How to start a lifestyle or personal blog

As I celebrate the one year birthday of this here blog, I thought I'd provide some unsolicited advice to those of you that might be thinking about starting a blog. There are a few things I've learned along the way that might be useful in helping you avoid making the same mistakes that I've made! 

Tips for starting a lifestyle or personal blog:

1. Dedicate the time. 
I think the number one reason that blogs fail is because of a lack of dedicated time. If we are being honest, I spend at least six hours per week on writing, taking and editing photos, or promoting Marissa says... If you don't think that you have at least that much time, you probably shouldn't start a blog. 

2. Plan ahead. 
Based on zero scientific evidence, I believe the second reason blogs fail is because they run out of things to say. Before I launched Marissa says... I had a dozen posts drafted and ready for publishing. I also had a list of ideas about potential posts I could write. Now, I keep a draft email going, and anytime I think of a new idea for a post I'd jot it down. Some ideas have never made it to the blog, some have, the point is that you need to look for inspiration everywhere and plan ahead.

3. Make a schedule you can stick to.
This ties into points 1 and 2. Know what is realistic for a posting schedule and stick to it. When I started out, I posting all of my drafted articles in the first month, then there was a serious drop off and I was only posting once a week. In January, I committed to posting at least twice a week and that took some of the pressure off. Now, I use a Google calendar for the blog so I can keep track of what posts are going up on what days. This also lets me know when there are holes in the posting schedule so I can focus on developing new content. 

4. Promote. Promote. Promote. 
I know I probably annoy some people, and that's a risk you take. But in order to grow your blog and make sure that people are looking at it, you're going to have to promote it. Whenever I post on the blog I link to it from Facebook and Twitter, sometimes I also pin the post and a photo on Pinterest, and share a photo on Instagram. In addition whenever I leave comments on other blogs and websites, I always include my blog link at the bottom. 

5. Be yourself. 
Write the way you speak (be conversational) and speak from the heart. I've put some pretty vulnerable things up on this blog (Crying in public, being depressed, having baby fever). Maybe 10 years down the road I'll wish that I hadn't said them all on the Wild West that is the internet. But at the time it was cathartic to get it out, and I was being honest with myself and my readers. 

6. Take chances and experiment. 
Don't be afraid to look like the paparazzi taking photos at a cool event or restaurant, and don't be afraid to fail. Not everything you put on your blog is going to be a hit and get your site a thousand hits in a day. In fact, you'll be lucky if the content you put up gets you more than a few hundred hits a day. 

7. Do your research. 
Look at other blogs. Figure out what you like or don't like about them. Which ones keep you coming back for more and why? Figure out who your target audience is (it's probably someone like you) and write content that they would be interested in reading. 

8. Have realistic expectations. 
Sure, I have dreams of making money off of this blog at some point, but I knew that likely wasn't going to happen in year one. Hell, I'm not even sure it will happen year two or three. But I didn't start a blog as a get-rich-quick scheme, and you shouldn't either. You should know that in the beginning likely only your family and friends will read it, and even then you'll be shocked to find out that some of your closest friends don't read it. But be realistic, you're not going to turn into a super-blogger overnight. 

9. Enjoy it! 
I wouldn't have made it a full year if I didn't actually enjoy writing Marissa says... Yes, there are times that it's annoying and frustrating, but the rewards far exceed the challenges. 

For you veteran bloggers out there, did I miss any key pieces of advice that blogging newbies need to know?


  1. Thank you so much for sharing these tips! I'm so glad I'm going on the right track since, I just started blogging.. You just earned a new reader! :)

  2. Time is definitely the most important thing. Great tips!

    xo, Manda

  3. Do I use wordpress, blogspot or get a domain name to own start/own my blog? I found your post to be very helpful.

  4. Nice article Marrissa!


  5. Thanks for the helpful tip! It helps to prioritize and reflect on these helpful points so we can feel inspired to keep blogging for 2015. A good read!


  6. Really good tips ! I am definately going to follow them

  7. These are some really good points here! Thank you so much! :)


  8. Thank u for the tips! Will try to apply it to my blog! :)


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