How and why I started blogging? I should probably first start out by explaining why I started blogging. My experience through all this might be different from most people who started blogging at the same time as me two years ago. At the time I started blogging, blogs like Sincerely Jules, Thrifts & Threads and Hunt for Styles were becoming big and were rapidly growing their following. I followed SO many bloggers before I started my blog. I always just had this creative urge to do what they were doing. At the time, I was starting my first year at San Diego State University and I was working on my Journalism and Media Studies degree. I was working to become a social media marketing manager, but I quickly realized I didn’t have any experience at the time to get me an internship. I knew I would eventually need to get an internship, so I needed creditable experience. I thought to myself, “Why not be my own social media manager?” I kept wanting to start a serious blog and to get a hobby to help me escape the stresses of college, so this was a perfect move for me. In this crazy, hectic and sometimes confusing world, I wanted to share my life experiences with anyone who would listen. I didn’t know what type of a blogger I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to start one to share my thoughts and experiences. I was really into home decor and style at the time. I thought I’d just do a mixture of both to start with and see where that took me.
I researched online what the best platform was to first start a blog. I didn’t want to invest a bunch of money into it at first because it was just for fun and I didn’t know how serious I was going to be about it. I had previously tried to start a blog, but I didn’t take it seriously and it only lasted about a month or so. Not wanting to spend a bunch of money on building a website, I decided to use WordPress’ free platform. WordPress.com is extremely easy to use and set up. It’s super user-friendly and it’s free for all the basic features. When first starting a blog, it’s perfect. For about three months, I kept WordPress in my domain name. That’s the only thing that annoyed me about the free version of WordPress though, when I first started my blog. I then decided to buy my own domain name. It’s super affordable and for SEO purposes, I definitely think it’s worth it. It’s only $27 or so a year to purchase the domain name. Buying your own domain name makes searching for your blog way easier for readers.
After spending several hours on choosing a theme and designing my website, I felt so accomplished. I’m not a very colorful person and I like minimal designs, so I went with just a simple, chic black and white website theme. I wanted my website to be easy to use and not too overwhelming. I’ve never been a fan of a lot of color and a cluster of a bunch of things on a single page. I believe my website is very minimal and that’s just how I like it. Luckily, I was able to find a free theme on WordPress I liked, so I didn’t have to buy that either.
I knew in order to grow traffic to my blog, I would need to grow a strong social media presence. I knew Facebook and Twitter were slowly dying, but Instagram was rapidly growing for bloggers and influencers. Many bloggers were making a full–time career out of blogging through Instagram already when I started. I knew with my target audience, Instagram made the most sense to help grow my traffic and readership. Little did I know, Instagram would become my main focus with blogging. I added social widgets to my website and changed my handle name to @kortneys_life on my personal account. I didn’t want to start a completely new Instagram account for my blog because I didn’t see the point in having a public and private account. If someone was truly my friend or interested in my life, they would follow along with me on this new blogging journey. Yes, a lot of people unfollowed me when I changed my account for my blog, but they were all mostly guys who understandably didn’t care about women’s fashion or home decor.
After posting a couple blog posts with Instagram posts to go with it, I began to realize that I was getting people more interested in style rather than home decor. I decided to then focus mainly on style and make that my niche. I started with just my iPhone 5 and then a Canon Zoom to take all my pictures. It’s crazy to look back and think about how I thought those were high quality pictures. Now I look back and just laugh because I didn’t edit any of them really and the resolution was so bad on them. It worked at the time though, because I worked with what I had. I began interacting with as many people as I could on Instagram and the WordPress Reader to help grow. I would spend every minute I had available liking and commenting on people’s Instagram and WordPress accounts to help make connections and grow my platforms. Instagram definitely grew faster through doing this. Through posting as much as possible and always interacting with as many people as possible, my Instagram and WordPress began to grow enough to get a continuous amount of views.
My regrets? I regret not starting my blog sooner before it became super saturated. The blogging industry is so overcrowded now that it’s harder to grow today than it use to be. I also regret not having more content already created when I first started my blog. I think it’s really important to have a full content calendar for the first month of blogging before you make your website go live so that you can just focus on your branding and growing your readers. The first six months of blogging were extremely confusing and hectic for me. I’m not going to lie to you. Even now with a B.A. in Media Studies, I still don’t know the “secret” to blogging or social media because there is no secret. It’s just creating your best work and hoping that people will relate and appreciate it.
If you have any other questions about how and why I started blogging, please don’t hesitate to ask or comment below!
Thanks for reading,