CONFESSIONS OF A BLOGGER

Hey guys,

The Blogger Confessions Tag used to be fairly popular a couple of years ago and I really enjoy reading other bloggers’ blogging experiences so I thought why not do one too. Maybe it helps you all know me better! I decided to add a couple of more frequently asked questions and basically tweak the tag a little just so that it’s not too drab to read. If you’re a blogger, I would LOVE it, if you do this post too.

IMG_2857image: its pink pot

Have you had any past online presence (Youtube,Other blog)?

Before starting my blog, I did have another blog in the past when I was 13-14 years old but I never updated it while I tried my hand on poetry/expressing my “teenage thoughts”! Now that I think of it, it was fairly embarrassing and I am sort of glad no one knew about it haha. Other than that, I’ve had a Facebook personal account and used Instagram on and off!

When did you start your blog?

I started a blog: sarasuri.com on December 17th,2013 where I uploaded 2-3 posts in the first week. Within 2 weeks, I set up my own domain and transferred those posts to this blog itself. So, officially speaking, I started melangeofmusings.com in January 2014.

What was your first post?

My first post was a 6 things Photo Diary post where I mentioned 6 little things that stood out for me in Dubai. Looking back at the post, I am definitely not proud of it since it’s not really too helpful to someone who may actually want to visit Dubai! I was thinking of re-working on it and writing more details. How does that sound? 

Why did you start a blog?

I’ve always considered my self as a fairly creative person and have read blogs/watched youtube for many, many years. Before starting my blog, I would post tons of pictures on my social media and would write small little posts here and there. It was then that I realised, why not compile all my photographs and writing pieces systematically and start a blog! I wouldn’t lie by saying that it just happened one fine day. I did take a couple of months to think over it {no clue why!} but I am so glad I started.

 Where do you see yourself in a year?

 Hopefully I see the blog growing and our blog family becoming bigger. I should also have  Youtube channel by then, so I really wish to work hard on my content across all platforms! 

What is the most rewarding thing to you about blogging?/What motivates you to blog?

The most rewarding thing about blogging has got to be the emails I receive from you guys.There have been quite a few times that I’ve considered quitting cause things just wouldn’t go the way I’d expect them to and lets face it, we all are human after all. It’s when I see your comments and emails that I realised how much love and respect you all give me. In fact, just today itself I received a lovely email from one of you that almost got me in tears. It’s just really satisfying and makes me so happy to know that there are some of you who appreciate and read my content so regularly. Even if I can help one person with each post I upload, nothing can stop me from blogging! Though it sounds super cheesy, but it’s the absolute truth.

What is the most discouraging thing that happens to you?

The most discouraging thing has got to be the number game. The blogging world is changing so rapidly and it’s no where close to what it was even 2 years ago. It can get a little discouraging when some  brands and companies only focus on numbers rather than looking at content , experience and blogger engagement. It’s not too hard to get numbers since it’s no secret that followers can be bought. But what is often ignored is- can a real and honest following be bought? Can real people who tryuly appreciate, and relate to your content be bought? No. 

How many hours a week do you spend writing/editing posts?

There’s really no fixed time for me writing or editing posts since each post requires a different amount of work. Some mosts need at least 2-3 hours of writing and some may take no time at all. However, photographs in themselves, do take time to click and edit. At an average, I’d say I take at least 8-10 hours a week blogging.

 Who is your favorite blogger?

 This is a tough one and naming an all time favourite blogger is almost impossible! However, if I just have to pick one, it would have to be “A Beautiful Mess”. This is one of the most beautifully done up blogs that I have ever come across. It’s by two sisters Elsie and Emma who share their photography and blogging tips, DIYS, style, food, beauty stuff, craft ideas and lots more. It’s definitely one of the most informative yet interesting and fun blogs out there.

Who is a blogger hat you read who deserves more subscribers than they have?

 A blogger who I have been following for a really long time now and deserves thousands of more subscribers has got to be Anushka from Bombay Bubble. She has such a stunning well curated personal style blog that I really look up to. Every single post is so well thought out and the outfits really reflect who she really is, which is what’s so important while blogging about personal style. I don’t particularly blog on fashion but do enjoy reading other blogs: hers being my favorite. She’s definitely one of the bloggers that even inspired me to start my blog in the first place!

Does anything tick off you about blogging?

