Hey y’all!! I have been getting bombarded with messages about tips on how to start a blog, or how to grow your following, and so much more. So, I figured instead of responding to everyone individually, I would start a new series on my blog! Every other week I am going to do a post about different aspects of blogging, so please leave your questions below with what you want to know! For part one, I am going to talk about how to start a blog and everything you need to do before you launch!
But, just as a warning before we dive right in, starting a blog can be expensive and takes a lot of time and effort before even launching it. I personally worked on mine for a handful of months before I felt like I was even close to being ready for my site to go live.
I’m not trying to scare you away I promise! However, I want to do everything in my power to show you the right way to get started on your blog, whether its a side hustle, or just a hobby and creative outlet! I want y’all to get the most out of it!
You need to know you won’t just start this blog and have thousands of follows overnight. Like anything, it’s a learning and growing process. I am constantly learning new things and how to work better every day, so it’s okay if it isn’t perfect right away!
Step One: Come up with a name
Some of y’all might be rolling your eyes at this, but this is actually hard to do! Lots of people lately are using their name for their brand, which I love and wish I could do myself. But that can be a lot harder to do if you have a common name, like me, because it’s probably already taken.
So, this is where you need to get creative! Think of something you will be happy with for a long time, not just short term. This is your brand, so don’t just go with the first thing you think of, come up with a few options, and then decide.
I had a notebook that I would write a few names down and then go back and forth with before I finally could commit to one!
Step Two: Your domain & social media accounts
Once you have your name figured out go and buy the domain! Okay, you don’t actually have to pay for a domain name you can host through sites like Blogger where it’s free. I bought my domain with Google after having a blogger account for a few months. I ended up buying my domain name because I didn’t want someone else buying it and then try to go and buy it from them.
There are people that just buy domains all the time, hoping they will be able to sell it to someone for a lot of money. Once you’ve bought your domain go and make social accounts or link the ones you have to this site.
I just linked my Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter to my site because I found this to be easier than trying to make all new accounts. But I would recommend to try and make sure you are using the same username for everything, to make it easier for people to find you!
Step Three: Determine your host
I won’t lie, I really don’t know what a host is, but I know it’s super important to do this. I started hosting on Blogger for about a year because it was free before I bought my host from Siteground.
There are a ton of other hosts out there, so do some research and see which one you like best. I’m not going to pretend like I know all about this step because I really don’t. lol. So go and research different hosts. and read some more articles, because there are other people out there that know a lot more about this part than me! But, I do like Sitground, and I have had other friends host with them, so I do like them!
Step Four: Knowing the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
WordPress is basically the website you are going to use to do all the behind the scene work on your blog. It’s kinda like the host website you use for your blog.
There are two options WordPress.com and WordPress.org (these are the two I am focussing on becasue it’s what I know). I know I mentioned using Blogger. That’s one that’s super easy for beginners but WordPress has so many more features which in the end is why I made the switch to WordPress.
WordPress.com is also free, BUT it has its drawbacks. If you want to start a blog for a hobby, and you don’t think you want to do this full time then I would recommend this. The reason I say this is because you do not own your website, they do! Which is huge when it comes to your rights as a blogger.
As a blogger you want to control everything that you produce/create! You also don’t have a custom domain name with this one. You are also very limited as to what plugins you can use on here and what themes/designs you can use.
If you are serious about being a blogger than I would go ahead and create a wordpress.org website from the get-go.
WordPress.org is 100% yours. This is what I use now and what I suggest everyone to use. If you want to be able to have a custom theme on your blog, or you want to be able to have access to tons of themes, then you need to have WordPress.org
Basically you aren’t limited to what you can and can’t do on your website if you have wordpress.org. Brands also like to know that you own your website, which you do with this option.
But like I mentioned if your only plan is to use this as a hobby WordPress.com and Blogger are great!
Step Five: Your theme
This is where it gets fun! Start thinking about what you want your website to look like. Think about your color scheme, think about what you like about others websites, and try and find something similar.
There are tons of people who create and sell themes for blogs. Mine is from this site and I’m obsessed with it.
If you are good at computers then you can install and customize your own website. If you aren’t, then check and see if the person that created the theme you want can install it for you.
This is normally always an extra cost, but if you know you can’t do it yourself, then do this. For your first
There is definitely a learning curve here! Don’t expect to have everything down the first few days or even weeks unless you already have
Step Six: Creating content & actually launching your blog
This is easier said than done, trust me! Get out there and start taking pictures and writing blog posts. Some people like to have at least a month’s worth of content to use before they launch their blog. I didn’t do this, but this is a really great idea and I wish I had! I remember having so much I wanted to talk about but not know how to make time to post as much as I wanted in the beginning!
If you can only do one blog post a week, don’t worry, that is totally fine! Blogging is very time consuming and it takes a lot of work. Don’t try and post everyday just to post something. It is all about quality, not quantity. I learned this the hard way because for a while I was rushing just to get content out and it was just not my best work and my blog suffered from it. So now I know it’s okay if I don’t get a post up everyday. Life happens and that’s okay!