Tomorrow is Katie Charlotte Blogs’ second birthday. It feels like I’ve had this little online sanctuary for so much longer, whilst at the same time these two years have gone by in a flash.
I’ve encouraged a few of my friends to start their own since I got the blogging bug in 2013 (although it dates back further to 2011 where I started Girl About Town, how so much has changed!), so as the anniversary is approaching I thought I would write up my own experiences and pass on some advice to those who want to start blogging or have just dipped their toes in the water and need a few tips.
Why you should start a blog…
For me it has always been somewhere I can be creative and combine my love for writing and photography. Whether you want your blog to be an online diary of your travels, a place to share your recipes or perhaps you have a passion for fashion and beauty – blogging is a fun hobby that can turn into a full-time business if you pursue with it hard enough.
I used to struggle with finding a hobby that I loved. Whilst many of my friends were out playing different sports, I lacked enthusiasm to do the same so I began reading beauty and fashion blogs in my spare time instead. It wasn’t long before I decided to start my own blog, writing about things I was passionate about – beauty, fashion, food, travel and the media! Four years later I’m still blogging and enjoying it more than ever.
Everyone has something unique to say. You never know who you might be inspiring and what you write could make a difference to a stranger’s life – helping others in one way or another is one of the greatest aspects about blogging.
Finding your passion…
Do your friends admire how you dress and do your makeup? Perhaps you like to experiment with cooking and are always being asked for that tasty recipe you made for friends? When you begin to think about what you enjoy and what you are told you are good at it becomes much easier to pin point what you could write about. It’s important to lead with your strengths – so you’re not the best writer but you have a good eye when it comes to taking photos? Ask a friend or family member to check you blog text and make your photography the main focus. Depending on what you are writing about, good quality imagery can prove more prominent.
It’s easy to compare what you are doing with what other bloggers are creating so keep reminding yourself of the reason why you wanted to start blogging – it’s important to be unique in the content you create whilst keeping the quality strong. Readers can usually tell if you are doing it for pleasure or for payment, and passion is the biggest pay off in the end.
Blog hosting sites to use…
Most bloggers use Blogger or WordPress, and after using both I decided to opt for the latter. It’s personal preference so each person’s experience will be different, but I felt WordPress gave me more creative independence. There is a variety of free themes to choose from alongside premium layouts that require payment, so there is something to float everyone’s boat. With scheduling posts made easy and a mobile app that is great for blogging on the go, there aren’t too many problem areas I can bore you with.
You can choose to keep your free ‘wordpress.com/.org’ address if you wish, or you can opt to pay for a domain name instead. For the initial few months I kept it and then once my followers grew I chose to go with GoDaddy around November 2013. I pay around £3 per year for my domain name (katiecharlotteblogs.co.uk) and $13 per year to WordPress to use it which suits me well at the moment.
For tech-savvy bloggers and those who aren’t quite down with HTML (like myself), WordPress is a great place to start your blog.
Starting your own online sanctuary, as I like to call it, can be the start of a new world of socialising. It’s important to network and get to know other bloggers so it’s vital that you have a Twitter account in particular to speak to like-minded individuals and brands. Other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook also hold importance, as this is where you can share photos from your blog posts and promote your content. Retweeting and favouriting tweets are a great way to engage in conversation, as well as using popular hashtags.
The blogging community is amazing and some of the most supportive people you are likely to meet, so it’s important that you make an effort in keeping those relationships alive. Be present online and you’ll be amazed with the results.
Content and scheduling…
To ensure blog growth it’s important to keep your content consistent, most readers like routine. Schedule your posts to what times suits you but also think about your readers – weekday evenings between 5 and 10pm are a good time to post as this is when most people are likely to be online (after work/school).
I post different content on different days and will usually schedule up to 6 posts per week. I’m not always consistent with this and that’s okay – remember to give yourself a break from time to time to gather your ideas and inspiration. There is nothing worse than lacking motivation and feeling uninspired, so take a step back and brainstorm new ideas.
My experience so far…
I’ll keep this part short and sweet and promise to try and not get too soppy. Starting this blog has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. At a time where my confidence was low and felt lost in what I wanted to do post-University, this little blog kind of saved me. I say kind of – of course I made a conscious effort myself to go out and do more, but with a happy focus on my blog my confidence grew and after a few months so did my readers. I had found something I felt strongly passionate about and it seemed that a few people liked what I had to say.
Who knows! And that is the best part of it all, opportunities arise when you least expect it and right now I’ve got a few exciting things lined up for the blog. I’ve already been invited to NYFW which I’m looking forward to in September (after not being able to attend next week!), and have a bloggers event later this month in London (#BloggersLoveLFW).
I went along to my first blogger event #TheBloggersMarket last weekend in Camden which was set up by inspiring bloggers Olivia, Carrie, Dunya, Lucy and Kristabel. Bloggers united to shop for bargains, eat cake and chat in a cool London location, I dragged my bestie along to enjoy the treats and also bumped into the gorgeous Kayleigh from Very Berry Cosmo! I’ve been chatting to her on Twitter for what feels like forever so it was so lovely to finally meet her – we bonded over overpacked bags and MAC lipstick, gotta love a girl after your own heart! (Also a shout out to the lovely Soph who I got to meet too, hopefully see you very soon!)
I suppose my hopes for the blog this year is to grow even further, meet more bloggers, work with brands I admire and most importantly, continue writing content that others enjoy reading.
If you have any questions or want to share your advice, leave them down below in the comments 🙂