There’s nothing really that ticks me off about blogging itself but just like any other profession, blogging has its ups and downs. It can get frustrating when you work really hard on a post that you love, but it doesn’t get the response that you expected. Or, even someone pretty much lifts up your content- copy pastes it and acts like it’s theirs.

Share a blogging secret

 Clicking food pictures is really not easy and “natural” as it seems. I would admit that food shots are often staged and styled. Let’s face it, who sits with their sunglasses for every meal? Also, to get a picture right from the top does require you to stand on the chair which may also mean that the food may cool off. sigh. #TheStruggle

That’s it for now! If you’re a blogger, do give this a shot! 🙂

WHAT TO NOT DO AS A BLOGGER

Beautiful- Notebook (Pink) & iPad 3Image:  www.RekitaNicole.com (free stock image\\ i added the text)

Hey guys!

Debasree and I are back!!!! Woohoo. Are you excited? We surely are! In today’s post, I will be talking about things that bloggers must NOT do aka big blogging mistakes that must be talked about!

So let’s begin,

1.  Copy Pasting Content 

As the title suggests, the very idea of copy-pasting means that your content not original! Sometimes you may want to talk about certain topics that really interest you and you have read the same on other websites. In that situation always, always simply LINK that website. Write a line or two in inverted quotes or italics and say “To read more, click here”. It’s always nice to re-direct audiences to the real content creator.

2. Clicking on “Reply All” with your Rates

This is honestly the stupidist thing you can do. Most people wouldn’t do this intentionally but just don’t be careless. If a PR company is ridiculous enough to CC bloggers in one email, that’s your hint: run in the opposite direction. If the collaboration genuinely interests you, reply to the sender ONLY with your media kit. Though blogging rates aren’t a secret, but it’s just really weird for the others who receive the mail. Would you click on reply all with your salary amount? Think about it that way.

3. Irritating and long urls

If you see my blog posts when I link them all across my social media, the urls are short and to the point. Long urls can be really annoying especially when they’re a mix of numbers and characters. Always, customise your blog post urls and keep them short. If you write your blog post urls on your Instagram profile, make sure they’re crisp since this really helps since your audiences know exactly what the post is about. If you don’t want to change the permalink since that may affect the statistics of your blog, go ahead and use Bitly URL Shortener to shorten your urls.

4. Text Only Blog Posts 

This of course varies from one blog to another but if you’re a lifestyle, fashion or beauty blogger, trust me when I say this – your blog posts should always have photographs. At least one! Sometimes the post may be very informative, like this one so putting one visually appealing photograph is enough but when you’re posting an outfit, haul, recipe etc- make sure you click as many photos as you can. It’s definitely easier to connect to a post with pictures rather than reading pages of content.

5. Spamming Other Bloggers

This is the WORST thing you can do. I’ve mentioned this in my pet peeves post and it’s truly something that ticks me off. Bloggers who comment on others posts saying , “cool stuff. Check out my blog”, are the most annoying kind. What’s the point of even saying “cool stuff” when your sole purpose was to publicise your blog on my hard work. If you have some information to share, have a healthy discussion or even want to collaborate, always send an email! Compliments and criticisms are always welcome publically so long as you’re not trying to publicise your self on someone else’s work. 

6. Private Social Media

Social Media is called social for a reason. If you’re going to have a private profile on Instagram, what is the point? I just don’t understand bloggers with private social media profiles. If you’re the kind of person who wants to post their personal photographs of friends and family and share them only amongst people you genuinely know, you can simply have two profiles. One as your private Instagram and the other one for your blog. It really depends on your comfort level but irrespective if you want to push your content, you need to have a profile that’s public!

7. Don’t constantly apologize for your hard earned money 

I must admit that I have made this mistake many times but over have realised that it just doesn’t make sense. If you’re a blogger who’s earning from your blog and is buying new products to try out and review (since that’s what you do!), please don’t be constantly apologetic. Yes, be humble and thankful since that is important but you don’t owe anyone anything. Don’t make the mistake of your viewers being angry at you just cause you managed to buy that many palettes from money that YOU EARNED! You don’t need to apologize for how much you make so long as the work you do is honest and genuine. 

Untill next time, have a lovely Diwali! xx

10 steps to increase your BLOG traffic

Hey guys,
Debasree and I are back with another post in your #BloggingBasics series! This time, I am sharing with you ten steps to increase your blog traffic. If you’re a blogger, always remember, your blog is what should be your key recognition element. Of course Instagram is important and it’s great if you’re a social media influencer, but if your blog doesn’t get views, whats the point?

