Should I or should I not?
Are you thinking of adding a blog to your website? Or perhaps you’ve tried blogging before and you’re not sure whether or not it’s worth your time and energy or that it will match your business. Being an enthusiastic dog blogger for I-don’t-even-know-how-many-years, I would love to scream:”YEAH! Go for it!” right away when fellow dog professionals ask me about it, but a more in-depth answer will be 100 times more helpful if blogging feels like an ice cold and very deep swimming pool and you don’t know where your bathing suit is.
In this blog post, I will explain the basics on why you could start blogging and what it takes. I works as a professional photographer but I’m pretty sure that these basics apply to any kind of pet-business. In case you have more questions, you can of course, always reach out to me.
The first thing to consider is why do you want a blog? And I dare to say that there are no right or wrong answers to start with, but it has to be a strong enough reason to put in the tons of energy that it requires to set up and maintain a blog, write articles, create photographs (yes, I have many reasons why I’m against blogs with stock images) and feeding the list of blog post ideas which is a bit like taking care of a stubborn Tamagotchi. It will also determine the direction of your blog, what you might write about and who will read it. I benefit in many ways from having a blog but my main reason to have it is keeping track of my work and to easily share both the photography and the stories with you all. A bit like an online memory of the moments I love to share and inspire others- even when I disappear into the woods for months. My why is deeply rooted in everything I do, from creating books and photographs to business and life itself. It’s about the journey, the adventures, inspiration and finding your own path in life.
Except for that, blogging is a great way for your audience to get to know you, to see that you are active and it invites people who love your work to return and keep returning. Blogging is an incredible opportunity to be yourself and show yourself and to invite others into your world. It can help future clients to get a better understanding of how you work and what they can expect- like a digital fly on the wall. Who wouldn’t like to be a spying fly now and then?
More reasons why I think blogging adds value:
– attracting your audience in an authentic way.
– building relationships with your readers and clients.
– organizing your thoughts, stories and experiences through writing.
– building your brand and trust.
Nothing as exciting as a first blog post on a brand new page and all the ideas rushing through your mind. But the real challenge is finding your direction, your voice (I find this for example still hard when blogging in English after years of writing in my own language) and topics but the good news is that your blog is like self-renewing stretch-pants, it can grow with you forever. It can develop and change or find new directions just like you. I keep a list with ideas and even though I’m blogging for years, my directions have changed the last few years and I’m still practicing the new balance and testing what works for me and my lovely readers. Everything is a work in progress and that’s just fine. I think that if you haven’t started and you can’t find a single thing you’d like to talk about, perhaps blogging isn’t for you. But perhaps it just needs a bit of freestyling, fun and research (after all we don’t need the stress like with writing about boring stuff at school). You can take a look at the blogs that you love to read yourself. What they have in common. Or how you can offer value.
Tiny steps possible
Blogging doesn’t have to be writing your whole life down or squeezing out 10 000 words a day. No. You can even just start with microblogging on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. One thing I would suggest is not only relying on these external platforms because you never know what the future will bring. We’ve seen the past few years how it gets more difficult for older accounts to even reach the people that chose to follow, we’ve also seen shifts in what is popular. If you have your own blog, you can decide everything from layout to words to images. Often, it can seem scary to put yourself out there, to share something from your daily life or even your face. I get that. I’m so used to be on the safe side of the camera that it’s challenging to see photographs of myself. But there are 2 reasons why I keep trying/making them: 1) I love to have pictures of my dogs + me 2) I love seeing other dog owners and the faces behind pet businesses. There are some shops that made me decide to buy something after I could see the face of the person behind the brand.
What it takes
Blogging is easy, but also difficult. Haha! First of all, it’s a commitment. An abandoned blog will cause your website more harm than not having one at all- it just looks very sad. You don’t have to write daily or not even weekly, but there has to be some kind of heartbeat to add value both to you and your business. Of sometimes read about other bloggers pushing out 4-5 blogs a day and needing only 15 minutes to create the whole thing. My blog posts are often more like giving birth- or at least a process of hours, days or sometimes weeks if I need to shoot and write at different times. I won’t claim I’m a top writer, or that all my content is super high quality (sometimes I just want to share a cute picture) but I will always try my very best to think about what I write, to make it clear, to create or select the right images and to comes up with the right words in the right language :-).
What you need to start:
– time to write and read.
– a way to make decent visuals- it can be illustrations, photographs, snapshots, …
– ideas- I keep them in both a notebook and a file on my computer.
– a domain- I prefer everything self-hosted to have full control and no messy URL’s.
– perhaps also a theme for the design of your blog.
Et voila, I hope you found this usefull when considering joining as a blogger.
Other posts you might like:
– 4 photography tips to bring your Instagram shop to life.
– How to create a beautiful Instagram feed.