Top: Topshop [runs large – I am wearing my usual size for an oversized fit] | Bottoms: Express (c/o) | Shoes: Kaitlyn Pan | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Earrings: Banana Republic | Lips: Charlotte Tilbury Liner [Pillowtalk] + Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick [Kim K.W.]
One of the THE most frequently asked question I receive on all platforms Kait & ko. is “how do I start a blog?” Seriously, I. am. flattered. I absolutely love it. However, I am still a ‘baby blogger’ and learning how to navigate the ins and outs of this oversaturated market is overwhelming to say the least. I can and have spent endless hours researching code, SEO optimization, and a gajillion other business-y terms that go hand-in-hand to curating a successful blog and I am continually learning on the daily. BUT… I can and I will share what I do know. Let’s start with step 1, shall we?
1 | START
This seems silly, but completely necessary. If you wait around for the *perfect* moment I can tell you it may never come. My oh-so-brilliant spark to start a blog began my senior year of high school. That’s over five years ago for all you math whizzes out there. The debut of Kait & ko. was almost two years ago. I was waiting until I graduated, waiting until I had a better job, waiting until I got married. Waiting until I finally was balls-y enough to take the leap. Did I just say that? Blah. Excuses, excuses Kaitlyn. If you don’t start now, you are missing opportunities.
2 | BRAINSTORM
The behind-the-scenes action of Kait & ko. began far before I shared my little secret with the world wide web. For me, the brainstorming of Kait & ko. began with choosing a name. I jumped from ‘Piece of Kake’ to ‘Miss Kait Fitness’ to ‘The Cake’ and goodness knows what else before finding the perfect fit. (My nieces and nephews call me Aunt Cake… I am not simply a cake addict ha!). Keep in mind, branding yourself with your name is so lovely and personal, but readers + brands may have to do a little more digging to discover what you offer. I had my heart set on spilling everything I knew about fashion + lifestyle, so I attempted to let that be known loud and clear in ways other than my domain name. Ya hear? However, if you are struggling to find your niche I recommend sitting down with five blank pieces of paper. On each piece, write a different topic and see which one explodes with ideas. Odds are one of them will, I promise.
3 | INVEST
By invest, I mean time. Not money. I wholeheartedly believe if you invest yourself, your ideas, and your knowledge into a new platform… success will follow. Spend time researching. As with any career or hobby, with blogging you learn something new every.single.day. Spend time developing content. I had nearly three months of content fully loaded and scheduled before hitting ‘publish’ for the very first time. Excessive? Yes. However, this girl was prepared for anything and everything
that came my way for 90 whole days.
Besides time, you may need to invest a few pennies into your blog in order to get it up and running. First, pick + purchase a domain [a.k.a. your blog name – www.kaitandko.com]. Secondly, invest in web hosting. Think of web hosting as staying at your bff’s house. For the time being, they are your host. They store your belongings and provide you with a guaranteed place to stay for the evening. I use BlueHost for my web hosting. They store my photos, content, and all things Kait & ko. and give my blog a home on the internet. However, web hosting is not *mandatory.* You can still publish a blog fo’ free using platforms like wordpress.com or blogspot.com. I simply recommend a self-hosted site due to flexibility, monetizing opportunities, and ownership.
4 | BEAUTIFY
Once you choose your platform [I use wordpress.org – this is the backend of Kait & ko. and where all the magic happens] it is time to start personalizing your website to scream you. Different platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, etc. have fairly basic (+ free) templates you may customize to get the look your craving. If you want something more, tons and tons of designers offer templates for a reasonable fee. Mine is from 17th Avenue Designs, but Theme Forest and Angie Makes also have cute options! If you’re looking to drop a pretty penny + lots of time, you can also have your site custom designed (swoon… someday).
I do recommend learning at least the basics of code, I pinky promise this will save oodles of frustration and malfunctions on your journey to publishing.
5 | MONETIZE
Whether you choose to monetize (make $$$) from ze blog is completely up to you. For some people it is great, and others prefer to keep their blog as their own personal safe haven. However, do keep in mind the time factor. There is no way around it. Growing an audience, finding your voice, developing trust, curating your own special niche – it all takes time. I always try to practice + preach the three C’s: consistency, content, and confidence.
If and when you choose to take the leap to monetize your blog there are several options you may consider. This schpeal could be an entire blog post in itself, so I am going to keep it short + sweet. For those curious, bloggers make money via affiliate networks [rewardStyle, ShareASale, ShopStyle, Amazon Associates, etc.], collaborations, advertisements, hosting events, and campaigns.
As far as affiliate networks go, I use rewardStyle and am frequently asked how to get accepted to this invitation-only program. I wish I knew all the secrets, but alas I do not. Prior to starting Kait & ko. I told myself I would not apply to rewardStyle until I had been blogging at least six months consistently. This way I was confident in my content (eh, three C’s 😉 ) and felt I truly had both feet on the ground. About two months into publishing, I received an invitation to join rewardStyle. I still have that email saved to keep me motivated on my not-so-hot days. I can say though, if you are just starting out I would dip your toes in ShopStyle.
Good luck! As always… you can email me any questions you may have,