Blogging is big business, as well as an excellent tool for getting self-published and increasing your digital profile. Even if your aspirations are far more humble than becoming the next big thing, bagging loads of freebies and getting invited to every social event on the calendar, the tools and skills you’ll need are much the same so we’ve demystified the hype to bring you an honest list of the essentials.
Something to say
The truth is that blogging is more about audience engagement than talent and it’s important that you know that before you go off on a tangent about your personal triumphs and tribulations – unless they’re interesting. Blogging has provided a valuable landscape for aspiring writers but its’s also dotted with peaks and troughs of ‘dead’ content and it’s increasingly difficult not to end up lost in the forgotten fray. If you’re serious about blogging, you need not be a trained journo or super well-connected socialite but you do need to develop a ‘voice’ of some sort, a personality that comes across in your content (both visual and written) and a niche. Covering only the very most popular stories of the day won’t necessarily get your posts sifted to the top of the pile but your unique spin on them just might.
The tools you use can make a big difference and add to the quality of your blog and its overall aesthetic. However, and this is a big however, many bloggers start with nothing more than an iPhone and a few filters for effect – courtesy of Instagram. Fashion editors have been known to experiment with their smartphone cameras and shoot decent editorials with nothing more than this, to fantastic results. If you would like to step it up a notch, a reasonable digital camera will do just fine. Many will have you believe that you need a bulky, state-of-the-art DSLR camera complete with a couple of lenses and training to back it up but that just isn’t true. Let’s not forget that blogging is free and even getting a highly-customisable, bespoke blog themes won’t break the bank, so investing thousands in a camera just doesn’t makes sense if you’re just starting out.
Unless your blog is supporting a business that creates revenue through professional photography don’t go this route – you may regret lugging the hefty piece of equipment around too! If you still don’t believe me, have a look below for Vogue editorial images shot entirely by iPhone this September.
There are plenty of platforms to choose from, with Blogger and WordPress being the most popular. Depending on how serious you are about your blog it may be worth investing a little money to get your blog self-hosted. This means that you aren’t tied into using just the generic themes available for free on your chosen platform and you can treat the blog like any fully-fledged website, designing customising and adding features as you like. With no limitations on creativity, this is a great option for blogs that rely heavily on visual appeal. It’s still just as easy to post and update your self-hosted blog once it’s up, although you may need a little help setting the appearance up just how you like and it’s well worth it if you want to guarantee an original look and feel.
For a run-down on which compact camera systems and digital cameras to consider, look out for our posts on Xmas presents for gadget lovers!