• So, You Want to Start a Blog?

    September 2, 2009

    I get TONS of questions about blogging. The most common questions that I receive are: How do I start a blog? and How do I get people to read my blog? So, I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for months now, and here it is… finally! Hopefully, it will answer a number of your questions about blogging.

    Creating a Blog

    WordPress and Blogger are the two most popular blogging platforms out there. Blogger is great because it’s super easy to use– pretty much anyone can figure it out! However, WordPress has a lot more features and plug-ins that will allow you to enhance your blog– like adding different pages and fun widgets.

    Carrots ‘N’ Cake started as a Blogger blog (history of CNC), but when I realized that WordPress had much more flexibility, I switched over. Even though setting up a WordPress blog is slightly more involved, it’s well worth it in the long run.

    My 2 biggest tips for those of you thinking about starting a blog:

    • Select a topic that you are passionate about. Make sure you pick a subject that you really enjoy– something that you can see yourself still wanting to blog about many months down the road. There are so many blogs that go by the wayside when people lose interest and motivation, but when you care about something so much (nutrition, cooking, fitness, etc.), you will constantly be inspired to write new blog posts. And, who knows, you could potentially be posting 3 times a day, so you better love your blog topic!
    • Blog for yourself. When I started Carrots ‘N’ Cake, I had no intention of it becoming such a huge part of my life… and then it becoming my job! I started my blog to keep me on track with my healthy eating and exercise as my upcoming wedding approached. It was basically a daily journal to keep me accountable. I guess people liked reading what I had to say! ;-)

    If you really want the nitty-gritty about blogging, including information about content, design, and photos, check out Meghann’s Blogging 101 posts. She goes into great detail about blogging. Her post are especially helpful to newbies.

    Marketing Your Blog

    Just like all new blogs, I started with just a handful of readers. But, blogging everyday for the past 1.5 years has grown my readership to thousands each day! If you want your blog readership to grow, here are a few tips:

    • Comment on other blogs! It helps get your name out there, so other people can discover you and your blog. Along the same lines, make sure you contribute something worthwhile to the comment section. Personally, I notice the people with something interesting to say– instead of the comments that just say “Looks good,” which don’t add much to the “conversation.”
    • Participate in the blog community. If you haven’t noticed already, the blog world thrives on community! Here’s how you can participate: Link to other blogs and posts that you like, host and participate in contests/giveaways, attend blogger meet-ups in your area, and take advantage of opportunities to contribute a guest post on other blogs. All of these things help potential readers find your blog.
    • Give your blog a personality. Blogging what I eat every day is (mostly) interesting, but I think readers keep coming back because they get to ‘know’ me. There are tons of healthy living blogs out there, so you want to make sure that your blog is slightly different than the rest. Think about what makes you unique– what about your story makes you stand out among all of the other blogs? Photos and personal stories let your readers know there’s a human behind your blog, so have fun and give your readers a peak inside your life to show them what makes you special.
    • Utilize social media. Sign up for Twitter and tweet about new blog posts. Tell all of your friends on Facebook and Myspace about your blog. Add your blog to LinkedIn. You get the idea. Use all of your social media “connections” to get your name out there.
    • Get your own domain name. The blogs that I visit the most typically have short-ish, easy-to-remember URLs (i.e. katheats.com). I’m not saying you need to rush out and get your own domain name– having .blogspot or .wordpress in your URL is totally fine– it’s just something to think about down the road. I bought my domain name through godaddy.com.
    • Add your favorite blogs to your blogroll. Adding people to your blogroll is a great way to get them to add you to theirs, so new readers can find you. I’ve discovered so many wonderful blogs through blogrolls over the years!
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    { 147 comments… read them below or add one }

    Kuldeep Randhawa August 4, 2010 at 1:47 am

    This is really a great help to the beginners, I must start writing a blog… hope to do best for society. Wish me luck !!!

    Reply

    Jessica@tastyandtrim August 18, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks so much for all of the tips and advice! It really helped me in starting my own blog! :)

    Reply

    Jill Wolfe September 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks Tina, this is great and very encouraging. I appreciate all the tips…especially about people getting to know me! Thanks again, Jill

    Reply

    kim September 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you. I’ve been thinking about getting my own domain name and have more pages. I appreciate what you wrote.

    Reply

    Allie October 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I just started a blog after reading them so often- it’s so fun!

    Reply

    Gretchen December 28, 2010 at 11:54 am

    So I know I’m pretty late on the uptake in discovering this page, but I really appreciate these tips! As a fairly new blogger, I’m always just trying to find ways to master the “art” of blogging, haha. And as the writer of a weight-loss blog, the more readers I have, the more people there are to keep me accountable!

