Start a Blog
Are you interested in starting a blog but don’t know where to start? Everything you need to know about getting started is in this guide.
This page may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.
Why should you start a blog?
- Tell your story
- Help people
- Market a product/service
- Build authority
- Meet people and make friends
- Make money online
- Write and be creative
10 basic steps to starting a blog:
- Find your niche
- Define your audience
- Pick a Platform
- Choose a host
- Select your domain name
- Setup your theme
- Define your brand
- Install plugins
- Set up Email Marketing
- Social Media Management
- Product Creation
Step 1. Find your niche
You’ll want to blog about something you enjoy writing and talking about. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your niche. Your topic should be something you can build authority around.
Can you see yourself being the go-to person for this niche?
Your niche is one of the ways you’ll connect with your reader and distinguish yourself (your brand) from other bloggers. Your audience should know they’re in the right place as soon as they land on your blog.
- Do you have a talent or skill?
- What do you enjoy, talk about most?
- How could you contribute to your reader or solve a problem?
- Can you make money solving a problem?
Be honest with yourself. If you’ve never eaten vegan food you probably won’t enjoy blogging about it. Choose something you know and are willing to spend more time learning about.
Step 2. Define your audience
Once you’ve identified your niche, start your market research and define your audience.
- What problems will you solve?
- What will you offer?
- What does your audience value?
Step 3. Pick a platform
Many bloggers start with a free platform. If you’re serious about blogging and want to eventually make money I recommend you work with a self-hosted platform such as wordpress.org (not to be confused with wordpress.com). WordPress offers themes and plugins (free and paid) that allow you to modify and customize your blog. WordPress itself is free.
WordPress focuses on writing blog posts and is more beginner friendly than some of their competitors like Joomla and Drupal. It’s a bit of a learning curve in the beginning but it’ll give you more control and make your site look more professional.
Step 4. Choose a host
I use and recommend SiteGround. I’ve worked with other hosting companies in the past and they are by far the best. They have 99.9% uptime and offer 24/7 customer service. As a bonus, they’ll give you a free SSL certificate.
When choosing a web hosting service you should consider:
- Amount of storage you’ll need (if you’re new to blogging start with the StartUp plan for $3.95/mo).
- Reliability (read reviews)
- Site backup (make sure you’re backing up)
Note: A web host is a company that store’s your website’s files on its servers. The web host is responsible for delivering the files to your reader’s browsers.
Step 5: Select your domain name
I ‘ve been registering my domain names with Godaddy for over 15 years. You can also register your domains with Siteground. You’ll want to make sure your domain name is relevant to your audience. Depending on what you’re blogging about you could use your business name, personal name or niche related keywords.
Spend time researching your domain name. The following are best practices for a domain name:
- Easy to spell
- Easy to remember
- Uses Keywords
- Go with .com if you can
- Watch out for combined words that spell something unintentional or inappropriate.
Step 6: Setup your theme
Your theme is the design (overall look and feel) of your blog. When you choose your theme you have the option of a free or premium paid theme. If you opt for the premium paid theme you’re usually guaranteed support and updates.
I frequently get asked what theme I use. I’m happy to share I use Anariel theme by Premium(Coding.com).
Step 7: Define your brand
Think about how you’ll define your audience. How will readers perceive you? How do you want to serve your readers? What do you want your readers to say about you?
Your brand essence will be what sets you apart from other brands. It is the experience and feeling your audience has when they come to your blog. It is the reason they come back to your blog.
Your brand is your promise, the story you tell and how you inspire your audience. What are your blogs values? If you blog about the organic way of life you wouldn’t want to partner with a brand that uses chemicals.
A large part of your brand is intangible and shown by having a consistent purpose. Consistency to your philosophy will give your brand personality.
- Use 1-3 colors consistently throughout your blog and social media
- Fonts should be readable and aesthetically pleasing to your audience
- Use the same fonts and font sizes throughout your blog, posts and social media
- Use colourful, clear photographs
- Keep images related to your business and niche
- Your voice is part of your brand. Be you!
Step 8: Install plugins (recommended)
If you’re using WordPress you’ll need a few plugins on your site.
- Akisment: protects your blog from spam.
- Google Analytics.
- Pinterest “Pin It” Button: allows readers to pin your blog posts, images and pages.
- Pretty Link: allows you to clean up, shrink, track and share any URL on your blog.
- Social Media and Share Icons (Ultimate Social Media): Customize your social media share buttons.
- Yoast SEO: all in one page SEO including on-page content analysis.
- Insert Headers and Footers by WP for Beginners: makes it easy to insert code or text in your header or footer.
Step 9: Design/Images
Good design for your brand will help you go far. One of the ways people judge your business is by the quality of your images. Canva and PicMoney will be your go-to for editing, touching up or designing images for your blog, business and social media.
Step 10: Email Marketing
You’ll hear many bloggers say they wish they started collecting their reader’s email address right away. You can start an email list free with Mailerlite. I started off using MailChimp and wasted so much time. Mailchimps platform is free but I found it SO complicated!
Once I switched over to Mailerlite it took me minutes to set up my account, create my email campaigns and forms. I even created a landing page for free!
Convertkit is another option for you to check out but it is not free. They will give you a free 30-day trial. It’s easy to use but until your blog is making money why pay for it?
Step 11: Social Media Management
I recommend getting your blog set up and running before you get started with social media. When you’re ready you’re going to want to automate things as social media can be time-consuming. Tailwind enables you to schedule on Pinterest and Instagram. It will save you time pinning and posting while expanding your reach. It’ll allow you to measure your success with analytics.
Step 12: Product Creation
Once you have your blog up and running you may decide to start making money from it and create a course. Many bloggers make a hefty profit from course creation. Teachable is a platform that allows you to create and sell your own online courses. You can upload your course content and they will take care of the payment (sales and refunds).
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