Advice, Career

Should I Start a Blog?

I’ve thought about starting a blog for years but there are just so many of them now and it feels too late. What are your thoughts on finding your voice, staying true to yourself, and embracing community over competition in the blogging world?

I get at least a few emails (and instagram messages) like this one every week and have talked about how we launched and grew The Everygirl, but not about launching a personal blog. Now that I’ve been at this blogging thing for ten years, I want to share my thoughts on what it takes to launch, grow, and keep up a personal blog.

The biggest takeaway from this post should be that if you want to start a blog, you should absolutely go for it. But there are a few things you should consider (and do) before diving in.

Do it for the right reasons

If you want to write, create content, love photography, and are excited to connect with and inspire others, you’ll love blogging. If you have a full-time job like so many bloggers do, be prepared to write and shoot nights and weekends.

If you’re doing this to make money and to have a ton of followers, I’d go another direction. That’s not to say those things won’t come, but you need to love what you’re doing and to do it because you love it. This year, I’ve only done 4 sponsored (paid) posts on my blog–an average of less than 1 a month–but I’ve been posting regularly because I enjoy it. I do make money through affiliates but do very few fashion posts (at least I think I do very few) and the posts I’m most excited about are the ones like these where I can inspire or help someone. That’s why I do this. 

Be patient

It’s going to take time to grow your new passion project. My personal blog launched in 2007 but didn’t really gain a following until 2012, and there was zero strategy behind. The growth did take place just before the launch of The Everygirl (Feb ’12) and I people were excited about that. Then I scaled back. Why? I just didn’t have the bandwidth and you just can’t force it. Your heart has to be in it. 

In 2015, I felt inspired to write again. I missed my blogging roots and have been posting pretty steadily since. To be very honest with you, I’ve been waiting to hit a wall and to feel completely uninspired, but that hasn’t happened yet. I expect things to slow down with the warmer weather because I need sunshine, but for now, I’m not going anywhere.

Consistency is key

Posting regularly is important in the beginning. If you want people to keep coming back, you’ll want to give them new (regular) content. Plan on posting at least 4-5 days a week and sharing those posts across your social media channels. Once your blog is established daily content is definitely best, but I have friends who post 3x a week and have found a great balance in that. I won’t post for the sake of posting and if traffic dips, that’s fine with me.

Don’t give up

Do what you love and don’t force it–the opportunities will come. I blogged because it was fun, gave it up when it felt like too much, and take breaks when I need them. There are weeks I’ll feel really inspired and belt out a ton of content and others when I don’t feel like writing at all, and that’s ok. This site isn’t my full-time gig and will always take a backseat to The Everygirl, so it happens in my “off”hours, and sometimes, those hours need to be spent doing things that don’t involve a computer screen. Keep at it but don’t force it.

Community over competition

I’m friends with quite a few bloggers and would say I’ve experienced community over competition across creative industries. Bloggers are liking each other’s content, leaving comments to support one another, and are even cross promoting.

I’ll never forget Kelly “yelling” at me (virtually, in all caps) for not using WordPress over a year ago. Thanks, Kelly! I know there’s competition out there but I haven’t experienced it personally, and have found the blogging world to be extremely inclusive. When it comes down to it, we’re all in this together.

Don’t play the comparison game

This is a tough one (in pretty much every single area of life), but whether you’re just starting out or have developed a steady following, it’s so easy to compare yourself to people with a big following and feel like you’re not good enough. My advice here is to give yourself some credit, know you’re doing your best, and to always stay true to yourself.

Our lives are all different from our careers to when we hit certain milestones to our blog content and traffic, and that’s better than ok. I spent most of my 20s unhappy in a toxic relationship before moving to Chicago. Where you are now is a part of your story. Own it and embrace it.

Here’s what you’ll need

There are so grainy iPhone photos and a free template won’t really cut it the way they used to. Having a beautifully designed blog, great graphics, and beautiful photography is going to help you grow your site. Either hire a graphic designer or invest in a WordPress Theme. There are so many great ones out there. Check out Flo, Restored 316, and Envato Market.

On to Photography. The 40 most recent photos in my instagram feed were shot with my iPhone. The new iPhone 7 Plus is pretty incredible and there’s so much you can do when it comes to editing these days, but I recommend investing in a Fuji X100T (this camera has a fixed lens) or the Xt1 with interchangeable lenses (I have the Xt1), or if you’re feeling fancy and want to dive into photography, a 6D or Mark III (I have this one and shoot with a 50mm and 35mm). And if you’re hoping to get some outfit posts up, hire a photographer. You can shoot a few looks in one session which you’ll get a few posts out of.

