• 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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    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    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

    Nancy May 3, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Tina,
    Thanks for the great blogging tips. I have started my own blog with my daughter’s help and have been having difficulty getting readers. My blog is a little bit about my life and mostly about my knitting, which I really enjoy! I want to get more readers and then have repeat readers, of course. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. So glad we found you!

    Reply

    Simone May 20, 2014 at 5:36 am

    Reading your blog for the first time today and I love it. Your pics are AMAZING! I just started a blog this week, and for the life of me can’t figure out how to add people to my/a blog roll?? Help! I use Blogger (wordpress was way too complicated for my little brain…he he)

    Reply

    Simone May 20, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Okay I think I figured it out. I need to copy and paste the URL on my own blog to add to the list. Was hoping there was a ‘add to blog roll’ button. Yes I’m lazy like that :) Thanks for all the informative posts.

    Reply

    Meg August 8, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Thanks CNC, this is all VERY helpful! I’ve been blogging for about a month now and I absolutely love it, but I’m quickly finding out how time consuming this all can be. How long did it take from the time you started your blog to having it as your career? I’m not trying to rush the process, still finding my “voice”- just curious! Thanks :)

    Reply

    Lena September 4, 2014 at 1:13 am

    This is extremely helpful! I’ve been considering blogging for the past year now and finally decided to take the leap. Its all so exciting, I have a passion for nutrition and clean eating. My struggle has been creating and settling on a blog name. Again thanks so much for your tips!

    Reply

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