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1. Regular Content/More frequent content
The first and easiest step is to post good quality content regularly and frequently. Having a posting schedule can be tough but take it from me- it’s worth it! I have slacked in the past and my blog traffic has suffered cause of that. You want consist views? Post consistently! It’s really as simple as that. Fix the number of days of the week you want to post, the days of the week you want to post and constantly remind your followers that those are your posting days. This will ensure at least that  minimum number of people who know that you post on those particular days to visit your blog then.
2.Blog Collaborations
If you have blogger friends and look up to each other’s content- why not just collaborate? Very often, you and a fellow blogger may have very similar interests and writing styles but very different sets of people following each of you. What collaborations does is- re-directs each others audiences to the other person’s blog! Chances are that if your readers like your content, they may just like the fellow blogger’s content too vice- versa. If you don’t have any blogger friends, make them! It’s really easy to tweet/email another blogger talking about what you have in mind! Trust me, you lose nothing
3. Network Parties
 Too shy to randomly email a fellow blogger? Here’s where Blogger MeetUps, PR Parties, Launches or any other sort of Networking Parties help. If you want to meet new people, go and these parties- increase your network base. You may find some really cool people who love your blog and wanted to collaborate with you! Whether it’s brands that you can work with or other individuals with similar wave lengths, I guarantee you that networking isn’t all that bad.
4. Regular Social Media updates
 This step is one of the most obvious but tricky. Social media plays a key role to help you be in the loop and stay connected with your blog readers. You may post on your blog on Mondays and Fridays but make sure you post on Social Media every single day! Always reply to comments, post pictures re-directing traffic to your older post, share moments from your everyday life with your blog readers
5. Leave something for the Blog
This is where the tricky part comes. Your Instagram account is NOT your blog. I have made this mistake earlier and still see tons of bloggers doing the same. Your blog is your your asset so at least leave some content for the same. If you are planning to post an outfit on the blog on Monday, DO NOT upload 20,0000 pictures of that outfit on your Instagram profile saying “sneak peak”. No, thats not a sneak peak. You’re giving away everything about the outfit before you even posted the actual blog post. There needs to be a balance between what you post on social media and what you post on your blog. The ideal situation would be to post exclusive content on Social media and upload just enough posts on your social media to push traffic to the blog but not replace the blog.
6. Unique Content
If your blog views have dropped dramatically it could be cause you’ve stopped posting content that you you were looked up for. Every blogger has their niche and though you must expand, try and be as unique as you can. Offer something to your blog readers that you know others arent. There are hundreds of bloggers doing the same sort of posts so why should someone go ahead and check out your blog?
7. Pinterest and Other link backs
 Pinterest is an amazing platform to get views towards your blog. If you don’t use Pinterest, use it! Create different boards for various themes that you post on/ that inspire you. Pin posts that you would love to read and your own posts too which would link back to your blog. If you’re a food blogger, submit your blog posts to FoodGawker and if you’re a style blogger, submit them to StyleGawker.
8. Amazing photography 
 Needless to say, images are what catches a readers eyes first. You may have some amazing content but if you don’t have an inviting picture to click on the post- you’ve lost the plot. Your blog post’s primary picture- whether on Instagram or Pinterest should be of really high quality. Most people would click on a  pretty looking picture which will re-direct you to a blog post.
9. Make use of the Subscribe button on the Blog
The Subscribe button is just not given enough credit for driving traffic. It is an amazing tool if used well. Urge your readers to subscribe/register by email/follow your blog. Each time you upload a post, they would be notified. In fact, you can also send pretty newsletters with a roundup of all your posts for the past month. Sometimes, readers may subscribe to a blog, but forget to actually read the posts. Clicks to your blogs via email work really well since the reader doesn’t have to go wait for a post while browsing through your Instagram profile. They simply receive a notification on which they need to click.
10. Host Meaningful Giveaways
Giveaways these days have lost their charm that they used to have. The whole point of a giveaway is to give-back! Giveaways work as a really nice gesture towards your blog readers- no matter how small it may be. Try your best to do giveaways that actually link back to your blog. If you want to gain social media followers- sure, go ahead and go a giveaway where you can tell your already existing social media followers to tag with 4 friends in the comment. Though that works well, does it actually lead to people reading your blog? Is it driving traffic back to the blog?
If you’re trying to set up your blog and are have heard a lot about Blogger, check out Debasree’s post where she talks about setting up a custom domain and self hosting with Blogger! 
PS: Blogger is a blogging platform very similar to WordPress. I have written a post on WordPress recently, so read both the posts to make an informed choice of what software you want to go ahead with!