    Thanks for sharing your tips!

    Reply

    Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner December 31, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you for all of your tips!!! You are SO inspiring!!!
    I love your qoute in the side bar, btw. ;)

    Reply

    Mish (Pursuit of Happiness) January 2, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Great tips! I just started my blog today after reading your blog (and lots of others in the blog community) for over a year and will follow these tips as much as possible!

    Reply

    Film Yogina January 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Hi Tina,

    I found you one day when googling Livin Spoonful crackers (I wanted to buy them cheaper online than my local store, no luck :) because your open sky page pulled up first. I recently started a blog about my new deeper yoga journey and am curious your thoughts on if a totally anonymous blog can be popular or not, since personal branding is such a big part of it?

    I am reflecting on my childhood and what I’m working through now, and feel I don’t want my friends and family to read and judge (or be embarrassed if I mention them in a bad light), and am worried if I know that people I know are reading I will write to impress. Yet I have a huge social network and zero people have read my blog “randomly” by the web so I am wondering if I need to get over it and hope the blog takes off via people I know?

    When you started your blog were you embarrassed to share, or did you jump right in?

    I know the success of so many writers is painful honesty (I loved “Eat Pray Love,” for example) but I feel a lot of my stuff I’m hoping to work through might be a little darker. Any thoughts?

    Reply

    Rae January 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Hi Tina,

    Long time reader, new blogger :-) regarding starting a blogroll, is it considred good “blog etiquette” to ask a blogger before you add them? There are quite a few healthy living blogs I would love to add, but I dont want to offend anyone.

    Thanks!

    Reply

    Tina January 5, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Nah, no need to ask. If you like them, add ‘em! :)

    Reply

    Film Yogina January 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks so much! I switched my Film Yogina blog from blogspot to Wordpress – you are so right, way more features, I am so much more happy with it now! And I also started adding pics, too. Best of luck with yours, I will continue to read.

    Reply

    Rachael January 8, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I have been poking around on google for a couple of days on how I can get people to read my blog. Yes, I found some good information but it all seemed educational and so formal. I was looking through links and blogrolls on several sites and saw your site several times. It is great to hear form someone who has been where I am. I am definitely going to use your advise. I am also looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    Thanks

    Reply

    Alaina January 10, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you so much for the great tips!

    I’m in the process of having my blog hosted and am trying to get my name out in the Boston community. :-) I’ll certainly take your tips to heart!

    Reply

    Karissa Shannon January 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    how old is your blog? this is the first time I found it.

    Reply

    Jules March 3, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Just a shout out to thank you for this great information! I was pointed to your website by an already-blogging friend when I told her I was interested in starting my own and needed some help. Love your look, layout and especially this helpful info on starting your own blog. And you’re a Bostonian = awesome. Hoping to get started soon with my idea — maybe you’ll be hearing about me :)

    Reply

    Liz March 4, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Thank you for the information, I will be putting it to use! I just started up a blog this weekend to help me keep track of my training this spring summer! I’m excited to be a blogger :)

    Reply

    Nicole April 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I just started my blog last week and this has been incredibly helpful! Thanks so much :)

    Reply

    Liz May 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you Tina! I’ve recently lost 30 pounds and getting into sprint triathlon training, and it all started with reading you and how you can still have it all and reach a FGW (I’m drinking a beer as I type this, ha!)

    Reply

    O.C. June 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Wow thank you so much for this post! I started my blog about a week ago and I can not tell you how helpful these tips are. Seeing successful blogs out there like yours is really inspiring to me :)

    Reply

    Lee @ in the pink of condition June 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks for all the blogging tips! Your blog has been an inspiration to me, and you have helped me start my own healthy living blog!

    Reply

    April@motorcity running girl June 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    These are such great tips. I just started my blog as a way to keep track of my running and these tips help a ton!!

    Reply

    Melissa @TryingtobeaYummyMummy July 22, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Tina,
    These are wonderful tips and I am happy to see that I have done some of these already. As a blogger from Australia I find that there are not as many healthy living blogs over here as there are in the US, so it is great to have some tips!
    Thanks again! I really enjoy reading your blog!

    Reply

    Ally August 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Tina! Do you need to register as a business when you start making money from your blog? I’ve searched all over the internet for the answer to this question, and can’t find an answer!

    Thanks :)

    Reply

    Tina August 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    @Ally: It depends how you file your taxes and how much money you make from it. Right now, I file jointly with my husband, but I know other bloggers who have gone the LLC route. My best advice is to meet with an accountant to talk about your individual situation.

    Reply

    jamie @ cueyorlife September 6, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Thanks for the tips…very helpful!

