This is part five in a series in which I am sharing my story as an Instagrammer/blogger. Last week I wrote a post about how you can manage your time and be more productive as an Instagrammer and blogger. You can read that post here. Today I am going to share with you my thoughts about blogging and if you decide you want to blog, I have some suggestions on how you can get started.
My100yearoldhome.com is actually my third blog. I started my first one as an artist ten years ago. Then I started one seven years ago for a podcast (which I still produce). My 100 Year Old Home blog is just over a year old and I can happily say I have loved each and every one of them! A lot has changed from when I first started blogging. Ten years ago everyone was using Blogspot (or Blogger) which was very popular. Although the format and designs were very limited, it was really easy to use. Now many bloggers, at least in this community, use WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and other platforms to create their blogs.
So why should you have a blog?
The first reason to have a blog is it gives you a place to tell your story. A blog gives you a platform to attract an audience because you can share a lot of information on your blog. It’s hard to go into depth about what you are passionate about on social media. (And social media is not the best platform to do that anyway.) If you want to share a DIY or share your thoughts (like I am doing here) then a blog is the perfect place to share. Writing about information that you know well also establishes you as an authority. It helps you become a person that others can reach out to. Blogs are also a great way to develop and grow your brand, meet new people and make money. There are a lot of collaboration opportunities with brands that can happen because of your blog.
I should caution you that blogs take a lot of time. If you are already stressed and struggling to find time to post on social media then a blog might not make sense for you. I don’t think it’s worth starting a blog if you aren’t going to be able to focus on it and do it right. I am not saying you have to blog every day, because you don’t. You can even start out blogging once a week. But even starting a blog and learning how to post can be a big commitment.
Before you start a blog, you need to determine why you want a blog. What is the message you want to share? For me, my blog and Instagram were started based on my desire to create, inspire and enjoy. My blog and Instagram are totally integrated. I plan out my blog posts first and then talk about my posts on my IG feed and stories. If you read my blog post about creating an Editorial Calendar, then you know I plan out my blog posts in advance. An Editorial Calendar is a great thing to use even for your Instagram.
How Can You Get More Followers for Your Blog?
I use to be really focused on getting people to sign up to follow my blog. I did a lot of things to increase my subscribers, such as adding a form on my blog where one can “follow my blog”. I also email my followers(via MailChimp) a link to my blog every time I write a new blog post. Just recently, I added a pop-up box to my blog that encourages visitors to follow me.
Then one day I realized that I wasn’t even following some of my favorite bloggers. I was visiting their blogs almost daily, but I wasn’t actually following them. This made me realize that perhaps I didn’t need to worry as much about getting people to sign up to follow my blog, but instead encourage them to swipe up to read my posts. I use Instagram stories every day to encourage my followers to swipe up and read my blog post. You should too.
If you write compelling and interesting blog posts and promote the posts on all of your social media channels, then you will see growth. Surprisingly, Pinterest is one of my largest sources for blog visitors. Once I figured that out, I started pinning a lot of my blog post photos to Pinterest. Almost every day.
How to Start a Blog
If you want to start a blog, I suggest you get some help. There are so many different platforms you can use (as I mentioned above) and setting up your blog is probably the hardest thing to do. I use Word Press and I love it, but it is pretty complex and difficult to learn. I think some of the blog templates available in Squarespace, Wix and Weebly look almost exactly the same as WordPress and if you are computer shy, you should consider these options instead. I honestly don’t think your readers care which platform you use, as long as you make your blog easy to read and navigate. The most important thing is that you are able to update, write and post your own blog posts. I think it is smart to get someone to help you set up your blog but you need to learn how to take it from there.
I know a lot of people who have hired someone to set up their blogs. I always suggest you start with people you know, such as your children or a close friend. They usually offer the best prices (haha). You can also ask around in this community as there are a lot of great people out there who can offer help.
I am self-taught. I started with blogger, moved on to Weebly and now I am on Word Press. I do believe a lot of you can set up your own blogs. If you are interested, give it a try. Spend a few hours trying out some of the platforms I mentioned and see how it goes. You may be able to do it all yourself.
Once you are set up, be sure to remember the most important goal. And that is to have fun. Create, inspire and enjoy. That is what I try to do every day with my blog. Start out small, like once a week, and see where you go from there. Use your Instagram to promote your blog posts and people will follow your blog. Grow with it and soon you may be posting more! Just have fun. And be true to your self. That is all it takes.