serenaajoyce

A fashion and lifestyle blog by Serena Tomalis

How To Start A Blog / Influencing in 2019



Hey babes! I want to apologize for not being able to post a blog entry last week. It was a little hectic for me with Valentine's day coming up, and I had a strange work schedule to work around and made it a little difficult.

But here I have one up today, and I get a lot of questions from others asking me for advice on how to start a blog, or how to start influencing, etc. I decided I wanted to write a post all about this with tips and tricks on how to do all of this in 2019 for those of you who may have this dream or want to deep down inside of you!

So the main questions are... How the heck do you get started? How do you know what to post? Trust me.. There's so much to know, and so much knowledge to gain. I'm still learning new things every day about this industry and how I can improve myself. I also wrote a blog post last month all about the lessons and great things I learned while blogging so far. You can check that post out here, so I won't get too into that on today's post.

I used to be new at blogging. Everyone did. Even the girls with 200k+ started out in your same shoes. I started my blog back in December 2017 and January 2018 and I barely knew anything. All I knew was that I wanted to change up my Instagram and showcase cute outfits on my posts because honestly saw other girls doing it, and I thought it looked like a fun thing to do. That was literally my reason for this if I'm being honest haha! I literally didn't do any research or anything and just started it up. I'm so glad I did it this way because many girls who come to me, try to talk themselves out of doing this because of the so many different things they read. One thing I did notice was that many bloggers who did the same thing had a blog attached to their account.

Fast forward to a little over a year later, and I guess you can say my blog is doing pretty OK. I've grown readers, and lots of a views, but no where near where I would love to be. But ya know, that's completely okay. I always have to remember why I started this journey in the first place... Because I wanted to share fashion.

I also thought it would be fun to share one of my first posts, and one of my recent posts. You will definitely grow along the way too with how to execute your photos! :)

OLDER: 



RECENT: 




Haha, I also just realized I am looking down in all of these, but I promise I don't do that all the time LMAO.

Okay, anyways, let's get to it.


How to Start a Blog Step by Step

1) Select your niche and what you want to blog about
A niche is a market that you will be targeting and the things you will be talking about. It is a "specific area of marketing which has its own particular requirements, customers, and products" - collinsdictionary.com

Pick the niche you have the most knowledge of and are passionate about. Examples of some niche's are Fashion, Beauty, Fitness, Lifestyle, Travel, Food, DIY, etc. By picking your niche of interest you will be able to stand out and appeal to your consumers/other bloggers. Something you don't want to be doing posting about every single one of these. It is okay however to combine a few of them though. I usually always talk about fashion, lifestyle and occasionally travel to switch things up. Your page and blog will start to look very messy, and consumer may be confused on who you are.


2) Decide which blogging platform you want to use
There are so many different types of hosts you can use to support your blog. I have switched mine already from Wix to Blogger within my first year. There are the options of free blogging platforms or self hosting platforms. You will need to pay for self hosting platforms, but if you're looking to make serious cash, then I suggest those. You will even be able to host your own domain. For example "yourblog.com" Free platforms can restrict what you are able to do, or restrict your space as well. Your domain will probably also look like this: "yourblog.tumblr.com"

I highly suggest researching blogging platforms and figuring out which is best for you. The most popular platforms are Wordpress, Blogger, Wix, Tumblr, Type Pad.

3) Pick a domain name
Your domain name will be very important because it will be the first thing people notice about your blog. This is what you will be known by in the online world, and will be your blog website address to keep things the same and consistent. It will be unique to you and only you. You will be able to use it for as long as you'd like as long as you pay the annual fee between $10-$20. Most people normally use "dotcom" but you are more than welcome to use any other if you'd like.

4) Select a web hosting site to keep your domain on
These are going to be sites like GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc. You will need to create your domain and pay for it on these sites, and then you must transfer it over to whichever blogging platform you are deciding to use. When I first started blogging with Wix, I was able to just create my domain with Wix. Once I moved over to Blogger, I had to transfer my domain over to GoDaddy.

5) Set up your blog and find a template
Now comes the fun part! Setting up how you want others to see your blog. This will be important for others and noticing how visually appealing your blog is. There are thousands of different places you are able to find blog templates all over the internet. However, just make sure whatever template you are looking at will be compatible with your blogging platform. The easiest thing I would do would be to google search "blogging templates compatible with *insert blog platform here*" There are many free templates all over, but there are also some great ones that you can pay for too. Mine costed around $25.

