Starting up a blog can be a little scary, I'll admit when I started I really didn't know what I was doing. It is so easy to get lost in the world of blogs that have been running for years and look so slick and professional and want your blog to look like that instantly. Half the fun of starting up your own blog is going through a little journey of it and seeing how much it has changed over the years. I've spoken in the past about the mental aspects of blogging but never really the technical side of it all. It has taken me years to really get into the swing of things and to really start to find my feet with the process and now it just feels like second nature to me and here are some of the things that I've learnt:
Pictures are a popular topic within the blogging world, obviously a blog is a visual place so they are important. I think there is awful lot of pressure for people to have a DSLR and own studio lights to have 'good' images. Unless I was a photographer I highly doubt I would have bought a DSLR for my blog, there are some an absolutely amazing cameras on the market for a 1/4 of the price. Do your research and think realistically do you need a DSLR? Are you going to use it to its full capacity? Same goes for studio lights, I don't own lights because personally I just don't like them and I'm lucky enough to have the daylight to photograph in. However if I do need a little boost a daylight bulb in my desk light does the job perfectly and you aren't left with a tango orange image either. It is the person behind the camera who takes a good picture not the camera.
Layout & HTML
I always think of your blog layout is like your first impression online. It is the first thing I look at and like my most things I think the more simple it is the better. If a layout is too cluttered I find it really hard to concentrate but I also think your layout is the place to show your personality too through colour scheme and your header. There are some awesome Etsy stores that offer blog layouts etc but personally I like to do it myself. I had very basic HTML knowledge (thanks Myspace) when I started From Roses and since then I've learnt that Google is your best friend, honestly you can teach yourself anything. I regularly switch around my colour scheme or my header just to keep things fresh and I've definitely learnt that pastels might look pretty but they aren't the easiest to read. Making your social media links and buttons easy to find is something I think is really important because there is nothing more annoying than not being able to find the 'follow on Bloglovin' button.
Finding your style when taking pictures can take years and there is nothing wrong with that. A lot of it comes down to natural instinct and doing what feels comfortable to you too. The photography side of it is my favourite thing about putting together blog posts but I guess that would be a given considering my career choice but I'm still learning everyday. Personally I don't like all my images to look too similar so I mix it around with different backgrounds and set ups but others prefer a more uniform approach to their images. It is all about personal preference and the best advice I could give to anyone is simply play around and explore and you will soon start to find your feet.
This isn't something that comes naturally to me at all, I'm so much more of a visual person. It took me years to find my writing style, I worried so much that my posts were too short or I didn't explain things in great depth and yes I know that I don't have the best grammar in the world. I've learnt you have to write in a way that feels right to you, I really like to break things up into sections or use bullet points as I find it brings focus to a post. Writing is something that I work at everyday to try and improve, yes I still make mistakes and even though I proof read a post 10 times I will still miss things I just think I need a couple more pairs of eyes to help me out.
When it comes to content my number one rule is would I read this myself? Because if I wouldn't read the post why would I expect anybody else to? Whenever I write a beauty post I always try and think of a concept as opposed to a one product review as I'm just not good at them, some bloggers are but it just isn't for me. A few months a go I just stopped doing monthly favourites as I just didn't know why I was writing them anymore, I almost felt like I had too and they didn't feel like me. As the time has gone on I've really looked at how I write posts and when it comes to beauty products I hate feeling like I'm trying to sell something so I try and make a review as personal as I can. Over the past few months I've worked hard at trying to even out the balance of beauty & lifestyle and I'm really enjoying it so far.
There is no formula to blogging and I often find that the more simple the idea the better it is. I have this exact same process when it comes to taking photographs. If I over complicate something it starts to become a mess so taking it down to basics for me is key. Something I've always strived for is keeping my posts relatable, if I read a post on how somebody has just blown £500 in Space NK then I just can't relate to that and for me to enjoy something I need to connect to it.
This one is important. Don't mimic or copy peoples posts or if if somebody has written something and it gives you an idea for your own then give them credit. I see it so often when people have quite obviously taken inspiration a little too far and it is absolutely infuriating. You have to think would you like it if somebody did that to you? I'm guessing not so have a little courtesy and give credit where it is due. Just because we are in the online world it is so important to treat people with respect and common courtesy.
I hate reading posts when people apologise for not posting, there is no rule that says you have to post everyday. A blog is fun and if you don't want to post everyday then you don't have to, I know a lot of people think that they will get forgotten about if they don't but if your readers love what you do then they won't forget about you. Planning ahead really helps me with everything, some people think it takes the fun out of it but I find it really fun planning out posts.
Highs & Lows
With the many highs that come with blogging there are also lows. It's important not get disheartened, this is something I have to remind myself of all the time, writers block happens and that is ok there is nothing wrong with taking a step back. Or when things get a little too much to just take a step back and shut your laptop. Something I worry about all the time is being good enough, I put a lot into my blog and sometimes I worry that I will never be truly satisfied. Being criticised is hard but in the long run it can help a lot and if you are going to do it then be aware of how you do.
I by no means think I'm the bees knees at blogging, far from it I still go through stages of self doubt and those feelings we all go through and have days when I feel completely lost. But these are all topics that I get asked about so I thought it would be helpful to put it all in a post. My number one piece of advice is just be yourself, the great thing about the blogging world is that it is big enough for everybody and well have something different to say. Also just to enjoy it and have fun exploring everything you can do and eventually you will find your blogging feet.
Do you have any tips?