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What do I love most about being a full-time blogger at Vancouverscape? Two things come to mind: Every day is different and I’m always learning something new.

While I’ve been heading up Vancouverscape for quite some time, my journey hasn’t always been smooth-sailing. With close to a decade of experience under my belt, I’ve learned a few things that would have been useful to know when first starting out. I hope that these tips will both inspire and help you as you embark on your own blogging adventure.

Doteasy hosting

Not All Hosting Plans Are Created Equal

When I first started blogging, I’ll admit that searching for a web hosting service was not my first priority. All I knew was that I wanted to share my writing and needed a way to get my posts online.

Now that I’ve been in the game for awhile, I realize that getting set up with the best hosting plan for your needs can save heaps of energy and money down the road.

I’m currently using the the Standard SSD Business Hosting Plan from local web host Doteasy. Due to my high traffic needs, this particular plan has the resources required to run my site at optimal speed due to a large availability of server resources and SSD technology. It also includes my domain name at no added cost.

Doteasy Business Plan

I’ve built Vancouverscape with free blogging platform WordPress. My Doteasy plan includes the optimum resources and tools to easily install and access the WordPress platform whenever I need to make updates.

I’ve experimented with other hosts and plans in the past, and I’m happy to have finally found a plan that encompasses everything I need.

While it might be tempting to start your blog off with a free host, many free website hosts will only allow you to use a subdomain (more about that below).

They also usually place their own ads, logos or watermarks on your site which tends to make you look less professional.

The #1 reason I would discourage the use of a free host, however, is that you have no control over your website’s fate. At the very least, your budding traffic and content can cause you to outgrow the resources that a free plan can provide. At worst, if the free web host were to shut down, there would be no way to take your site name or content with you – your entire site would be taken down with them!

Be sure to do the proper research into finding a trustworthy web host with the resources you’ll need. For more information about the plan I use, visit Doteasy.com’s business hosting page.

domain name vancouverscape

My Domain Name Matters

Starting with a custom domain name can help you prevent future headaches. Plus, the cost of a domain name (around $15, or in my case – free with my hosting plan) is a small price to pay for the professionalism it brings.

Think of a domain name as the address that your future readers can memorize (or bookmark) to visit your site again and again; it’s easy to see why your domain is so important!

While there are free web hosts that allow you to get started with a subdomain (e.g. freesubdoman.com/yoursitename), once you’ve started gaining some traction, you *will* need a professional domain name. A professional domain name gives your site instant credibility to your readers. Your domain name is also a huge part of your branding and identity.

Starting off with your own custom domain name is advice I give time and time again – it’s no fun to start from scratch with a new name, causing loyal readers to potentially lose track of you — and then having to re-build your brand.

Gary Arndt

Look to Others for Inspiration

When you start a blog, you’ll want to carve out a niche for yourself and set yourself apart from the crowd. However, don’t be afraid to take a look at other blogs and recognize what you love about them!

Get inspired by other popular blogs in your niche. You can also use your knowledge of other blogs as a launching point to get ideas on how to be unique. While it may seem counterintuitive, being aware of popular trends is a great way to help you break the mould.

You can also pay attention to bloggers with similar audiences that you want to target, then think about how you can collaborate with them in the future. Guest blogging can be a great way to get discovered by new readers.

Later.com screenshot

Schedule Content

While your blog needs to be fresh and current, it doesn’t mean that you can’t schedule posts in advance. Timeliness and relevance is key, so be sure to prepare appropriate content.

As a WordPress user, I take advantage of the scheduling feature that allows you to publish posts in the future.

If you’re running social media accounts alongside your blog (pretty much standard these days), Later.com is a fantastic app that lets you plan your Instagram posts.

Getting the work/life balance right can be difficult when you’re your own boss. For example, If I’m about to leave on a press trip, I know that due to unfamiliar surroundings, I may not have immediate access to my website to publish posts.

Furthermore, I just know that my days will be full of exploring and writing! Making use of scheduling programs allows me to set posts for future publication. I find that planning ahead truly makes everything much more efficient on my end.

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It’s a Full Time Job

Believe it or not, being a blogger isn’t all about coffee dates and lounging around in exotic locations. If you’re serious about turning your passion into a successful blog, be prepared to do a bit of heavy lifting.

While important, running a successful blog involves more than just writing good content. Being an active blogger also requires pitching to potential collaborators, keeping your website optimized for high ranking on search engines, interacting with your audience, and staying afloat of marketing and audience trends.

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Being a travel blogger means when overseas, I need to be constantly “on” so that I can share my experience with readers. Being active and open to taking part in experiences that my readers will care about goes with the territory!

Building momentum takes a lot of work and offers little reward, especially at the beginning. Ensure that you are passionate about your blogging topics and genuinely enjoy the process.

Be prepared to put in some elbow grease – the payoff is that blogging can be a highly rewarding job.

California-3

Have Fun!

While being a blogger is a lot of work, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and forget to really soak in the experience. I’m truly blessed for the opportunity to travel around the world, to experience the highlights of my own city, and to get involved with all the happenings that make Vancouver one of the most liveable cities in the world.

And lastly, set realistic goals, ensure that you take lots of breaks, drink plenty of water and take time to breathe!

This post produced in partnership with Doteasy.

2 Comments

  • Comment by Ann Peavey — November 13, 2019 @ 6:55 pm

    This is great, Ariane!

  • Comment by Ariane Colenbrander — November 13, 2019 @ 7:44 pm

    Aww, thanks, Ann! Hope all is going well down in the Emerald City. I’ll have a Seattle piece going live early next month ahead of the holidays.

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