6) Write blog content
The next step is going to be figuring out what exactly about your niche you want to be writing and sharing. The content you post will be what makes people want to read your blog. The actual blog post will be an entry or an article that you will write in form of text, photos, graphics, or videos.

There ya have it! You officially now know how to start a blog, and hopefully are now going to start your own if you've been thinking about it! I wish you the best of luck, and can't wait to see what you do!


Tips On How To Become an Influencer

1) Have the Passion
We all want to gain followers on Instagram. And yes, more followers might mean the more money you may make and the more brands want to work with you.. But this is all still possible with even a small following with great engagement! After all, that is the main thing brands look for. If you have 70k, and only 400 likes on your photos, and 10 comments, that may mark a red flag. It shows that following isn't authentic. There should always be between a 3-10% engagement rate of your follower count.

Enough about that... But seriously... Share your own thoughts and opinions about the things you love and have passion for, and people will love you for being real and honest, and you will accrue an authentic following that way. What you put into your social media accounts is what you will get out of it.

2) Post Consistently
Posting consistently is going to be important in not only growing your following, but being an influencer in general. Influencers post a few times a week, if not every day. No matter what niche you chose, each day they are posting and promoting something they are passionate about in an attractive way. That's what makes you want to buy their products, right?

3) Posting Attractive, Good Quality Content
Very important in becoming an influencer. The whole point of influencing is to showcase goods and products and to promote them. Brands will be more likely to work with you if you are posting highly attractive photos, with good quality. Make sure lighting always looks good, you are using a newer cell phone device, or even a good quality camera for your posts.

I usually always use Nick's Iphone for most of my shots, but whenever I have sponsored posts, that brand only expects the highest quality from me. This is usually when I pull out my DSLR.

4) It's OK To Say No
When you first start out blogging, it's so exciting when brands reach out to you and want to collaborate! Of course you want to grow yourself on social media, and show other brands that you can create good content, but in a business sense, you need to do what's best for you and your brand by staying true to yourself. When receiving an email or message from a brand I am always asking myself “is this product something I genuinely love and can’t wait to share?” and “is this something I would use if I wasn’t sharing it on my blog?” If the answer is yes, then I accept the collaboration! I've turned down SO much free product and brands wanting to collab with me just because it's something I don't feel comfortable promoting, or something I won't even use. It's OK! I've even sent product back because when I received it, I personally didn't like the quality, and told them I would not be okay promoting this, because if I don't even like why would my followers? If you start promoting items that maybe aren't the best and your followers purchase them from you and don't like them as well, your may start to lose some of that authentic following and they won't begin to trust you. You also don't want to say yes to everyone because you don't want your feed or blog to seem like a virtual advertisement anyways. 

5) Engaging With Your Audience
I wrote all about this in my What I Learned From My First Year of Blogging post. One of the biggest things I've learned is to engage, engage engage. Engage with your own followers, engage with other people's followers, and engage with ANYONE! Making friends with your followers is super important in having other girls support you! I have met and always talk to so many amazing girls on Instagram and we all support each other. The blogging/influencing community is seriously an amazing place. 

People also want to follow someone who doesn't ignore their comments, or always sees that picture perfect side to them. Let's be real, half the time I'm on Instagram stories with out any makeup and in my pajamas. I'm usually engaging by talking about my day, asking questions, and even maybe doing a try on sesh. I know I personally like to see the bloggers/influencers I follow in real time or whatever they're currently doing. Makes them actually seem like a real person to me, and just not someone I see through their photos.


Once I post usually at night, I always take about 30 minutes on Instagram to reply to the comments on my posts, answer any DMs, go through my feed, and connect with all you girls and the rest of the internet. Like I said, what you put in is what you'll get out.

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I'm honestly not sure if I even came close to answering any or even all of your questions about this. I hope this gives you some insight on how to influence and blog and that you now have the motive to step out of your comfort zone!

Remember, you can always DM me, ask me questions, or even comment below with anything you may need. Really, it's all about being yourself, and connecting with others! This is a great tip for just life in general as well :)

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PS. My phone case and laptop skin were generously gifted from Caseapp, and you can use my code SERENAAJOYCE20 for 20% off your own customized or pre-made pieces as well :)

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