Disclosure

The Smart Girl's Guide to Starting a Blog: Part Three

19 July 2014

photo via: Southern Charm

Hi lovelies! Ever since Sparkle & Mine really started taking off, I've had a lot of readers and friends reaching out asking me how to go about starting a blog. I'm often asked what my "secret" is to making my blog successful. And the truth is, there is no magical way to become an overnight hit. The advice I always give is to work hard, be patient, and learn everything you can about the world of blogging.

Of course, that's easier said than done. When I first started out, I was completely in over my head. I had no experience in blogging, and no contacts or resources to help me. So I did what I do best, I Googled. Every question that popped into my head as I went along, I painstakingly combed through page after page on the internet to find the answer. How do you get your blog seen? Where can you find design tools to customize your blog? How can you earn money with a blog? I was definitely giving my search bar a workout.

Since I love you all so very much, I don't want you to have to take the long way like I did. So I've started a new post series where I answer all of those questions and a whole lot more. I hope that by the end of this series, I will have created a thorough guide to starting a blog that makes the process easy and fun! I absolutely love the world of blogging, and I am so excited to share my experiences and insight with all of you!

If you haven't read part two yet, you can find it here!

Now, let's get started on part three!


Get Social
If you haven't made your social media accounts yet, now is the time to do so. As I mentioned before, you'll need to create a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bloglovin'. Each of these social media platforms has a different and equally important purpose, so it is essential that you engage with your readers on each one.

Facebook is the platform you'll use to share each new post that you publish. It's a quick, easy, and efficient way to reach your readers and let them know there is new content up on your blog. Of course, if you don't have any Facebook fans, you're talking to an empty room. This is why it's important to prominently feature your Facebook page on your blog to build up your fanbase. When I first started out, I used a Facebook Like Box on the sidebar of my blog, so that people could easily "like" my page right from the blog. It also helps to plug your Facebook page in the introduction or conclusion of your posts.

Twitter is, in my opinion, the best social network to interact with your readers. It's a great way to make short blog-related announcements, or to give readers a glimpse into your life. Try to keep your tweets in line with the general theme of your blog, and keep them appropriate. In other words, avoid hashtags like #sluttygirlproblems or #sodrunk. If you wouldn't want your boss to see it, don't tweet it. Instead, focus on connecting with your fans by retweeting them or replying to their messages.

Instagram is another great way to connect with your readers by sharing snapshots of your life. Since I primarily blog about beauty and style, I try to keep on topic for the most part and Instagram photos of my makeup or what I'm wearing for the day. Of course, this will vary for each blogger depending on the content of their blog. Every now and then, I also post personal photos of friends or family, food, funny or inspiring quotes, and any other random things I think my followers will appreciate.

Pinterest is hands-down the biggest source of traffic for my blog. If used correctly, it is an incredibly valuable tool for bloggers...but we'll get to that in a moment. The primary function of Pinterest is to curate content you love onto categorized boards. Users pin everything from recipes, to makeup tips, to stylish outfits, to DIY ideas, and tons more. Pinterest is a great way to share the things you love with your readers. It's also a great way to gain new readers.

Each time you publish a new post on your blog, pin it onto the appropriate board on Pinterest. Once you pin something, everyone that's following you will see that pin on their home page, and they can re-pin it. Once they re-pin it, everyone who follows them can see the pin. And that's how the cycle starts. A good pin can spread like wildfire in no time at all. Of course, the more followers you have to potentially re-pin your content, the farther it will spread. This is why it's also a good idea to become a contributor on as many related group boards as you can as well. These boards are just like your own, but they are run by a community of users and typically have a much larger follower count. That means that your pins will be seen by huge amounts of new people, who will likely re-pin and pass your pin on to even more people.

In order to find group boards related to your blog's theme, I recommend using PinGroupie. It's a super useful tool that sorts all Pinterest group boards by category, which saves you a lot of trouble sifting through endless boards. Once you've found a board that catches your eye, go to it and read the group description. Typically, the group board manager will tell you what you need to do to join. It's important to remember that even when you are added as a contributor, it is not your board. And if you don't follow the group owner's rules, you will be kicked off.