Try this before diving in

Before you invest in a WordPress site, a theme, a logo, or a camera, sit down and come up with a dozen or so post ideas, and then write 5 posts. Give Photoshop a try. Play with graphics. If you enjoy the process, take that next step. And if blogging is something that excites you, let my story be the final push you need to take that leap.

Produce great content, share your story (or the things you love), and stay true to yourself. I don’t pitch myself or my story to anyone and after years of building a blog then letting it die then starting up again, I’ve been able to partner with some really amazing brands (furniture, fashion, and travel) all because of this little blog.

Why I do it

As fun and easy as it may look (it’s one of those things and it sure isn’t easy), there’s so much to it, but if it’s something you want to do, I can tell you firsthand that blogging is the single greatest step I took when it came to shaping who I was.

I launched a blog in 2007, redesigned it, and was hired by someone to redesign her blog. The clients kept coming and a few months later, I launched my graphic design studio specializing in blog design. Then came the “blog friends” and trips to TN, TX, and IN to visit. And we can’t forget that road trip to Chicago–the 3 days that inspired me to leave Los Angeles for a fresh start in the Midwest. The blog that lead to a blog design business gave me the ability to pack up and move anywhere. Then I met my business partner through blogging and launched The Everygirl which we promoted via our personal blogs and friends we made through blogging.

This is where I share my story–what inspires me and what I’ve been through. Inspiring women is something I am very passionate about and using what I’ve struggled with to connect with women across the country has been so fulfilling. For me, there’s nothing better than opening myself up to your questions and helping you all work through stuff, or getting an email that someone feels less alone because of a broken relationships with their parents. It’s a lot to put that stuff out there being able to connect with and help women has made all those losses and struggles feel worth it.

Was this post helpful? Are you new to blogging or considering starting a blog? Do you have any questions for me? Leave them in the comments below!

  • Jessica

    Danielle, I always enjoy your professional/personal advice posts. Your suggestion to try writing out 5 posts and playing around with graphics before leaping in is a great tip. I’m a failed blogger (I say this jokingly) and I think this would’ve helped me. I played around with starting a blog a few years ago and quickly figured out that I loved writing and generating content ideas, but was really uninterested in the graphic design/photography and social media sides. I kind of lost interest in the blog, but learned through the process that I wanted a creative outlet in my life and that I was kind of tired of the academic writing I’d been doing in my professional life. I ended up writing a few pop culture articles for an academic website I copy edit for, and found that was way more my speed. I agree that anyone interested should just try it–and if it doesn’t work out, you still might discover something else in the process!

    • Danielle Moss

      Thanks, Jessica! You need to blog for you, and if writing is your thing, forget about photography. Great writing is SO important! Do your thing!

  • Christine

    Thank you 🙂

  • Charlotte

    Great post thank you 💛

  • The comparison game is SO SO hard!! I always feel my photos are not good enough, engagement not high enough, etc. You have to blog for you, and you alone! Love this post, thank you for sharing 🙂

  • I can feel your heart and passion through your words in this post, and I feel like I just had a warm hug from a friend! Blogging is a wonderful world, but it can get discouraging at times, so thank you so much for taking the time to encourage, uplift and inspire. I LOVE your comment about finding community instead of competition in the blogging world. I can’t wait to start meeting those people, and I’m trying daily to be that woman myself!

  • All About Sana

    Excellent post Danielle! I particularly liked your consistency part. When I started my blog I posted everyday and then noticed a sudden dip. I think it was because I posted too much. I think 1-3x is perfect.

  • Having recently started a blog with my hubs (TheNyquists.com!), I love this post!! We really wanted a place, a diary of sorts, to remember this time in our relationship- newly married, pre-kids, moving around a lot, traveling, etc. The comparison game is so hard though. I struggle with wanting to post beautiful pictures and post things that inspire us and fond memories, while at the same time worrying about people judging us for what we want to post about and “expecting” people to want to read it. It’s for us, a creative outlet to document our life together and shared interests, and if people want to read we want to share it with others. It’s a constant struggle! My husband is super into the blog and promoting it, while I’m a little more shy about it. It’s a funny balance.

  • Jessika Garcia

    This is such a great post, Danielle! I’ve been beauty blogging since 2012 mostly because I truly do love sharing my beauty finds, tips, and secrets with everyone but I was also secretly wanting to become famous from it. That state of mind never got me anywhere and now I just blog for fun or when I have time since my full-time job takes a toll on me. I know it’s more of a passion now because I can spend the whole day at work on a computer and still want to come home and be on a computer to edit posts, create graphics, etc. I totally agree with all of your tips and have even tucked some away for myself.

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