It has been five glorious years since I first started up my blog, Niamh Kelly. I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for so long and more importantly, stuck with it. It takes a lot of passion, planning and perseverance to maintain a blog and hopefully build it into a brand. I originally began blogging to build up an online portfolio but overtime it became my baby. I can’t imagine my life without my blog or what I even did with my spare time.
If you’re wanting to become a blogger and effectively use your time to build your brand, you need to allocate a lot of hours to work on it. Creating feature ideas, taking photographs and writing your content can take a good couple of hours at least – usually around four hours from start to finish. I would only recommend blogging if you are willing to put your time and energy into it and make it appealing to your audience. I’ve created a few points that I hope will guide you in the right direction along with some tips on good editing tools, camera etc.
Research before setting up your blog:
Before I started up niamhkelly.co I began researching other bloggers that I admired such as: Cupcakes and Cashmere, Lauren Conrad, Retro Flame, Lovely Pepa etc. I would check out their blogs everyday and envy how they could just put themselves out there. It was then I decided to push the boat out and start up my own. After exploring various blogs, I then moved on to researching the platforms available for beginners. The two main choices were WordPress and Blogger and after reading through people’s thoughts on them I opted for WordPress. Since then I have never had a problem with the platform and I eventually upgraded to a premium package at the start of 2016 and I’ve never looked back. There is no charge when you initially sign up to either platforms but if you’re looking to grow your brand and add in new features then a small fee is required. Depending on what area you are going to focus on, find your own niche and style of how you are going to present your blog and manage your content.
Network & be social online:
I can’t stress this enough but when you first launch your blogging adventure, you need to network to the max. Back in the day I said yes to absolutely everything and began to get myself and my name out there. Building healthy relationships with various PR professionals and brands is crucial for establishing a successful blog. Don’t ever think that things will take off for you over night it takes a lot of tears, hard work and sleepless nights to start to see things happen. It’s only really in the past two years that Niamh Kelly has expanded and I have started working with established brands. Through networking I’ve made lifelong friends in my wonderful Willow and my mama bear, Ms. Doran. I couldn’t imagine life without them, friendships I’ll forever treasure. Making yourself known online through various social media platforms is crucial for gaining followers, chatting with fellow bloggers you admire and bringing some awareness to your new blog. Again don’t expect to have hundreds of thousands following you, consistent posting and strong images will help move you in the right direction. I’ve also made a lot of ‘online friends’ that I’ve never met but we chat regularly about blogging, travel etc and keep up to date with each others lives.
Have a genuine passion for your chosen blog style:
This may sound obvious but a natural passion and drive for blogging is what will set you up. Depending on the area you will be featuring throughout, the eat, sleep and breathe method will be applied here. Don’t be blogging about something you’re only slightly interested in. Plan, plan, plan your topics and make sure they work well together. A healthy balance of good content, strong images and a variety of features will keep your blog in the spotlight. One post can take up to four hours or more to complete from start to finish, it’s hard work being a blogger and serious dedication is required. Thinking of an idea, capturing your images and writing the content at least three times a week eats up most of your spare time. I always have ideas lined up in my planner with notes of how I want the post to look, what I want to get across and when I want to schedule it for. I also have a daily ‘things to do’ list in order to stay on target and not fall behind. If you have loyal followers you have to provide fresh content for them as they’re the ones who you created your blog for (apart from yourself obviously).
Know your audience:
If you’re going to blog about the likes of food or sports then you should have a fair idea as to who is your target audience. Featuring your newest receipe or football match has to be clearly established from the very start, preferably in the tag line. On my blog it clearly states Style, Beauty & Lifestyle so that everyone knows from the get go what the content of my blog entails. The various features that you produce will attract a certain age group and demographic. With my blog I know that the large majority of my audience are women (and some handsome guys) and their ages range from 24-32 years old. It’s basically a rough estimate of your followers, your peak time for visitors and your most popular posts. I know that people of all ages read my blog but it’s good to know the main focus group. When you know this then you can’t go wrong for providing the best content for both you and your lovely readers/followers.
Quality over quantity:
We’re all guilty of uploading blurry, unfocused and dull images when we first start our blogging journey. It takes you to work out the best angle to shot from (and a good camera), how important natural light is and what editing tools are best to use to lightly ‘enhance’ your images. I mainly go between VSCO and Snapseed as I find them easy to use and I personally believe they give my images the best result. I don’t get too caught up in filters as much as I use to, a well lit image with some contrast and slight saturation (if needed) is a good quality image. When it comes to camera’s, definitely spend time researching the best one for you. There are so many out there to choose from and it can be very overwhelming if you don’t know the details of a camera. I started with a Nikon and even though they are great for capturing high resolution photos, for blogging I prefer using a Canon and more recently, my Olympus Pen E-PL7. It’s an incredibly lightweight camera with amazing components and built in WIFI, an essential features for bloggers.
I hope you found this post was helpful? Some of my points may seem obvious but I hope I have given you some tips on how to get started. I know when I first launched my blog I found it very overwhelming and reading people’s guidelines helped me greatly. If any of you want to ask me anything please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email.