Blogging 101: How I Started A Blog and Other Questions

6.8.20

I find it amusing whenever I still get questions on how to start a blog. I thought that people will prefer opening a Youtube channel by now, so I get excited when I see young people still wanting to write. 


Getting these questions though will often freeze my brain, I don't know where to start! It has been years since I opened this page, and I feel that I just learned the entire process by taking the plunge-- diving head first even though I barely know what I am putting myself into or what I have to do next. I guess it's a good thing, I started blogging simply to document and write.


To finally come up with a blog post on blogging, I gathered questions from my Instagram Story viewers to create this long overdue post. If you want to know more, or there are things not included on this post, feel free to ask them on the comment box below so I can maybe write a Part 2! Here goes....



Q: How to start blogging? 

Similar questions:

- How to make a blog po hehehe I want to start po sana to share my interest and thoughts.

- Where and how do you start??

- How to start website or channel


A: I started my blog at around 2004 or 2005. Blogging was all new then, it wasn't even considered as work. I have three purposes for opening one:


1. I was a journalism student then, so writing was really my thing. I wanted to practice and find my own writing style, so I thought that it will help if I also write outside school requirements. Blogging has become my outlet and medium of expression.


2. I also opened my blog to practice how it feels to be read by the public! I used to write in my private diary a lot (I had one since Grade 1!), but since my goal is to write for magazines, I have to be prepared for the variety of tastes and even the criticisms of a bigger audience!


3. I also wanted to document my day-to-day happenings so I have something to look back to someday. As mentioned earlier, I have a diary since I was a kid! Having an online version of this made it more interactive and fun and high tech, it also felt as if it will outlast my journals (with this, I stand corrected with Multiply website now defunct huhu).



How to make a blog or start a blog? 


First just choose your platform. There are a lot, but I only know 2 sites commonly used by my contemporaries, either Blogspot or Wordpress. You can open an account in these sites for free by just signing up, like how you opened your FB or IG. You only have to pay for your domain.


Meanwhile a domain is your personalized www address. Meaning, if you opt for a free domain then that's blogspot.com/yourblogname, versus having a paid version which will appear like www.yourblogname.com. You can also choose if you want a .com, .net, .ph, etc. Price varies, but for mine I consistently pay around 10 USD every year even to this day. There are plenty of options online, and you can buy this from different reputable sites like GoDaddy.com or Enom.


After customizing the domain, you can now proceed with your blog design. I used to just tinker with the free Blogspot layouts, you can change everything from the fonts, background, colors, your header and sidebar photos, etc. My new layout is from etsy.com. It looks more professional! You can hire a designer too, but I was able to score affordable and pretty layouts on Etsy for less than Php 500. They are customizable, easy to understand, affordable, and you also get to support an artist!


After that, there's nothing else to do but to write write write. What will you post? What's the theme of your blog? Make sure to also promote the link of your new entries on your existing social media pages to grow your audience.

 

Q: What’s your very first blog?? What is it all about? Hehe.

 

A: My first blog is called Bohemian Revolution in Multiply.com. I used to post day-to-day musings there, even simple things like song lyrics and my emo "feels" after listening to a song, hehehehe. 


The blog name came from Moulin Rouge, a movie I was obsessed about at that time. Sineryoso ko talaga yung pagiging writer katulad ng lead character dun hehe. It was a fun time when people post daily, and comment on each other's blogs, and layouts were all blinking, glittery, and blinding! 😂


My first Blogspot is this one, you can scroll til end to see my first post here! This blog used to be called The Fashionista Commuter. I opened this new blog to have a separate documentation for my outfits, since I post random life happenings on my Multiply.


So aside from posting pictures of my OOTDs, I have a twist where I show what I actually wore when I was commuting with the outfit. Example my OOTD was a short dress, but when commuting I wear pants or maxi skirt over it! I also added a few story on how my day went.

 


My very first blog post here in anagonzales.com, April 25, 2009



Q: How to be good at writing?

 

A: I think as with anything you have to do it repetitively. Continue writing and practicing your own voice and style. You won't be good in driving or biking if you don't do it everyday. Make it a habit to write a lot, even if this is just one page in your notebook everyday. Don't mind your structure or grammar, just write write write.


Another way is to expose yourself to writings. Read a lot! Books, articles, magazines, etc. You have to feed your brain, plant seeds, so that you will bear fruits one day. 


If you have the time, you can also study writing. Almost all my subjects in college are writing related from feature writing, news, literary such as short stories and poems, etcetera. I also attended one-day workshops. You can take free online classes too, or just watch Youtube tutorials, etc. Again, feed your brain all the time!

 

Q: How do you maintain the essence of blogging?

A: I really just have to go back to my 3 main goals why I started one in 2009: For expression, for documentation, and for my readers.


