if people are TOO broad, they wind up not really knowing WHAT to ever write about, thus get unmotivated and then quit!
Melissa @ melissakolbeck.com says
I saw the same question above, but is there an equivalent of Live Writer for Mac?
Great tips, Heather! I’ve been considering getting the “.wordpress.com” removed from my URL too. Does wordpress charge you monthly or all at once for like 6 months or a year? If you don’t mind me asking 🙂 Thanks!
If you click the link in the post you will see there are different options. It’s cheaper to pay in advance 😉