How to Start a Blog in 2020
I can’t believe that this year marks the seventh year of my blogging career. Or at least three year anniversary of having this blog. So, to start the New Year off with a bang I thought I would write a post on how to start a blog in 2020.
For anyone interested in blogging, but not sure where to begin here are some simple steps to get started.
Decide what you want to write about
This can change as often as you like, but decide what you would initially like to write about and write a few quick pieces to see if you remain inspired. I started off as a beauty blogger – I was clueless! – then I had a book blog, then a lifestyle blog, and now I have a book, career, lifestyle, and writing blog. Your blog is yours and only yours, it can be whatever you want it to be. Don’t feel like you can only write about one thing or pigeonhole yourself forever. But get an idea of where you want to start first.
Set up a website
Initially, when you’re blogging I recommend setting up a blog on Blogger as it’s free and simple to use. You don’t have to buy a background when you’re starting off, in fact, you don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want to. I used blogger for four years when I was blogging and had three blogs in total. Later I decided I wanted to transfer to WordPress as this is the most common blog platform that professional bloggers and businesses use.
I’ve written a whole post on how to move from Blogger to WordPress if you’re looking to do this.
Blogger is owned by Google so all you need to do is have a Google login and then pick a name for your blog and start posting.
Pick a name
Picking a name is harder than it seems. When I started out I had a generic, unmemorable blog name – so unmemorable that I can’t remember it! – then I had EllesBellesBookshelf and later EllesBellesGradBlog. This turned into EllesBellesNotebook in 2017 and I’ve not looked back since.
EllesBelles is a nickname of mine and I liked the use of a notebook because a notebook can be used for multiple things: writing stories, writing lists, doodling, jotting down a quote or a thought, writing down a song lyric you like, or a review of a movie. I’ve always carried a notebook with me, ever since I was little, so it made sense to me to call my blog EllesBellesNotebook after that.
Your blog name can be anything you want it to be – within reason. Try and keep it relevant to the kind of things you want to post – or at least open so that it’s not jarring with your content. i.e. don’t call it Sarah’s Books if you’re going to be writing reviews of games or films.
Also, find out if your blog name is already in use. Use NameCheckr to see if your desired ‘brand name’ is in use on multiple platforms. After all, it’s better if you don’t have a website that’s called one thing when you can’t use it on any other social media platforms for the promotion.
I use free design programs like Canva and PicMonkey to design my headers, images, and fonts. They’re so simple to use and great for backing up any of your images.
If you’re looking for a pretty background or heavily design website then I recommend checking out Etsy for blog designs on your platform. I got mine from Etsy for £20 and it’s still going strong for me. Plus it had all of the built-in coding I needed for adding social buttons, menus and Instagram feeds to my blog which is a major plus!
Now write and schedule
I’ve known a lot of people who have tried to start a blog, written a few posts, and then just left their blog to rot on the internet. It takes time, dedication, and inspiration to write consistently. Something I’ve only truly mastered in 2019. I’ve had long periods of time where I haven’t posted at all and other times when I’ve posted every day for weeks – before getting burn out.
No one will mind if you schedule your posts in advance – I’ll let you into a secret: all of my Blogmas posts were written from October-December. I schedule well in advance where I can.
I also stick to a schedule: I post Mondays and Fridays at 7:30 am. Occasionally I’ll also post on a Wednesday if I have a collaborative post I want to share or something that is time-sensitive.
When you write I recommend you stick with some simple posts to get you started. By simple posts, I mean posts such as:
- Lists – Top Ten Books, Recommended Bookshops, Favourites of the Month
- Reviews – A review of a book, film, game, TV show etc
- How to – How to start a blog, how to contact a brand, how to use Pinterest etc
- Opinion/Personal posts – My Mental Health Experience, Why I’m Voting Green, Reasons I Hate Harry Potter
These are the posts that are either easy to write or things you feel passionate about. Therefore they’re fun and quick to write.
Truths about being a blogger
Here are some hard truths about being a blogger.
- You will not become rich overnight. Or possibly ever. As I said, I’ve been blogging for seven years and it was only this year that I began to get paid for my blogs – I made £60 in total – and start collaborating with brands. Most of whom I reached out to. If your aim is to get rich and famous from your blog, it’s pretty unlikely. Sorry to burst your bubble but it’s not 2015 anymore; boggers/vloggers stars are not as common.
- Barely anyone will read your blog, to begin with. It’s so tempting to want to check your stats daily after your first start posting. But, unless it’s your friends and family, not many people are likely to read your blog to start off with. And that’s fine! Don’t give up. It takes time to find an audience. It also means that this is the perfect time to try things out and make mistakes, as it doesn’t matter so much. You’re only learning.
- It takes time and dedication. Yes, I am waxing lyrical about this but it’s true. No blog just happens without work. You have to spend time on it. Not necessarily the same amount of time I do, but you’ll still need to write, edit, design, schedule, share every time you want to create a post. It’s not easy, but it’s also not hard. It’s just a routine you fall into.
Go on! Go and start your blog and start sharing. Share your links with me in the comments below so that I can go and read them. Don’t forget to share your blog – shamelessly! – over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. Tell everyone you know – the worst they will do is not read it and where’s the harm in that?
Don’t be afraid. You never know what could happen. Have fun.