So you want to start a (wedding) blog? Thank goodness you are taking time to read this first unlike me. When I started Knotsvilla (formerly called Everything Weddings And More), I did no research whatsoever. I discovered a new passion (the love of weddings) and thought it was a great idea to mix it with an older passion (writing and blogging). Great idea but poor execution as I did not count the cost before plunging. I woke up one morning, created a Facebook page, took it to Instagram then created a blog. What a messy start up process!
I assume you want to do things right and that is why you are reading this, just for that alone, I appreciate your “organized” way of thinking/living. Though this post is geared to wedding blogging, I am positive that it will also be helpful to bloggers in other categories. If I were to do it all over again, here are the following steps I’d take;
1. The Niche
Do you want to focus on fashion, flowers, weddings from a particular location or for a minority group of brides? Having a niche helps you get “known for something”; it makes you stand out and gives you direction. Sometimes it might feel boring but those are the times you have to challenge yourself to be more creative.
For some of us who have no specific niche, its not the end of the world. However, one would have to make her posts have a certain “vibe”, the vibe that makes it easy to spot a post and know it is hers. It could be a category name, a photo/board styling, etc. Posts like Petals to Palettes & Wedding Diaries are the few of my examples.
2. Setting Up
Now there is a direction, that would make this step a lot easier; picking your name, finding your platform and them choosing a design. With name picking, keep your niche in mind, get creative and make sure they are available (domain name and on social platforms). See this post I wrote a while ago about steps to choosing your blog name.
With platforms, I generally mean Blogger, WordPress, Typepad or the others. Browse other blogs using these platforms and identify the features you like best and research. I personally find blogger to be much easier and less technical but I have to admit, WordPress gives you so much more.
After deciding on your name and platform, browse available design options. You can always go with the free themes available and customize if you enjoy getting your hands dirty in html/css codes or you can have it designed from scratch using the features available.
It is always good to have an idea of when you will upload a new post. Not only does it make you disciplined, it keeps your readers in a state of anticipation and holds you accountable for that. You can decide to blog daily which a lot of bloggers do (especially those that run their blog full time), or you can opt for weekdays, twice a week or once a week. I recommend at least once a week to keep the flow of your readers. Due to how saturated the blogging world is, unless you have the most loyal readers (which you probably wouldn’t since you are just starting up), many will hop over to the next blog if they feel you have been too “absent”.
To keep them engaged, let them have an idea of a timetable they can count on and honor that timetable. It’s always better to start small then build like I did. Start with a schedule that is most comfortable and increase the frequency once you get the hang of it. Also should anything happen in your life that interrupts your schedule, for instance, extended travel, having a baby or other life event, honor your readers enough to let them know ahead of time.
4. Connecting with others
Now this is all about network. Before you jump into the wedding blogging jungle, you might want to make contact with those already in it, especially wedding vendors. Since the wedding industry is obviously a visual one, think photos, photos and more photos. While you can source your photos from the great World Wide Web, I would also advise including vendors you know personally. In my case, I began blogging with photos from my wedding photographer, which made it easier to ask for permission and also harness a better relationship in the blogging industry.
Also you can’t forget some of the awesome bloggers already walking on your new path. Connect with them and maintain relationships through their blog posts or social media. Get tips and advice on how they make it all work especially if they are in a close related niche to you. Some may not click with you right away or ever. Don’t be discouraged; be respectful and keep moving on.
5. Get Social
I always say it, the work of blogging is not really writing up posts itself, it is more about getting the posts out there. That is where social media comes in. Master the art of sharing your content in more places other than your blog.
While I am very pro-social media, I would advise you to pick your platforms wisely and focus on it. Not every social media platform may work best for you and that’s okay. Pick a favorite one and use it effectively. I do have to add though, as much as I think Google+ is still confusing, I encourage bloggers to get on this platform because by analysis, there seems to be true engagement with this platform as compared to platforms like Facebook. But then again it makes sense, it’s Google!
Pinterest and Twitter are definitely other great social media platforms for traffic that you should not neglect since blog posts shared are not hidden from any followers and could be easily linked back to the blog. Unfortunately, Instagram may not be the best platform to increase traffic directly because links posted are not clickable, however it can definitely get your name out there which indirectly may increase your traffic.
6. Content & Credits
I saved this for last because it is the most important. After ensuring the above steps are all taken care of, this is where everything falls in place. You like weddings, you love the pretty photos but what exactly are you going to write on your blog? For starters, the basic guidelines I can give you are types of posts to consider. These are basic because they cover most of the wedding planning grounds. How your blog differs from the rest out there would be by curating/presenting them in a unique way.
Here are some of the basic style of posts you can begin with:
- Real Events (weddings, engagements, etc)
- Inspiration Boards
- Wedding Advice
- Style/Fashion Boards
- Wedding Dresses
- DIY Projects
- Styled Shoots
- Inspiration posts (12 ways to …)
- Vendor highlights, etc.
Once the posts are done and ready to go, it is good blogging manners to cite accordingly. From photos, to quotes, to ideas, if they don’t originate from you, tell your readers the source. It keeps you from drama and also helps build better relationships across the blogging world. As a blogger, there is nothing more frustrating than finding a picture you would like to include but can’t find the photographer because no one has given credit. Now take it up a notch and imagine how frustrating that would be for the photographer…
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Hope this post has somehow helped and inspired you. It’s really not difficult (could be time consuming though) and once you get a swing of things, it would flow easily. There is definitely more to blogging like monetizing, but I know nothing about that, lol, so I can’t be advising you on that just yet…maybe in a few months 🙂
Happy Friday mes amis!