Blogging || What You Need to Get Started
So you want to blog, you've seen how blogging can change the lives of others and you want to be apart of the movement. But, you're unsure how to get started. Blogging can be a daunting and scary business for a newbie especially with the sheer number of posts from other bloggers giving their advice on all of the tech that you need, all of the courses, the backdrops, lighting and thing-a-my-jigs. Well, here I am doing the same but without all of the unnecessary bells and whistles.
Tools of the trade.
You will absolutely need a laptop or PC with internet access or at least, regular access to one. I use a Macbook Air and can't recommend them enough but you can use any working laptop. You'll also need a camera. Again I thoroughly recommend Panasonic's Lumix compact camera range, especially for a novice blogger.
Here's the kicker. The above products are ALL you need to get started. Sure you can splash out and really go crazy buying gadget after gadget, backdrops, lighting, props and software but, this won't make you an amazing writer and it won't make you a pro blogger either unless your writing is also amazing.
So you've got your physical tools, what do you need online?
I'm going to base this on the Blogger platform. You can, however, choose to use Wordpress or even your own website. There are plenty of instructions on how to use those sites out there if you go a quick Google search.
△ Set up your Blogger taking into consideration your blog name and the URL. You want it to be something that you can grow into. You want it to reflect your ideals and what you represent. This is why so many professional bloggers end up re-branding and using their own names because ultimately the blog does not control you, you control it and it becomes an extension of yourself. Using your own name is an excellent way of showing others that it's your business and blog. Cost: Free
△ Do you want to get a custom domain? I recommend Go Daddy. They're affordable and easy to use. Choosing your own domain right at the start allows you to build up a credible DA (domain authority) score. If you choose to stay with the yoururl.blogspot.com you won't be able to give companies your DA score, this is OK if you are choosing to be more of a hobby blogger rather than pro blogger. Cost: £10+
△ How are people going to subscribe to you? You need to get this in place right from the get-go. Most bloggers use Bloglovin as it's easy to use and the website emails your subscribers with an update on your latest posts. Most Pr's and brands also accept Bloglovin as a credible source to view your influence. You can however, choose Google+, Twitter or Facebook or a custom newsletter that allows subscriptions. Apply the widget or gadget of your chosen method to your blog so your new subscribers and readers don't need to hunt. Cost: Free
△ OK so you have your blog and you can now direct your readers to subscribe. Let's talk about your images. When you take your shots you're going to at some point want to do some editing. I recommend Picmonkey which is free and Canva which is free. You can subscribe and get access to more tools for around £5 per month but so far I've not needed it for Canva and since using both Picmonkey and Canva I've been able to cancel my Picmonkey subscription. Cost: Free-£5 per month.
△ If you are looking to up your photo game then you can't beat natural daylight. If you can take your snaps outside then fantastic. If not, I recommend purchasing a daylight build and a cheap desk lamp. This works in a similar way to a S.A.D lamp where the blue light gives off a natural daylight effect. If you have a larger budget then you can source soft box lighting, light boxes and reflective umbrellas on Ebay or Amazon for around £15-£60. Be sure to check out the reviews first. Cost: £10+
△ You can make your photo's look more professional by using props and backgrounds. Speak to most bloggers and they'll tell you wallpaper samples, fabric and large sample tiles are the low cost and most feasible options. Aged wood, whitewashed textures, marble or polka dots seem to be the on trend backings at the moment. Stick to a backing that shows off your product rather than swamps it. Cost: Free
△ Organisation is important if you want to be a pro blogger because without it, you will get swamped and bloggers block will set in. Blogging block sucks. Journals, planners, organisers and cute stickers, notepads and stationery helps also because it keeps it lighthearted and fun. This deskpad from Not on The High Street is the ideal pad to have if you tend to procrastinate. Cost: £10+
△Time management, again this comes down to planning. You can always write your posts and schedule them ahead of time. You can also use IFTTT to create recipes which will take your published posts (for example) and promote them elsewhere like Twitter or on your Facebook page cutting out lots of time that would have been spent promoting your blog. You can also use Tweetdeck which will schedule your Tweets ahead of time and Latergram for Instagram. For Facebook, you can schedule directly on your business page. Cost: Free
And once you've followed each of these steps you'll come to realise that what you write is far more important than what you buy. You'll also come to realise that you could have stopped at the first step which stated you only needed a laptop, computer and a camera in order to blog.
The greatest tip I could ever give you in order to help you become a blogger is ''plan your features'', ''get a clear route in your head of what you want to be perceived as and therefore, write about'' and always work up to one season ahead of the current date so you can cover yourself against any illness, Internet issues and unexpected events. Just do you. When you start overthinking it that's when you'll stop enjoying it and what was once something you loved will become a tedious chore.