Blogging as a business: Sponsorships

Blogging PR

Hi guys!

In today’s post, I will be talking about everything related to monetary aspects of blogging. Not many people like discussing blogging as a business so here are some insider secrets.LETS BEGIN!

1. Is your blog your primary source of income?

Before you begin to start budgeting for your blog, this question must be answered clearly by you! To read about the differences of blogging full time vs part time, how to manage time for blogging and staying on top  of your game- check out Debasree’s post! Just cause blogging is not your full time job doesn’t mean that you cant be paid for it!

2. Make an Expense Sheet
The key to any business is to map down how much you plan to invest in your blog, what your expenses are over a time period and approximately how much do you see your self making. Make an excel sheet with the following columns to keep track of your budget:
1. Predicted Expense
2. Expense
3. Predicted Income
4. Income
5. Predicted Profit
6. Profit
Having these “predicted” versus “actual” columns really keeps me motivated as I get a better idea of my goals and if they’re being achieved.Don’t run away from expenses because all good things do require some hard work and initial investment. Have a number  in mind that you know you cannot cross when it comes to spending on photographers, designers, interns etc. Similarly, don’t undersell content. Have a figure in mind, below which you will not  accept collaborations

3. What is your blog’s worth?
How much do I charge companies? This question is not that hard to answer if you trust you content, have worked hard on it and have your expense sheet in place. How much you should charge for a collaboration depends on a lot of factors such as: how much was your investment?, how many blog readers to you have, what is your blog engagement like?Having all of these figures in mind and doing some market research with similar bloggers in the bloggersphere, create your media kit.

A Media Kit is basically a document/graphic, PDF that has your blog name, a little paragraph about your blog, all your social stats, what you charge for different types of collaborations: Shout outs on Social media, blog post reviews etc

3. How can you earn from your blog?

There are multiple ways you can earn from your blog. The most popular ones are:

  • Advertising: I don’t have advertising on my blog as yet and plan to do so in the near future. I cannot speak about the same in detail but I can tell you that don’t allow random content to be advertised on your blog. If your blog is about food, get a food based company to advertise content on your blog.sThis method however is one of the easiest to get a flowing monthly income!
  • Affiliate Links: Just like advertising, affiliate links are also an easy no brainer way to earn from blogging. Amazon is one of the most active websites when it comes to affiliate linking. To sum it up, affiliate links are basically direct links to products in which case, when a reader of your blog, buys a product by clicking on that link, you get a cut from it. So, if you’re a photographer and have listed affiliate links to the nikon camera on amazon.com; if a reader buys that camera by clicking on the link- you get a commission from the same.
  • Sponsored Content: What this means is that a company will contact you directly/ the brand’s PR company will contact you to write a post featuring or reviewing their products. This of course means that the brand will send you the products and you WILL be made paid too for writing that post. Writing a post just for free products doesn’t make too much sense to me especially if blogging is your main income. If you want to earn from your blog, please don’t shy away from charging for sponsored content. It’s very easy for PR companies to send you 2 bottles of cream, a lipstick and a mascara and not pay you along side. Your writing and hard work is worth much more. Of course, in the beginning when you want your blog to grow m, writing posts for brands without charging and just accepting the products to try out works fine but not when you want to make the blog an income source. Having said that- NEVER write a post for a brand that you would not use and not love. Your readers aren’t stupid and can tell between you faffing your way through versus honest genuine content. At times, a brand will pay you for a “review” where they may nice enough to say ” please be honest”! Those are definitely the kind of brands and companies you want to work with- where you get to try out a product, write the truth about it and get paid. NEVER and I repeat NEVER write a false review if the product sucked. Yes I know you’re being paid and you have certain deliverables that have been promised to the brand. In such a situation, be honest and write an email to the PR company/brand telling them what you feel about the product. The terms of the contract with the company may get re-negotiated.
  • Freebies: Companies may contact you for your address so that they can send you a gift. In return they would expect a shout out on Social Media. Please note: YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO POST THE “GIFT” on your social media.Please don’t forget that you are not being paid to post the product. Neither had the company sent you a list of deliverables. It is simply w gift where the power to post a picture should lie in your hands. Please don’t let any company intimidate you or harass you if you haven’t put up a picture of their “gift”. You love the gift, sure put up a picture and talk about it
  • Product features: These posts are very different from writing sponsored content. A brand may simply send you products that you can style and use for your blog posts but the post need not be exclusively about the product. You are not obligated to write anything about the brand either since you’re not being paid. You feature the product in your posts only cause you want to! They work like freebies do- except that you actually use them in a blog post rather than just posting a shout out on Instagram.

