Blogging How To

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Friday lovely readers! Today I am bringing you something that I have been working towards for awhile. I have recently been getting questions from fellow bloggers, Instagramers, and aspiring bloggers, asking me to share some of my tips for creating and running a blog. While I want to start off by saying that I am hardly qualified and by far not nearly as experienced as some in running a blog, I have learned a number of lesson and tips along the way that I feel are worth sharing with you. 

The entire process of creating and running a blog has been quite an experience, and while at times it might be challenging I have learned so very much along the way. When brainstorming this post I tried to think of all the things that I strive for in my blogging process, what I look for in other blogs, tips and tricks, and also the lessons I have learned. Thus, for the sake of this post I have compiled what I consider my top 10 tip for creating and running a blog! I hope that you all find this helpful whether you are a current blogger, thinking of starting a blog, or even if you are simply curious about my process. I believe in learning from others, and I hope that you can learn a little something from me, just as I have from other blogger. 

When it comes to blogging I believe it is important to decide what you want the focus of your blog to be. I have found that once I discovered the focus of my blog, that everything else seemed to fall into place! When you define the focus of your blog (content, design, style, etc.) it helps readers gain a cohesive understanding of your content and who you specifically are within the blogging world. 
  • Decide what type of blog you are developing: fashion, lifestyle, cooking, writing, sewing, or even a combination of some.
  • What is the theme of your blog? Try to develop a style that points back to the focus of your blog and shows readers your unique personality. 
  • What is the audience for your blog? Think about who will be reading your content and look at your blog from their perspective. 
  • Will what they see on your blog give them a good idea of who you are and your interests? 
  • Also consider Photography fitting into the subject of style! What kind of pictures do or will you take, how will they be styled or posed, how will you edit them? All bloggers (specifically fashion) seem to have a style of photography that fits in with their overall style of the blog.

Maybe its just me, but I am a strong believer in first impressions and when it comes to your blog design, I consider first impressions to be a key to success within the vast blogsphere. You never know how someone might find or happen upon your blog and you want to grab their attention before they even start exploring your content. Therefore, your blog design should relate to not only your blog but also your personality. 
  • Develop a Mood/Concept board to create a theme that you like and move forward from there.
  • Create your own design by trying your hand at coding and adapting pre-made templates (if you are brave!)
  • Find a template on Etsy that you like and that fits into your theme. I bought my template off of Etsy and simply changed the colors. Most templates are fairly easy to use and only take a little tweaking to set it up how you want. 
  • You could also collaborate directly with a graphic designer/blog creator to have them create a personalized design that encompasses everything you are looking for. 
  • Don't overload your readers with a crazy layout and add ons, but don't leave it so empty that they can't access all of the aspects of your blog. 
  • What do you love about your favorite bloggers design/setup? Take that aspect that captures your attention and incorporate it into your blog. 
While I have personally utilized every option above, I have found that in my slight "perfectionist" mindset about my blog, that buying a pre-made template and tweaking it to my taste has worked the best when it comes down to developing a design that I LOVE! It truly has taken the full two years of my blogging journey to develop a design that I love, but that is all about the journey....learning what works and doesn't along the way. 

I am BIG into drawing inspiration from other bloggers who are on top of their game, whether that be their talent in content and design or years of experience. I can't tell you how many times I peruse the posts and pages of bloggers to discover keys to their process, design, and content that captures my attention and then transferring those ideas into my own process. 
If I am being completely honest, before I even started Minnie Muse I actually personally emailed two of my favorite bloggers at the time to share with them my ideas for creating a blog, what I would focus on, what I was thinking of naming it, and asked for some of their tips/advice. It was so lovely to hear back form one of them and get her seal of approval and advice, and I highly encourage you to do the same.....never be afraid of reaching out to bloggers you admire and asking for advice....we all can learn so much from each other:)

I can't tell you how KEY this is to the success of your blog and building a following base! What do I mean by being consistent? Consistency in blogging to me is being reliable to your readers in posting fairly frequently, sharing content that fits into your blog focus and style, be active with readers, on social media, and on your blog. I have found that the times I am really on top of my blogging game and have content planned out ahead of time and post at least 1-2 times a week (or more) for a month that I have the most blog traffic and interaction with readers! When you are consistent in sticking to posting certain days and time of the week (which I don't always do) or make sure to post at least once a week, your readers will learn you routine and anticipate when you have content coming out! With consistency, readers and followers can rely on your blogging interaction through posts and with them and that set you up to succeed in getting your name out there and gaining more readers. 

  • Stick to a specific schedule for posts, be it specific days & times of the week (your readers will pick up on it).
  • As above....the same can be said when utilizing social media.
  • The more posts you have = more chances to share on social media = more reach = a greater audience base and reputation.
  • Try to post at the least, once a week. Two times is a great option when you have the time or have content planned out ahead of time. 

