So this is a little different from my usual posts, but hey, trying new things is fun, right? A friend of mine suggested to me that people might be interested in learning a little bit more about what goes into running a blog/fashion(ish) Instagram. A lot of you probably don’t know this, but I actually work in digital marketing for my dayjob, so I like to think I’m pretty well-versed in this stuff. If you’re thinking about starting your own blog or just want to peek behind the curtain, I’m talking about the “tools of the trade” I use for running The Sconnie Sling.
I have a self-hosted blog built on the WordPress CMS. I don’t really like my hosting company, so I’m not going to mention them here! Using WordPress was a pretty easy choice for me; my blog was originally built on WordPress.com, so it was pretty easy to transfer over to self-hosted, and I wanted the freedom to customize & do my own thing that this system gave me over something like Squarespace or Wix. I definitely am not a developer, but I’m pretty comfortable with tech stuff, so I like to stick my fingers in and mess around with stuff haha. WordPress is a robust system with a super active developer community, so I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking to start a site of their own.
If you want to blog regularly, you need to put in some prep work. Some people are super duper organized with full editorial calendars and stuff…I’m not quite that intense about it, but I do like to be able to collect my thoughts. I use Trello as a pseudo editorial calendar for storing post ideas and attaching links and notes and such that I’ll want to reference when it’s time to actually write. I’m also a fan of using both Evernote and Pinterest for saving general pieces of inspiration for later.
When it comes to the writing part, I’m not too fancy – I usually write directly into the WordPress post box.
Photography is definitely an element of my blog that I’d still like to upgrade. Right now all of my photos are taken on my phone (a Galaxy S6) using a tripod from the Amazon Basics line with a smartphone adapter. I like the tripod fine, it’s lightweight and easy to adjust, but the adapter is kinda janky, so I’m looking to replace that soon. I’m also in the market for a lighting setup; for now, I’ve set myself up by the window so I can take as much advantage of natural light as possible.
If you didn’t know, you can get unlimited free photo storage from Google (if you agree to let them use your photos to teach the algorithm), so all of my photos are automatically synced to my Google account. I can do simple cropping or color adjustments directly within Google Photos, which is super helpful. I don’t edit my photos apart from that kind of light color correction/filtering, but if I’m making a sweet graphic, I like to use Picmonkey! It’s very easy for a non-designer like myself to grasp, and they have a ton of templates in place for blog graphics, Pinterest pins, business cards, flyers, etc.
It’s not enough to just have a blog these days…you have to be on the Book of Faces and the Tweeter and the Instant-Gram, among others. This is another element that I want to do a better job of maintaining…I do occasionally use Buffer, a tool that allows you to set up a posting schedule and load in content that will be pushed out at the appropriate times. Maybe more followers on Facebook and Twitter would remind me to post there more often…hint hint 😉
If you have any more specific questions about tools I use, feel free to ask! I hope this was entertaining and at least a little informative! It can definitely be hard to know where the start, especially if you don’t work with this kind of stuff in your day-to-day, so I’m happy to share my tips and tricks for starting a blog.