Thursday, 9 May 2013

Guide: How to start a blog

I've been thinking about writing this post for a long time now.  I started this blog about a year and a half ago and in that time it's gone from strength to strength.  I've learnt a lot, made a lot of real friends and had so much fun.  I never thought this is where I'd be at, before blogging I'd be spending all my spare time gaming on a monster gaming PC.  I gave that up (gave it to the hubby), got a MacBook and started spending all my spare time blogging, I don't regret it for one second.

So I thought I'd put this post together on all the things I've learnt along the way.  It's not going to be a complete walkthrough on things like how to change details of the templates, but it'll be enough to get your new blog up and running :)  So, lets get started :)

Decide what you want to blog about

It all starts with an idea.  You'll probably already know what you want to write about, I know I did.  Whether you're going to be a beauty blogger like me, or a fashion/lifestyle/tech/self help etc blogger, decide at the beginning on what your vision is.  I started off with the intention on it just being about makeup, but as the blog evolved it became about all beauty and with some lifestyle posts.  As much as that's a great thing for me, the URL ( is slightly limiting.  So give good thought to what it's going to be about and what you're going to call it.

Register your blog on blogger

Now you've decided what it's going to be about head over to your chosen platform (mine is on blogger).   Once you've done that, BOOM, you're now a blogger :)

Set up google analytics

This step is really important, I'll tell you why.  You may not see your blog going anywhere, but just as a little corner of the internet to write about what you like.  But if it does end up going somewhere and PRs and brands that want to work with you might ask for some Google Analytics stats, such as the amount of unique users you're getting each month, then at that point you'll need to backtrack and add a bit of code to every single blog post you've published, so if you do it now, you won't have to worry about that.  Plus, it's fun looking at the real time stats :)

Luckily for you, a little while ago I wrote a guide on how to set up Google Analytics and another one a little while after on how to understand Google Analytics.

Pick a template

Next up, once you've set up your blog you need to pick a template you like.  There's lots of different ones to pick from, but if you go down to the Template tab on the left of the blogger screen, click that, then scroll down, if you click on any of the different pictures of the different templates they'll give you a preview of what it'll look like.

Customise the template to reflect your personality

Once you've picked one you like the look of (don't worry if you change your mind down the line, you can always change it, I know I have countless times!) I'd really recommend customising it so it doesn't look like a standard template.  Once you've picked it, stay on the template tab and click on the 'Customize' button near the top of the page.  Here you can change things like the width of your blog, the fonts, the background image etc.

If you're feeling creative and want to create some of your own images, have a look on a web based image app like PicMonkey - it's the one I use to edit and create all my images for the blog (well, other than the ones I painted with watercolours!).

Write your first blog post

Right, now that's done you need to write your first blog post :)  My first one was an introduction post, but it can be about anything you like, it could be a bit of an intro, you could jump right in with a review or whatever it is your blog is going to be about :)  I'd also decide when it is you plan to publish posts.  It doesn't matter if you're going to blog every day or once a month, but keeping some regularity would be my advice, but even saying that, remember it's your blog and blog when you want to :)

Make sure its SEO friendly

Before you publish your first post, check to make sure it's SEO (Search engine optimisation) friendly.  I have written a previous guide on SEO tips for your blog - the basics to remember when writing posts :)

Publish, publish, publish!

That's it, you're ready to publish!  Depending on your schedule you may want to consider writing posts in advance and scheduling them for days during the week when you're busy.  This is super easy to do, just write your post as normal, then on the right you'll see a 'Schedule' button, click on that, put in a date and time, then hit the publish button at the top, it'll automatically publish on the date and time you select.  Simples ;)

Share on social media

Now that you're a blogging wizz it's time to start sharing your blog on social media.  There's lots of different platforms for this, but my biggest recommendation is to start with Twitter.  If you don't have a twitter account, go and set one up, and start following some people.  If your blog is going to be about beauty, try typing in the #bbloggers hashtag into twitter and following some of the people that show up who have used that tag.  Once you've done that, copy the URL of your most recent post and share it on twitter :)  Use relevant hashtags, so if it's beauty, use #bbloggers, if it's lifestyle use #lbloggers, if it's fashion use #fbloggers.  Also, if you've reviewed a product or mentioned a brand, don't be scared to @tag them up in the tweet too :)

Talk to other bloggers and make friends

Last but by no means least, make some friends :)  Go on to twitter and talk to other bloggers.  Use the hashtags above to find other bloggers you can relate to and start chatting :)  I've made real friends from doing that, and I wouldn't change it for the world :)

If you're feeling more adventurous and confident perhaps start up a Facebook page for your blog, create a Pinterest board and pin onto it images from your blog posts.  And if you have a smart phone consider downloading Instagram and sharing your recent posts on there by going onto your blog on your phone and taking a screenshot, then use that as the Instagram photo :)

My final tip is if you have any questions, just ask, you can ask me, or you can use those hashtags and ask your peers on twitter :)  We're all friendly and have all been through the minefield of starting a blog, so don't be scared to ask for help :)

Good luck!

This months bigest pixi3 advertiser is the lovely Laura from A Scottish Lass



  1. Thanks for this, i'm already a blogger but i've now set up analytics thanks to your post it was super helpful! x


    1. Aww great! Any problems feel free to tweet me :) @twinklinpixi3


  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Sandra :) Something I'd been thinking about writing for months :) I finally got around to it!

  3. This is so helpful, thanks so much. Going to go and look at the google Analytics post now!
    The only thing I'm having trouble with is making a you have any advice on that??

    xoxo Cate

    1. Hi Cate, with making a header, I hand painted mine with watercolours and scanned it in. My advice with my designer hat on would be to keep it simple and clean, but reflect your personality :) You don't need fancy software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, I do most of my stuff on (other than the hand-painted stuff) :) Maybe try and make a few different ones, upload them and see what they look like and how they fit your blog :)

      Thanks for commenting :)

  4. I've always been meaning to customise my template and I'm not sure how the past 11 months (OMG it's been almost a year) have gone by without me doing it. Will have to look into that ASAP! Thanks for this post x

    1. hehe - good luck :) Just remember to have fun while you're doing it :)

  5. This is a massive help, I've not long been blogging and it's nice to see what I can do help things along a bit!

    Hels X

  6. Thank you so much for this post, I've just started my blog, have a few posts up and recently bought a theme that reflects my personality and have also set up google analytics! I am now excited for what the future holds for me in this sense so thank you so much your posts are very helpful!

    1. You're welcome fleur :) Blogging is amazing, it's taken me to so many great places and opened so many opportunities for me that I never thought possible :)

  7. set up analytics now, your other posts were so helpful!
    do you recommend adsense?

    1. Thanks Zoe :)

      With AdSense it really depends on how many pageviews you get. I didn't add it in until I was around 700 subscribers and getting an ok amount of pageviews. It's only in the last month or two that the odd (not even once a day) person clicks on an ad - just remember you can't click on your own ones, otherwise they'll ban you :P

    2. ah well I will leave it for now, I think I am doing ok with page views but not getting the subscribers!

  8. Great advise. I am at the verge of starting my own blog to support my own webpage. So I will benefit a lot from your advises. Thank you so much for sharing...

  9. this is such a help, gave me so many tips and tricks, I hadn't even considered. I tried setting up that google thing but it keeps failing?


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