Tips for Starting a Blog in 2019

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It seems so long ago since I started my blog. And I was just thinking what if I was just starting a blog in 2019, what tips would I give myself? I know there are some people out there who would like to start a blog and I think it is still a good idea to start one. Yes it might seem that everyone has one but everyone also has something to offer. Here are some of my tips for starting a blog in 2019.

Build Up Social Media

Social Media and blogging go hand in hand. One thing I wish I would have done before starting my blog was build up a social media presence. This can be on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, whatever platform. Building that community and audience will help you in the long run when it comes to driving traffic to your site. People need to get to know who you are and then they will feel more inclined to checking your blog out. My suggestion would be to really be active on social media a month or more before launching your blog.

Be Authentic

When you look on social media and the internet you see a lot of people try to be something they’re not. When you are not being your genuine self you have to always put on mask for your audience and that will get old fast. As a new blogger you will find yourself comparing yourself to other bloggers and feel like you have to show this perfect life with these perfect pictures, but you don’t. Be Authentically You!!! That’s what are audience will gravitate to. No one’s life is perfect. Be vulnerable, show who you are, be yourself, and your audience will support you 100%.

Quality

With there being so many blogs, you have to make sure you are putting out quality content. If you are putting out one amazing post a week, that will serve you better than putting out 5 ok but dull post a week. Make content that is valuable to your readers, content that will make them want read your post. If you continually put out this type of content you will build trust with your audience, and they will know that when you do put out posts it’s worth reading.

Practice Makes Perfect

Whether it’s blog pictures, writing post, or website design; the more you do it the better you will get. Think about any time you ever did something for the first time, it was probably horrible, like me learning how to drive; then the more I did it the better I got at it. You will grow through out your blogging journey. Your pictures don’t have to be perfect, you will learn as you go. You don’t need to spend money on fancy equipment either. Start with what you have first and add things as you grow. When you look back at your old post you will be amazed at your growth. Just to show you an example these are my blog pictures 3 years ago compares t now.

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Just Start

At the end of the day if this is something that you are thinking about doing or have a passion for, just start. It look me 3 months to debate if I even wanted to start a blog and I am so happy I did. There will be moments when you doubt yourself and want to give up but don’t, push through it. Never doubt your capabilities. What you can do is limitless!!

Taking Photos With Natural Light

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In my three years of blogging I have never used artificial lighting to take my pictures. I know it sounds crazy right. I have been tempted to buy a ring light but just never got around to it. I personally prefer shooting my pictures in natural light. Now there are some challenges when it comes to taking pictures and natural light. Timing, not enough light, weather, etc. But I am going to tell you my tricks to making natural light work for you.

Get close to the light source

For me I shoot right in front of my window. Try to get as close to your light source as possible, it can be a window, balcony door, or even go directly outside. The Closer You Are the brighter the image will turn out. If you are using a window Open your curtains and blinds. Sometimes if the sunlight is too harsh I will keep the blinds close to act as a diffuser. Just try both and see which one looks better.

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 Turn off other lights

Make sure when you are taking your pictures you turn off other lighting. Other lighting can interfere with your natural light source. I find that if I have other lights on my pictures come out with more yellow tones which is not what you want. Make sure all windows are open and other lights are off and take your pics.

 Bright sunny days

The downside to taking pictures in natural light is that it's not always sunny and if it's not sunny you can't take pictures, I mean you can but they won't be good. Most of the time I will plan in advance and look at the forecast for the week. Sometimes I will have not the best luck and have rain for a whole week so I will just have to wait until it clears up. The only exception to taking photos with natural light and it's not sunny outside is if it's a snow day. Have you ever noticed when there is snow on the ground it gets really bright outside? Yeah that is a prime time to take a bunch of pictures. Those pictures always turn out fantastic. But other than that exception take your pictures when it's bright and sunny.

 Whiteboard

When I am taking my pictures and I need some more light I will use a white foam board as a reflector. I normally do this for my flatlays. All I do is place the board opposite of the light source that way it will reflect back on my subject. It really makes a big difference.

