how to start a blog

Saturday, May 21, 2016
First off, notice anything different? ;)

 Over the course of a couple months and countless emails, the amazing Kelly of Kelly Christine Studios created my blogging dream theme into a reality. I am so excited to have finally launched a website that I can confidently say is exactly what I wanted! Every single detail down to the signature is so perfect and I am so excited to finally share it with y'all!
Blogging is definitely one of my favorite hobbies (more like a job, actually), and I love that people constantly are asking me how I got where I am today. Having said that, if there was ever a question as to what I get asked most frequently, it would be this:

"How do you start a blog?"
"Where did you start?"
"What tips would you give someone who is just starting one?"
"How do sponsorships work?"

The questions listed above are ones that I get on a daily basis, and with finally being at a point that I feel I am able to share my journey and my growth, I decided it was a good time to give a "how to" blog post on it. I feel that explaining my beginning and where I started is the best way for me to help others, as I learn and teach better by example!

If I could write the steps in a simple chronological order I would say this would be it:
How to start a blog:
1. Pick a name: this will stick with you forever* and it is hard to rebrand yourself. 
*Stick with something that will not change if your style, concept, or overall goal changes
example: Punky Paula is very specific and hard to change (my fave advice from Rachel)
2.  Pick a theme: fashion, cooking, lifestyle, spiritual, etc. 
3. Pick a platform (Blogger, Wordpress, etc.)
4. Use all social media outlets from the get-go (at first just Instagram, then later Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat)/create an email accont strickly for your blog and make that visible on every single social media account 
5. Quality and Quantity are equally important, post every day on your social media outlets as you want people to remember you and look for you, but make sure you are still producing quality work, as it shows if you don't care
6. Stay true to yourself-as cheesy as it sounds-it is the only way to differentiate yourself from others. I spent too much time trying to be like everyone else and it drove me crazy, post original content and people will notice 
7. Be patient. Bloggers do not become popular over night. It takes time to see growth, and you can only see it if you keep going
8. Make it fun. Blogging should never feel like it is a job that you don't like. I don't want to say that it shouldn't feel like a job (because most of the time it is something that I write in my planner or work at) because to me, I take it seriously, just like I take my job seriously
9. Don't compare yourself to others. I had a really hard time with this in the beginning (and who am I kidding, I do now too), but you HAVE to try and remind yourself that you are going to have to start somewhere, and comparing yourself to a blogger with a million followers on Instagram is not realistic
10. Stay humble. At a certain point when you are where you want to be, always look forward. Don't brag about where you are, or ever get too comfortable. Cockiness is not to be confused with confidence. DO be confident

BUT, because life doesn't always work in chronololical order, I thought it would be good to share my story!

Where did I start?
 When I was in high school, I absolutely loved clothing and dressing up for just about everything. I thought about starting a blog around 10th grade, but I was honestly worried about what people would think.. "she doesn't even dress good enough to have a blog" or "who does she think she is" or even "as if it will go anywhere". These were all thoughts that ran across mind and words I thought others would say about me. When I was a senior in high school, I finally decided that I didn't want to live my life that way anymore. I didn't want to let what others thought of me get in the way of my dreams and aspirations. So, one day I decided that Hailey Daily would be a cool name for a blog, especially since I would be posting every day.

At the time, many of the bloggers I followed were primarily using Instagram as their secondary platform. For that reason I decided to just "secretly" create a fashion based Instagram and post my OOTD pictures there.

(September 2013)
I mean, just check out my very first Instagram post (stylish, am I right?) The pictures were primarily taken in my front yard with a cell phone and edited on my phone as well. It wasn't until that December (3 months later) that I actually launched my first blog post. That December one of my moms friends offered to take photos of me for my blog, in exchange for her being able to use them for her portfolio (she was an up and coming photographer). I used those photos to create two of my very first blog posts. I'll never forget how proud I was of these photos and publishing them for the first time.
 (December 2013/January 2014)
So, the beginning for me wasn't to create a blog and pick the platform, I started off on Instagram and then created the blog. I still believe that it is good to do it this way, as you have the opportunity to get your feet a little wet and figure out if you even want to go onto blogging (as even posting on Insta is a job in and of itself.) 

How do sponorships work?
My first ever sponsorship was with Charles River Apparel , a company based out of New England that sells apparel, but they are mainly known for their rain jackets. I was SO excited. They got my email from the bio of my Instagram and contacted me that way (this is why it is so important to link it everywhere!) I featured to looks on my social media platforms, and my blog. This was also the first time that I had ever ran a giveaway on my blog.

(May 2014)
For those of you who asked how sponsorship's work, for me it was always the company that contacted me, but if you feel confident in your work and want to do a collaboration with a company, contact them! After this sponsorship, I continued to do collaborations, and still continue to do them today! I have gone on to do collaborations with Paul Mitchell, Sarta Designs, Port Royal Outfitters, and The Purple Door Boutique! The best way to decide if you want to a collaboration (because you will get some that you may want to say no to) is if they have a similar following to you on social media, and if their product falls in line with what you are blogging about. Do not ever feel pressured to do sponsorship's, and do not be afraid to say no! I know for me, saying no is always an awkward thing that I try to avoid. But, always be respectful and try and respond in a timely manner (this can be difficult for me at times, too!)

Low point?
After some time (around early 2015), my posts became less frequent and even my social media game was down. It wasn't until certain people in my life (you know who you are) pushed me further and reminded me of my love for fashion and blogging. To be honest, I stopped posting because I felt like no one cared if I did or if I didn't, and I felt like it was a lot of work to do for no instant gratification (crazy.. I know, right?) Then, wayy later on, I realized that I shouldn't be doing it for the gratification, or the likes, or the sponsorship's, but because I love it so much. And even if styling outfits, and shooting them, and writing up posts is hard, I love to do it and so I should continue to do so!
 From then on, I tried to post on my Instagram every single day (sometimes twice a day) to keep people interested. I post around the same time every night because that way they know to look for my posts. 

High Point (also answered:what kind of camera do you use)?
I think a pretty high point for me was when I finally got the lens I had been so desperately wanting. I finally felt like my pictures were up to par with what I had been dreaming of for so long. I currently use a Canon Rebel T3i with 50mm 1.4 lens. I absolutely love this camera and I think it is perfect for fashion bloggers who are either starting out or aren't blogging professionally (as a job). In the future I would like to hire a photographer for shoots. 

Is there anything you regret not doing?
If there was anything I regret not doing earlier, I would definitely say that I wish I would have used Facebook and Twitter to my advantage earlier. It wasn't until I was speaking with Rachel later on that she mentioned still to use those outlets even if they aren't as popular. Use the boost tool on Facebook and try and be active on Twitter.. everything counts!

Most rewarding moment?
My most rewarding moment as a blogger (so far) would definitely be when I was invited to join the Reward Style program. I applied last summer, but didn't hear back. Then, despite my normal ways, I applied again and heard back almost immediately! Reward Style is such an amazing way for followers to find out what I am wearing in a quick and reliable fashion. I am so incredibly thankful to be apart of such a great program and it has definitely been so rewarding for me as a blogger!

Overall, I am so happy with my experience of being a fashion blogger. There have been highs and lows, but it definitely made me into the blogger I am today.

I hope this post was helpful to you all! 
Comment if you would like to see more posts like this in the future :)

Thanks for reading!

2 comments on "how to start a blog"
  1. How do you take your photos now? Does someone help you out or do you shoot them on a tripod with a timer? I've been wanting to add more photos to my blog, but don't really have anyone who could shoot them for me.

    Love the new theme!
    xo, Ashley

  2. I absolutely loved this! Thank you for sharing!


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