Hello Internet friends!
Recently, I have been asked quite a few times by readers how to start a nail polish blog. I think a lot of you out there are polish junkies like me, and want a creative fun outlet. Totally understandable! So I am going to try my best to impart my wisdom onto you.
Now remember, I have only been blogging for 14 months, so I’m no expert and these are only my opinions. Come to think of it, there ARE no experts, and that’s why ANYONE can do this! You see, there aren’t any Bachelor of Nail Polish degrees or PhD’s in Polish Application. There is no such thing as a nail polish expert, I don’t care what magazines or other blogs say. All you need is practice, patience & time, and anyone can master it!
The nail polish blog category has exploded since I started. I think there were only about 10-15 polish blogs then that I knew about. Now I have between 50-65 bookmarked! I know some of you might be thinking, why on earth is she telling us how to do what she does, doesn’t she want to keep it all a secret? The answer is no! I’m not one to be afraid of people doing the same thing I do. I think we can all bring something different to the table. 🙂
What it’s all about:
There are really two aspects to nail polish blogging. There is the blogging part, which is the writing & editing, and then the polish part, which is swatching, taking pictures, editing pictures, etc.
Most polish blogs don’t just show swatches, they usually review the polish as well. That’s not to say you have to do the same thing though. When I started doing this I wanted to combine my love of writing, photography and nail polish into one entity. If you hate spending a lot of time on a computer or cannot stand taking pictures though, you might have a hard time sticking with a nail polish blog.
Where to start:
The very first thing you want to think of is a name. It can be tricky because a lot of the best ones are already taken. Normally you want a website name to be only 4-6 letters long (and dot com is best since that’s what most people automatically think of, as opposed to dot net), but that’s practically impossible now! Your name doesn’t have to include words that are obviously related to nail polish, though that can be nice to have. When naming it try and consider if there will ever be a possibility that you might want to blog about something else. If you have a website named specifically for nail polish, but then decide 9 months from now you want to mainly focus on cats, that could be an issue because the name will conflict with the topic of the blog. Also remember the shorter the name, the better, and weird or “slangy” spellings are not a good idea in general.
Next you’ll want to find a blogging platform. There are many free blogging platforms out there that literally only take 5 minutes to set up. Two of the most popular ones are WordPress and Blogger. There are others though such as Serendipity, Movable Type and Text Pattern. When you get an account through these free blogging platforms, you should be aware that your website address will include the sub-domain of that company. Such as if your site name is “xyz” your actual web address will be “www.xyz.wordpress.com”, etc. That can be fine. However, there are quite a few reasons why you might want to own your own domain name.
- You own it and all information on it (this isn’t necessarily true when you have a sub-domain)
- It looks more professional
- It’s easier to find (and type) into Google, Yahoo, etc.
- It’s easier to move it if ever you want to in the future
- You have total control over the template and advertising options
- Better search engine ranking
In order to own your own domain name, you would need to pay a company like GoDaddy or Liquidweb to host it. Most web hosting companies have various priced monthly packages you can choose from, depending on how much GB space and the options you want.
Who hosts Vampy Varnish?:
When I started Vampy Varnish, I used GoDaddy as my host, and used their service called Quick Blogcast for my blog. I don’t recommend this! Not only did I have that dreaded sub-domain name (which I didn’t know at the time I would be stuck with), but also they have very limited templates to offer, and the options on those templates pretty much suck. I did already own www.vampyvarnish.com though, so once I had my website re-designed (in a WordPress template designed for me), I switched what was vampyblog.vampyvarnish.com to vampyvarnish.com.
Hot tip If you want to make sure your website name stays very original, try and buy up all the available site names that are similar to yours. For instance, I not only own Vampy Varnish, but also Vampy Polish, Vampy Lacquer and Vampy Nails. They all re-route my my website if you type them in a URL.
I still use GoDaddy for web hosting, but can’t say I like them much, though the prices are decent. The switch from their Quick Blogcast template to my new WordPress didn’t exactly go smoothly, despite what their website might say!
Stay tuned for Part II of this post which will include what the next steps are as well as some great reference websites and books to get you started with blogging!