 No flash

Don't use your flash when you are shooting with natural light unless that's the look you're going for. The flash can bring a harshness and glare to your photos. Make sure that your flash is off. It will make your photos come out a whole lot better.

 Edit your photos

This step is the most important when it comes to shooting in natural light, editing your photos is a must. Most of the time you will need to edit your photos to make them brighter, sharper, Etc. My favorite apps to use when editing are Snapseed, VSCO Cam, and Facetune.  And for both phone and computer I use Lightroom which is my number one photo editor. I'll  use Snapseed  for the selective tool when I want to brighten up certain areas in a photo. In VSCO Cam I like the black and white filters and adjusting grain. And for Facetune I use the whitening tool for backgrounds and sometimes tones and smooth. And for Lightroom I do everything else but mainly color mix to get rid of yellow tones.

Maintaining Creativity

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When it comes to any creative outlets sometimes you lose your sense of creativity. With blogging I get to a point where I can't come up with blog post ideas and can't get my creative juices flowing. Which is understandable, we all get writer’s block but here are some things to keep in mind to maintain your creativity.

Don't compare

I feel like one reason why people lose their creativity is because they're comparing themselves to others. And I am so guilty of this as well. You start to compare and then you think that the things you are creating are not good enough or could be better. So instead of coming up with original ideas that you enjoy making you try to be like someone else. And that causes you to make content that is not good because you don’t enjoy making it. Everyone falls victim to this at some point. But don't worry just keep in mind to not compare but be inspired which brings me to the next tip.

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Look at inspiration

Sometimes if I am not sure what I want to post on my blog or need some ideas for Instagram I will try to find inspiration through making a stroll through Pinterest or watching a TV show or just getting out the house. You can get inspiration from anything and everything. When it comes to getting inspiration never copy but get inspired by it. Do your own spin or twist to it. Never forget to be you at the end of the day.

Go and do something fun

If you're like me with a million things to do you know that going out and having fun doesn't happen often as we would like it to. Having a bunch of school and blog work can be a lot. I spent a lot of time cooped up in my room working on things. And being cooped up in the house is when I feel the least creative. Getting out catching a movie, going out to eat, trying new things will drive your creativity. I recently went on a small vacation which I haven't done in a while and I was so refresh when I got back. I was less stress and saw things in a different light. So, getting out and just letting your hair down well bring you new ideas.

How I Plan A Work Day

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Planning a work day for me is a little complex. I always have a million and one things on my plate. Going to school full-time while trying to blog and on top of that work, is a lot to juggle. So when it comes to planning a work day every second counts. 

Prioritize

First thing is to prioritize tasks. I normally will deal with time-sensitive things first. On a typical work day I will start out with school work because school always comes first. Once I have done my school work I will work on blog post for the upcoming week. Most of the time I will have the blog post written out but I just need to take pictures for the post so in that case I will take photos. Next I might work on scheduling out social media posts. Then if I have time I move on to YouTube content maybe edit a little. But that's pretty much how I prioritize. School, blog, social media, and YouTube. YouTube is usually last on my list because it's newer and something I just started doing.

Make  A list

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Normally the night before a work day I will make a list of all the things I need to do and I make sure the list is detailed. So instead of just putting school work I might put landscape project AutoCAD drawings or landscape perspectives street view. That way I know what I exactly need to do.

Batching

One thing I have learned when it comes to juggling a lot of different things is to not multitask. If you multitask you are only setting yourself up for failure. So what I do is I will batch different task. The blog stuff in one part of the day and maybe the school work in another part of the day. For an example I will  take pictures for the next 2 hours but I will not focus on anything else other than taking pictures.  As far as school work unless I finish all of my landscape architecture work I will not move on to my other homework or anything else until that's done. Focus on one thing at a time.

Timeblock

When it comes to a work day I will go as far as time block to make sure I get everything done. I will block out specific times for different tasks. I get that specific because if I don't I will just spend all day on one task and then I will still have a list of things to do.