I will be the first to admit that I used to be TOTALLY AGAINST social media, but since starting a blog I have found that it is one of my most powerful tools for marketing and sharing who I am and what my blog is all about with a bigger audience. There are so many options when it comes to social media be it Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Pinterest, etc. The more social media outlets you utilize opens door to a wider range of reach. 
However, don't force this process....a strong social media following doesn't just happen over night, you have to be patient and accept that it takes time. 
  • Find a social media outlet that works well for you and that you are consistent in working with (Instagram is my FAVE), and develop a following and audience through that outlet. 
  • Be consistent on your preferred social media just like on your blog. 
  • Share upcoming and current posts on your social network sites, but also share things that are not blog focused so that your followers can get to know you a little bit as a person, and not always as a blogger. 
  • Tag brands that are in your pictures for a chance to be featured on their page, interact with other bloggers, and utilize hashtags that relate to your post. 
  • Always include buttons or Instagram gadgets on your blog to give readers easy access to your social networks!
  • Give your readers options for following your blog be it by following on google or Bloglovin (highly suggest this)! of my FAVORITE topics! I think that community is one of my favorite parts of running a blog. I have come to know so many amazing bloggers and people and wish that I could meet all of them in person to hang out and grab a cup of coffee. I love when I see readers coming back to my blog and commenting on posts, because I get the chance to know them and thank them for their loyal support. When seeking to build community it isn't just with your readers, but also about connecting with other bloggers, and taking the time to tell other bloggers what a great job they are doing. I love to take the time and read other blogs and leave a comment about what I love, because everyone needs an encouraging word and boost of support:)

  • When building community on your blog, try to respond to most comments. When you respond to comments it lets readers know that you care about their support and it encourages them to keep coming back. Through this you build relationships.
  • Also, for those of you frequently on social media, try to respond to comments on Instagram! I can't tell you how many times I have learned something interesting from a follower who took the time to comment, or come to find out that we have the same interests or style. It also gives you a chance to say thank you to people who leave sweet comments on your social media posts. 
  • Apart from building community with readers, seek to do the same with fellow bloggers! Find bloggers who love what you do and interact with them on their social media's and blog as a reader and fellow blogger. Also....follow them on Instagram so that you can interact with them there :)
  • Never be afraid to reach out to other bloggers to support each other be it in a #followfriday, post collabs, style collabs, etc. 
  • This can also be achieved by joining specific communities or forums to connect with other bloggers. 

Just because you don't have the fanciest tools and gadgets in the world doesn't mean you can't be successful! Never think that you have to have a good camera, techy phone, nice computer, or fancy setup to be successful! You can be successful with what you have by refining it to optimum quality. It's not about seeking to be the best, but about working to improve the skills that you have and sharing content that meets your standards of approval. 

  • It's about polishing your skills, whether that is in the area of photography, writing, content, social media, etc. 
  • EDITING is your best friend! Remember when I said you don't have to have fancy tools.....that because you can still get a great quality picture when you edit it for light, contrast, and sharpness. I recently switched to Lightroom and love the results I am getting but there are a number of free sources out there like BeFunky and Pixlr. 
  • Also, create a PR page (you can see mine Here) to list your highlights and achievements for potential brands, partners, and readers to show them what you have had the privilege to work on so far and what you hope to achieve in the future! 
  • If there is something you want to enhance your blog, think about why you want it and what the benefits of it will be before making any decisions. If you know that the investment will be worth it than GO FOR IT! 

By far I think this is the BIGGEST lesson  I have learned over my years of blogging! I think that this is partially due to my pre-existing interest in areas such as photography, graphic design, writing, etc. but blogging is truly about more than one job! If you have a blog with a friend or sibling than you can most certainly split up the tasks between you all or each focus on what you are strongest in. However, when it comes to creating and running a blog it is about learning to juggle wearing more than one hat (and sometimes multiple hats at a time). 
I have learned that in order to successfully run my blog the way I want it to be run, that I have to wear many of the hats below:
    • Writer - A blog is all about sharing your loves and interests through written word. Therefore you put on this hat when developing the ideas and focus of a post and skilfully putting the words down to get your point across. 
    • Stylist - Such an important hat! this could be in the areas of fashion (creating cohesive outfits) or even in creating flat lays. 
    • Content Creator - This becomes your hat when making sure everything that is published on your blog or social media's fits into your focus and style and will gain readers interest. 
    • Graphic Designer - Definitely something you learn along the way, but this hat is put on when working to create a blog theme or design and even in creating graphics and logos for your blog or upcoming projects. 
    • Publicist/PR - This job comes when you respond to comment or emails as well as when partnering with brand and becomes important the more prominent your blog becomes. 
    • Social Media coordinator - you put this hat on when determining when and what to post on social media and thinking through whether or not it will boost your content and fits into your content and feed. 
    • Photographer - a blog is not a blog without pictures! You put this hat on when deciding what photos you want to include in a blog and also when you set out to create and photograph content. 