Finally, Bloglovin' is a site that allows users to follow their favorite blogs as they post new content. Like your Facebook page, it's a fantastic way to let your readers know you've published a new post. And unlike Facebook, Bloglovin' will share your post with all of your followers the moment it's published. You don't need to do a thing once your account is all set up.

Join the Community
Another great way to gain exposure and grow your blog is to join blogger networks. These networks are basically just groups of bloggers that can share insight, discuss issues or concerns, and collaborate on projects. Some of these programs also offer their members unique opportunities to work with big-name sponsors who will pay you to post.

I'm a member of the Girls Inspired Group on Facebook. It's a group of all-girl bloggers that answer questions, promote each other on blogs and social media, and often get the opportunity to collaborate with other bloggers or brands. Her Campus Blogger Network, Lucky Magazine Contributors, and Independent Fashion Bloggers are just a few more examples of networks you can join. I recommend searching around to find blogger networks specific to your needs. I'm sure there are tons of other groups out there for DIY, Food, Lifestyle, or any other niche you can imagine.

That does it for part three! Be sure to check back next week to learn all my tips and tricks for monetizing your blog. In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions or share your own tips for blogging in the comments below!

P.S.- If you're looking for a website to host your blog, Bluehost is a fantastic option! They provide you with a free domain, 24/7 support, blog design tools, and WordPress integration- all for about $4!

17 comments:

  1. Thanks for this series. I especially love the "Joint the community" section because that's not something I've done. Hugs!

    Megan @ Never Finished

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad the series has been helpful for you Megan!

      Delete
  2. I love all of these posts! Thanks for all your help - I've bookmarked your guides for future references!

    xoxo, Sydney
    everydaysouthernprep.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I could help Sydney! :)

      Delete
  3. Absolutely fabulous!, everything I need to know and more to start my own blog! Thank you! Would love a Part 4!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Junie! Part 4 is coming soon! :)

      Delete
  4. Hi Sarah! First I want to thank you for this series, it has been SO helpful. I have a question about creating product photo collages. What program do you use to cut out the images and collage them all together on same page? I'm trying to avoid buying photoshop....
    thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this series - thank you for all of the tips!

    Quick question - I already have a Pinterest account and was thinking about linking my blog to that account instead of creating an entirely new one for my blog. What are your thoughts and ideas on this?

    For example, "FirstName LastName {Blog Name}"

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you so much !! This is helping me so much during the process of creating my blog, finally starting the writing part :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you so much! I do have one question. How do you ask to join another Pinterest group? I used to blog all the time but am just now getting back into it after a couple years of being away. I really loved all your advice. I had no idea you could join a bloging board with others! I love that. Thank you so much! Also, I adore your blog as well!!!

    Cambria

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I actually just got to your blog a few minutes ago through Pinterest and I'm loving it so far!!!!
    PS:This series has been really helpful so far!, I'm really exited and motivated to start a blog!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I found this series through Pinterest and I wanted to stop by to say THANK YOU!!! My husband and I wanted to start a blog and YouTube channel but were a bit overwhelmed as to where to begin. Using this series, we were able to successfully launch our blog and YouTube Channel!!!! I cannot say Thank YOU enough!!! I used the suggested hosting site of bluehost. found a usable wordpress template through etsy. while I was there we found someone to create a logo---Like I stated, I CANNOT express my gratitude enough!!!

    Be Blessed!!!

    If you have a moment, please check us out: www.lifeonpurposetoday.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wanted to take the time to express my gratitude to you for posting this series. I found it through Pinterest and I was able to launch my Husband and I blog using this series. From webhosting, finding a etsy seller for our logo, and a Wordpress template for the sites appearance. This was a God send--THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!
    Be Blessed!!!

    If you have a moment, check us out: www.lifeonpurposetoday.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just left a long comment asking how to share your blog tips to my own blog. Hopefully it posted! If not, message me at gorgeouschaosblog@gmail.com please! Thank you!
    Xoxo Kayla Kay

    ReplyDelete

Show this post some love! I read all comments before they are posted, so please don't waste your time or mine with spam!

Blog design by