So You Want to Start a Blog?
Occasionally we get questions about how this little website came to be and how to get started with their own blog. I never thought I would be a blogger or a blog reader, but I really enjoy it so much! The writing process is therapy for me, and I also think it's helped me become a better verbal communicator. I'm more comfortable in conversations that take place via a computer screen, but I'm an open person and like sharing my life with others, so blogging is the perfect mode of communication for me. Having gone through the writing process on how I feel about certain things like why we chose a midwife and why we're not saving for retirement yet makes it easier for me to talk to people--in person--about it. It gives me confidence in who I am and what I think. (It also helps me keep in touch with my mother, because I really don't like talking on the phone. Hi, Mom! :))
I'm not an expert on blogging, but I'm happy to offer my personal experience. Eric and I could talk for days about blogging, but these are some questions I received in an email last week about the basics. Please don't hesitate to email us or leave additional questions in the comment section if you think of anything specific that you want to know about.
How do you come up with ideas on what to write about?
We've written about how we plan our blog posts before, but in general the post ideas just come to us as we go about our day and as things happen to us. Chances are if we're wondering about it or going through it, others are, too.
As I write this, we have enough ideas to last us the next six weeks, if we publish five posts a week (five is our goal, although this week and last week we posted seven times). Some of these posts are written and some are merely ideas that may never be written. I'm sure you'll come up with ideas once you have a blog and start to think about everything as possible post topics. I will admit that it helps that there are two of us to brainstorm and write the posts for WoW, and also that we write on a number of categories and topics.
As readers, you also make it really easy on us when you email questions or ideas to us, or leave comments on posts we've written about how we can take the post a step further with another post.
How did you decide on a name?
Eric came up with the name Words of Williams last year when this blog was just his (did you know that he originally started it without me?), and it stuck around because it fits us both and also doesn't lock us in to writing about anything in particular.
I have loved the phrase Snappy Casual for a few years now so I always knew that would be the name of my blog if I ever had one.
How do you go about designing a blog?
Eric and I have an interest in design, but we outsourced the design and coding of our website to friends who are more talented than us. It didn't cost us anything because we have awesome friends. The popular blogging platforms have free designs called "themes" that you can use, even just to start with and then you can customize as you go. So you could find one you like for starters (in Wordpress or Blogger or whatever platform you like best) and then upload your own masthead image at some point later on if you want. I wouldn't let this stop you from starting a blog.
How do you get people to actually read your blog?
Once our blog was up and running with a few posts, we emailed our family the URL and also told our friends. And we put the URL on our Christmas card. We promote each blog post on Facebook and Twitter and hope our friends check it out. You can gain new readers if someone retweets your post or passes it along to one of their friends. Read and comment on other blogs. Get involved in the blogging community and promote others on your blog. Some people may find your blog via Google searches. We've been pretty lucky to have other bloggers feature us in guest posts or link to our blog, and we've also sponsored other blogs and gained new readers that way.
What do you wish you had known when you started your blog?
I wish I would have known what my voice was and had the confidence that others actually might want to read what I have to say. However, I think blogging consistently can help you establish both things. I actually wish I would have known less about fashion blogging when I started Snappy Casual because for me it's easy to just copy what other people do even if it's not really me. So I would say as a new blogger you have a great chance to do something different. Be yourself, because otherwise you will realize in a few months that you don't even like your blog.
We take our blog pretty seriously. You can definitely have a more casual blog and posting schedule. I know people who have blogs and haven't told their friends or family that it exists. We treat ours like a business and have separate money that gets invested into the blog (however, you can certainly blog for free!). Some resources that helped us when we were starting out are TentBlogger and Blogging With Amy. They write blogs about blogging so it's quite helpful.
Was this helpful? Be sure to contact us or leave a comment if you have any other questions related to blogging!