Blogging: What you need to know

Happy Friday Everyone!

I’m so glad the weekend is finally here.  Although my Mom is working on Mother’s Day, I will be spending the day with my Mother-in-law!!

I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time and I think I can finally share with you how I stumbled into blogging, my experiences thus far, and what you need to know if you plan on starting one in 2017!

Grab a glass of wine because I think this is going to be a LONG post.

 I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for 3 years already!  It’s been a slow process, but I’ve learned SO much along the way.

Details on how I fell into it?? Here it goes…

I had this crazy idea that I wanted to start a home staging company.  Me, myself and I.  It seemed so easy.  I could work full time during the day at my real job and team up with some local realtors nights & weekends.

My SIL gave me the name of a website designer (here).. because I was going to need a website to get the word out about my new services.

I was so excited to meet with her at her office.  I had no idea what to expect and I can remember being so nervous.  We sat down to discuss the new site and I was blown away with what she had designed for me.  She took my ideas and ran with them.  It was polished.. professional.. and so me.  I called it Taylor Reese Design.  I’ll have to do a separate post on why I chose the name.  That too is a long story.

She mentioned that I should have a separate link to a blog on my site.  I said, “Blog??” At the time I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.  She explained in further detail what it would entail and I said, “Sure.. I think I can include that”.

On my way home that night, the wheels in my head were just a turning.  I had this beautiful website and the idea to start my own business.  Wow.. could I really make this happen?

A week later I took some time off of work to go downtown to apply for a DBA.

(Doing Business As)

It was official! I left with papers in hand and my mind was set that I was going to pull this off.  When I got home, I started putting more down on paper.  I was going to work full time, I needed some inventory… couches, tables, props… etc.

Oh no.  Where was I going to keep my inventory? How much would I really need? I have no room in my own home to house any of it.  I remember thinking, maybe I didn’t think this thru enough.  Doubt started to set in.  I sat down at the computer, pulled up this brand new website that I had just paid for that was out there for the world to see.

Days went by and all I kept thinking about was how I was going to make my website work for me.  Not so much about the business itself.. but how the site was going to showcase what I was about to do.

I Googled Blog.  I was still unclear about what a blog really was.  Silly, but I didn’t.

That’s when all of these other sites started popping up.  Cupcakes and Cashmere.  The Skinny Confidential.  Pink Peonies.

Once I started reading them I was obsessed.  This is what a blog was.  These girls were taking pictures of themselves in outfits and posting it.  How brilliant is this?? Ever since I was a little girl, I would always take extra time in picking out my clothes.. I loved shopping.. I would put makeup on my younger cousins and do their hair.  I was drawn to high fashion & modeling.  People would always tell me, “You should model” because I was thin and have really long legs.  Well that was great, but I never thought I was pretty enough to do that.  Took some modeling classes, even competed in a couple of pageants but nothing ever came of it.

Fast forward 30 years later, I feel like this could be my 2nd chance at some sort of career (or at least a hobby) in fashion.  I continued researching blogs.  Fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, food blogs…

This is when I stopped and looked at my own website in front of me.  I kept asking myself what I was going to do with a site I had just invested in, put my heart and soul into.. but wasn’t going to pursue starting a staging business.  It was set up for a staging business.  The photos, the layout..

I did more research on blogs.  (By now I should be an expert) That’s when a website called Bluchic came up with templates for blogging.  Templates?  You mean I could have started a blog on my own and didn’t need a website designer?

I thumbed through the Bluchic website and found the perfect template that was geared towards a fashion blog.  It had a lot of white space, it was pink, and girly.  Not wanting to totally mess up the website I had made for the staging business, I contacted my website designer and started asking questions.  A lot of questions.  I purchased the template and had her change everything in WordPress. (My “back office”)

I started playing around with content, photos… this was going to be my new lifestyle blog! I kept the name the same because it was already out on the web and gaining exposure.

A year went by and although I was happy with the site, it just wasn’t growing like I had hoped.  I needed something fresh.  I had to do more to stand out amongst all these other blogs.  (And really good blogs they are) I found a new template with Bluchic.  I thought it would give the wow factor I was looking for.  By now I had used WordPress so much that I could change/update the new template myself.  I was catching on to this blogging thing  and becoming technically savvy.

Another year went by.  I had landed a couple of collaborations and was getting feedback about the website being pretty and easy to navigate.  Yet still…. I felt like something was missing.  Maybe I would need to change the name of my website.  Maybe I was confusing readers because I was posting about makeup & fashion yet the name of my blog was Taylor Reese Design. ??

It’s all I thought about.  From the time I got up to the time I went to bed.  I needed to refresh.  I needed to rebrand.  REBRAND?  You mean I was going to have to start over?? I felt like such a failure.  I had spent so much time and money up to this point.

I sent my website designer an email and said, “I’m ready… This is what I need to do.” I thought for sure she was going to kill me.  But I think she knew I had spent the last 3 years working my tail off to learn the ins & outs that I was finally ready to take it to the next level.

I came up with a new name, I purchased a new domain and she helped make the switch behind the scenes.  I was able to keep all of my original content.  Everything was transferred to a new template (by Pipdig) that looked more editorial/magazine like and I knew right away this was the “look” I was going for all along.

The Tailored Blonde was born!!

I played around with logos for a couple of weeks.  I wanted something that was going to stand out, but something that was ME.  There are so many beautiful blogs out there, I needed something different.  I have a love/hate relationship with Photoshop and am no graphic designer.  I played with fonts, sizing, etc.  The above logo was pretty, but I didn’t think it would catch your eye and would blend in with others that were already out there.

I found a logo package on Pinterest that came with about 150 pre-made logos.  Yes!! I searched high and low for the perfect font.  With a little trial and error, I finally picked one and it fit perfectly.  I think people will remember it.

I guess what I want everyone to take away from this post is… blogging is not an overnight success.  Is it for some?  Sure.. there might be the exceptions.

But looking back on where I started and how far I’ve come.. I wouldn’t change a thing.  I look back at the first picture I had on my staging business website..  look at the pictures I’m using today and think wow… this is everything I’ve done.  And nobody can ever take that away from me.  I’ve made what The Tailored Blonde is today and I hope it will only grow in the future.

Are you starting a blog in 2017? Do you have an existing blog?

I would love to hear your stories.. comment below.. ask questions!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!!

x0x0 Chanda

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2 Comments

  1. Chanda
    June 7, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    Hi! Thank you very much!! It’s normal to have butterflies when you’re starting something new, but it’s a good feeling. If there’s one tip that I can give you on starting your own blog, it would be to do your research. Research other blogs that you like and/or are interested in. Learn from them. Follow their lead, but make it your own. And most of all.. be authentic. It takes time to build a following and trust. I wish you the best of luck!!

  2. Nelya
    June 7, 2017 / 11:10 am

    Hi! Great story! Beautiful looking blog and logo. 👌 Way to go! Im thinking of starting a blog in 2017. So nervous though and don’t know where to begin. Any tips on how to get started?