I had lunch with a popular blogger when I was in Seattle and she asked me why I don’t attend Alt Summit, my answer was simple, ‘I don’t consider myself a blogger’. She laughed and we moved on, but it’s true I have mentioned ad naseum times that I am a reluctant blogger, but maybe it’s because this is not my business that I don’t feel deserving of giving myself the moniker. I also hate the name ‘blogger’, again another thing I have said a zillion times–it sounds like a bad jogger. I have nothing against bloggers, quite the opposite, I admire them immensely especially the ones that have been able to generate an income from doing it. It’s hard work and there’s many variables that go into it to make it a successful career path. I get emails all the time about how-to launch a blog, that part is easy, but I think what most people want to do is launch a blog that allows them to quit their day jobs and blog from their Parisienne abode, making copious amounts of income or just make it their business. I love to dream and I love to dream big, so anything is possible if you want it badly enough, but the majority of people that launch blogs may want this but are not putting in the time + energy to make it a reality. So, I figured I would offer up some insights into creating a successful blog presence.
Name your blog something easy + easy to spell. Besotted is impossible for most people, a lot of individuals don’t even know what it means. I’d like to believe that the people that read this blog are also big readers and have a more expanded vocabulary than the average bear, so I am attracting individuals that are like minded, but in reality it’s difficult. ‘Design Sponge’ may not be the most glamorous name but it is easy + unforgettable.
Do yourself a favor in the beginning and just buy yourself your own .com, they are cheap and it’s a worthy investment. While you are buying this URL remember the simple + easy from the name game above. Another tip, don’t be tempted to buy yourname+blog.com. If you are planning to build this into an empire you don’t want to limit yourself to just a blog right? If you think of some of the more successful blogs out there they don’t have ‘blog’ in their URL, think: makingitlovely.com, ohhappyday.com, designmom.com. I do have ‘blog’ in my url, hindsight is 20/20/, I wish I didn’t.
What is your blog going to be about? I urge you to spend a long, long time on this one. I think my blogging life would have turned out much more differently if someone had described blogging to me like having your own magazine. Instead blogging was introduced to me as an on-line journal, people kept telling me to start one and it sounded so narcissistic, I dubbed my first blog ‘The Blah, Blah, Blahg’ since I thought it was fitting for someone talking about nothing in particular. It was fun while it lasted, but when I re-read former posts I cringe at how much I complained. Note to self, zip it on the complaints.
Choose a topic/topics that are not already out there and super saturated. Does the world need another interior design blog with inspiration photos from the latest magazines? Probably not, BUT if it had an interesting perspective say if you were an insider in the interior design world and were manufacturing your own wares, it might be very interesting to follow you on your journey. How are you getting things made, what exotic locations are you traveling to for research? Photographs of your wares in other creatives homes, what have your learned along the way?
Look for what is missing in the market and how you can put a unique spin on it. Are you a Historian but have a love for fashion how can you meld these two passions into a unique + interesting read? Always remember this is the information super highway, what information can you provide for your potential readers. I believe everyone has a unique perspective to share, what can you provide your future readers that they can’t get anywhere else? Or can’t get anywhere else easily?
Wait, before we get to design do you have your theme down? No. Then please go do your homework, your theme will help determine your design. If you can afford to hire a designer, I would say hire a designer. But you are saying you don’t know if your blog is going to be a success so you don’t know if you should invest in a designer? Okay, stop. We are talking about building a successful blog as a business. Would you start any other business without an initial investment? You see, this is what is going to separate the ones who really want to make this a business versus those that want to hope they make it. It’s a different time in the blogging community, if you want to stand out from blogs that have been doing this for almost a decade you are going to need to not only have incredible content, but be a looker and easy to navigate.
The d.i.y. type? Keep this in mind, ‘less is more’. Keep your design simple, your palette cohesive and allow your content to be the star.
Okay, my friends I will continue this diatribe tomorrow with links to classes and other words of wisdom. If you have any questions or would like to add to this conversation please do so below, I love hearing from you and getting alternate insights!
P.S. Here is a great article from a woman who sold her first blog to a large corporation!
P.P.S. Please note there are exceptions to every rule. Cup of Jo doesn’t have a dedicated url, in fact it’s not even the name of her blog and she is wildly successful. Creature Comforts has ‘blog’ in her URL and it doesn’t effect her continued growth + success. Also, note these exceptions have been blogging for years my tips above are for what I feel is the current climate of blogging and how to get yourself a successful head start.
Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.