4. Events and Blogger meets: PR companies and brands hold product launches, brand launches, PR parties, blogger meets etc for which you may be invited. Very often you may told/ordered to write a blog post or even 2 posts about the event, live tweet and post on Instagram- DONT DO IT. If someone asks my blogging pet peeve, it’s got to be this. You are inviting me for an event- treat me like a guest- will you? If you want me to write about your event, I will charge. Full stop. If I want to live tweet at the launch, I will do so happily so long as I’m not ordered to, that too for free. Just cause you’re being offered a free lunch and a cocktail or two doesn’t mean that you should be obligated to write a full blog post talking about the event.

Think about the type of company that’s inviting you for the bloggers meet. If it’s a smaller brand trying to widen its client base, the brand need you- not the other way round! They want your content and hence you should be remunerated for it. If that’s not possible, don’t shy away for asking for an Uber to and fro from the event. Some companies may be nice enough to offer but others don’t say a word unless you ask.

I can go on and on but will stop right here. I really hope this post helps you if you’re a budding blogger. Please value for content and had work! I know it can be hard to say no to companies since you want to do as many collaborations as you can but whatever said and done, just don’t undersell your self! If you love a brand and the work they’re doing and the opportunity you’re getting is unpaid- go for it! Mix it up and have fun so long as you don’t let anyone take you for a ride 🙂

Photography Tips For Instagram: Equipment, Editing, Angles

TAKING PHOTOS EDITED

 

Hey guys!

Debasree and I are back with another post in our How to Blog series. This time we talk all about Instagram! Check out Debasree’s post to see how you can get followers, how to schedule your posts, finding your niche on  Instagram and sticking to a theme.

In this post, I am finally sharing with you some of my tips to click and edit Instagram photos. A lot of you have asked me previously about the equipments that I use and to be very honest, I stick to my Iphone. When I have more time on my hands, I use my trusty Sony Alpha a5000 which is amazing for Instagram photos! I do have a tripod but don’t use it for Instagram since I usually just post one picture about a certain product. If I have to click photos for my blog post, I make use of the tripod since it’s less tiring and easier to experiment with angles. I don’t use any other external lights at all! I have two white boards that I use for flat lay pictures, along with experimenting with wooden flooring, tiles, textures etc! It’s all about capturing moments and being as creative as you can when it comes to capturing the perfect photograph.

