What Do You Really Need To Run An Awesome Blog?
After sharing my blogging process a couple of weeks ago in this post I realised that I didn't really touch on what equipment I use. Over the years it's changed so much and I think when looking at blogging from an outside point of view it can look very expensive and overwhelming. So from what blogging platform I use to the editing software, I spend way too long with, here is a look at my blogging tools as well what I think you need to run an awesome blog.
The most important thing when it comes to running a blog is yourself and your ideas. Why you want to start is very much up to you but wanting to run a blog purely based on financial gain is something that I've never seen work out in the long run as it's not as easy as people believe. It sounds pretty silly to write that you need yourself as it's pretty much a given but you are the most important thing when it comes to running any internet space, whatever it is about.
A PLACE FOR YOUR IDEAS
Whether it's a notepad or an app on your phone having somewhere to scribble or type down your ideas is always a great starting point. Of course, it very much depends on how you find yourself working with your blog and whether you're someone who just writes when the idea strikes them or you might like to take a more planned or structured approach to blogging. Personally, I'm a big of notepads as it gets my mind flowing easier than dumping my thoughts out onto a screen.
I'm sure it's pretty jarring to see every blogger sat working from their MacBook in a cute coffee shop and it does seem like quite the cliche. I've been an Apple laptop user for around 10 years as it's an industry standard in the photography world so it only made sense to get myself fully accustomed to the operating system and it's just what I've preferred ever since. You don't need a MacBook to be a blogger by any means and it's just personal preference ultimately.
I currently use the MacBook Air which I switched to after being a pro user for years. When I bought it I was travelling around a little more often and needed something light but right now I'm a lot more stationary so could deal with the weight of a pro as well as be having a more high-quality screen which would be ideal for the amount I edit. The airs obviously don't have a huge memory capacity so an external hard-drive is so important to keep everything stored and safe. If you're someone who edits video or large files a lot then I would probably not say the air is a good idea as it does get sluggish after constantly dealing with large files.
Way back in the beginning days of my blog I used to use Blogger and was happy with that for years. And whilst there are so many plus points about Blogger the way that it compressed my images was so frustrating that I just couldn't bare it anymore. I made the switch over to Squarespace over 18 months ago and it's been without a doubt one of the best things that I've ever done for my online space. You have to pay for the platform which I know is very off-putting to many but as I make an income from blogging it's something I need to invest in.
Like every platform, there are drawbacks to Squarespace but in general, I absolutely love it. Once you're used to it it's so easy to customise and work with as well as being beautiful for displaying images. I often get asked about my layout so I thought I'd answer those questions here. I designed it myself and it took days to finally get it right, it's nothing revolutionary as SS works in building blocks but there are elements of code that I've done myself.
I've written a couple of posts about the platform here;
This is probably the piece of equipment that has the biggest debate around it. When I began blogging I was already fortunate enough to own a DSLR as I was doing my photography degree so it's never something that's been any different for me. And if I wasn't doing my degree then I probably wouldn't have ever started my blog anyway as it was born from feeling creatively frustrated due to following strict briefs constantly.
As of right now, I use the Canon 700d which is a lovely little camera, my heart pines for 5d MK3 but it's just not something I can justify the money for right now. I don't think you need a DSLR at all to blog, as they're complex, expensive and it seems so pointless to buy something like an SLR only to shoot in automatic as you will never get the most out of it. There are a lot of point and shoot cameras on the market that are much more affordable and a lot easier to use. And even though it's probably the most annoying advice out there in the beginning of your blog there is nothing wrong with using your iPhone because you never know if you will stick to it or not so why make a huge investment in an expensive camera that you might not even use properly?
If you're an SLR user then this might be of interest to you but if not then do scroll on. Even though I'm obviously a big lover of photography I've never been into the techy side of it all that much. But once I discovered the 50mm lens and how well it worked for my style of photography I was very loyal to it for years. And I still think that it's an absolutely fabulous lens but I've been using the 40mm lately and preferring it. It's a little wider so is great for interior shots and the macro feature is perfect for beauty content. It doesn't go down to a 1.8 aperture like the 50mm does and I miss that little but in general, I do prefer it. Personally, I've always thought that what lens you use is more important than the camera body as the lens is what makes all the difference and more often than not you can spend a lot more on a lens than on the body of the camera.
PHOTOSHOP AND LIGHTROOM
To edit my photographs I use Photoshop and Lightroom and have done for a while. As I shoot from an SLR and in RAW format it just makes sense for to edit in this way but in general my editing technique isn't anything mind-blowing. I've been experimenting a little more with Lightroom lately and really enjoying the process of it. As these are complex and expensive software to use I don't think it's fair to suggest them but now were quite fortunate that we have awesome iPhone editing apps and free software online to use, I absolutely VSCO cam that's a free app you can download to your phone. I've written a post all about how I edit with VSCO cam here;
SO WHAT DO YOU REALLY NEED?
After prattling on about all the pieces of tech that I use, what do I really think you need? Well, in the beginning, all you need is yourself, your ideas, an internet connection and an online platform. Depending on what type of blog that you want to write sometimes you don't even need a camera. Finding your feet and finding out how you like the entire process is something that's not spoken about enough in blogging as what's the point in investing in all that equipment if it's not even something you're going to enjoy in the long run? It might sound hypocritical coming from someone who has all the nice equipment that does definitely help in the blogging world but without sounding completely arrogant without those ideas or myself those things are completely useless.
What are your favourite pieces of tech when it comes to blogging?
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