Reinventing Your Blog Without Starting Over

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I recently came to a point where I wanted to change up the direction of my blog and its structure a bit. I was debating hard on whether or not I should just start over from square one with a new blog or not. But then I thought about it some more and I realized that I didn't need to start a new blog but just reinvent and upgrade the blog I already have.

The Look

The first thing I did was changed up the look of my blog. Changing this can bring a new Breath of Life to your blog. I have changed the look of my website before but hadn't done it in a while. So changing up the look was like starting a new chapter in my blog journey. You can change the look in many different ways by changing your font,  some of the site colors, the pictures or even a whole new layout.

Niche / Mission

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My block is a lifestyle blog which I love, so changing my niche wasn't something that I  wanted to do but for some people that can be the change you need. Instead I change my mission. When I first started my blog I knew that I wanted to start a blog as a way to express myself and what I love. But over the years I have a new mission for my blog which is to help others through my life experiences. Specifically people on the same journey I am on which is adulthood and trying to figure things  out. I still will share a lot of  fun stuff and my love of fashion but I wanted to get deeper with my content. And let my growth as a person reflect in my blog.

Categories

Adding new categories and delete categories can make a big difference in your blog when I first start it my blog I thought I needed a category for anything and everything. I started out with 10 different categories like food, travel, decor, fashion, beauty, series, personal, blogging. As I grew up I thought that was a little too much so now I have four basic categories fashion beauty lifestyle and blogging and I've added a new category which is college / adulting because of the new chapter in my life and the new content I want to focus on.

Editing

I have recently changed up the way I added my pictures and this made a big difference in the look of my blog. My blog pictures were good but I don't feel like they were cohesive. The new-look that I was trying to go for was no longer being represented in my pictures so I chose to edit them differently. Doing something as simple as that has made a big difference and made my blog look like a new and refreshing.

Getting The Perfect Blog Photos On Your Phone

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There is a misconception about needing an expensive camera to take awesome photos for your blog and Instagram, which is far from the truth. Most of the images I take are on my phone. A phone is something you always without any doubt have with you, and that makes it more convenient. If you are just starting out as a blogger I wouldn’t rush to the store to buy an expensive camera, buy it later down the line and for now use what you have and make the best out of that first. Yes, photos taken by a professional / expensive cameras look good but I am going to share with you some tips on how to those phone pics look just as good.

Take A Lot of Shots

When you take your pictures make sure you take a lot of them. I can take about 50 pictures and literally only keep 4. So having those options that you can choose from is ideal because you don’t want to take just 5 pictures then hate all of them.

Different Angles

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This tip is very important! Taking picture at one angle only is a no no. Be sure to take a pictures at multiple angles. You would be surprised at how different an image can come out at a different angle. Also when you take pictures that are just not just head on and straight it makes the image looks like it was taken with a professional camera. My go to photo angle in from below, it makes you look a lot taller and you can get amazing sky shots in the background.

Focus

One way to make any shot look amazing is to just focus. Whatever you subject is make sure that it is in focus, clear and sharp. Just give a small tap on your phone screen of the subject and snap away. Also depending on the phone and distance from you and the subject, when you do focus on the subject it can sometime blur out the background which makes your photo look even more professional.

Lighting

Something as simple as lighting can make or break a photo. I find this very important when taking flat lays but this is also important in other types of photos. If the lighting is bad it can make the photo look horrible and even worse when you try fix it by increasing the exposure when you edit it. The lighting doesn’t have to be perfect but enough so that the picture is clear and bright before editing.

Edit

Lastly the number 1 most important tip is to EDIT! Yes edit! Editing your photos will make them look so much better. Editing is something that will take time to learn and you won’t really know your editing style until you just try. With editing photos it is a lot of trial and error. But the basics to getting any photo to look better is adjust the exposure, contrast, sharpen, temperature, and saturation. When I first started editing my photos those were the first things I would adjust and they made a big difference. My go to editing apps are VSCO, Snapseed, and Facetune and I recently started using Lightroom.