studio

1. Natural light
I cannot begin to emphasize on how amazing natural light is! It’s definitely the perfect lighting you can ever have your photographs. The best lighting is 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset- The golden hour! Pictures look flawless taken during this time of the day and require no editing at all. When the light is too harsh in the middle of the afternoon, you would notice the pictures may be too warm or may have too many unflattering shadows. If you have tunsten bulbs (yellow lights) in your house- NEVER have them on when youre taking a picture. They give off the ugliest yellow effect. Switch off all lights and try using only natural light as much as possible. If you’re taking a picture at night, white light is the way to go {The light that is emitted from tube lights}
angles
2. Top Angle
If you follow a lot of photographers/bloggers on Instagram, you would have seen tons of pictures shot from the top angle. That is because, it offers a really interesting perspective. It takes some practice and hard work since you may have to stand on a chair to click us pictures. What I love about this type of photography is that the background too plays an important role rather than the primary products being in focus. If you want to experiment with such photos, start with taking clicking photographs of your food!
topshot
 4. Proportions
It’s not necessary that all the products in your picture are fully in frame. Experiment with proportions What’s important is what the image is trying to convey. If you get the feel of me travelling in Italy even though half of the pizza is in the frame- the job is done! . Just remenber, every picture tells us a story so play around with the composition and don’t fret if all those pretty things may be cut off!
framing
5. Prints and textures
Though a lot of Bloggers stick to a black/white background for their flat lays but I love experimenting. Whether its using hard wood flooring or a faux fur throw, I love seeing how different colours and textures compliment each other. Have a scarf that you love? Use it as a base or background for your photograph!
texture
6. #OOTD
Though I don’t take too many convebtional OOTD’s, when I do, I try keeping the background as simple as possible! A white wall, a solid coloured wall or even a wooden gate like this is just about the amount of crazyness I like in my daily ootds. However, having said that, if you’re wearing a monochrome outfit, go all out with a crazy background with graffiti! It’s all about finding that perfect balance. When clicking ootd’s, tell the photographer to take your photos bottom-up- you’ll look taller. Thank you.
Processed with Moldiv
One of my favorite fashion related shots are #FromWhereIStand. I love these photographs since I click them on my own rather than getting someone else to do so. When experimenting with such photographs, make sure you have a couple of accessories- a watch/bag/statement pants/shoes. Since what shows is basically the bottom half of your outfit, think about proportions here too. I try taking such pictures on different flooring/tiles/streets especially if my outfit is not that crazy! fwis
7. Focus
If you’re taking a picture of a drink/ice cream {very popular travel picture} raised in the air, make sure you focus! I used an Iphone to click this picture and focused it using the little box that Iphone camera uses for focusing. It does a decent job! Focusing needless to stay is very important in every picture but when you have a single subject like this, it is absolutely crucial.
focus
Editing:
If you have taken pictures in natural lighting, excessively editing photographs is absolutely unnecessary. I edit all my pictures on my phone since I find the apps that I use very efficient and easy as compared to using photoshop which is a tedious process.
VIBRANT COLLAGE11. Instagram
I don’t know why people don’t talk about Instagram’s internal editing software. It has everything you need- from changing the brightness, contrast and increasing clarity of a picture. If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that all my pictures are very bright and vibrant. Unlike most bloggers, I don’t have a faded filter on my pictures. I do increase the saturation, lux and contrast quite a bit on every picture for it to match my profile’s theme. I NEVER use a filter. EVER. I just dont like the way they look- I am not too sure why. I like the natural colours of the pictures to be highlighted and thats why I don’t use any popular cool tone effects either.
2. VSCOCam
Most people use Vsco cam for it’s plethora of filters that usually give a photograph a cooler tone/fader effect. I on the other hand use vsco cam to decide what my photos will look on my profile. Vscocam has a feed of it’s own that looks identical to that of Instagram. Before uploading a picture on Instagram, I upload it on VSCOCAM (not to edit it haha)but to simply see if it will even match the picture next to it.
3. Snapseed
This app is the closest that it can get to photogshop. I use it for editing flat lay photos. Lets say you you took a photograph infront of a window and only one half of the photograph is well lit and the other half is pretty dark. This app has a selective brightness feature which is amazing! You can selectively pick what portions of the picture you want to edit rather than editing or over-exposing the entire picture.
4. Facetune
Before you make any assumptions, let me tell you that this app is very, very handy to smoothen out pixelated pictures. If you have a certain part of the picture that you want in focus- it even has a sharpen tool. I also use this app to adjust the whites in my pictures. Often the colour white in photographs may come off as a little yellowish, so the whitening feature is amazing!
I can go on and on with more photography and editing tips, but I will stop for now! If you guys would want more tips, I’ll surely write another post 🙂 If any of these tips helped you, please do let me know!

HOW TO START A BLOG: WordPress, self-hosting & buying a domain

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Hey guys!

Debasree and I are back with another set of posts in our HOW TO BLOG series. In this post, I am sharing with you everything you need to know about setting up a blog- web hosting, buying a domain, getting a theme and so on! I have tried to keep it as basic and simple as possible since these topics can go into heavy technical detail. If you have any queries about any point mentioned in the post, make sure to comment below or ask me on any of my social media accounts! I would be really happy to help.

 1. Using Free Web Hosting

With web hosting, there are tons of options for any blogger. There are free blog services like Blogger, tumblr and WordPress.com that you can use and with just a few clicks you can have your blog of your own. Having done tons and tons of research, I figured that WordPress is definitely the best platform for setting up your own blog because:

  1. Super easy set-up.
  2. Tons of free themes and layouts
  3. There’s a massive support forum in case you get stuck (you won’t, but it’s nice to have it there if you need it).
  4. People can interact with you easily. Your content can be shared, commented on, and so on

Since I used wordpress to start a blog of my own, I can pretty much only talk about it’s services. To create a blog on WordPress-

 Go to wordpress.com and create your blog url + blog. It’s a very very very simple process and will take a few minutes. You can choose a “free theme”.

