Is it too late to start a blog?
Of course not.
I'm Whitney and I'm so glad you're here.
It took me way too long to start my blog. In fact, I talked about it for years, but only got as far as starting an Instagram and posting a few pictures a month.
I didn't really put myself out there, and I didn't really engage with people. Lurking was more of my thing. I was used to that life: lurking and consuming instead of creating. Behind the scenes, I could come up with witty captions and identify images that would wow people online. I worked my way up at a social media agency and then went on to start my own company, doing social media marketing for other people.
But creating and sharing is what I do best. And I wouldn't be surprised if you feel that way too. There's so much good information in the world, and I know you want to share what you know and love with people. It's more than getting free stuff. Blogs can make the world a better place (I mean this in the most honest, sincere way). I truly believe that blogs can help us connect to the people we need to learn from. They can help us live better lives.
When I started my blog, I had a Pinterest board full of resources, but they were all designed for people who were already bloggers. I had to sort out the things I needed (and the things I wanted) by myself.
But you shouldn't have to do that. In truth, there are a few things you definitely need in order to start a blog, and some other things that make your life easier or give your blog a better first impression: these are icing on the cake.
Your Corner of the Web
You need a place online that is yours and yours alone. That means getting a domain, hosting services, and a design for your site (which can be a free template or a super-expensive custom job). You need content, which could be your own or could be from other people. Pictures can be found for free on stock photo sites (check out Unsplash, Pexels, or Pixabay), but writing is going to be harder to get for cheap. Fiverr or Upwork will be good places to look, but writing your own content will help you build rapport with your audience much better in my opinion.
Then, you probably know that you need a way to get people to know about your blog. Instagram is the blogger-favorite, but Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and email marketing (I use MailChimp) can all help, too.
After you get the basics down, you may want to spend a little money to get things moving. Honestly, I believe that sometimes you need to spend money to avoid wasting time learning on your own. I love courses and will invest in coaching or courses to help me get where I want to be faster.
You might also want to consider getting a G-suite account so you have a more professional feel to your business (definitely don't want people bombarding your middle school email address with sales questions). This isn't free, but fairly reasonably priced.
Knowing your ideal audience might be high on your priority list, or maybe you'd rather explore your blog a bit more before you pin down your ideal audience. It won't cost you anything and understanding your ideal customer persona can help you speak better to their problems (and provide solutions).
Yep, you also want to identify the brand identity of your blog, just as you would a company. Look at logos of companies you like, and feel free to experiment with style. Make it simple and recognizable. Consider using the first letters of your blog name or a distinct shape for areas with less space (like the favicon that appears when people land on your page). Find five colors that all work together, and two fonts (one to use for headers, and one for the body of your blog).
Scheduling your posts will save your sanity. Essentially nobody posts live anymore, except for special occasions. I've included my favorite scheduling tools in the guide. If you're just starting out, you want cheap or free tools that are easy to use. After you get the hang of things, consider upgrading to give yourself more options.
The last thing I want to touch on is graphic design. I almost went into art in college, but worried I wouldn't make any money (haha so I became an English Major). But, the thing is, graphic design is a great skill to have. If you don't have a graphic design background, then the free site, Canva, is about to be your best friend. It's super easy to use and helps your blog look so much more professional. ColorStory and Unfold will help you edit photos and make beautiful Instagram stories that will make people fall in love with your work.
You'd think that for a list of basics, it would be a lot shorter. But that's how blogging goes. You can keep it simple or make it as big and elaborate as you like.
I waffle somewhere in the middle. I'm willing to spend money if I think it's worth it, but I want to make sure I'm not wasting money that could be better used elsewhere. Maybe you feel the same way.
Or maybe you're just completely overwhelmed with the idea of starting a blog. If you are, take a deep breath. I was right where you are not long ago. And while it was stressful, it was also really exciting.
And I hope this list encourages you to keep moving forward with your blog. Make a goal to research just one thing at a time and decide if you need it now, or if you might want to think about it later on. Either way, do what feels best. Spending money is hard until you see the money come back, right?
So, without further ado, here's a quick and easy checklist to get you started in the blogging world. I can't wait to see what you create.
Tag me on Instagram (my handle is @wild.corners) so I can read your blog. I love hearing people talk about their passions and would love to learn from you.