If You’re Planning to Start a Blog

Published in: Just For Fun

If you're thinking about starting a blog

This blog has been one of the funnest (most fun?) things I’ve ever done. It’s the perfect creative outlet for me, a way to connect with good people and mentally challenging (like jumble and Tetris only with pictures of makeup and cats!).



Every once in a while someone who’s thinking about starting a blog will send me an email.

Wendy wrote:

“Hi Karen,

I have been a fan of your blog and your work has inspired me to start one for mom’s and parenting. Do you have any professional advice or resource information that you can suggest for me to get started. I am fairly new to blogs and need a little help.”

I don’t think of myself as an expert, but here are some things that might help.

  1. Why blog? — If the answer is to make friends, to express yourself, to explore your creativity or to learn something new, then you’ve come to the right place. :) If the answer is to make money fast, stop right there. Trust me when I say that there are far easier ways to earn a living than by starting a blog.
  2. Read the manual that came with your camera — This one took me about a year to figure out, LOL! I kept thinking that other bloggers must have just had better cameras than I did. Then I dug out the manual that came with my old Canon Powershot SD200 and WOW! My pictures suddenly got a whole lot better.
  3. Use keywords in the name of your blog — It will help people find you on the search engines, so a parenting blog might be called something like parentingblog.com or mommyblog4parents.com.
  4. What do I blog about? — Pretty obvious, but choosing a topic you love to talk about (and have loved for years) is a great place to start.
  5. Use self-hosted WordPress — This is just one blogger’s opinion, but I’ve used Blogger and another blog system called Nucleus and think WordPress.org is the best by far. It has more plugins (to add features like polls and games), more people who use it (which means more people who can help) and does everything I need.
  6. Join an email list/blog network — Most niches have networks of like-minded bloggers. Search Google for ones in your niche, and ask them if you can join. I prefer ones with an email distribution list that members use to communicate with each other. I hear that Twitter’s great for networking, too, but I think you have to like instant messaging to appreciate Twitter.

Do you bloggers out there have any other tips or advice about starting a blog?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

P.S. I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention OnSugar! It’s a combination blog network/blogging platform that takes a lot of the guesswork out of blogging, and it comes with a built in network (which takes care of #6 above). There are other platforms out there, but OnSugar is probably the one I would have used if it had been around back when I started.

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  1. Katie & Zena says:

    Oh, I love OnSugar! I have profile on there, just under a different username. I love that it has something for everyone and you can choose which ones you want to follow; I follow BuzzSugar, BellaSugar, CasaSugar and PetSugar mainly. Occasionally, I look at Giggle and Fab but not usually. :D

    And, if you want to be completely correct with English, it’s technically MOST FUN. My mom is a linguist and she’s constantly correcting me on that point as ‘funner’ and ‘funnest’ are easier and more fun to say.

    I like that you aren’t connected to Onsugar. I get to zoom around the net. Besides, I’d miss my near-daily Tabs picture.

    I actually only blog blog on one site and that’s pretty serves as my sort of online journal. I’m very private and I usually describe my days and post random Blogthings on it. I leave anything nasty, spiteful, emotions I’m feeling or really personal to my private paper journal (gasp a paper journal, oh my!). I think the only thing truly personal things I posted on my blog were my worries about my grandpa’s open-heart surgery, the death of one guinea pig and the death of Zena’s predecessor which was completely traumatic.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katie & Zena,

      Thanks for the clarification. Now I know the rule so I can break it to my heart’s content!

      I should start reading CasaSugar. I have no style when it comes to home decorating!

  2. Dao says:

    Those are great tips! And yeah, it’s true: blogging does not bring as much financial revenue as people thought. I need to read my camera’s manual again. Although the pictures have become a whole lot better, I think my flash is too bright.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dao,

      Yeah, I have to read mine again, too.

      One thing I’ve discovered by doing this site is that I really enjoy photography. It’s still a challenge for me, but I enjoy it.

  3. Mariah says:

    Great ideas Karen! I would also add, one thing that I see in A LOT of blogs that drives me NUTS is SPELLING AND GRAMMAR!

    Your page is a shining example of great spelling and grammar, Karen! And it’s always fun to read! But there are other blogs out there that don’t follow the rules of the English language, and it becomes a pain to read! (And trust me, these are native English speakers!!)

