Are you contemplating starting a new blog or website or Instagram account? Don't know where to begin?
(Note ** affiliated links are present with an asterisk)
Hi, lovelies! Let me tell you how my journey began! I always had the idea of creating my website back in my teenage years (I was a little geek back then and I LOVED html coding and designing websites when I was a child). After completing my BSc in Nutrition, I played with the idea of writing articles but I was lacking inspiration at that moment.
The hardest question of all was: what do I write about?
Initially, I went back to my lecture notes and summarised them removing all the jargon. I went around asking my closest family and friends about the content they would want to see, started to read a lot of nutrition-related books and articles, subscribed to different dietetic blogs and wrote a few article pieces which were then stored in a folder on my desktop named "Drafts" as I was not confident enough to post them. Finally one night I mustered up the courage, found Wix, selected a random website template and proceeded to post all the articles that I have drafted up.
Keeping up with the latest research posted by scientific journals can be quite time-consuming such as PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Elsevier and loads more! Recently, I have signed up for a free trial with Examine* where you can select categories that you are interested in i.e. diets, gut health, liver health, autoimmune disease & allergies (and so much more) and summarises the most recent evidence-based studies with citations related to your topic of interest. This helps save time and boosts your knowledge base in different areas whilst providing you with plenty of blogging ideas as well!
Where do I start?
Here is a list of different user-friendly website platforms that you could use for your blog which requires no experience in coding and you could have your brand new blog to work on within minutes. Here is a thorough guide on the pros and cons of each platform. I would highly recommend Wix to trial it out as it offers a free plan to begin with.
Sorry folks I had lied. The hardest part of starting up your blog was being able to write and post regularly!
I was working part-time as a server/barista at a coffee shop and as an activities assistant at nursing homes and various organisations. I also volunteered at food banks and taught English to less privileged children when I had the time. I was also an avid club attendee at least 3 times per week so I had to set aside time for research and writing the articles.
However, I was determined to build my blog up so after having a swim session religiously (somehow I am still a horrible swimmer) between 3 - 4 PM Monday to Friday to refresh my mind, I would sit down with my laptop in our residential lobby, turn on aeroplane mode on my phone and start writing for an hour from 4 - 5 PM. Some days I could barely write a paragraph and some days I could bang out an entire article but it is always good to have a routine and time set aside for blogging!
A fun way to spend time AWAY from your phone whilst planting some trees: Who is obsessed with their phones and the constant buzzes coming from notifications are driving you mad? Try "Forest App" - you grow virtual trees and earn coins by not using your phone which then allows you to plant real trees in Africa (Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Tanzania).
Once you have more attraction to your blog, you could even ask other bloggers or guest writers if they would like to share their article or blog piece or even write one and post it on your website as this saves you time, gives you the ability to follow and speak to other people in the industry, tackle even more diverse topics, get more topics to work with and sometimes gives you more inspiration as well - What's the current trend? What's on the news? New guidelines? Controversial news topics? Whacky meal ideas?
Now, we have a blog so what's next? Instagram!
Many people have asked about my Instagram page that I started a while ago but only started to post content regularly after COVID-19 since I had a lot of free time after my third placement was stopped abruptly. Understandably, many people especially nutrition and dietetic students are afraid of posting their very first post. Looking back, I had kept my IG private and posted random pictures until I had an established layout for my posts.
An Instagram account is perfect for those who does not have time to start their own website but you can use it as a blogging platform. Best part is that you can connect with others very easily, share interesting stories, generate nutrition quizzes and even start a Q&A making it very interactive!
If you are out of ideas, I would suggest posting your nutrition or dietetics journey:
How did you apply for your course?
What did you do today at your university lecture? What did you learn?
What happened during placement today?
Who are you?
Or even what did you have for lunch? Do you have any granny's recipes that you would like to share with the world (with grandma's consent)?
This gives insight for others who wish to pursue a career in nutrition or dietetics, allows you to reflect on your day and what's better than posting that lovely photo of that avocado toast that you spent 30 minutes hovering over the table trying to photograph the perfect vegetable #Pleasedont.
You could also post information related to health and nutrition to educate the public as well if you feel confident with this - the first post will always make you question your knowledge but unless if you've gathered information from some random influencer who promotes weight loss pills, I would definitely say go POST IT! You have an immense knowledge base and you should share it with the world. You might not get many interactions or likes during the beginning but that doesn't matter because you're building this organically which is worth it in the long run!
Here are some of the apps and websites I use to create my content:
Canva* is an extremely user-friendly graphic design platform simply using a drag and drop tool. This is how I generate all my Instagram posts and it offers a free and Pro Version! There would not be an Instagram page without this platform. You can also generate stories using their templates, create logos, posters, cards, newsletters - anything you could think of! The Pro Version allows you to unlock all fonts and graphics provided and thus allows you to assess the content planner which can be quite handy if you are posting regularly on Instagram.
Similar to Canva with a similar layout, there is Crello that offers a Starter version with 5 design downloads every month or a Pro version. This is perfect for those who enjoy posting animated graphics and I enjoy switching now and then to Crello for different templates!
Krita is an open-source painting programme and this is how I generate my little cartoons on Instagram - it is wayyy more sophisticated than Paint but a whole lot easier to use compared to Photoshop! Bonus - IT IS ABSOLUTELY FREE!
Well, I am not quite the expert and probably will never be in the future but this is how I create these little illustrations!
How can you start your blog and write articles without any images? Well, you could but a stunning photo is always better than plain text as it captivates the reader (Sorry Pubmed!). Thankfully, these are my go-to websites for free photos which can be used for free for both commercial and personal use.
You would definitely want to remove that white background behind the graphics that you have created.
Removebg is handy as you can upload your photo and it automatically removes the background for you. On the other hand, you can remove the background manually by using Powerpoint. This is useful especially when you enjoy writing on public transport and Wi-Fi nor your 3G is easily accessible.
Social media scheduling
(most of these will offer a 14 day or 30-day trial and you would have to subscribe afterwards)
Preview - Personally this is the only app I use to create the perfect grid on Instagram and there is a free plan :) As for a scheduler, I normally would create my graphic on Canva and line them up on PowerPoint along with a short caption in the speaker's note section.
However, I know a lot of Instagrammers find schedulers extremely useful as they can automatically upload your post at a specific time and thus some of them helps to generate #hashtags which can be handy! Some good recommendations:
So thank you folks for reading my beginner's guide to starting a new blog or Instagram page. There is still so MUCH MORE to this so please continue to follow my blog and feel free to share your tips :)