This is definitely not a technical post on how to set up a blog. Can’t help you there! However, there are plenty of resources out there. However, this is just a short checklist for things to do once you start a blog.
Recently, I was talking to Megan, who I met on Instagram because we both have dystonia (different types). After reading her brand new blog, I had a few suggestions for her, so I thought I would come up with a quick checklist for new bloggers!
- Create a new email. This email should only be used for blog communications. You can list it on your blog, email other bloggers, and interact with brands through this email. Don’t mix your personal email and new blog email. I was able to set my email up through my domain (I don’t know how – my husband did it), but a simple gmail that is related to your blog’s name should suffice.
- Get a headshot! You will need a picture that you can use everywhere. Even if you just have a friend try to take a few flattering photos of you or crop a photo from someone’s wedding, pick a flattering photo, make any edits (the ability to make it square is important because a lot of places want square photos) is important.
- Limit yourself to two “usernames.” Your Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and all social media should go together. I know it’s not possible to always get the same name everywhere, but try to keep it consistent. Shorter names are better, so if you’re having a Twitter conversation, half the tweet won’t be take up with your handle. Also, use the same profile picture everywhere.
- Since most people already have social media accounts, decide if you’re going to incorporate your current accounts or create new ones. I never thought about this at first. After a few months of blogging, I was interested in growing my blog through my Instagram, so I started to promote it. However, later, I realized that it was kind of creepy that people could just scroll back through years of pictures. So, I created a separate account. In hindsight, I wish that I’d made my handle shorter. It’s easy to change, but that would require updating a lot of profiles.
- Set up a Gravatar account with your new email and new profile picture. That way, when you leave comments, which you’ll find out how important that is later, your picture will show up! Pictures will make you stand out and keep your brand consistent. This will help you when you comment on any system.
- If you are NOT on Blogger, read up on how NOT to be a no-reply blogger. This took me several attempts, but I finally got it. Basically, you make a fake blog (you will need a gmail address to get started, but you can use any email as your reply email later) and use your new email and picture, so when you comment on a Blogger blog, you’ll know if the person replies. Go to this post and look at the third section. The screenshots are PERFECT.
- Start reading blogs! You don’t have to comment, yet. You can start by reading “big” blogs. Then start checking out other commenters, people on the sidebars, etc. Over time, you’ll start to read people who you connect with. I’ll have a follow up post on this!
>>> You don’t need to copy these blogs, but the more you read, the more ideas you’ll get. You’ll start to see what you like and don’t like.
- Research Link Ups. These are premade content for you, plus you’ll have a chance to find new blogs because most ask you to comment on a few others. They change a lot, based on the hosts’ schedules, but a few that I like are:
Weeks End (your favorite post you wrote from the last week)
Blogger Love (share 5 favorite posts from other bloggers)
Between the Lines (a monthly book club link up with good discussion questions)
Top Ten Tuesdays (if you LOVE books like me, these are prompts about books. The topics are posted in advance, so you can get several ready!)
> Basically, the link ups are endless. There are link ups for recipes, crafts, and any interest you might have. Things like Weeks End, Five on Friday, or any type of Currently or Coffee Date link up will expose you to new bloggers. You could probably have a blog of nothing but link ups, but it’s nice to mix it up.
Here are tips on finding more!
> Check out the top of blog pages because some people keep lists.
> Check out Twitter hashtags. You might miss the first one, but you’ll know when the next one is.
> As you read blogs, you’ll see people participating and you can put it on your calendar to participate in ones that interest you.
- Make sure your blog is visually appealing. Have your headshot at the top, links to social media under that, and any other things you want on your sidebar. Less is more, but don’t leave it bare. A busy blog is a blog that people don’t want to read. (I’m not kidding, I read a post about that, but only about 20% of the page was dedicated to text. The orange and blue didn’t help, either).
- Have fun! This is your hobby! Maybe you’ll make money. Maybe you won’t. But, if you do it right, you’ll make friends. Stay tuned for how to find your blogging community from scratch!
Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.