Now in this case your blog url would like this-  www.melangeofmusings.wordpress.com

In order to remove the ‘.wordpress.com’ bit, it will cost money. To do this, you have two options.

A) Buy a premium account on WordPress. They’ll remove the wordpress.com from your url. However, in my opinion, this is a really expensive option.

B) Buy a Domain of your own on a Go Daddy.

Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain). 

 2. Buying a Domain of your own

If you want to be hosted by WordPress.com and simply want to own your own URL, you can buy a domain and map your existing website to that domain. As the process suggests, this is called mapping. All you need to do is go to godaddy.com and buy a domain. Call up customer care (its EXCELLENT!) and tell them you want to name this new domain you have bought to your existing wordpress.com website. Your website is retained, you don’t lose any information and by simply paying a small amount for buying a domain, you still stick to the comforts of wordpress.com and yet have a new domain name with the wordpress.com bit after your blog name.

3. Self Hosting 

Hosting: Hosting is basically the company that puts your website up on the internet so everyone else can see it. Everything will be saved on there. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.

Being hosted on WordPress or Blogger may be very easy and convenient but also has tons of disadvantages. Many people start out using these free services because they want to “test the waters”. However, there is a big danger is using free services if you want to build a long-term business as a blogger.

  • You don’t control your content – the blogging platform does. They could shut you down any time, and for any reason. Don’t believe me, read this.
  • The web address of your blog will be long and hard to remember(like yourfreeblog.blogspot.com) instead of a catchy, branded address you choose.
  • You’re not allowed to advertise on most free blogging platforms, making it much harder to ever make money from blogging.

For my blog’s hosting, I chose Go daddy and I am very, very happen with the same! Just like buying a domain, hosting on go daddy is reasonable and really simple. Plus, you don’t need to know much about all of this since the customer service is really helpful. The best part is that even though you are now hosting your website on go daddy.com- through its services you can install WordPress’s control panel/blogging software. Without complicating things to much, this basically means that when you are writing, editing your posts etc you are still working on the WordPress software as you would earlier. It’s just that WordPress no longer owns your content.

4. Themes

Now comes the fun part! (or at least my favorite part)- You have your hosting done, blog domain in place and now all you need to do is figure out how you want your blog to look like. Since you are using wordpress’s control panel, you can buy themes that suit you but they arent cheap at all. I would recommend buying an external theme that’s compatible with WordPress. There are tons of websites such as themeforests, elegent themes or Studio Press. For my blog, I use a Studio Press theme that uses a genesis framework! I wont go into too many details since this post is long enough but to put it in studiopress’s words- If wordpress is the engine of the car, genesis is the frame and body and studio press is the paint and fancy interiors. To download a studio press theme, you need to also download the genesis framework that will help you customize this studio press theme in the first place. If this all sounds too complicated, please don’t fret! You can always ask me for any help you need or even stick with much simpler non-genesis options.

 

I haven’t gone in depth with each installation process since that could be a post in itself! Please don’t let this post scare you in anyway. Debasree and my aim is to help each and everyone of you who wants to start a blog but has no idea how to go about with it. Now that you have your software basics covered, go ahead read Debasree’s blogpost on everything hardware related- this includes what cameras, lenses, lighting etc to use while shooting your blog posts and making pictures look as pretty as possible!

Andddd we made it! Better late than never :) Thank you to each and every one of you who has taken out their time to read melangeofmusings.com  I really can't explain how much each view on the blog means to me. Thank you for so much love, support and honesty :) i hope this blog has helped you in anyway, no matter how little it is. Thanks once again!  PS: this image is designed by @laurenschroer (she designed my blog header too!) show her some love guys ❤️ PPS: hope you all are loving the blogging series that @debasreee and I started! We really hope it encourages you to start your own blogs! We will upload new posts every Monday and Friday so stay tuned
Now that you have made it to the end of the post, I also wanted to take a minute of your time to thank you all!! WE MADE IT TO 10,000 followers on Instagram. Better late than never 🙂 Thank you to each and every one of you who has taken out their time to read melangeofmusings.com. I really can’t explain how much each view on the blog means to me. Thank you for so much love, support and honesty 🙂 I hope this blog has helped you in anyway, no matter how little it is. Thanks once again!
PS: this image is designed by @laurenschroer (she designed my blog header too!) show her some love guys ❤️
PPS: hope you all are loving the blogging series that @debasreee and I started! We really hope it encourages you to start your own blogs! We will upload new posts every Monday and Friday so stay tuned for the entire series!

