How to Start a Blog

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One of the most important parts of my story to starting my business was my blog. If you've read my story, you'll know that I spent several years living and working in London where I'm from, and while I was here I started a blog which eventually lead me to going freelance. Since those days, I've moved from Wordpress to Squarespace and started blogging about a very different topic: business and marketing - which I never imagined would happen in a million years! I started a blog to widen my career prospects, and even though my blog wasn't successful in the way that I wanted it to be, wonderful things happened and I've been successful in a totally different way that I never imagined possible. So if you're wondering how to start a blog too then read on!

In the name of comedy, if you scroll to the bottom of this blog I've linked my old blog 'Diamond in the ashes' for a bit of a laugh. Honestly I find it hilarious, but I wouldn't be here today without it!

In this post, I'm going to tell you some of the key elements to starting a blog so that you can express your creativity and find your way to a career that you love.

How to set up your blogging site

The first step is setting up a website - if you don't already have one. There's tonnes of free blogging websites available out there and if you're just experimenting and starting out the good news is that there is no financial commitment if you don't want there to be. I started out on Wordpress where I selected one of their templates.

The next step is setting up your categories and site structure. Usually when you start you'll probably just want a homepage, about, blog and contact. From there, you can build your menu but the most important thing is to start posting!

What to post, when and how often

I will only ever post a blog when I'm feeling passionate about something. Otherwise you'll get bored of writing it - and chances are your readers will get bored of it. You've got to be engaging - develop your own style and don't copy what you've seen others do. Usually the way you develop your style is in the way that you write. I often have people emailing me and say they want to start a blog but they're not sure what they want to write about. For me, writing about food was such a passion of mine that I knew that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to eat out at some of the world's best restaurants so that was my main goal. If you're into fashion, fitness, or something super niche like rock climbing it has to be something you know you could write about forever!

When to post blogs & how often

When I started my blog I had a full time job, so one post a week was only just achievable for me, and I put pressure on myself to continue to post once per week even if it meant staying in one evening to write a post. Nowadays, if you follow the Sassy Bites blog you'll know that we post 3 times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The most times per week you post, the more hits you'll get and the more visitors will find your site through SEO. We never post at the weekends because people spend less time online.

We aim to have our posts like at 7am on the day they go live so that we can catch the commuter crowd, but it depends on your audience. I always say that earlier a post goes up the more opportunity people have to read it.

How to promote your blog

You know what's coming...social media! I began to share my blogs on my social media which helped get my views up. It will also help your social media following if people find your topics interesting and engaging. When you're thinking of topics to write, make sure you think about the types of things people will Google about it, because chances are if people are Googling it, they'll want to read it if they see you promoting on social media. Never underestimate the power of your own personal social media channels. Your friends and family will be big supporters to begin with, so ask them to critique, like, share and comment on your blogs.

Do I need any special equipment to start a blog?

Absolutely not! You will just need an internet connection, computer and a phone which most people have nowadays anyway. I used to take all of my photos on my camera phone until my parents gave me a camera for Christmas, and even then it wasn't totally necessary - I just began to become interested in photography.

My blog story

One of my strengths has always been creative writing. It's not something I was passionate about, but I was good at it. So to keep my creative juices flowing I decided to start a blog about my other love in life: eating out. I was fresh out of uni in my first job, living with my best friend. It was 2013 and the blogging scene had already taken off and I thought I would give it a go - how hard could it be?  I always knew I wanted to write a food blog so my idea was that my blog would reveal hidden gems in London. I decided to call it Diamond in the Ashes, which was not something I ever particularly like and I was actually always really embarrassed by it, but I never let that hold me back.

I was working part time and still writing my blog, but the issue was I hated my job. I was applying for others which is when I realised having my blog on my CV was quite desirable by the companies who were interviewing me. However, it was what came next that changed my career forever...

Having experience with writing, uploading and marketing blog eventually lead me to working freelance part time with the lovely Madeleine Shaw. I worked with Maddy 2 days a week, as well as filling my other time running my hairdresser's social media and writing a food blog monthly for an airline food company. I thought I had literally hit the jackpot and it was all because of my blog.

The skills I had developed by running my blog had meant I was asked to give other companies advice on their blogs. I continued to be approached by companies to do their social media, marketing and website management and after a year and a half I had a full client base, had moved to Bournemouth to live with my boyfriend and got a dog. I had total freedom to do whatever I wanted and I was making money doing what I loved.

I now run a business that manages blogs, newsletters, social media, creates branding and builds and managed websites for other businesses. All from starting my blog.

I also run this blog, posting 3 times per week and get tens of thousands of views from all over the world.

For me this was never the plan and it all grew very organically for me. I've never had to cold call, or fight for business. People get in touch and want to work with my business and having a blog was a large part of helping me get here. I never predicted this outcome, and the best case scenario I hoped for at the time was to become a food writer which in hindsight totally wouldn't have suited me!

If you're looking to boost your career and see where it could take you - 100% start a blog. But my biggest tip is to write with passion about something you enjoy. If you ever find yourself not finding it fun anymore, switch it up!

My blog changed my life and it can change yours too.

As promised, you can view my old blog here!

If you have any questions whatsoever make sure you hit me up on Instagram @lucyhitchcock_ and I've linked some other useful posts about blogging below to help you along your way to starting up your blog!

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