Blogging (& Instagram) has completely changed my life but not without it’s handwork & up’s/downs has it now become my main source of income. I barely take on interior design clients anymore & can fit my work around my family & the opportunities that have come my way have been nothing short of incredible.
I suppose I kind of fell in to it. I started my Instagram account & began building my following naturally over time with posting pictures of our old house. Then I started a blog as an extension of that seeing as I would get so many questions that would require more than just a simple reply such as furniture upcycling tutorials & so on. I was made redundant from my job in recruitment & marketing whilst pregnant with Rory so decided to put my all in to this side of things which gradually worked when I started being approached by brands & the rest, as they say, is history.
Blogging & social media ‘influencing’ is not a very respected or widely known career choice; I’m either met by an eye roll, a ‘what the hell is that/can you make money from dicking around on Instagram?’ or a wow that’s amazing! I suppose we are the new form of journalist.
So how does somebody go about setting up a successful blog?
1.Come up with a show stopping name –
It may be an obvious one but just like any business, you’ll need a name. Try to be as original as possible & come up with something that will draw people in & also know what you’re about before they even see your pictures or read your posts. It was actually Joe that came up with ‘The Home That Made Me‘ when I was brainstorming what I wanted my essence to be about & even now, 4 years later, I couldn’t imagine it being anything else.
2. What are you going to talk about? –
My number 1 tip will ALWAYS be to blog about something you’re passionate about; then you’ll never run out of material. For me, it’s interiors, for others it may be cooking, fashion or even being a mumma. The lifestyle genre is for those looking to bring a bit of everything in & if done right can be amazing but sometimes you can confuse your brand (being ‘you’) & for example swapping from cars to baking to make up may alienate followers.
3. Create your blog! –
The two main blogging websites are Blogger or WordPress. I started on Blogger then moved across to WordPress to give me more design options as it’s the more professional platform but have found it much less user/idiot friendly. If you’re a newbie I’d definitely recommend Blogger! You simply go on, register & then start designing.
4. You don’t have to spend a penny –
The above two platforms are completely free so technically you don’t have to spend a single penny getting your blog off the ground. However, I would advise buying your domain name (so becoming thehomethatmademe.com rather than thehomethatmade.blogspot.com) sooner rather than later so you can start building up your DA (domain authority – don’t worry about this until you’re more established but it’s a good thing based on your site age & backlinks from other websites). I use godaddy.com for this & it costs about £12 a year. You can also become self hosted if you use WordPress so you pay a minimal free (around £3 a month) using websites like TSOhost.com to have more control over your blog.
5. Make it look pretty –
People will decide whether to follow your Instagram account within seconds & the same is said for people browsing the internet for blogs. You need a show stopping website & in blog terms this is your ‘theme’. You can use the free templates on Blogger/Wordpress or pay (approx £30.00 for a decent one) for one designed on Etsy….some of the designers even install it for you for a small fee so even if you’re lacking in the technical department, it’s easy to have a pretty blog.
6. Get blogging –
Once you’ve got the blog up & running it’s time to come up with some content. The internet is an amazing place & whatever you want to talk about will no doubt be welcomed & appreciated by someone. There is a place for everyone on the internet so put your inner most thoughts, feelings, opinions, hints, tips, debates & know how down on paper (well….keyboard).
7. Social media is key –
If I didn’t have such a large Instagram following then I guarantee nobody would read my blog. My main traffic comes from social media rather than search engines so I cannot express quite how important it is to build up your following. It’s not just about Instagram obviously so use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & so on, if you have the time that is.
8. Don’t expect to run before you can walk –
The amount of messages I get from people which basically say ‘I’ve got to go back to work after maternity leave in 3 weeks but I don’t want to so how do I set up a blog & make lots of money’ is insane. THIS DOES NOT & WILL NOT HAPPEN. It takes year of handwork & dedication to become a successful blogger. I think many people don’t realise the time it takes as well to come up with content, write, take photos, edit, grow your following, reply to comments/messages, emails…the list could go on. I spend about 2 hours a day on DM’s alone & never have a day off away from my phone. Have patience & you will grow.
This quote sums it up entirely ‘Blogging is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, it’s more a ‘work for free for a long time then reap the rewards’ kind of scheme‘.
I’m currently releasing some new dates for my sell-out ‘THTMM Blogging & Social Media’ workshops over the coming months so if you want to be on the contact list or book a place please do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.