A couple weeks ago, this email landed in my inbox:
Hi GJ. I’m writing because I was wondering if you have any tips for someone who is thinking of starting a sex blog. I’m not sure if I want to do it, but do you have any advice for starting a blog, keeping it going, getting readers, making money from your blog (if you do), etc.?
Needless to say, I have a lot of thoughts on this topic! So I’m going to split up my answer into a multi-part series. Today’s part focuses on starting a blog and all the choices and challenges that come along with that.
Choosing a name
I suggest you brainstorm at least a couple dozen different blog names that do a good job of capturing the kind of mood and subject matter you hope your blog will convey. Then, pick your favorites and roll them around in your mind for a while. Write them down, say them out loud a lot, ask your friends what they think, etc. If any name starts to feel wrong or uncomfortable in any way, axe it from the list!
I say this because – secret confession time – I really don’t like the name of my blog. I chose it because I thought it had the sexy-meets-dorky vibe I knew my blog would end up having, but the more that I’ve lived with this blog name, the less I like it. Saying it out loud makes me cringe (which makes in-person networking difficult, obviously!) and I often feel like I have to justify or explain what it means.
Choose a blog name that you’re in love with, that you’re proud to say, that reminds you of your vision for your blog, and that you could shout across a crowded room without someone mishearing or misunderstanding it.
Domains, hosting, and other web names
An addendum to the above point: the name you choose for your blog should, ideally, be available as a .com domain name as well as a username on every social media site you plan to use.
You’ll notice that I have a .net domain name, and my Twitter username has an underscore in it. Learn from my mistakes! Check this stuff before you decide on a name.
I’m not a wiz kid when it comes to stuff like domain registration and web hosting, so I will refer you to Epiphora’s sex blogging guide because she goes into those things in detail.
Can you really be a sex blogger?
A reality check: you should only start a sex blog if:
• You LOVE writing
• You’re VERY passionate about sex
• You can come up with at least 20-30 different blog post ideas off the top of your head right now
• You can handle criticism and rudeness (especially if you’re a woman)
• You can talk/write/think about sex without blushing or cringing, AND
• You understand that blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme
Please don’t start a sex blog solely for money, fame, free products, or sexual attention. You may well get those things eventually, but they are not good motivators for maintaining a blog in the long-term, and you will flame out before the going gets good if you’re expecting those faraway incentives to show up immediately.
Do this because you want to do it and love the thought of doing it. That’s really the only motivation that will keep you blogging for the long haul. (I say this as someone who is obsessed with sex and absolutely adores writing. Trust me, these things are important!)
What’s your blog’s deal?
What is your blog going to be about? And don’t just say “sex,” because, duh. Get more specific. Are you going to review sex toys? Criticize sexual media? Write erotica? Detail your sexual adventures? Will your goal be to help your readers, or to entertain them, or both, or something else entirely? Will your lens be feminist, sex-positive, both, neither, or something else? How do you want readers to feel when they read your blog? Will your voice be saucy, sexy, straightforward, silly, or serious?
Sharpening your vision is very important, especially since blogging is an oversaturated game and you need to set yourself apart to have any hope of success. It might help to come up with some kind of tagline or subtitle for your blog, even if you never use it anywhere. (Mine is “Reviews and how-to’s for feminist sex nerds.”) The better and clearer your internal guide for the work you plan to do, the stronger and more unique your work will be.
Here are some examples of bloggers who I think have really strong, well-developed, unique niches within the realm of sex blogging:
• Epiphora writes snarky, brutally honest sex toy reviews, and occasional feminist rants.
• Reenie approaches her reviews and writing from a perspective of relative innocence and sheltered-ness, which I think her readers find either adorable or relatable, depending on their own personal experiences.
• Lilly is hard to please and writes tough but fair reviews. She also writes easy-to-understand, no-bullshit guides to technical or scientific aspects of sex toys and sex blogging, like toxic toy chemicals and how to file copyright complaints.
• Aerie’s blog combines sex toy writing with board game writing, because they are passionate about both of those things. Aerie is a great example of someone who puts their own spin on sex blogging by capitalizing on their authentic interests.
Your “about” page
This should be one of the first things you write when you make your blog. It’s important, not only so your readers can find out more about you, but also so you get a better sense of the persona or personality you’re going to project with your blog.
Please include, at a minimum, all of the following things on your About page:
• Your name (or the pseudonym you’ll go by on your blog)
• Your pronouns/gender identity (yes, even if you’re cis and normative-looking)
• Where and how you can be reached (email address, social media handles, maybe a contact form)
• Why, how, and when you started your blog
• Your blog’s mission/what sets you apart (you can state this as simply or complexly as you like, but it should be there somewhere)
• Any other info you think your readers should know about you in order to understand where you’re coming from (possibly: age, location, sexual orientation, relationship status, etc.)
• Some personality! Let your sense of humor, writing voice, and real interests shine through.
Check out my About page and those of the bloggers I listed above for some examples.
Stay tuned; the next post in this series will be about what to do once you’ve actually started your blog – generating ideas and writing posts. Get excited!!