I get asked a lot about how I got started with my blog. The truth is I just did a lot of googling. A LOT. If there's something you want to know out there, google it and I promise someone has written an article or made a video about it. There's everything from how to get a website domain to how to insert a link in your post. I mean I've googled some crazy things and I've always found the answer. But sometimes that sort of thing can get overwhelming, so today I'm rounding up some of my favorite resources I've found that have done the practical work of telling me how to start a blog and the things I use to "continue my education" as well as encourage and inspire me.
Setting up your blog & Content
If you need help just getting started, you need to get Natalie's Blogging Course. This course is perfect if you've finally decided to start your blog and you don't even know what to do first. It starts with the basics of choosing and getting a domain and website hosting and also covers everything from how to create content to how to earn income with your blog. There's also a private Facebook group for everyone who has taken the course. It's such a good resource to connect with other bloggers, ask questions, and there's a monthly live Q&A. Natalie is now one of my real-life friends and she is the real deal, y'all! She is very passionate about helping others succeed with their blogs. This course is 100% worth the cost.
The only thing I have done different than what the course covers is that I use Squarespace instead of Wordpress. I used Wordpress for a while, but I find Squarespace to be much simpler and much more user friendly. I'm really glad I switched over!!
Squarespace and Wordpress have some pre-built templates that you can use, but there are other ways to customize the look of your site so it fits you perfectly! If you can afford to hire someone to build and design your site then that's a great option to get a site that looks exactly how you want (my site and brand were designed by Magnolia-Ink). But I know a lot of us starting out are on a budget, right? For my first site design I found a template I loved on Creative Market. I LOVE Creative Market and use it pretty frequently. There are website templates, fonts, social media templates, media kit templates...you get the idea. It's a great way to add customized items to your brand before you can dive in with something fully custom.
Another great tool for creating custom images and graphics is Canva. Canva is free to use and has thousands of templates to help you create logos, graphics for your blog and social media, PDFs, you name it! This is a great option if you don't have something like Photoshop or Illustrator. Canva also has a free app so you can easily create content from your phone.
Other resources/apps I love for creating graphics and editing photos: Unsplash.com for finding beautiful (and free!) stock images, Word Swag (for graphics); Afterlight, Snapseed, and Color Story for photo editing. Color Story also has a grid feature that helps you plan out your Instagram feed. Planoly is a great app and site for planning out your feed and content. Another great option is Loomly. You can use Loomly to schedule your social media content, but what makes them unique is they focus on the entire content creation & collaboration process, instead of just the scheduling part.
continuing education: tangible tips & Encouragement
Podcasts are the easiest way for me to learn new tips and ideas about creating content and growing my blog. I can listen while I drive, while I clean, while I paint, etc. These are all of the ones I listen to regularly and have learned a lot from! I'm not providing direct links since not everyone is an Apple user, but you can search for and listen to these on whatever podcast app you have!
The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher. She is such a motivator and encourager, and this podcast is packed with very tangible info and tips on how to grow your blog or business.
3 episodes to start with: 129: Ask Jenna Anything...About Social Media, 111: How to Find Your Secret Sauce and Stand Out in a Crowd, 103: Want to be a Social Media Influencer? Here's how!
Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis. Y'all know my love for Rachel Hollis runs deep. This podcast is no exception. This podcast has tons of interviews with phenomenal women, and some solo episodes. I have learned SO much from listening, and also been very inspired in both business and my personal life.
3 episodes to start with: Steps to ACTUALLY Achieve a Goal, How to Start Vlogging in 2018 (a lot can apply to blogging too), Turning a side hustle into a multi-million dollar business (interview with Erin Condren).
The Influencer Podcast with Julie Solomon. This is another great one for lots of tangible advice. She talks about specific topics as well as shares interviews with successful women in the influencer world. Julie is not stingy with her advice and tips, and each episode is packed with info you can start putting into place.
3 episodes to start with: 048: Is Blogging Dead + How to Grow Your Instagram Following in 2018, 018: Instagram Basics: Tips to Networking Without Being Fake, 008: Turn Blogging and YouTube into a Mega Business with Angela Lanter.
Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. Christy's podcast is mainly geared toward women starting and owning businesses, but a lot of it still applies to blogging. She is honest and so funny, and helping women succeed is her passion!
3 episodes to start with: Mom Entrepreneurs: Finding Success in Business and Motherhood, Episode 40: Top Traits of Highly Successful Women, Episode 11: How to Make the Most of Social Media.
Awesome with Allison. Allison's podcast is more of an encouragement/motivation podcast, but those are a huge foundation in having success with your blog or business. She's so honest and raw, and insanely motivating. You need to be following her on Instagram for sure, because she has the most amazing dance moves. She also hosts workshops for branding, so that is another thing you can check out!
3 episodes to start with: Episode 25: Big Picture Thinking vs. Small Picture Thinking, Episode 44: How to overcome crippling self doubt, Episode 50: Going after your dreams like a barracuda with Rachel Hollis
How I Built This with Guy Raz. Listen to this one to get inspired by some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet. They share their stories of how they started their companies - the good & the bad (because there are always failures, but that's the only way to get to success).
3 episodes to start with: Kendra Scott: Kendra Scott, Barre3: Sadie Lincoln, Spanx: Sara Blakely.
Last but not least, I have a pinterest board where I save blogging tips and ideas if you're interested in following that as well!
I hope these ideas and resources will help you get started or grow what you've already started. I'd love to chat with you about your blog if you ever have any questions. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email!