Are you interested in creating a blog but you’re not sure where to start? They say the best way to learn how to do something is by doing it…but it definitely doesn’t hurt to have a bit of insider knowledge upfront. Apart from my personal blog, my “real job” also involves content creation…so you could say I blog full-time for a living. 😉 The following list contains my favorite tools and useful tricks I’ve picked up over the years. Use my learnings to kick-start your own blogging journey—and remember to have fun!
1. Choose your blogging platform wisely
There are tons of blogging platforms to choose from. I’ve personally worked with WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Blogspot, and Squarespace. If you’re just starting out, I’d say go with wordpress.com for sure. It’s super easy to use, free, and you get analytics built-in. If you want to customize your site even more (like changing fonts) you can upgrade to a premium account—but keep in mind the basic account has a good amount of free themes and layouts to choose from. When you’re ready to take your blog to the next level (i.e. making money from it), that would be the time to switch to wordpress.org and purchase a domain.
2. Optimize your content early on
For most people, the goal of creating a blog is to have people read it—so make your content easy to find. The faster you master the basics of SEO the sooner you’ll be driving more views to your content. Your blog title is super important too—this headline analyzer is one of my favorite tools when I’m not sure which title to use for a post.
3. Start growing your social following from the get-go
Instagram is my favorite social media platform to use as a blogger. It’s convenient for connecting with other travelers, bloggers, and finding inspiration for my next trip. I’ve been a bit negligent of Instagram (and my blog’s social media) until recently, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. If you’re like me and don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to liking/following on social media, I’d suggest using archie.co. Unlike Instagress, Peerboost, and InstaNobel, it doesn’t use the sketchy follow/unfollow setup and it’s safe (you won’t get your account banned)—the best part is it helps you find followers who are genuinely interested in your content.
4. Use free image editing tools
I literally use Canva every single day…for my personal blog and for work. Canva lets you add text to images, create blog headers, create social media images, ads, etc. for FREE. It is extremely easy to use and there are tons of customization options. I have limited Photoshop skills so this has been a godsend for me! Also, if you need free stock images to feature in your content check out pexels.com and unsplash.com—I used these sites for my company’s blog, but they’re good to know about just in case!
5. Learn from other bloggers
I’ve got a few “blogger crushes” on other female travel bloggers (who blog as their full-time job) and I’ve made it a point to learn from their success. Many people have heard of Alexa, which gives you useful insight on other website’s traffic & analytics, but not many people know about the free Alexa extension for Chrome. You can use it to see the search terms people use to find your site, as well as the most popular search terms for other blogs. You can use these key words as inspiration for your next post if you’re looking for something to write about.
6. Enjoy the experience!
I originally started Kate’s Travel Tips as a way to share my life abroad with family and friends back home. But I noticed the more content I published…the more visitors came to my site, and the more opportunities I encountered. Thanks to my blog I’ve had the chance to connect with other travelers, bloggers, and expats, been the recipient of unique travel experiences, and had the chance to attend some very special events. When you start a blog you open yourself up to the world—and my best advice is to keep an open mind and enjoy the experience!