Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well.
Today is quite literally my most requested blog post of all time; how to start a blog, run one, get people to read it, make money from it etc, so I thought I’d finally get round to writing one up for you all!
Everyday I get messages from people saying they want to start a blog but they’re scared about what people will say or think. So, I know mine is anonymous but of course there are people in Brighton who know who I am and I’ve been literally ripped the piss out of before. Do I care? Do I fuck. My dream since I was 4 years old has been to write, and that’s what I’m doing, so it sucks to be you if you give a shit that someone else is achieving their dreams.
If you want to start a blog, start a blog. You’re doing it for you, not for anyone else. Fuck ’em.
Find Your Topic
So, you want to start a blog. First of all, what are you going to write about? Travel, beauty, fitness, cooking, books, gaming, interiors, or a bit of everything? Decide what it is you want to blog about, and go from there. It doesn’t matter what you want to write about, just do it – make sure you’re passionate about it though.
Choose Your Platform
The two main platforms, as far as I’m aware, for starting a blog, are WordPress and Blogger. I know nothing about Blogger, but I have heard that it’s pretty good. I started my blog on WordPress, by literally signing up and having a WordPress hosted site; so it was brightongirlproblems.wordpress.com, and then I switched after about a year I believe, when I bought my own domain brightongirlproblems.co.uk however it is still hosted via WordPress.
I find Wordress really easy to use, to edit and create blogs, and look at your website stats and views, and I am really non technical, so pretty much anyone could use WordPress easily!
Create Your Social Media
I recommend creating your own blog social media channels; so rather than promoting everything on your personal Twitter and Instagram (which of course you should also do), I think that you should start specific accounts with the same names as your blog, just so it’s easier for people to find you, and makes everything nice and concise.
You don’t have to do that, or do any of my points, but it’s just what I think looks good and makes everything easier.
You really don’t need anything more than a phone with internet access to start out; you don’t need to splash out on big fancy cameras, editing equipment and MacBook Pros! You can take bright, clear images on an iPhone and edit them, and you can write and edit blog posts on your phone too. It does make it easier to do it on a laptop, but it’s really not a necessity.
My domain/hosting fees for my website costs me a certain amount per year, but if you’re not buying a domain and just running a WordPress site, it’s free.
So, you’ve created your blog and social media, and you’ve began posting. Make sure you stay true to yourself. Of course people grow and evolve and I’m certainly a very different and way more mature person now than I was when I started out 5 years ago, but you need to stay true to who you are, and put your personality across in your posts.
This is probably one of my most asked questions surrounding starting a blog; how do you grow it, and gain followers? The long and short answer is I have no idea how I have managed to get so many of you angels reading my shit and following me, but you do and I’m grateful for it. Hard work, dedication, posting regularly, being yourself, and being original is pretty much my advice. Be creative and work at it, and people will want to read it.
Connect with other bloggers by following them and engaging with their content, as hopefully they will engage back and it may result in some of their followers discovering you too.
Tag any brands you’re writing about in your posts too, as sometimes they share them, or repost your Instagram pictures, which can help you gain followers.
If you’re starting a blog to make money, quit while you’re ahead, honestly. When I started, I had no clue you could make a penny from blogging, and I didn’t for at least 2 years, maybe even longer. I started because I loved writing and wanted a space on the internet to write, and share it with people.
I am very, very grateful that I have managed to turn my blog and social media into my income, and I feel nothing but happiness for that everyday. I never intended to make money from it, or turn it into a career, but it somehow happened.
The reason I say to not bother if you’re only in it to make money, is because people can see through that. People can tell if you’re just in it for the £££ and nothing else, and it makes you unrelatable, unobtainable and just not fun to follow. If I stopped making money from my blog today, I’d still carry on blogging, because I love it. I love writing about how to get over a break up, how to realise your self worth, about good restaurants, what blusher is best for pale skin; I love every single aspect of it and I never began blogging to make a penny. I have been so lucky to gain an amazing audience in all of you, which means that brands want to work with me from time to time, and also there’s small ads on my blog from Google, and I also do freelance writing for magazines and publications as well.
Google AdSense, which is where they place ads on your blog and you get paid for it, is an absolute pittance, so if you’re going to rely on that to cover your mortgage payments, I wouldn’t count on it. Brand sponsorships and affiliate marketing are the way forwards, or if you’re also a writer, freelance writing too.
Working with Brands
If you do want to make money from it eventually, then you can contact likeminded brands, e.g. if you’re a fashion blogger, you can get in touch with clothing brands about working together. I will say, though, from a brand perspective, they will usually only start paying when your following reaches a certain level. I am not saying that you don’t deserve to be paid for your work if you have a smaller audience, because you do, but brands work on a return on investment basis and if they think they will get a return on their money and then some by working with you.
Just like making money, I didn’t know you could get anything for free when I started; after about a year and a half maybe, I got sent my first ever freebie; an apple face mask, and I remember being so excited I was jumping up and down in my bedroom. I couldn’t believe anyone would ever want to send me something for free, it was just bizarre to me.
After 5 years nearly, I am very lucky to get freebies. I do not take this for granted, ever ever ever. I still get embarrassed when I do a food review in a restaurant, or go to a hotel/experience day where I’m doing a review and it’s for free, because it just feels strange still, and I cannot believe that it’s happening to me! It’s literally because of all of you, so THANK YOU for allowing me to do what I love everyday!
Again, if you’re just after freebies, don’t start blogging; you need to be writing about things you love, and not care about whether or not you’re getting sent a free lipstick! It’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong of course it is, but I write because I love it, not for free stuff!
Like the brand collaborations for money, you can of course contact brands about reviewing their products on your blog. Email introducing yourself and blog, share your statistics and demographic, and outline what kind of collaboration you’re after. Don’t be downhearted if you don’t get a response, it’s totally normal, as brands get a hell of a lot of requests!
Love What You Do
Write about what you love, because you love it. Don’t focus on numbers, or what people think; blogging has been such a creative and emotional outlet for me and I thank my lucky stars every day that I created this blog; it’s changed my life, and it’s helped me through some really hard times.
I really hope this has spurred on any of you considering starting a blog, and feel free to message any questions I’ve missed!
All my love BGP xx