Perhaps the most logical starting point for a new blog is to ask yourself two things:
Why do I want to blog?
What is my blogging niche?
I'm assuming because you are here, you are either thinking about starting a nail polish related blog, or have recently started a nail polish related blog. So by blogging niche, I mean your focus within nail polish blogging. With so many polish blogs, knowing why you want to blog and what your focus will be, will help set your blog apart from the many other polish blogs out there.
Now maybe you're having a hard time determining your specific focus, or even why you're blogging in the first place (besides wanting to post your nails on the internet). That doesn't mean you stop blogging, or delay starting a blog until you figure things out. It just means that you keep these questions in mind and think about them seriously.
A blog is always a work in progress. When I first started blogging over a year ago, my reasons for blogging were simple: I liked reading polish blogs and wanted one of my own because I thought it would be a fun hobby. My focus was pretty general - to take swatch photos of the polishes in my collection, and to document my attempts at nail art. A little over a year later, my focus is still pretty broad - swatches, reviews, and nail art (with better pictures!). And my reasons for blogging are to provide honest and straightforward reviews of polishes with clear swatch photos, and to show nail art that inspires others. Ask me one year from now, and my responses may be different. I am still thinking of my own answers to the questions I posed above.
|My very first blog post (link). Everyone starts somewhere!|
There are many different reasons for wanting to blog, here are just some. They are not all polish-specific:
- As an outlet for a hobby or passion (this is the reason why many people start polish blogs)
- To document a journey (i.e. training for an event, getting out of debt)
- As part of a business
- To make money (if this is your goal you may want to rethink starting a polish blog!)
- To get free samples and polishes (also not a good reason to start a blog, I'll explain why in a future post)
- To connect with like-minded people
- To provide information
Defining Your Niche
Blogging about nail polish and nail art is already a very small niche within the larger niche of beauty blogs. Yet there are so many polish blogs out there. It's safe to say that polish blogging is an oversaturated niche. Does this mean you shouldn't start your blog? No, it just means you're going to have to work harder to set yourself apart from the other polish blogs out there.
One way to do that is to have a focus that will make you unique. Perhaps you have a very distinctive style of nail art. Or maybe you love indie polish and your goal is to seek out and discover new indie brands and feature them on your blog. Or perhaps you want to focus on the latest trends in nails and nail art. Or maybe you have training as a nail tech and want to write about nail care.
Many people start a polish blog with the general idea that they want to share their manis on the internet, and then they get disappointed because they don't have a lot of followers or visitors to their blog. Don't make that mistake. Think about what you can offer that will make your blog stand out from other nail polish blogs.
*Exercise #1: Imagine Your Dream Blog*
Take a few minutes to brainstorm and imagine what your dream blog looks like. Think about the following:
-How many followers will you have?
-How will you interact with your readers?
-What will be your focus?
-What will the design look like? The photos?
-How often will you post?
-Who will be your main audience?
*Exercise #2: What makes a blog unique?*
Write down your three favourite blogs, the ones that you visit again and again. What makes those blogs stand out for you? What do they offer that you don't get from other blogs? Why do you enjoy visiting them on a regular basis?
Advice: Now that you've envisioned your dream blog and looked at your blogging heros, you might be feeling a bit discouraged. Don't! Everyone starts somewhere. Just remember, it's okay to start small, don't let your dream blog stop you from starting a blog. Just take small steps, and build it up as you go along. Your blog doesn't have to be perfect when you launch it.
|Some of my blogging and writing books|
How Much Time Will It Take?
Now that we've looked at reasons for blogging, and how to set your blog apart from the other nail polish blogs out there, it's time to look at what kind of commitment it will take.
The general advice is that you should post on a regular basis (at least 2-3 times a week), at least while you are trying to build up a following. I'm sure we've all had the experience where we find a great blog. They seem to post regularly, then suddenly it stops. One, two, maybe three weeks or more goes by and we don't see a post from our new favourite blog. I don't know about you, but I tend to loose interest, and I'll look for other new blogs to follow.
Here's a general estimate based on a schedule of blogging three times a week:
- Manicures: 3 x 1 hour each = 3 hours (allow more time if you do detailed nail art, or want to show swatches of several polishes in one blog post)
- Editing photos: approx. 30 minutes for each manicure/post = 1.5 hours
- Writing and editing posts: 30 minutes for each post = 1.5 hours
- Updating social media sites, emails, responding to comments: 20 min x 3 posts = 1 hour
- Total: 7 hours
Even with a very basic blog, you're still looking at around 7 hours, or almost a full day's work. But many bloggers spend much more than that.
Here's a breakdown of how much time I spend blogging each week. Keep in mind that I built up to this. I didn't spend this much time when I first started.
- Swatching: 10 hours (I'm slow, so this results in 10-14 polishes swatched)
- Nail art (based on two challenge manis per week): 6 hours
- Editing photos: average 1 hour per post, 5 posts per week = 5 hours
- Writing and editing posts: 1 hour per post, 5 posts per week = 5 hours
- Updating social media, responding to emails and comments = 30 min. x 6 days/week = 3 hours
- Total: 29 hours
Of course this is an approximation - some weeks I spend more, some less. It really depends on what I have planned, my energy levels, and my other work.
So after reading this, you may decide that blogging takes up too much time. Don't worry, our next post will be on blogging formats, and I'll cover microblogging. ;)
Let's Hear Your Thoughts!
Why do you want to blog? Do you think you have a focus that sets your blog apart from the others?
If you've already started blogging, how much time do you spend on your blog?
Introducing the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Kickstart Your Nail Polish Blog!