So you’re ready to start your creative blog? Wooty Woo! I am super excited for you. Blogging isn’t like it used to be. We’re not keeping an online diary of our daily lives anymore. We’re sharing helpful information with the world.
In Case Reading Isn’t Your Thing…Here’s a Video
Why You Should Start Your Creative Blog
Blogging helps your business in growing your online brand. Blogging allows you always to be open to new opportunities. As you write, and share information (for free) you gain an audience that comes to know you as an expert in your field.
By being the go-to person, you have established yourself as a professional, and therefore, people will buy from you. If you’re giving away such valuable information, then, of course, they want what you’re selling too.
Blogging your creative endeavors offers many networking opportunities. These, in turn, could lead to significant projects that grow your audience, and in turn, builds your business and income.
Blogging is fun, and challenges you in ways you never thought! So, why not do it? It doesn’t cost much! Let me share five things you need to start your creative blog below and you’ll be on your way!
There is a lot of information out there in general about starting a blog. I’m a creative blogger, and you’ll find me blogging to target other creatives. Starting a blog is easy and yet a lot of work at the same time. If you’re ready to dive in, I will give you the low down!
1 | Choosing a Name for Your Creative Blog
The first and most obvious thing you need to start your creative blog is a name. I opted to use my actual name. It’s my brand identity. I am the face of my brand and I prefer to use it vs. another cute name.
Now, I also co-own Grit and Cotton with my friend, Tammy of Syd & Coco. Together, we collaborate on webinars and workshops because life is already daunting enough with what we do. Having that accountability of another creative blogger has been a tremendous help.
Our name has a meaning. We took the time to write out various words that have a connection with what we discovered during our Brand Clarity meeting. We downloaded my BrandMaster workbook and made sure that we were on the same page, identifying our target audience and our message.
As we began jotting down words, we also looked them up in a thesaurus to see if we were missing something. When you’re choosing something other than your personal name, it’s important that your creative blog name makes sense. After, we put words together to form our blog’s name.
I highly recommend that you use the online app called, NameVine when choosing a name for your creative blog. If you can, make sure that your name is available in all social media applications. Yes, even if you aren’t planning on using that app for some time or ever. You just never know when you change your mind if it is available to grab.
Once you figure that out, it’s important to determine the blogging platform you want to use for your creative blog.
2| Choosing a Platform for Your Creative Blog
When selecting a platform for your blog I highly recommend thinking long term. There are free options out there, like Blogger. But, you don’t have the control and ability to make it as professional as possible.
The popular choice among creative bloggers is WordPress. Today, you can turn your blog into a full website. Just look at mine! WordPress is free, but you will need to self-host it. You will have total control over this platform, and the sky is the limit with running a professional site using it.
If you’re not tech savvy, you may need to hire a professional to help you customize your theme, and set up your site the way you want. Plus, you may find yourself doing more self-teaching on how to use it by searching for tutorials. It’s an open source platform and doesn’t have a support team.
There are plenty of free themes for WordPress out there, so start with something simple to get you started.
If you choose WordPress, be sure to check out my post on the Plugins and tools that I recommend for Creative Bloggers here.
Another favorite is Squarespace. Creative bloggers that don’t have much tech savviness are choosing Squarespace for their blogging platform. This option is self-hosted by that company, so you pay for the platform as well as the hosting costs. It’s easy to use, not much of a learning curve. Plus, someone is there to help you if you need it.
There are other options out there, but I wanted to stick to the most common choices. I use WordPress because I am savvy enough to work through challenges, or I have the sources that can help me or that I can hire.
3 | Choosing a Hosting Service for Your Creative Blog
This decision can be dependent upon what platform you want for your creative blog. So interchange it with number two as needed.
One of the favorite choices for blogging is WordPress. With WordPress, you’re going to want to use a hosting company that will allow you to manage it carefully.
You have the option of choosing a host that will give you shared or managed hosting. To learn more about these options, check out Syd and Coco’s post on the comparison of the two. With shared hosting, you’re going to pay less but may end up with a slower site. Of course, you can always start out with shared and upgrade as needed.
I’m currently using SiteGround for my managed WordPress hosting. Recommended hosts that I prefer for managed hosting are WP Engine, FlyWheel, and SiteGround. SiteGround links are referral links that pay me if you sign up with them too.
For blogs using Squarespace, this is all self-hosted with that company. You’re paying for the platform at the hosting through them. Many non-techy people go this route for the ease. Plus, they have some pretty themes.
Remember, think long term when choosing your platform and hosting company. Switching hosts is less painful than it used to be as your new host will typically do it for you.
If you need help installing WordPress, check out Syd & Coco’s post on how to do just that! And, take her free 7-day course!
4| Choosing Your Topics & Planning Your Editorial Calendar.
In this post, 10 Passive Income Ideas You Can Steal, I touch base on defining your niche. If you don’t have a common theme about what you’re blogging about, you’re going to have a tough time gaining an audience.
When you’re all over the road with topics, you risk losing readers because they will realize that half of your content isn’t relevant to them.
Once you have your topics in place, you can start brainstorming ideas. I personally keep a running Google Spreadsheet on my phone and computer so when a topic comes up I can log it there. Then, I can choose from these lists. If you’re struggling with topic ideas, check out my post on 50 Blog Topics for Creative (plus a free blog planner workbook) here.
Decide how frequently you wish to blog. The more you blog per week, the more activity you’ll start seeing. Your pageviews will go up, and you will also have lots of topics to use to link within your blog through other posts.
As you reach a point where you have over 100 posts, you can consider posting less frequently. But, be wise here. If your pageviews aren’t going up, look at your topics and frequency. These will be tell-tell signs for you!
There are some great editorial calendars you can use to help you plan your content including CoSchedule (affiliate link) and WordPress Plugin: Editorial Calendar. These allow you to draft your topics, so you’re ready to go when you feel like writing! Of course, you can stick with a traditional calendar method, like Google Calendar.
5| Marketing Your Creative Blog & Sharing Your Posts
Finally, you’re not going to get traffic if you post and forget it. You have to do the hard work of sharing your topics with the world.
I recently wrote a post called, The Ultimate Guide to Scheduling Your Social Media. This topic was pretty intense. Feel free to use it and the free checklist that you can download to help you plan your social shares of your blog posts.
If you want to see a significant increase in traffic, I can’t recommend using Pinterest enough. This app has been the biggest game changer for me. I wrote a post about how Pinterest Totally Changed My Blog Game last year. And, it did. I see close to 90% of my traffic coming from that source.
Using my Ultimate Guide to Scheduling Social Media, I share frequency times of sharing your posts. I also recommend resharing your post every month to get people back to other areas of your blog.
The more you share on these free platforms of social media, the more people will learn about you.
There is a lot that goes into blogging, and I could dive into more areas that would help. But if you’re just starting out and need a plan, these five sections should help you.