When I first started my blog, I had no idea what I was doing. At first, this wasn’t even solely a travel blog. I think my original idea was more for a lifestyle blog, but I really loved writing about my travels so that’s what it morphed into. This blog has been my creative outlet on and off for 3 years now and it was only in the last six months that I really started taking it seriously. A lot of time goes into blogging, so if you are thinking about starting a blog, I hope you can learn from my mistakes and take advantage of my experiences! I am in no way a professional blogger, but I do love my blog and I want to offer my experience to those who might want to start their own blog!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
I originally started The Misguided Millennial on blogger and just paid for my domain. At the time, I was in grad school and didn’t have any money to invest in self-hosting so I appreciated the freedom I had on blogger without having to pay for a hosting site. I did immediately buy my domain name though, which I definitely recommend so you look more professional. After 2 and a half years on blogger, I have finally moved to self-hosted WordPress with Siteground. I resisted switching to WordPress for the longest time, but now that I have I wish I had done it sooner! First of all, SiteGround is an amazing hosting service and was super helpful with my transition from blogger. The cost is also less than $4 a month and it means I have the rights over all my content! I highly recommend just jumping straight in with self-hosted WordPress with SiteGround because it’s the best! You can sign up here to get this amazing deal!
When it comes to your blog, content is king. People come to read what you have to say so it’s important to consistently be putting out new content! When I first started, I didn’t have any posts prepared before I “launched” if you can even call it that. If I were to go back and do it again, I would have aimed to have about 5 posts prepared before launching so that there was more to my blog than just that one post and my about me page.
When it comes to what you should write about and how frequently you should post, the Internet seems a bit divided. The one thing people seem to agree on though is that at first you will want to post more just to build up the content on your site. I aim to post 2 times a week on an ideal week and at least once per week even when busy. This means I am constantly putting out new posts for my readers and building up the content of my site!
Content Tip: Focus on quality before quantity! Post a bunch of low-quality posts will not get people to read your blog!
Once you decide you are going to start a blog, it is important to set up the requisite social media accounts. The “Big Four” as I call them are Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and–the most important one as a blogger–Pinterest. You will want to have a consistent name across all these platforms so your blog is easily recognised and you will want to be consistently posting on all of them. In the next section I will talk more about how to be consistent on all these platforms when you have other priorities, but the first step is just to get them set up. In fact, it may be beneficial to have them up and running before you blog launches so you can build a following and tease your launch for a bit!
Tools of the Trade
As I mentioned in the beginning, blogging can be a lot of work. I am not a full-time blogger, so I have obligations outside of simply working on The Misguided Millennial all day. This means I need all the help I can get when it comes to managing my blog. Thankfully, I have discovered these great tools that have really helped me manage my blog and they make everything much easier!
Tailwind is honestly a blogging LIFESAVER. As I mentioned briefly in the social media section, Pinterest is the most important social media site for bloggers. It is a visual search engine where people can find your content regardless of if you are following them or not. Now, Pinterest has a complex algorithm but basically you want to be consistently pinning both your own content and others throughout the day. Now, I definitely don’t have time to be on Pinterest all day. Tailwind saves me from having to do that! You can schedule your pins all at once and it will take care of the rest! It is super user friendly, has great features to help you analyse which pins do well, and even has “tribes” you can join to help spread your content further! If you Blog about travel at all and decide to invest in Tailwind, be sure to join my Travel Bloggers Tribe so we can share each other’s content! Tailwind also doubles as an Instagram scheduler too!
As a busy person, scheduling my social media posts makes blogging much easier. Buffer is my preferred scheduling tool for Facebook and Twitter because it is super easy to use and free. You can set how many times a day you want to post and then just type up a bunch of different posts and add them to your queue! Then it posts them automatically for you at optimal times during the day.
This app has been a godsend in terms of making my photos Instagram ready! ColorStory is super easy to use and a great place to start in terms of editing photos. I have no real photo editing experience so I needed something that anyone can use and luckily I found it. It also comes with an added bonus: the grid function that lets you plan out your Instagram feed! You can see how your edited photos go with your feed and then schedule them in the order you decide on!
Do you ever wonder where bloggers get those perfect page banners and Pinterest pins? Well most of them actually design them in Canva! Canva has templates for everything from Instagram to Pinterest to ebooks. You can customise everything and you can use your own photos or the stock photos they have available to create the perfect images to accompany your posts!
As a blogger, your email list is your lifeline. These are the most dedicated readers you have so it’s important to keep them in the loop. I personally use and recommend Mailerlite for all your email list needs. It is easy to set up and even easier to keep up with. You can schedule your email campaigns in advance, automate your welcome emails and much more!
Not all bloggers are in it for the money, but it is definitely a nice bonus.One of the primary ways you can earn money with a blog is through affiliate programs where you link to products and your readers can purchase them through your links and you earn a small percentage of the sale. I love my blog regardless of if it earns me any money, but I do like to refer my readers to certain products and if I am doing that anyways, I might as well be making a little bit of money! The best affiliate programs are always the ones for products and sites that you yourself use and can be honest with your readers about. For instance, I am an Amazon affiliate because everyone loves Amazon, and I also promote SiteGround (my amazing hosting site) and Tailwind (my favorite blogging resource). I am a member of a few others as well so I have some diversity to what I can link back to.
Aside from affiliate marketing, you can also earn money in other ways. One way is through influencer networks where you can earn money or free products in exchange for posting them on your blog or social media channels. My favourites of these are the Muses App, Influenster, and Ambassadher. You can apply for ad networks like Google Adsense or, once you have more consistent traffic, Mediavine. You can also design and sell courses or ebooks and you can even make your own products to sell. One reminder though: don’t go into blogging for the money. It is a wonderful hobby, but if you are just in it for the money, you likely won’t enjoy it or be successful in the long run.
I hope this post has been helpful for those considering starting their own blog and be sure to leave any questions in the comments below! From one Misguided Millennial to the world, these have been my tips for how to start your own blog!