Should you start a blog? Here is my advice.

akansha-agrawal-blogging

akansha-agrawal-blogging

I had the chance to catch-up with Anna Stern, community manager for Collectively Inc. and we both came to the simple conclusion that blogging in 2017 is fundamentally different than what it was back in 2009, or even 2013.

The online space is much more saturated now and as a blogger, you need something that sets you apart. These days it’s not enough to post your outfit of the day or your latest smoothie bowl.  What will you provide that separates you from the other thousands of bloggers out there?

I started my blog about a year ago and truthfully, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I wanted to share content around health & wellness from a South Asian perspective but did not have a strategy or method for getting there. I was overwhelmed and lost. Though I still have a long way to go, here are a few pieces of  blogging advice:

  1. Define your Mission and Stick to It: With a successful blog you need a clear focus for two reasons. Number one, to keep yourself accountable and number two, to give your readers a purpose. As a blogger it’s so easy to get distracted by the next shiny object and lose track of your original intent. Consistency and clarity will also help your readers understand what they will receive from you.
  2. Create a Community: I’ve created a successful community by creating a Facebook group for women interested in health and wellness. A Facebook group is more valuable than a Facebook page because your readers can participate in valuable, genuine dialogue. A community also allows you to conduct a bit of user research by finding out what matters to your readers.
  3. Approach Local Brands Proactively: Working with local businesses and brands is the way to go because you can lead with a warm approach by chatting in person. For example, if you are a fashion blogger, try hitting up your favorite retail store/boutique and discuss potential collaborations. It can be scary to take your blog from behind the screen to in-person but real life interactions can do wonders.
  4. Spend More Time as a Creator and Less Time as Consumer: I want you to do me a favor. Grab your phone, go to your settings, battery life and then check how much time you’ve spent on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Those hours could instead be used to create valuable content! There have been multiple weeks where I’ve felt exhausted, mentally drained from “blogging” but in reality, I had not published a blog post in weeks!  I was completely caught up in the noise of social media.
  5. Stay in Your Own Lane: I believe the biggest factor that hold bloggers back is their mindset. It’s easy to be discouraged and overwhelmed if you start comparing yourself to those who have been in the game for years. The quality of your content is important but you don’t need all the fancy production elements a professional blogger may have. Your reader wants to see you grow authentically so don’t be afraid to take them along your journey.

I hope my blogging advice is helpful! Do you have a blog or are you planning to create one? I’d love to learn more about your own journey.

Blogging 101: Choosing a Blog Name

Blogging-101- choosing-blog-name

Blogging-101- choosing-blog-name

You know how some people are good at creating witty/fun names for sports teams, group projects, or blogs? Yeah I was never that person.

My first blog name, akanshaagrawal.com, shows you the extent of my creativity. Therefore when it came to choosing a name for this blog, I started to panic just a little bit.

I wanted a blog name that first and foremost represented a brand, a certain kind of feeling, a lifestyle.

Find your purpose:

A good place to start is to start brainstorming names that fit your blog’s focus. Personally, I wanted a blog name that represent not only me, but also a lifestyle of health & fitness.

Some bloggers choose straightforward names that tells you directly about the focus of their blog. That works perfectly fine but I chose to pick a name that’s more abstract to give me flexibility to transform my brand over time.

Brainstorm like crazy.

It took me about a week to decide on “Citrus & Gold” and I was constantly thinking about it in the back of my mind. I asked my mom, my best friend, my boyfriend to help me brainstorm names. On my iPhone Notes app, I had a list of over 30 potential possibilities.

My advice is to write anything that comes to your mind – no matter how boring or crazy it may sound. At some point, you will stumble upon a name that has a nice ring to it. You’ll keep it in your back pocket for the next few moments and finally decide that it is right for you.

Research to find something that works across all platforms

You want a name that’s unique and sets you apart. First, check to see if the domain is available here.

Second, you should choose a name wisely so that you can use it consistently across all platforms. It’s important to have a recognizable identity on Pinterest/Instagram/Twitter etc.

Think about the future

“How long do you want to continue your blog?” is an important question to answer. When I asked myself this, I realized I needed to choose a name that was timeless and not temporary.

At first, I was thinking of names that defined me at this moment: running, California, my twenties. But what happens if I stop running and move onto another sport? What if I move from California and what if (god forbid!) I turn 30?

When creating a name, it’s important to find one that you can identify with for a long time (at least, if you want to continue blogging in the future).

In the end, it’s more about the brand than the name

If you’re still trying to find the PERFECT blog name I wouldn’t sweat it too hard. The name is important but it will not make or break your blog. What really matters is your brand & content.

Think about “Apple” for example. What does a macintosh apple have to do with computers and technology? Nothing. Yet the company was able to take that name & strategically brand itself to make it mean much more.

Finally, what I’ve learned from a few years of blogging: content is KEY. If you have a fancy name, a beautiful website, but you have weak content, you’re not going to get too far long-term.

Anyone else have any tips they’d like to share? I’d love to hear it in the comments below!

image from Bloglovin