As we settle into the middle of September, I find myself reflecting on where I was two years ago at this time. September has always been a season of change for me. However the changes that that particular summer had brought were vastly different than anything I had experienced before. My mother had suffered a brain aneurysm at the beginning of August and was in the hospital. I had flown home from Nicaragua, where I was supposed to be living for that next year, to be with her. My days were spent visiting her and processing what was going on.
I needed something in this time in my life. I needed something to focus my energies. I have always found a lot of healing in creative endeavors, so I decided to start a travel blog. Except life in that moment did not really allow for travel, so I decided to start my blog with a bit of a different focus.
My love of dresses
At some point in time, I just started wearing lots of dresses. I feel like it was somewhere in late college or the early years of my “career” (I use quotes there because I have not followed one specific career path after graduating … and I am completely okay with that). My friends would always comment on how many dresses I had. I think in that past year I had counted over 50 in my closet. My personal style was very much defined by a dress.
I remember a friend of mine telling me months before the birth of my blog that I should start a blog about my dresses. I thought “hmm well that’s interesting. However I really am not that interesting.” So when I decided to take the plunge and start A World of Dresses, I took that idea and tweaked it a bit. I had this passion to travel because I have always loved meeting people from around the world. Women all over the world wear dresses, so I envisioned my blog as a space where they could tell their stories while wearing whatever dresses made them who they were.
One morning I did it
I remember waking up on a morning in September. I don’t think I had anywhere to be and I was feeling rather down. I had thought about starting my own blog before and just decided to do it that morning. I don’t even think I had put on a bra yet and I don’t think I had eaten breakfast. My breath likely smelled as well. But I had my laptop in front of me and I found a blog post much like this one about how to start a blog.
I decided that buying a domain and hosting package through Bluehost was the best. It was affordable and the company had great reviews. Two years later, I still say the same exact thing. They have been wonderful to work with. Right now they are offering plans for as little as $3.95/month. Check it out here.
You might be wondering why I decided to pay when you can start a blog for free. Yes, there are lots of free options out there. I think the pay vs. free debate really comes down to why you want to start a blog and what you plan to do with your blog. If the purpose of your blog is to inform family and friends of your life, a free one is perfect! However if you wish to accept money for sponsored content and advertising, you really need your own domain.
Basically when you have a free blog, you really do not own your content. The platform does. However with my blog, I can say that this is my work. I 100% own it. As a blogger, there are many opportunities to collaborate with brands within your niche. They will want to see that you truly own your website.
When I started my blog, I knew I wanted to take it to that level. The idea of having to migrate a bunch of posts over to another site six months down the road just did not seem like fun. So I decided to jump right in and buy a plan with Bluehost.
This plan was the best of both worlds. You can actually install wordpress right onto Bluehost. That meant that I didn’t have to code anything. I just picked out a theme that worked well with my blog and started blogging!
The best way to start a travel blog is to just go ahead and buy the domain. Then no one else will be able to pick the exact same thing. It’s really the best.
I feel like for many of us bloggers, blogging is a journey. I for one had no idea what I was doing or how the blogging world worked. I knew that I needed social media channels and an e-mail list. However for the first several months, it was just me interviewing people and posting stuff. I gained some page likes on Facebook and sort of got the hang of Instagram. I finally understood what hashtags were all about.
Several months in, I discovered a ton of other fashion bloggers through link parties. I started to read and comment on other blogs. They started to do the same for me. The more I read, the more ideas I got for my blog. Then in the winter and spring, I really started joining Facebook groups for bloggers and really became active in them.
If there’s one thing bloggers need to do right away, it’s connect with other bloggers. There are so many ways to support each other and collaborate. I have had the pleasure to become friends with bloggers like Ana from Faded Spring, Kristin from Countdown to Friday and Tif from Bright on a Budget. Furthermore, I’ve met all of these ladies in person. We are so much stronger if we can work together.
The transition to travel
When I started my blog, I knew traveling wasn’t an option in my life at that time. However I still loved travel. So I chose A World of Dresses because I knew I could blog about travel with that name. After I moved to Spain, it just seemed natural to start blogging about travel more. Although actually my first travel post was about my trip to Portland, Oregon with my friend Cece. That was such a good week.
At this time, I stopped featuring other women. I was busy preparing for a move. Then once in Spain, I was busy adjusting to a new country. So I blogged about fashion and travel.
Now I have brought back the interviews. On Wednesdays, I feature different women with a Q&A. It feels good to share the spotlight.
In the past two years, I’ve grown my blog into a small following. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with different brands. Am I living fully off of my blog? No … or not yet, as I should say.
My long term goals are to continue growing my little space on the Internet. Thank you if you have been with me from the start. Really, thank you to anyone who stops by. You are very much appreciated!
Starting a blog
Is this something you’ve considered doing? If so, I think you absolutely should! No one is you and your voice is unique. As mentioned above, Bluehost has been wonderful for me. They offer an affordable plan and are super easy to use. If any of you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
This post does contain affiliate links. That means that I make a small commission off of any purchases made.
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