    Like, in this girl’s letter to you she wrote that her blog would be “for mom’s and parenting.”, my first thought was, “it’s about HER mom’s parenting?”. But then I realized, she meant that the blog was “for moms” in general.

    All it took was the misuse of one apostrophe, and people get confused. I don’t mean to be a grammar nazi or anything, but it just gets under my skin, and I think it’s something bloggers need to remember to check!

    I recently read a whole blog entry by a nail polish blogger who referred to heels as “heals”! I mean, as a reader, I don’t know what to do! Should we call them out on it? Or let them go on without embarrassing them? Even though it’s kind of like letting them continue to embarrass themselves? What do you do Karen?

    Mariah´s last blog post..Good Lord!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mariah,

      I know what you mean, but I don’t care about grammar or spelling rules as long as the material’s readable. Some of my favorite writers pretty much disregard the rules, but beyond that I wouldn’t ever correct anyone else’s stuff because I make mistakes all the time. To this day I don’t know how to spell ya’ll, LOL! Is it you’all, y’all, all ya’ll? — I have no idea! :)

      What are you up to today? I saw on your site that Russell got a Cintiq. I WOULD LOVE one of those. I’ve got the little Bamboo which I love, but it’s no Cintiq!

  4. Katie & Zena says:

    Haha, I always break it. It drives my linguist mom batty. She always says, “I thought I raised you with better language usage than that.”

    CasaSugar is great for ideas once you know what you’re looking for. There’s a great book by Better Homes and Gardens called “The New Decorating Book” that has a style quiz in it that is great for finding your design style (I think it’s the 2003 edition. It’s a newer one). I ended up with a tie in the book and that’s okay as interior design is all about mixing the styles you like.

    There are a few online quizzes that are good but you only get one answer and don’t know the others. They keep saying I’m “Classic Traditional” or “French Country.” I do tend to be predominantly traditional, but I mix and match other styles to so don’t go by any one answer. The questions online tend to be basic too so I do suggest that book first as it asks really good, practical questions that really asks you to think before answering. The whole book has a huge variety of styles so you can see (after you take the quiz) what you could do.

  5. gio says:

    Great tips. I really need to read my camera’s manual. All the pictures I take come out rally bad and the colors are either too bright or washed out. Now, if only I can remember where I put the manual..

    gio´s last blog post..Know Your Ingredients: Witch Hazel

  6. Sanayhs says:

    I’ve been playing with webdesign and been blogging for years! I got hooked about a decade ago when I was bored one afternoon and decided to teach myself HTML. Ha! I’ve taken a break from it for a while, and finally started back up again (with a few friends), launching less than a week ago! It kind of made me giggle to see this post, coinciding so closely with the launch of my latest blog project.

    I’ve never been one to think of it as a source of revenue. If anything, it’s a source of entertainment!

    Sanayhs´s last blog post..Moxy’s lip products!

  7. Catherine says:

    Great tips! I started my beauty blog on blogspot purposely to section it away from the rest of my life though. It just seems really weird to have it connected to the same site that has my resume on it.

    Catherine´s last blog post..Review: Physicians Formula Organic Wear Bronzer

  8. Marisol says:

    One tip would be to be yourself and don’t try to copy what other bloggers are doing. Be original and people will enjoy that more than if you are trying to imitate another blog. If you take content from someone else’s site, make sure that you give them credit for it. And have fun!

    I guess that was 3 tips.

    Marisol´s last blog post..Back to Counting…

  9. lyndsey says:

    i recently started a blog, and i have to admit, its kind of poorly put together still, but these tips really helped, thanks!

    lyndsey´s last blog post..my in-person interview

  10. Didi says:

    Hi Karen -> Hi Tabs!
    Thanks for the blogging tips. I just started a blog at the beginning of this year and these are great tips! I really just wanted to share beauty finds and just thought blogging about it would be a lot of fun!

  11. Ayana says:

    I really appreciate these tips! I just started a blog and I’m learning so much each day. I love your blog and really look up your blog.

    Ayana´s last blog post..4 Things to Think About Before You Cut Your Hair.

  12. Jasmine says:

    Thanks for the tips! I want to start a blog, I am trying to figure out a name though! Since I haven’t started yet I don’t know if I will really get into it, do you still recommend a self-hosted site?

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