I have learned to appreciate the value of backup content. While I don't always have time to squeeze in an extra shoot (or two) I try to do it when my schedule allows so that when life gets crazy (which it always does) that I have photos and content backlogged to post. This helps you to meet your post goal for the week even if you don't necessarily have time to work on it (thus helping you keep your reach). 

  • Having backup photo shoots and pictures is great because that is the most time consuming part of a post! If you already have pictures you just have to sit down and write up a post to go with them. 
  • If you ever have an idea for a post but don't have pictures for it yet, go ahead and start writing up that post so that you don't loose your idea, and also that it can go on file for another day. Sometimes I find writing a post to be the challenging part if I am struggling from writers block, and if I have a post already written and takes away the stress. 

Last but not lease.....and definitely the most IMPORTANT lesson you can take away from today's post, is that you can never be perfect, because we as humans are not perfect. If we seek and work towards perfection we will fall short every time and be left disappointed and empty. Therefore, strive for PROGRESS and NOT PERFECTION! Don't compare yourself to others (or me), because the reality is that you will never be them. There is only one YOU and you should strive to be the best that you can be as you and not as someone else. People don't want to read Mary's blog if she is trying to be like Suzie because then it will no longer be Mary's blog but Suzies (get the analogy?)! 
Sure, you might be disappointed at times and feel that you are not making any progress, but progress is not always quick to come, it takes time, and when you learn to be patient the outcome will be worth it! 
I have learned to appreciate this truth throughout the course of creating and running my blog and when I finally accepted that I cannot be like other bloggers, it helped me to see what I personally strive for as a blogger and helped me to focus on my own goals rather than lofty expectations. 
Don't get down on yourself simply because something doesn't work. Failure is not the end all, because it just shows that you tried.....and you should pick yourself up and try again...and again...and again until you succeed! 

Therefore, that concludes my 10 TIPS for creating and running a blog! I hope that you found these tips helpful :) Know that I am still learning and am by far not perfect nor experienced at this whole "blogging thing" but it is something that I love and learning what works and doesn't along the way is just part of the journey. If you have any questions about what you have read today don't hesitate to reach out. If there is something that I didn't cover and you are curious about just let me know! 

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL day!

Did you learn anything today that you didn't think about before?
What tip seemed the most helpful?
What is something I didn't cover that you would like to know?



  1. Hello Madison! These are some really great tips! I've been blogging on and off for years, but recently realized how much I enjoy it, and the past few months have been trying to pull it together, so to speak. I'll be keeping a lot of what you said in mind!

    I would be curious to know more "Behind the Scenes" of your photo shoots. I too love fashion, specifically in the vintage/classy category, and would love to incorporate it on my lifestyle blog. I am a part time photographer, but quite frankly know little about self portraits. Your photos are lovely, and I think I could learn a lot from you and your shoots!

    1. Skyeler,
      Glad you found these tips helpful and best of luck with your blog! I absolutely LOVE your question about photography! That is definitely a post that is in the works as I am asked quite frequently how I take my keep an eye out for that because I will be sharing all of the details + equipment I use to take my photos:)

  2. Great tips, Madison! I agree with your tip to be consistent, but that is what is the most difficult for me. I used to blog more consistently but lately, I've been trying to juggle a full time job besides sewing and blogging. I would also like to know how you take your photos, because I am usually the one taking my own photos!

    1. I couldn't agree more with you Elizabeth! Consistency is definitely a struggle, especially for me as a college student who also has a job....Glad to know you are interested in how I take my photos.

  3. These are SUCH HELPFUL TIPS, Madison! I really admire your blog a lot- it was so good to get some advice from you!

    1. Awe...your the sweetest Grace! I always love reading your comment:) Glad you found this post helpful.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing Madison!!! Every thing you said is so helpful!! I can't wait start my own blog!!! ☺️💗

    1. Yay! Glad you puns this helpful Elizabeth:) Starting a blog is so of luck!

  5. Oh wow, I loved this guide! It's so comprehensive and I definitely learned a bunch! I especially struggle with #10, but one thing I like to do is look back at my old pictures and posts and see how far I've come. Progress is key, for sure!

    1. So glad to hear that Devinne! I love that tip about looking back at posts...definitely a great way to see how far you have come and grown.

  6. Hi, I just recently found you. I totally appreciate all the hard work, time, talent and patience it takes to put a blog together. Thank you very much for sharing such valuable information. I'm not sure I am ready. I know I like following you. I love your clothing style and how you take your pictures and share your interests. Have a great start of your week:). Stephanie