3 things you need to know before starting a blog

girl in autumnal outfit standing in park, blog post about starting a blog

Photo credit: Alex Ivory

Hi friends! I hope you all had lovely weekends, filled with snuggly jumpers and good, comforting autumn food. Is it just me or does anyone else feel like this time of year flies by so fast? I have to remind myself that although it feels like we’re hurtling towards – dare I say it – Christmas, in reality there’s still plenty of time left this year to achieve the things we want to.

A few people have asked me recently how to go about starting a blog and what advice I’d give, so I thought I’d write a post with some useful links and tips for getting started. If this is something you’ve been thinking about, it’s never too late to start.

First things first, I’m not a ‘big’ blogger. I don’t have thousands of social media followers and I’m not here to teach you how to be the next Zoella! What I am is someone who loves writing and creativity, and being part of an online community, who’s learning all the time. I started my blog back in 2012 after graduating from uni (you can read my first post here if you fancy – though I have to warn you the old stuff is a bit cringey!), and blogged now and then when I felt like it.

At the end of 2017, having written one post in that entire year, I realised that I wanted to take it all a bit more seriously and make my blog into a proper website with its own name, that I could build and grow. Well, this is my 72nd post of 2018 so I guess you could say the New Year’s resolution was a success!

There’s no big secrets or science to starting – or building on what you already have – just a few simple things to think about…

1. Why do you want to blog?

It sounds obvious but it’s a question worth asking yourself. Because if you’re in it for free stuff or glamorous events, you’re probably going to get disillusioned with it quite quickly. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with those things in themselves, the bloggers that actually get to that stage are usually people who do it for the love of writing, or for connecting with other people, or for the creative outlet it gives them. Free stuff for example might be a by-product, but it’s not the aim. Have a think about what you want to achieve with your blog, because that will really help to shape all your other decisions.

2. What do you want to write about?

It’s worth having a think about what themes you want your blog to cover, rather than going in with one or two post ideas and finding yourself stuck two weeks down the line. Of course, you could make it totally random and write about anything and everything, but if you want to grow a blog that gets read by more people than your mum and gran, it’s worth thinking about some over-arching categories you want your writing to fall into, and some sub-categories that can sit within these. This will help to build an audience interested in the same things, who know what kind of thing to expect each time they come back to your site. Beyond that, think about how you can add your own perspective to those themes, so that you can create content that’s unique.

portrait photo of young woman in autumnal outfit with coffee, post about starting a blog

Photo credit: Alex Ivory

3. What platform do you want to write on?

Of course there’s also the techie choices. I started my blog on Blogger because it was free, with one of their very basic free templates. At the end of last year I bought my current domain name (from Google Domains at £10 per year) and a much prettier template for £29 from Pipdig (who I thoroughly recommend).

A few months later after realising that my New Year’s resolution wasn’t just a flash in the pan and some thought on how to improve my site (with help from the lovely Sophie Cliff), I decided to move over to WordPress (hosted with SiteGround) and bought a Pipdig WordPress theme to go with this.

Personally, I prefer being on WordPress. Although it’s a bit more expensive (my current domain name cost £39.60 for the year), I’ve found it a lot more user-friendly – I spent many hours Googling how to change certain bits of code when I was on Bloggger (not fun!) whereas on WordPress it’s much easier to change things at the click of a button.

That’s my own opinion but I’d really recommend checking out this unbiased review of the different platforms which should give you a bit more of an informed approach.

My last point on this is to think carefully about the domain name you choose! For six years I just had mojo133.blogspot.com (catchy, right?) so it wasn’t until December 2017 that I rebranded as ‘Adventures in Adulting’. The name needs to be something with longevity that you’ll still be happy with in a few years’ time (I don’t see myself ever feeling like a real adult tbh so the name has legs) and something that fits with the topics you talk about.

So what are you waiting for?

Writing a blog has given me so much; from a positive creative outlet when I’ve been going through hard times, to new friends, new perspectives and an online community of people I love. I won’t pretend it’s a low-maintenance hobby because it takes a lot of work, but it gives an added purpose to my life and if you’ve been toying with the idea yourself, I would so recommend that you start!

I hope this post has given you some helpful pointers, do just get in touch with me if you have any questions (either by commenting on here or by messaging me on Instagram). Below I’ve listed some useful resources to help you along the way! 

  • Blog & Beyond – a collaborative, blogging resource for bloggers, by bloggers
  • Exciting Emails – advice, tips and tricks for blogging from blogger Vix Meldrew
  • Creatively Cat – blogging tips from lifestyle, mental health and career blogger Cat Fyson
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