I’m not a blogging genius by any means. I’m still learning the way as I go. I more or less started this blog as a way to get back to writing after my college english/PR classes squashed all remaining creativity I had left in me. With that being said, I don’t have any fancy tricks up my sleeve, but I have been asked by quite a few people just how exactly I began. So for those of you who care to know, here’s how!
I’ve had more people than I ever expected reach out to me asking things like “do you own your own business” (super flattering, but no, although a girl can always dream) and “how do I get into event planning like you” (you kinda just wing it, use all available connections you have) and “how do you afford to travel so much” (I don’t, trust me), but the number one remark I seem to get is “I’ve always wanted to start a blog, how did you do it?” Honestly, in this day and age, it’s super easy, and I love that so many people are interested! I personally use WordPress for my posts, but there multiple platforms to choose from, and the kicker is that most of them free! (Tumblr, Weebly, and Squarespace being some of the more popular ones that I know of.) About a year ago in a class I had to use WordPress for an assignment and vowed I would never use it again, so it’s funny to me how it’s now my platform of choice. It can get tricky at times as there’s a little bit of coding here and there, but I guess the moral of the story here is not to get discouraged at first!! Take advantage of the available tutorials and utilize Google for the rest- I promise that most of the tricky parts (like customizing your ‘home’ and ‘about’ page without going Premium) are actually pretty simple and repetitive, and once you get the hang of them you’ll be blogging like a pro!
The hardest part of starting my blog was honestly the dreaded blog name. I say dreaded because I guarantee if you have 1/2 the OCD I do you will dwell on it for hours, trying to find something perfect. Once you think you’ve found the one, plan on having your heart broken, I must have gone through a dozen or so before I found one that wasn’t already taken! I’m still not even 100% happy with mine, but it is what it is. Blog name done? Time to decide what exactly you want to write about. I also work for travel blogger Lesley Murphy (who some of you may know from Sean’s season of the bachelor, I’ll link to her blog below) in my spare time, so naturally it was my first instinct to delve into travel as well. Being a college student with a total of zero dollars in my bank account and one year of school left, it wasn’t the most practical idea, so I settled on something more open-ended. I genuinely feel that your twenties are some of the most complicated years of your life, when you’re trying to figure out who you are as an individual, that I thought it would be really cool to put together a compilation of all of my young adult experiences. The highs, the lows, the struggles, my experiences in work and internships, my discoveries while traveling, pull them all together into one place. Right off the bat I made the executive decision that this would mainly serve as an outlet for myself, and if something bigger came from it, then so be it. I haven’t even gotten to the point of having a posting schedule yet- I just post when I can and hope for the best, and I think this is honestly the best strategy when you’re starting out. But by all means if you have the time and motivation to do something more, then I say go you, take full advantage of it!
In past years, I’ve worked up to 4-5 jobs/internships at a time, and I decided that this summer was my chance to finally do something for me. My experience working in events and for other bloggers along the way has definitely helped me see how much hard work actually goes into blogging, but to finally apply it to my own work is the most rewarding feeling. It took months of brainstorming for me, pulling together a list of my favorite things, my ambitions and hobbies and goals, things that I’ve done that others may want to know about, etc. to finally have enough where I had a pretty good idea of who I am as a person and what I want to write about, but I can definitely say my number one tip is to not rush into things. Take some time to think about the brand that you want to give yourself and what will complement this brand. For me, I want to use my love of writing to talk about things I’m really passionate about and showcase my friends and family who are doing awesome things in their own lives. A blog is the perfect outlet to talk about WHATEVER the heck you want to talk about, and I’m really trying to take advantage of this.
As for the mechanics themselves, I can only really speak for my experience with WordPress, but I can genuinely say that I haven’t encountered any problems! When you first go to create an account, you’re going to be prompted to choose a theme (which can be changed again at any time), and then create a domain name. A name like the one I have (with “.wordpress.com” at the end) is free, and comes with your site when you sign up, but if you’re looking to have your own, custom site address, you’re going to have to upgrade to the premium plan and pay some money.
Speaking of plans, WordPress has three options- Free (which I currently have), Premium, and Business. As you upgrade, you receive more support and more general features, although I think starting off you can still do a really great job aesthetically with the Free plan! Premium and Business do however allow more space for uploaded media, offer more themes to choose from and allow you to escape the advertisements, but you can upgrade at any time if you decide you want any of these things. None of these perks were enough to convince me to upgrade to a different plan, but I did run into one major hiccup as the free plan does not allow you to upload video. A fairly half-assed way around this? I uploaded my video to a GIF converter and imported the finished product as an image. It’s definitely not the same as an actual video though, so if you want to include film in your blog on a regular basis, you may want to upgrade to Premium. In case you like biting off more than you can chew like myself, keep in mind that you operate more than one blog under a single WordPress account as well.
Hook up your email address, create a password and voila- it’s time to start cookin! You’re well on your way to starting a great blog.
To check out Lesley’s amazing, high-class luxury travel blog visit: http://www.theroadlestraveled.com and try not to be too overwhelmed by the fact that she DOES THIS FOR A LIVING.