1. Blogger or WordPress?
Personally, I recommend either Blogger or WordPress. (Preferably WordPress.) I started off on Blogger, and it was very easy to get started on, due to how user friendly it is, but about a year later, I switched over to WordPress, and I've never looked back. I wrote a nice, long, informative post a few years back when I made the switch. If you'd like to read the difference between Blogger & WordPress/Why I switched to WordPress, which you can read HERE.
2. Make Sure You LOVE Your Blog Name.
Good Lord, has this one bitten me in the ass more than I have wanted. When I first started blogging, my blog was Me, You, & Hayley Larue. It was cute and catchy, people liked it, but it really started to bug the shit out of me. The commas, the & sign, the length, etc. And I waned something more "fashion-like." So a year later, I switched to Styled By Blondie. I switched without thinking hard enough about it. I had thought about Blondie in the City then, but I was like "Well I don't live in New York, so I can't do that." And that's when I went with Styled By Blondie.... Another year later??? I F^C#!NG wanted to change it again! And this time to what I wanted the year prior, being Blondie in the City. I sat on this one for a good 4 days. Well, technically a year... Regardless of how big of a pain it was to switch my URL that many damn times, I LOVE my blog name now and I am so glad I went through the annoying process to finally have one I loved. But seriously, think long and hard about what you want, because switching your URL and redirecting all of your links is a PAIN IN THE ASS. However, if you've already created one, and you are thinking about changing it, I say go for it. In the end, it's worth it!
3. Don't Be Scared To Promote Your Blog
I totally get it. Sometimes it can be embarrassing, you don't want your friends and family to know you have a blog because you don't want anyone to make fun of you, and the list goes on. I was totally in this position before and I swear it gave me anxiety, lol. I had a mini heart attack the first time I posted an outfit photo on Instagram. I was like... Oh God, how many of my friends are screen shotting this and sending it in a group message saying, "WTF is Hayley doing." Trust me, I know things were said like, "Why can't Hayley just get a real job." But I didn't let those things bother me. I loved having a blog and I KNEW I could make it my business one day, so I kept it going until I met that goal. Now, I have had countless people ask me how to start a blog... and some of those were probably the ones laughing when I first started. But oh well, I totally get it. Moral of the story, if you truly want your blog to be your job, you can't be scared to promote on Instagram, Facebook, and all of the above.
4. Get Your Butt On MailChimp
Growing your email subscription list is crucial. I used to think this didn't matter, but as time went on, I was like "wow, I'm an idiot, I should have started paying attention to this earlier." I originally used Feedburner since I had started on Blogger, and that's what you get by default, but once I was on WordPress for a while, I transferred my subscribers over to my Mailchimp account, and I have loved using Mailchimp ever since. Read about my 5 tips to grow your email subscription list HERE, which includes my pros and cons of using Feedburner vs. Mailchimp.
5. Be Willing to LEARN
Everything I know about blogging, making sales, using affiliate programs and links, working with companies,etc... I learned on my own. I never once asked anyone for help, or how to do it all. I googled literally EVERYTHING and pretty much did it all through trial and error. I knew no one who even had a blog, (as far as people I personally knew,) and I just personally wanted to learn on my own, because I knew it was something I was serious about. I wanted to show people that I could do it. Through the years, I have answered many emails of followers and even friends on how to start a blog... and while I am totally ok with doing that, I can't answer everyone. And I'm also putting a good 45 minutes to an hour into an email, cutting a lot of the hard work out for you telling you how to do a lot of everything I spent hours, days, weeks, months learning. "How do you start a blog?" is such a broad question and difficult to answer. So I always feel like I have to go deep into detail. Plus, when one person gets all of this information all at once, it tends to scare the away. It's very rare for me to see the person I helped actually go through with starting a blog, and honestly, had they done the research on their own, and learned along the way, I actually think they would have started.
6. If You're Starting A Blog Just For The Money... Don't Even Bother Starting
I don't say this to discourage you, but only because you will NOT get the results you want right away, or even in the first year, and if you're focused on the money, you will most likely quit after just a few months due to the frustration. (I had this happen with someone I helped in the past as well.) When I first started, I had NO IDEA money could even be made from a blog, let alone actually be able to make a living through blogging. BUT. it takes a really long time, and you do have to put money into advertisement in order to grow your blog, just like any other business. You have to spend money to make money. For example, on instagram, most of the fashion reposting pages charge you if you want your photo reposted on their account to their 800,000 followers. And let me tell you... getting reposted helps a ton. A lot of times those accounts will just repost photos that they are tagged in and they like, but they don't always notice you, so you do have to reach out and ask for their rates most of the time.
Instagram accounts you can reach out to?
@women_with_style | @ootdmagazine | @fashiongoalsz | @instalmanya | @dreamfashionably | @fashionformodelzz | @lovethatdress | @ootdgals | @girly.inspo |
7. Focus On These 2 Affiliate Programs: rewardStyle & ShopStyle Collective
In the beginning, I was all about ShopStyle because I just flat out wasn't making any sales, and understandably so, in which case, the pay per click method on ShopStyle worked better for me... Then once I saw that I was starting to make sales, I began focusing more on using rewardStyle links. There are a lot of other affiliate programs out there, like Share A Sale, Pepperjam Network, and some others that are commission based, and while I have tried most of them, I still prefer rewardStyle. rewardStyle is linked up with SO many brands, plus you can link it to your instagram using liketoknow.it, so I pretty much have all of my commission going in one place all the time, rather than on multiple different sites, where I can't just combine it so I can reach my pay out. And because of this, I am able to get a nice commission check every two weeks.