Blog Maintenance Routine

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There is a lot that goes into blogging besides making content and posting it. There are a lot of moving parts that make a blog function to it's full  potential one of those things are blog maintenance. All of the things you see on a blog have to be maintained and updated consistently. There are a few things that have become a staple in my blog maintenance routine. 

Update Old Photos - When you look back at your older post and look at the photos do you cringe a little bit. One misconception about blogging is that you can't go back and edit past post, which is totally not true. If you see a photos you no longer like than updates them. 

Check for Broken Links - On a lot of my older post there are broken links to things I might have referred to in the post. Maybe the link no longer exist. This happens a lot with fashion post when the item sells out, so you can do your best and go back and find something similar to that item and re-link it. 

Delete Post Your Not Happy With - Through the evolution of my blog I have delete or updated a lot of post that I am no longer happy with. I think that is the beauty in blogging, you are always growing and getting better at it and it is reflected in your content. So it's ok to no longer like a post. 

Respond to Comments - Sometimes during the weekday it might be hard to respond to comments if you have a busy schedule. So I just make it a part of my routine to reply to any comments on the weekend. That way I don't have to rush through them. 

Update Sidebar - Your sidebar on your blog is just as important as you homepage. Keeping that updated is very important. I make sure no links are broken and all picture are updated. 

New Profile Pic - Some people forget to update the profile pic on there blog if you have one at all. You should update it because you are forever changing  and growing and you should show that in your profile pic. I try to change mines 4 times a year with the seasons. 

Reply to Emails - This as the same as replying to comments. Normally I reply to all emails during the weekend unless it's super urgent. 

Making a Blog Editorial Calendar

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When it comes to making an editorial calendar I've always been so indecisive about how to and what way I want to do it.  I've always went from planners to Google Calendars to writing it out on a notepad. And until recently I figured out exactly what works for me. Which makes my life a whole lot easier. So I'm going to share with you my way of making a blogger editorial calendar. And for school that's a whole other post.

Your Schedule 

Having such a busy schedule it's hard for me to determine what my blog schedule will look like. I can try having blog post ready for the month, but with school and work some things come up that through off blog post. Which is mostly why I don't have a set in stone block schedule, that is one thing I am trying to get better at. Lately I've been making sure that I post on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays. And if I'm able to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays that's a bonus. So if you know what days you're going to post that will help you in making your editorial calendar a lot more easier.  I use planner and just write down the posts that I'll have for the week. I kind of have an idea of the post that I want to do for that month but I won't assign a date for that post to go up until maybe a week ahead. That way if I have anything on my schedule that needs to change I can do so.  And sometimes post will come to me that I didn't plan for that month so that also will allow me to add that post to my schedule for that week.

Phone, Electronic Calendar, Planner ? 

I have decided that I like writing out my editorial calendar. I've tried electronic calendars and putting things on my phone or a Google Calendar and those things for me just don't work or are not as effective as writing it down. My planner will look a mess sometimes but I find that if I write it down for some reason I'm able to get it done, it like it’s more engraved in my memory to get that task done. I don’t know maybe that's just me. But I know that doesn't always work for everyone, some people prefer electronic version so just do what works for you. I use planner and just write down the posts that I'll have for the week. I kind of have an idea of the post that I want to do for that month but I won't assign a date for that post to go up until maybe a week ahead. That way if I have anything on my schedule that needs to change I can do so.  And sometimes post will come to me that I didn't plan for that month so that also will allow me to add that post to my schedule for that week.

Nothing's Set In Stone 

The last thing I would recommend when making a editorial calendar is to be flexible about it. Especially if you have a busy schedule like I do it's hard to not make changes to your blog schedule so it's okay to make those changes and maybe someday skip a day or two for catching up on other things. Make sure that you just make your editorial calendar work for you and hopefully that'll help you make better content and keep you more organized when blogging.