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I have talked to so many people lately that are intimidated by starting a blog. I was afraid at first too. It seemed like there were so many steps to start a blog, and i didn’t know the first thing about it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Blogging is so simple, once you get started. So I wanted to help you all out. Some of the other sites out there throw in some big blogging words. I’m going to walk you through without those, and teach you some of them as well.
Let me assure you, the benefits of starting a blog outweigh the risk. If you are an introvert, like me, putting yourself out there is a bit scary, and yes, there are start up costs involved. But look at your blog as a business. How many people make money from the get go without spending a little up front? Seriously, people are making a full living and then some, all from their blog.
Get in the business state of mind. This is an investment. You may have $200 up front (I had way less after finding discounts).
If you need more convincing, read my post on Why You Should Start A Blog or How To Make Money With Blogging..
How To Start A Blog:
Step 1: Pick A niche
The very first thing you want to do when you start a blog is pick a niche. What the heck is a niche right? Your Nice is what your blog is going to be about.
Oh, thats simple, right? Well, it may seem simple, but you need to think hard about this. It isn’t JUST what you want to write about. It has to be what is going to draw people in and ultimately get them to click on your links as well.
You do not have to pick just one Niche. Pick a broad one, and have smaller ones underneath. Your options are endless. Look at mine for instance. I chose beginner homesteading and country life. That pretty much covers everything for me. Everything I blog about falls under that somehow. Even this post. I have a nice post about side hustles for your farm or homestead. Boom. This falls under that, and I even link to this post on that post. (take note, you need at least 10 posts in that category to get search traffic).
Get inspired. Go through pinterest and look at what others are blogging about that insterests you. Check out their blog and see if that is something that you can actually blog about.
Here are some niches for you to think about:
- How To
Its important when picking a niche, that you think about how you can monetize it. Beauty, you can make how to videos and post links to the products (once you are an affiliate). Parenting you can post links to toys or other childrens products.
When I started blogging, I actually started in the parenting niche, and decided it wasn’t for me. I started writing inspirational blog posts, I loved that. But, I had no way to monetize them. I actually found my niche by listening to others. What did I know a lot about? What do people come to me for? Gardening, baking, chickens and my awesome ability to score free stuff. That was the answer. Duh. Why didn’t I think of that? So, you do you. Figure out what you are comfortable with and what you can blog about week after week.
Step 2: Find A name
Your blog name is probably the most important thing when you start a blog. This is what everyone is going to see first. Pick something that is catchy. Something that could get a laugh out of someone maybe? Think of first impressions. What is going to make someone check out your blog?
Once you have thought of a name, check to see if it is available using google domains. If it is available, great! You can purchase it through google, or wait and buy it through your hosting company (we will talk about that in a bit). It runs about $10 a year either way.
Remember, when choosing a name, you are going to want to stick with it across all platforms. Be creative. Be unique. You want people to find you and only you.
Step 3: Find A Platform
To Start a blog, you are going to need to figure out where you want it to be. this is your platform. There are many different platforms out there. Blogger, squarespace, wordpress. I knew nothing about this when I started. So, i started on a free one, just to get my feet wet. Let me stop you all right there. If the goal is to make money from this, do not start on a free blogging site. Affiliates want you to be self hosted. WordPress is best. WAIT. there are two worpresses. Worpress.com is free. Worpress.org is not.
Lets back up a bit. Self hosting means your website is yours. You run it, you find a hosting company that will maintain the servers (ie. keep all the background stuff running). If you aren’t self hosted, then technically, the company that you have your blog on owns your stuff and can take it down at any time.
Now, wordpress.org is free. The hosting is what costs you. So when I say free version, i guess they are both free. WordPress.org just needs hosting to run it. You can go ahead and download it and get familiar with it. You can even start building your site, but it isn’t live until you have hosting.
Step 4: Pick Your Hosting
Finding hosting is easy. There are many different companies that sell hosting. Picking one isn’t about just picking the cheapest. Look for a company with good reviews and performance (up-time and speed).
Here are some of the hosting sites you can go with, keep in mind, they are half the normal price the first year.
- Site Ground
- Host Gator
- Blue Host
- Go Daddy
I chose to go with siteground for that reason. The speed of my site is not even comparable to any other hosting company. And I don’t know about you, but the longer I have to wait for a site to load, the chances of me leaving and going to a different one are higher.
If you want to know more about site ground, check them out here.
Step 5: Setting up your site
If you go with site ground, they walk you clear through the setup of your hosting. Hopefully the hosting company you pick will do the same for you.
After your hosting is established, you will need to set up your word press. Start with your theme. The theme is going to be how your blog will work. WordPress has lots of free themes to choose from. These are great to get you started and familiar with how it all words. Later down the road, when you are generating income or have specific needs for your site, you may want to buy a theme. (I use Genesis).
Here are steps to install your theme:
- On your wordpress side bar, go to appearance, themes.
- Once on the theme page, click the “add new theme” button
- From here, you can view features, popular or favotire themes. You can also use the search bar on the end to search a specific theme. Here is where you should be:
4. If you see a theme you like, hover over the bottom right corner and click preview. This will take you to a live preview of the theme.
5. Once you find the theme you want, you are going to the bottom right corner again and clicking “Install” and then “activate” This installs the theme on your blog.
Customize Your Theme
Now that you have a theme. Try customizing it. Go to appearance, and customize. This customizes your theme. Change your fonts, your background, the way your menu is set up and more.
Plugins are additions to your site. There are little tools that change or add something to your site.
To find and install plugins:
- go to plugins in your wordpress menu
- Find the “Add new” button
- Here you can look at frequently installed plugins, or search for your own.
The plugins I use are:
- Yost SEO- This helps me make sure my blog flows well and is SEO friendly.
- WP Recipe Maker- this lays out my recipes in a print friendly way
- UpPrev- This one is amazing. When you are reading a post, a box pops up at the very bottom corner with another post preview that the reader may be interested in.
- Social Feed Gallery- This is what I use to get that nifty Instagram bar at the bottom of my blog
- Simple Social Icons- Adds social media buttons
- Pin It Button- Adds a pinterest Pin it button to all images
- Tasty Pins– This one has to be bought and downloaded here. This actually lets you turn off the pin it button for certain images and allows you to force a specific image to be pinned to pinterest. This is ideal because you want specific pins to be linked to your website on pinteret (I will explain this more on my “Make Your First Blog Post” blog post. )
- Advance Adds- Lets you place adds in specific places on your site, if you plan on using adds to generate income, you will want this.
Bloggers to follow
If you want some more in depth help, and explanations, then you may want to look around youtube and pinterest for some instructionals. Here are the ones that helped me the most:
- Anastasia Blogger (find her on youtube)
- The She Approach
- She Means Blogging