10 tips for starting a blog in 2021

I’ve been blogging now for what will be 7 years in august which is mental considering I am only 21 years old. My goal has always been (and still is) to blog about my life and document all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s something I am genuinely so passionate about and one of my proudest achievements to date. Some people genuinely earn hundreds and thousands through blogging, and it is such a great way to release creativity. I have always considered a “10 tips for starting a blog” blog post, but never felt like I was knowledgable enough to do it. Truth is, I have been writing, growing and maintaining a blog for the last 7 years! What more is there to know?

Blogging has been a massive part of my life and throughout all of the changes and growth, I have continued to share my thoughts, tips, and everything in between on this incredible platform. I’ve learned a lot in the past 7 years – in fact, one of my most asked questions is “how do you start a blog?” and “have you got any tips for starting a blog?”. It’s kind of funny because up until this year, I have never considered myself a “successful” blogger which in reality is *BS* as everyone’s definition of success is different.

So… I’ve put my big girl pants on and jotted down my 10 best tips for starting a blog in 2021 – These are JUST tips for starting a blog, but I’m definitely up for writing another post about monetising a blog – so let me know if that’s something you’d like to see! Anyways, onto the tips…

1. Just do it!

My biggest tip is to Just. Do. It. I’m aware I sound like a brand rep for Nike, but it really is so true. Bottom line is, you can spend months worrying about what people will think, or weeks studying SEO or even years gearing yourself up, but you will get nowhere unless you bite the bullet and actually start.

2. Get a domain.

It really is so important to have your own domain as it makes your whole brand look 10X more professional – for example, I own my own domain www.megannsweeneyy.com as opposed to www. megannsweeneyy.wordpress.com. I truly think this is a game-changer and I know a lot of brands are way more likely to consider working with you if you have your own domain.

3. Have a professional looking theme.

This is just as important as a domain, in my opinion, and it definitely makes your blog stand out. There are loads of cheap themes out there! Etsy does lots of great ones and they’re easy to install and update. If you are looking at taking blogging more seriously, you neeeeeed to look around for a good theme.

4. Write, Write, Write.

Consistency is key with a blog. If you don’t stay consistent, your audience will not know when to check in on your new posts and you will find it way harder to build a loyal audience. When I launched my blog in January 2020, I already had around 5 posts ready to post and about 10 more sitting in my drafts. This was so I was confident I could stay consistent and provide my audience with quality content.

5. Get up to scratch on your photography.

Another key component to a successful blog – especially when starting a blog in 2021. Your photographs need to be good quality and clear. I use an Olympus EPL-8 for most of my photos, and although I could definitely improve, I still make sure every photo is good quality and has a preset to match my blog/brand. Natural lighting and backgrounds are key – I make sure whenever I shoot that I have as much natural light as possible and my backgrounds are not messy or distracting.

6. Believe in yourself.

It’s no lie that blogging is grafting hard for little return, especially when you first start out. This is something that has been a massive mental battle for me for the last 7 years as it’s very easy to feel no one is interested in what you have to say and all the work you are putting in is going to waste- after all, “comparison is the thief of joy”. You need to have your own back at all times and keep yourself motivated. I have a vision board on Pinterest which I use to keep me on track, I find it so motivating and inspiring to have a bunch of my favourite quotes, favourite pictures, dream car etc all in one place. I am not ashamed to say I have to refer back to this board every single night to keep me on track otherwise I would definitely lose motivation, find what works for you and stick to it!

7. Use Pinterest to your advantage.

I can’t stress enough how much Pinterest has been a godsend for my blog and bluntly speaking, I wouldn’t have much of an audience if it wasn’t for Pinterest. There are so many videos and courses out there to tell you how to market your blog on Pinterest so I won’t go into it in too much detail, but it is so worthwhile. 80% of my audience comes from Pinterest, and using the right keywords, description, imagery, and a *tiny* bit of luck, gears you up for a potential viral pin. Viral = page views.

8. Be original.

There’s that saying “be the first you, not the ‘next’ them” which I fully stand by. There are so many people out there grinding at the moment that it is very hard to not compare yourself to them. Sure, taking inspiration is a great thing to do and it’s actually something I do a lot myself, but there is a massive difference between taking inspiration and just downright copying someone’s hard work. Use your fellow bloggers as a guide, and for inspiration, but stay true to yourself!

9. Utilise Affiliate links.

Even if you aren’t bothered about earning a penny from blogging, I still think it is beneficial to utilise your affiliate links. Affiliate links are basically a tracked link that a blogger will use which earns them money for every click/sale. These are a great passive income if you have a big enough audience and there are plenty of affiliate marketing programmes to join – Rewardstyle is the most popular one but you need a certain amount of followers in order to work with them. Shopstyle and Awin are also great ones when starting out. Certain Affiliate partners have a longer “cookie duration” than others, this means that if an affiliate program offer a cookie duration of 10 hours, anything that is bought on that website 10 hours after the initial click, you will earn a commision on. Win, Win!

10. Don’t get lose yourself in trying to earn a living.

I am definitely guilty of this. When I was 17, I quit my full time job to go full time on my blog. It was genuinely one of the loneliest times of my life, I wasn’t earning great money and every ounce of enjoyment was taken away. It actually put me off of blogging and this in itself spurred me on to delete my blog of all existence. I lost myself and what I stand for completely. I was only writing to earn money and not because I wanted to share a certain story with my audience, or share a milestone in my life etc. The sad thing is that when blogging in 2021 you are literally told over and over that “no one cares about YOU”, “no one wants to read about YOUR LIFE”, “it’s not worth writing about if it isn’t a keyword that flags up in SEO research” and whilst these things accurate if you are genuinely only blogging to earn money, they are not helpful in the slightest when you are trying to turn your blog into a community of people that DO want to read about YOU. (Trust me, there are people out there!)

So those are my 10 tips for starting a blog in 2021. Blogging has brought me so many opportunities throughout the last 7 years which I am eternally grateful for. It really is something that needs to be welcomed more! If you are looking at starting your own blog, now is the time to start! I hope my tips give you a slight head start, any other questions then feel free to holla at me!