I've had lots of moments in my more than 10 years of blogging where I feel really insecure and bothered that most of the posts I produced this month were sponsored or press releases for brands I was working with. But now I have come to terms that I can still do both: Just find the balance of blogging for work and blogging for personal reasons. If I feel that the seesaw is tipping over more on one side, I have to stop and reassess my self and my blog again. 


That's just how it is, we will commit mistakes along the way. But the real loser is the one who will not stop, pick himself up, and learn from his mistakes.

 


Q: How to come up with the next topic? 

Similar questions:

- How do you come up with topics to write about?

- On searching good content

- Hirap mag isip ng content haha

 

A: Here are several ways that I can think of and have applied in my own blog content creation:


1. What are your current interests? Write about it. Example, I recently studied Korean language online. It was a process, so I thought it can be a one full blog post.


2. What do your readers want to learn from you? Since they will be the ones reading your work, you can ask for suggestions or tips through your Instagram Stories or FB page. I have Q&A Mondays where I also find out what most of my viewers want, so I play around with these topics until I come up with a title or theme that I can work on for my next posts.


You can base it also on frequently asked questions every time you post something. Example! Every time I post about a trip, I get asked about visa requirements, itinerary, my travel budget, or even where I'm staying. I list these questions for possible future blog post topics.


3. If you are also a reader of another blogger, what are they writing about? It's not explicitly copying their content especially if you will talk about your own take and experiences on things. Example, they blogged about their room renovation or online shopping haul. When you post about these topics, for sure you have a different room, different style or aesthetic or budget, and for sure you purchased different stuff online, etc. Same in travels, for sure there are over thousands of Korea blog posts out there, but your experiences will always be unique.


Side Note: Think of something that will be of value to your readers. Share tips, suggestions, life hacks. Posting about your trip? Inject lessons you picked up during your travel, add pieces of advice on what they should do or not do. Be someone who gives VALUE to your audience.



Q: Any app or website guide on checking grammars? How to choose the right words?

 

A: I haven't tried using apps for grammar check, but I always see ads on GRAMMARLY. It has good reviews too, maybe I should consider getting one!! I usually just copy paste in Google a sentence or phrase or word that I feel iffy or uncomfortable reading, and see if there are other better ways to put them.

 

Q: Is it possible to hide my identity?

 

A: I haven't tried this one too, but I do know someone who writes anonymously on her LiveJournal before. So yes you can hide your identity by having a different username, and maybe you can even create a separate dedicated email for your account?

 

Q: Ano pong gamit niyong filter apps sa IG? Gaganda kasi.

 

A: Currently back to VSCO, I love the M Series of this app. But I still use my Lightroom for my own filters.

 

Q: Sa mga music po na ginagamit, dapat po ba laging naka credit? 


A: Guilty of not placing the source of music on my IG Stories and IGTV since they are usually just short vlogs, but promise to credit everything na when I use music for my Youtube. Crediting is still the best practice for this!


 

To end this blog post, here's a short Q&A with my blogger friends (thank you friends for answering!). I started almost same time as them, and we all started our pages as hobby or outlet. I am sure you'll also learn a thing or two from them... Enjoy!

 

Featured Bloggers:
Aisa Ipac of http://aisaipac.com
Ava Zabat of https://www.artsyfartsyava.com/
Ashley Dy of http://ashleydy.com

Aisa Ipac @paxieness
Aisa Ipac of www.aisaipac.com

When did you start blogging?
Aisa: 2008
Ava: I started blogging 2005. But in my current platform 2008 :)
Ashley: 2009

How did you design your blog layout?
Aisa: Etsy layout!:)
Ava: I designed it in a way for it to be minimalist, easy to navigate and some colors pleasing to the eyes
Ashley: I bought a theme online and tweak it myself haha

Ava Zabat @artsyava

Why did you start your blog?
Aisa: I just wanted to document my ootds, shopping finds and also an outlet to bare my emotions
Ava: I started it to share bits of my of life, things I love and also hoping to inspire others in the process :)
Ashley: I was a writer for our school newspaper back in HS and college. Writing/ blogging is just something natural to me.

When did you start seeing your blog grow?
Aisa: 2011 when I joined Chictopia and met other bloggers
Ava: I started seeing it grow around 2011? People started reading more blogs then and it grew :)
Ashley: When I moved to Japan, there are a lot of Japan fans who read my blog thus my audience are mostly Japan lovers.

Ashley Dy @ashleydy

Any tips or advice to new bloggers?
Aisa: Always write for yourself first❤️
Ava: My advice is don’t be afraid to start! We all have to start somewhere and eventually, with consistency, passion and determination, you’ll find that blogging is really a fun place to let your thoughts roam free :)
Ashley: For aspiring bloggers, always remember who you are, what your core values are so you won’t get lost in the process. There are a lot of temptations in this industry and the bravest thing to do is to be your authentic self.


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Anagon