    Reply

    Mandi January 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Thank you for the tips! I actually just started my blog yesterday…because yours really inspired me to do so! :) I will definitely bookmark this page for future reference!

    Reply

    Dede Brentlinger January 23, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Thank you so much for posting all this wonderful info. I have been reading your blog for over a year now as well as some others and I have FINALLY created one of my own, after having thought about it for what seems like FOREVER!!
    Again Thank you.
    Dede

    Reply

    Big Brown Eyes April 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Wow thank you for the steps to start up a blog , wish me the best, i’m going to prepare and go ahead and start mine….

    Reply

    MexericanMama April 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Tina, 1st off, I LOVE your blog name, so cute and different! I have been thinking about starting a blog for about 2 years (if I’m being honest with myself) and just have not gotten around to doing it. But I think it’s time, and googling “starting a blog” brought me to you, so thank you for your time and insight…it’s great information! Please wish me luck as I pray to find my FAVORITE topic to blog about… :D

    Reply

    Alicia K May 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I just started a blog so this is SO helpful!

    Reply

    Megan June 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    This is a great help and a fantastic post. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

    Melissa June 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I have just started my first blog. I found your blog through my friend’s blog, and I am so happy I did! You have some great tips – thank you for sharing!

    Reply

    Rachel June 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I’m just starting out and found your post doing some googling about starting a blog. Thank you for these great tips! I will be reading the Blogging101, as well, that you linked.

    Reply

    Stephanie July 18, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks so much for this. I am a new blogger {been on an off for a year, but got really serious a month or two ago} and your tips are helping a lot. I am going to read through all your blogging posts!

    Reply

    Jewels July 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks for all the good information and advice on blogging. I just started my new blog about two weeks ago, thanks to my daughter who introduced me to blogging. My husband and I are runners, and as of right now, writing about our runs, a little about healthy eating and am sure as we get better at blogging, will find much more to write about, as we love golfing, hiking, skiing, and many outdoor activities! My daughter introduced your blog to me and I’m glad she did! I just love reading all you have to say and write about! I’m sure the more I read, the more you will inspire me! :-)

    Reply

    Heather Pender August 10, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Thanks so much for the advice! This has been extremely helpful in starting my new blog :) You were so insiring to me in getting this started. I found your blog about a year ago when I was googling “tough treadmill routines” as I’m always looking for a challenge on the treadmill. I’ve been an avid follower ever since!!! :) Thanks Tina!

    Reply

    Ali August 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I am new to the world of blogging. I started to keep in touch with family and friends. Not everyone is on Facebook.

    So many people come up to me and ask me how I stay in such great shape while keeping up with my three boys. Blogging also helps keep me accountable when I am training for an event.

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Reply

    Laura @ Happy Sugar Haibts August 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    These are brilliant, thank you so much. I am finding starting out and trying to get a following a bit overwhelming but hopefully I will become more savvy with these tips. Going to read all the other posts now!

    Reply

    Nicole October 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    This post is SO helpful! I just started my own blog and had no clue where to begin. I didn’t realize how complicated these can be! I am starting by making my blog beautiful, then working on getting some readership, and then following your other tips! I have been following your blog for quite some time because you live in Boston (like me!) and have colitis (like me!) so I can relate to a lot of what you say. Thanks for the great tips!

    Reply

    Sue October 22, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Thank you!! This has been the most helpful information I have found. It is basic and answered all the questions I have or you have told me where to go to find my answers. I look forward to to the journey ahead of me in the blog world. So grateful, I enjoy your blog very much.

    Reply

    aditya November 18, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Nice information provided for beginner who want to start blog writing. yes you are true that people should choose the subject, which suits them most and they have interest in it.

    Great work

    Reply

    Jordan S January 10, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Thanks for the tips! I just started blogging and I love it, however I have a lot to learn…especially about photography!

    Reply

    lexi March 26, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Hi Tina! I was wondering if you could give me any advice on wordpress. You said that you switched from blogger to wordpress, and I was actually considering the opposite. I’m trying to start a blog but I’m having such a hard time figuring out wordpress. I think it’s saying that to customize things like font on my blog that I need to pay a fee?

    Reply

    How to start a blog April 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It absolutely useful and it has
    aided me out loads. I’m hoping to contribute & assist other users like its aided me. Great job.

    Reply

    Susan Magilton May 23, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Great tips! Thanks! I have been encouraged by a few friends and clients (by day I work for the man, by night I’m teach group fitness and am a personal trainier) to start writting more! How lovely of you to pay it forward with this helpful information!!

    Reply

    Rhonda October 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    LOVE your tips! Your’s is the first how-to-blog article I’ve read that makes perfect sense to me – and when one is just beginning, it needs to be super easy to understand! Thanks so much!

    Reply

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