How To Start a Nail Polish Blog – Part I

Girl_Blog

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.

glossy-burning-fire-flame-smallHot tipglossy-burning-fire-flame-small 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!

-VV

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17 comments

  • November 10, 2009
    Legra

    Great post!! Thanks for the information!

  • November 10, 2009

    thanks for this! i started my own blog a couple months ago and it’s really fun…sometimes it’s hard to think about what to say about the polish!
    .-= sara´s last blog ..day sixty nine, misa toxic seduction =-.

  • November 10, 2009
    Kirsten

    This is very helpful. Thank you!
    I’m thinking of starting a blog although I am wondering if I would have enough content. I do polish my nails every other day or so but I can’t afford to buy all the new stuff so I regularly fall back on older beloved polishes.

    Can you believe there isn’t a single polish blogger from my country? Not one!

    • November 11, 2009

      Hi Kirsten,

      What country are you from?

  • November 11, 2009
    Celine

    Do you personally buy all of the polishes that you swatch or are some donated by polish companies? If the latter, how do you work out an agreement with polish companies in order to obtain their product?

    • November 11, 2009

      Hi Celine,

      No, almost everything on my site is sent to me by polish companies or PR people. You need to blog for a good length of time and show you are serious before they will start sending products for review.

  • November 11, 2009
    Sonya

    Thanks for the information, I think a lot of this is applicable for starting any blog. Very smart of you for buying the rights to the similar web site names too!

  • November 11, 2009
    Kasey

    Thanks, Kelly! Great post!

  • November 11, 2009

    Thanks for this :) I started my blog by accident,but I decided to stick with it because it’s a fun and productive way to continue my nail polish obsession.
    .-= Ginger´s last blog ..NOTD:China Glaze Awakening =-.

  • November 11, 2009

    Great advice Kel!
    .-= Marisol´s last blog ..My other fear besides cats… =-.

  • November 11, 2009

    Somehow I wish this would’ve been up before I started blogging. I started mine with the intention that I would talk about my journey in quitting smoking (which I do, except just once a month on the anniversary of my quit date), and also throw in my love of nail color. Now it’s evolved somewhat, to include my own ruminations as well as reviews for those drugstore and big box nail colors that not too many other bloggers seem to want to touch with a ten-foot pole. By the way, how long DO you have to be blogging before you can start getting the freebies, because buying polishes is getting more and more expensive for me–I’m stuck now just buying the drugstore and big box ones to add to my nail Stash.

  • November 11, 2009

    My friend and I recently started a blog a view months ago, and this is immensely helpful so far. Can’t wait to read more of the great tips!

  • November 11, 2009

    Thanks very much for the info. I originally started my blog to show my friends what I was wearing, but I evolved it into something that I hope other people can use as a resource. This is very helpful in that regard.
    .-= Helena´s last blog ..China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat =-.

  • November 13, 2009

    This is great info! I just started my own polish blog. I did reserve a URL but didn’t know how to host it so right now I’m on WordPress but plan to use my own reserved domain. Feel free to check out Lacquerholic!
    .-= Ainamakeup´s last blog ..More random musings on polish =-.

  • November 13, 2009
    Lucy

    What a terrific post. Very informative. Is it very expensive to own your own domain name? I do hope in part II you’ll touch on cameras and lighting. Your photos are excellent.

  • November 14, 2009
    Jennifer

    I enjoy your blog and see you put a lot of effort into what you do. Blogging can be a great creative outlet but wish many other nail blogs would show some pride in the maintenance of their nails, application skills and accuracy of color representation in their photo’s. Anyone can have a nail blog but not everyone *should*. You’re a great example of what a good nail blog should consist of – keep up the good work!

  • November 16, 2009
    Kirsten

    “VV said: Hi Kirsten, What country are you from?”

    The Netherlands. There are a couple of beauty blogs that feature polish once in a while but no exclusive nail blogs.