How to Start a Blog – Easy Steps to Success
Considering how to start a blog, but not sure where to begin? It can be quite overwhelming, so below is a step by step guide. It will help you with everything you need to know about how to start your own blog. You will be amazed at how easy this process is! It helps you through the process of choosing your domain name and hosting, and to how to use WordPress. My guide is sure to help you grow a following of devoted readers!
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Find Your Niche
Spend some time, when you start a blog, thinking about what you want to write about. There are infinite possibilities when thinking of a blog niche. Blog about something that really interests you. Also the topic should be open to your audience, so they can discuss it with you. I love bagging a bargain, and finding creative ways to add value to my life. I decided, based on that, that I could really focus on money and how to save it.
However, now you need to really find a place for yourself, within the topic. So, rather than being too general about saving money, I decided to share my ideas that have been really successful, but my key focus is maintaining balance in life. So not giving up a life to be frugal. This is allowing me to share content about many different topics such as food bills and clothes, but niched down to mainly focus on creative ideas around maintaining balance whilst saving money.
Other examples of this could be:
- Rather than just blogging about dogs, you could blog specifically about French bulldog care. So you have found a specific sub-niche. This will appeal more than trying to appeal to everybody. Believe it or not, focusing on a narrower audience, will result in a larger following, who are actively engaged in what you have to say. They will feel a greater connection with you, will be more likely to stay loyal to you and grow with you, as you go through your blogging journey.
How to Start a Blog – Step 1
Choosing Providers and Hosting
Personally, I recommend WordPress with Bluehost. It offers a cheap, easy to understand package, which is especially useful for beginners like me, or likewise for the more experienced blogger.
You might be wondering what ‘hosting’ actually is. Hosting is where your blog exists or is stored, so it can be viewed on the internet. There are many things to consider when choosing hosting. Your site’s speed and accessibility all depend on your hosting provider. Dependable security is also of great importance, to ensure your content is secure and can be backed up.
Great customer service and fast trouble shooting, with clear communication is also very important. Recently I had personal experience of Bluehost’s excellent service through their trouble shooting portal. They resolved my issue in a timely and professional way. The reassurance they provided me, as a beginner blogger, was exceptional!
I would recommend choosing Bluehost. It offers a great deal of $3.95 for a basic package a month. I have found it incredibly easy to use so far. You might need to act quickly, as this price possibly won’t be around for a long time.
Click here to navigate to Bluehost through my affiliate link. (Thank you for your support!) Click the big green “Get Started Now” button.
You can choose from a few options, but as my objective was to be accountable for household spending, I decided to opt for the cheapest one for now – it gives me what I need in the short term, and I know I can always upgrade afterwards.
Select the plan you would like – I chose the basic version, but you need to think about what represents the best value for you. The basic plan, for 36 months, is the best value for money.
How to Start a Blog – Step 2
Choose a domain name (website name) and register it.
Bluehost gives you an option of whether to use a domain already in existence, or to create one. Advice for this, from limited experience, is to go and have a coffee and think very carefully at this point. I think, on reflection, my domain name could have been shorter!
Make your domain snappy and hard hitting, but simple and different to anything else you have seen. It should also be at this point that you have an idea about what you want to write about, as this should be reflected in your domain name.
Your domain name should reflect your brand and be unique. It shouldn’t be too long, or hard to spell, as this will lead to your audience not reaching out to you.
At this point, you really need to make sure that there isn’t already a blogger out there using the same or a similar domain name to you. Another thing to check would be the main social media sites you plan to use to promote your blog – is your domain name used already by someone else? If you match your domain name to your social media account name, this will make you easier to find amongst the mass of information on the internet!
Check your ideas for domain names here.
The other thing to consider is how private you want your name. Personally, I didn’t want my name out there, so I have opted for something purely reflecting that I am blogging about budgeting.
I made a list of possible website names and discussed them with other people to gauge their reactions to them. This is always a method I use. I strongly believe that two heads are better than one. Budgeting is a Challenge won because it reflected our struggles with balancing our finances and also made us laugh – we agreed that we do find money management a challenge!
Once you have crafted the perfect domain name, you need to register it so nobody else out there can get their hands on it!
How to Start a Blog – Step 3
Enter Account Information and Package Choice
Next, Bluehost will ask for account information. Here I chose the option of the 12 month package, which is slightly more expensive month on month, but again, I can always edit this further down the line. Crucially with this approach, I needed to add a reminder to my calendar, to remind myself to renew my blog, as I didn’t want all my hard work disappearing after 12 months – nightmare!
Again, to repeat, the 36 month package is the cheapest option month on month. But again, your choice depends entirely on your initial circumstances.
Remember also, if your from the UK, to change the country -it is autoset to the US. Bluehost at this point, will also ask you to make full payment. Bear in mind, with this package, you will receive your primary domain for free!
How to Start a Blog – Step 4
Next, you will be through to the payment screen. Enter in your payment information, select the checkbox, and click “submit”.
I wouldn’t worry about the extras at this point – you could always add them later.
How to Start a Blog – Step 5
Create a Secure Password
Next you need to create a secure password for your account. A combination of letters, lower case and uppercase, numbers and characters make for a secure password. Select the “create your password” button. Create your password, select the check box, and click “next”.
Nice one – you did it! Brilliant! Now login and you will be able to install WordPress. This the screen you will see next.
How to Start a Blog – Step 6
Click on the ‘start building’ button. This will bring you to the screen below.
You need to choose either ‘Business’ or ‘Personal’ for your site.
Then you will be directed to your WordPress dashboard, which looks like this.
As you can see from your dashboard, Bluehost allows you to edit your site, until it meets your desired standards, without anyone seeing it. When you are ready for your site to be seen, hit the blue ‘Launch’ button.
Now you need to name your site. Type your site name into the “Site Title” area.
Look at a tagline for your blog. For example my tagline is “Money Inspiration. Life, Travel and Value”.
If you decide to use a tagline, type it in the “Site Description” box. Click “Next Step” when done.
Woohoo! You’ve sorted it! Now you can login to your WordPress dashboard and set up your website.
How to Start a Blog – Step 7
Login to Your WordPress Dashboard and Edit the Content, Look and Feel of Your Website.
Logging into your website is easy, through the blue ‘Login to WordPress’ button. This is the editing centre of your website.
Check for an email from “Mojo Marketplace”. This is really important, as it contains your website URL, your WordPress admin login URL, and your WordPress login username.
How to Start a Blog – Step 8
Choose a Theme for Your Website
A theme is basically what makes your website look attractive and easy to navigate for a reader. Personally I have tried a few of the free WordPress themes, but I found I couldn’t quite achieve the look I wanted. I bought a theme from Themeforest, which gave me increased flexibility with my content organisation, social media icons and sliders. Your theme determines many other aspects such as: colours, hover buttons, navigation bar colours, fonts, and even headers.
The purchase also provided me with a 6 months free support package from the author, who always contacts me very quickly. My theme is called ‘Tansy’ and I love it! It is quite feminine but with a modern edge.
You could choose to code your own theme, but I decided I wanted to focus on learning how to produce content,w ith a ready made theme.
Create a Logo for Your Brand
I used Fiverr for this. You basically search on what your budget allows, what you want from your logo. I took a chance on a new contributor who was offering an unlimited amount of edits for a great price and a few options. From his demo work, I decided I would take a chance. I spent £13 on my logo and I’m extremely pleased with the results.
Yay! You’re all set up and ready to go on your blog journey – see my category ‘favourite blog tools’ for the tools I am using now to help me along in my blog journey.