Let me preface this by telling you that today I’m writing a love note to people who’d like to start a blog. This is for every former English major who needs a creative outlet and everyone who wants a space to share their recipes/outfits/insights.
If you’ve already got an awesome, established blog here’s an amazing live webcam of otters.
Still here? Wonderful!
When you’re thinking about starting a blog, it’s spectacularly easy to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to over-research, psych yourself out, and decide that you clearly can’t begin till you have your own domain, professional headshots, and an amazing mailing list opt-in.
While you’re doing all that research, you’ll find all sorts of good advice about the things you need in order to start a blog. You will be told that you need to be on lots of social media platforms and that you need to use gorgeous photos. You’ll read about the importance of building your list and how to optimize your posts.
That’s all good advice! But you know what you really, actually need in order to start a blog?
The desire to start a blog.
You won’t know if you like writing on the internet until you do it. You won’t know how fast you write, how long it takes to assemble a post, how people feel about your writing until you do it.
And as soon as you start, you’ll discover two dirty secrets.
1. You need way, way less to start a blog than you’ve probably been lead to believe
For the first four year of Yes & Yes I spent $13 a year on it. I took photos with my ancient digital camera and wrote on a $300 netbook or my work computer. I cobbled together the design on my own and I USED A YAHOOMAIL ACCOUNT AS MY PROFESSIONAL EMAIL. I still managed to book sponsors, publish two ebooks and write blog posts that went viral.
2. It will take a while for anyone to notice your blog
For the first few months of your blog, not many people will be reading. That sounds a bit depressing, but you can choose to view that time as a space to experiment and get your internet legs. For those first few months, it won’t matter if you publish something controversial or riddled with typos. You can use this time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Once you’ve got thousands of readers it’s a lot harder to publish haikus about your Brazilian wax.*
So dear would-be blogger, this is your permission to just start. Just try.
P.S. If you’re a small business or a consultant, I would recommend a slightly more studied, professional approach to starting a blog. You don’t want to send clients to a janky .blogspot.com website full of broken links! Here’s a list of things I suggest doing before you launch your blog.
* Yes, I did that. ACCOMPANIED BY A PHOTO OF A HAIRLESS KITTEN. WHAT THE EVER-LOVING EFF.
photo by Zoe // cc