HOW TO START A BLOG: finding your niche

FINAL COVER

Hey guys! Debasree from All She Needs and I decided to start a super fun series on blogging. For all those of you who want to start a blog and don’t know where to begin, I am sure this series would help you. In this post, I will be sharing the first and one of the most important facts to think about before starting a blog – WHAT DO I WRITE ABOUT? Its really important to have clarity about your content to be consistent and have an engagement with the readers of your blog. To simplify things, here are 10 steps to start your blog.

1.     WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

This of course is the most important point to think about when you want to start a blog. What is it that youre really passionate about? Do you love to eat out and don’t want to cook? Or do you love experimenting with your fashion? What is that you think about day in and out and would actually want to write about? Very often we have many interests but those interests need to translate into the urge to talk about them. Do you find your self talking about certain topics with your friends all the time? That’s probably something you should blog about. Yes, its very important to have informative content that can help others but that also doesn’t mean that you need to be an expert that something to blog about it. If you’re passionate about something, you would want to read and write about it!

2.     WOULD YOU READ WHAT YOU WRITE ABOUT?

Not many people think about this but when you write a blog post,imagine you’re one of your blog readers. Would you read the post that you’ve written if you stumbled upon it for the very first time?

3.     START READING (It will help you find what interests you)

If you feel that you really don’t know what you’re passionate about, start reading a lot. Whether its recipes online or browsing through fashion magazines. Even something as simple as pinterest can inspire you. Create multiple pin boards and start pinning things that you like, inspire you or would want to read. Chances are you will repeatedly pin or read about the similar content- that’s a pretty fun way to figure out where your true interest lies

4.     WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?

Ask your self, what is the goal of my blog? Is it to entertain others; such as having a comedy blog or to provide information such as doing product reviews or is it simply about inspiring others to do what they love? Once you know the goal of your blog, it would help you pick a direction for it.

5.     WHAT IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?

This comes hand in hand with the previous point. Think about your target audience. What is the age group that youre catering to? Are you starting a food blog for people who want to learn how to cook? or are you starting a personal style blog to inform others about the latest trends, share your personal style? Or are you a travel blogger whos target audience is people who want to travel in a well informed way?

6.      DON’T START A BLOG JUST FOR MONEY

Starting a blog just for money or freebies is the biggest mistake you can make. Of course making money through your blog is very important but soley that being the reason for blogging is really sad. If you blog just for money, youll find your self picking up the first sponsored posts just for the sake of it and not only lose your passion but also forget what your blog truly stands for.

7.     KEEP IT TIMELESS – THINK LONG TERM –

If you want to blog for a long time period, you need to think long term too. But don’t start a blog site called www.delhielections2015.com –It is something that’ll cease to hold public attention. Once the elections are over, you will be out of content. Interested in politics? Start a long term blog on politics, policy making, elections etc and keep something specific as a sub category of your blog.  Choose a topic which is timeless.

8.     WORK ON WHAT YOU KNOW

Don’t get intimated by the constant pressure of bringing something new and fresh. Sometimes it’s just important to work with what you’re comfy with. Yes it’s important to bring in new content for your viewers but don’t fret if youre truly passionate about something and want to stick to that for a while rather than venturing into unknown spaces.

9.     LEARNING IS IMPORTANT

Having said that, it’s always good to expand your niche. Blogging as I said earlier is a contant learning process. Each post you write will not only teach your readers something but will also teach you and expand your horizons. You may start off with a blog where you review all the new places to eat in town but may just end up with a blog where you share your own recipes!

10.  STOP COMPARING YOUR SELF TO OTHERS

The blogging world is scary and I can admit that. Just don’t compare your self and your content with other bloggers. Every one is different, their writing and photography styles are different and of course, their growth rate is different. This really took me a while to understand but everyone connects with their audience differently. Just cause you aren’t where you expected to be shouldn’t stop you from blogging. Don’t question your niche especially if it’s something youre passionate about. If you love your content, that’s really what will make you happy rather than constantly changing your blog style just for the sake of viewers.

 

Now that you have your blog’s content in place, the next step is to figure out how to go about with the blogging process? It can be an overwhelming experience so read Debasree’s post on planning and scheduling your posts, creating regular content and how to stay on track!

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