Thursday, August 10, 2017

{So You Want To Be A Blogger?} Creating Your Blog

Now, I do not have a lot of tips on this subject, but it is the first thing that you need to do as a blogger.  I personally chose Blogger because it was free and I want to try blogging before I completely committed to it.  I will continue to use blogger because I do enjoy this platform and I am now familiar with it.  However, there are tons of other places you can start your blog, like WordPress or purchasing your own domain.  Again, I do not know anything about these so I would suggest researching each option and choosing the one best for you!

This is how I decided what I wanted to include and feature on my blog.  Look at other blogs, see what you like and what you don't.  This by no means choose a blog you think is beautiful and steal all their ideas, but you can use it for inspiration for your own.  I enjoyed blogs that had book recommendations, so I made sure to add that to my blog.  I also hated blogs that looked too cluttered, so I made sure to simplify mine.  I also would ask opinions.  That is why my rating system ended up on my sidebar.  I originally did not have it there, but a friend said that she enjoyed it where it was easy to see.  Do what YOU want to do, but also keep in mind that if you want an audience, it still needs to be appealing to other people.

Now, I think that this is more of a personal opinion.  At the beginning, I changed my blog ALL the time and it became exhausting!  When you change one thing, you have to change everything else to match it, which can take days to weeks to completely finish.  What I suggest is to choose a color palette that you enjoy and then frame your blog around that.  If you are someone who likes to switch things up a lot, make the changes in areas that will not effect the entirety of your blog.

When creating headers and pictures for you blog, make sure to create the same or at least something similar for your social media outlets tied to your blog.  You want to create a brand for your blog so that whether readers are on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, etc., they know that it is from the same blog.  It is confusing for readers/followers if every page is different.

So you are probably wondering how to make clickable social media links in your sidebar or how to to create a blog button.  You do not have to be a computer wiz or know a lot about HTML.  I am not going to be posting how to do any of that because there are SO many other people who have already done this (and probably way better than I ever could have).  Get on the web or Pinterest and search for what you need, but I will advise you to SAVE what you actually end up using.  This will be handy when you have to go back and tweak or change things in the future.

Also, (and yes, this needs to be in all caps) SAVE A COPY OF YOUR BLOG SOMEWHERE ELSE!  This is SO important.  Don't make permanent changes to your blog without the HTML code saved somewhere else, like in word.

PicMonkey is the reason why I was even able to blog.  I was a stay-at-home-mom when I started blogging and did not have tons of money to buy a fancy pre-made blog template so I had to create everything from scratch.  Everything that you see on my blog was created with PicMonkey from my blog header, to my social media icons, to the sidebar headers.  I STILL swear by PicMonkey to this day and once you get the hang of it, its SUPER easy to use.  Of course, there are TONS of other websites and programs you can use to create amazing images for your blog, but I just thought I would mention PicMonkey since I had NO idea where to start when I created my blog.

Posts NEED to be consistent and aimed towards the right audience!  This is something that I can not stress enough.  If you are not posting enough, you will never gather a following or keep one.  The 'meat' of my posts are book reviews, which I think works out really well.  I also think that book hauls, tags, 'top 10' posts and book recommendation posts are well received.

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