Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to tools and services to help you start a blog. If you make a purchase through these links, I’ll receive a small commish at no cost to you.
Blogging can be a great online business. But when you start a blog, it can be a bit overwhelming. There is so much information out there, you don’t know where to start.
When I started blogging in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing. And I’m almost embarrassed to share this but it’s all about sharing the experience, right? Well, I was so wet behind the ears that I was creating static pages as blog posts! And I had no idea what WordPress was….talk about newbie, lol.
Now that I have the basics down, it’s my turn to help you. If you’ve decided start a blog, follow this step by step guide to start a blog so you can avoid the mistakes I made and have a better newbie experience than I did.
Step 1: Choose A Niche
Just as you would do when start a business, you should put the same thought when you start a blog.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I passionate about?
- What skills do I have and what kind of tips can I share with my visitors?
- Am I willing to go the distance?
- Do I have a support system to help me while I establish my blog?
After you’ve thought it over it’s time to choose a niche. Keeping your passions and skills in mind, decide on a niche you are familiar with. For example, if you’re an awesome cook then a foodie blog will be the perfect niche for you.
Do some research by checking out blogs in the same niche. Take notes on how their blog is setup, what kind of products they’re promoting and which affiliate networks they’re working with.
Take a look at the types of blog posts they’re publishing and who they’re connecting with.
Step 2: Choose And Register A Domain Name
Now it’s time to choose a domain name and get it registered. When picking a name for your website, make sure it’s something that rolls off the tongue and that’s easy to remember.
Write out the domain name in a URL format to make sure it reads well. Sometimes a URL can look kind of funky.
Here’s another tip for you. When registering your domain, register it outside your hosting provider. If you ever decide to transfer your domain to another hosting provider, it would make the process easier.
For domain registration, I recommend Namecheap. The have competitive prices and offer services like SSL certificates and Whois Guard privacy protection.
Step 3: Choose A Hosting Provider
Before you sign up with a hosting provider make sure to look at all your options and what kind of packages they have to offer.
I’ve been setting up websites for a while now but there are still some things I’m not comfortable messin’ with like the public files of a website. One false move can break your site. So the feature I look for in a hosting provider is how much support I’m given.
The one I recommend is GreenGeeks*. I recently switched to them from Hostgator and so far they’ve been great! They’ve answered my questions and kept me updated while I was transferring my sites to them.
Set 4: Choose A Platform For Your Blog
There are lots of platforms to choose for your blog….Wix, Squarespace. But most bloggers use a self-hosted WordPress blog. With a WordPress website, you can:
- Monetize your blog any way you’d like
- Install plugins to improve user experience
- Upload themes and customize them to your preference and style
The only thing about a self-hosted WordPress blog is you have to keep up with maintenance and pay for a hosting provider but remember hosting service is not expensive.
Step 5: Choose A Theme
Here comes the fun part, choosing a theme. I tell you, you can get caught up with all the options there are to pick from!
I recommend using StudioPress Themes* powered by the Genesis framework. They have beautiful, mobile-responsive child themes and now offer features like Genesis Design Palette Pro* so you can customize your theme without touching the CSS.
For feminine, premium WordPress themes I would go with Studio Mommy themes. They are so gorgeous that you don’t need a lot of customizations! And her themes come with step by step set up instructions so you can format the theme yourself.
I’m using the Her Exclusive theme for my other two websites and I swear you will not need another theme after that one!
Step 6: Set Up Your Social Media Accounts
Now that you’ve got your blog set up, the next thing to do is to set up your social media accounts. Remember to install a social media plugin to display the social media follow and share icons to gain followers and get your posts shared.
Remember when designing your social media headers to use the same colors and logo as it is on your blog.
Other Things to Do
Remember to protect your website by having it copyrighted. Copyrighted.com is a free service and offers instant protection for your work.
Set up an email address with your domain name for a more professional appearance. Make sure this feature is included in your package when you choose a hosting provider.
That’s All She Wrote
I’m sure this is a lot of information to soak in so if you have any questions about starting a blog, please feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to help anyway I can.
If you’re not into the techie side of blogging, hire a web designer set up your blog.
I wish you all the best in your new blogging journey!