Style Chicks will be 10 years old next year. 10 YEARS! Back then it wasn’t even called a blog – if you wanted to make sure someone knew what you were talking about, you had to call it by the proper name – weblog.
Since 10 years of beauty blogging is a decent chunk of time, new and aspiring bloggers will frequently reach out to us for advice. So we have decided to start a new feature on Style Chicks with tips and tricks to help get new bloggers going.
Our first bit of advice is to read some books, not just blogs (yeah, odd advice, I know.) There are some excellent books out there that take you from the absolute first steps of blogging. It isn’t a step to skimp on – if you don’t get the beginning steps right, you will either end up having to retool things later or, or worse yet, you will fizzle out and abandon your blog.
In the spirit of doing things right the first time, I have been procrastinating on starting this feature until I received an audio copy of Halden Zimmermann’s Guide to High Impact Blogs. This book covers the practical basics of starting a blog, and also covers the steps required to keep your blog going long term. Whether you want to monetize your blog or just want to speak to the world, this book is an excellent starting point.
The main message of the book is that a blog is a business. This rung very true for me. You might be balking at that as a concept – “it’s just a blog!” you might say. But consider this: there are businesses that never plan on making a dime, but provide a service. But the planning and implementation are largely the same as companies that have no motive other than profit. So even if you are just starting a blog as a hobby, you still need to run it as a business. This isn’t to scare you off. This is so your blog a) remains sustainable for as long as you choose to keep on blogging, b) can make you money if you choose to monetize it, and c) remains fun. Dealing with hassles that come with bad planning is a quick way for your blog to become a burden rather than an exciting outlet.
Once you have decided to start a blog, the next point I’m going to bring out from Zimmermann’s book might seem counterintuitive. Offer to guest blog (for free) on blogs you like. A lot of bloggers will take you up on it. I will probably take you up on it. What does it do for you? It establishes you as an expert in the field, and it provides a link to your new blog from an established blog with people who are already interested in what your blog talks about. It also offers a tacit endorsement from the other bloggers that you are an expert. This is definitely what a new blogger wants.
A point I particularly liked in the book is to consider if your content is “evergreen” before you publish it. Last week I was going through my first few years of posts. Some posts look distinctly out of place on Style Chicks today. They probably looked out of place then. I hadn’t considered my long-term goals for the blog; I just wanted to produce good content. This isn’t to say that your goals can’t change over time. I have taken Style Chicks in many different directions over time, but every business needs to shape-shift every once in awhile. In the constantly evolving world of the Internet, changing directions or refining goals is a fact of life.
As someone who has been blogging for a long time, this book rang true on so many levels and added clarity to decisions I made over time – good and bad decisions. So if you want to avoid the bad decisions from the start and intentionally make the good decisions, I highly recommend Guide to High Impact Blogs. I made so many notes and bookmarks myself – it really is an excellent guide. I have a whole list of points like these that I could keep talking about, but the book does a much better job of explaining it than I am!
Find Guide to High Impact Blogging at http://haldenzimmermann.net/.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.