If there is one question I get emailed about from you guys over and over again it’s a version of this: I want to start a blog…but I’m not sure exactly what steps to take. Help! Lucky for you, today that help is here ;) Today I’m sharing the basics for getting started on your own blog. Consider this Blogging 101…
First things first, what is your blog about? It can be worth it to spend time brainstorming exactly the kind of content you’re planning to create. Is it a food blog? A style blog? A DIY blog? All of the above? It should be something you could share endlessly about, because you are about to become a content creator!
Next, you’ll need to pick a platform. There are a lot of options out there, both free and paid. I went the free route for years using Blogger, but now that I have a self-hosted WordPress blog I have to say that’s absolutely my recommendation. WordPress is easy to use and customize design-wise, plus you can have your own domain name, which makes you 100% more legit.
Assuming you go the self-hosted route like I recommend, you’ll need to choose a hosting service and pick a domain name. There are tons of site you can do this through, but my recommendation is BlueHost. That’s who I personally use because they have good rates, excellent customer service and the option to cancel at any time. More importantly (to me, at least) is that they prohibit pornography, nudity, and other adult content on their servers—I love them so much for that, I had to support them!
When you sign up, you’ll have the chance to pick your free domain name so be sure you have that picked out in advance. I recommend registering for 36 months at $3.95 per month (which is $142.20 upfront). This is the best deal cost-wise, especially since there is no contract and you can cancel at any time. As far as the domain name goes, ideally it should match the name of your blog. For example, this blog is called Thoughts By Natalie and the URL is thoughtsbynatalie.com. That makes it easy for people to remember and come back!
Though content is what really matters, the appearance of your sight is pretty close in importance so you’ll want to find, download and install a theme. There are a lot of themes available out there at a low cost—usually under $50. You definitely don’t need to be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to hire someone to customize it for you, especially if you’re just starting out and testing the waters. You may just want something simple or prefer to keep costs low—in which case there are tons of free WordPress themes out there. However, if you’re wanting something more customizable or more specific than the free themes that are offered, Themeforest is a great place to find a premium theme.
Before you go public with your site, make sure you create an about page so people know who you are, what you’re about, and what they can expect as they read your blog.
Lastly, consider investing in a nice camera. Blogging is a very visual thing, and the better your photos are, the more likely they are to get shared, which means more people will find your blog and read it! It’s unbelievable what a difference a good quality photos can make. I personally use a Nikon D3300 and I highly recommend it. Need to snap a photo of yourself? I use a tripod and remote clicker for style photos all the time and love them both!
MY BLOG PHOTO ESSENTIALS
You absolutely can keep it simple and use your phone if it has a nice camera function, but if you can make it work to set aside money to invest in a nice camera, it makes a big difference. For times when you can’t snap your own photos, Death to the Stock Photo and Unsplash are great resources for free-to-use photos.
Now all there is left to do is start posting! And that’s all you ;)
What other questions do you have about blogging/social media? Leave them in the comments and I can put together some other blog-related posts for you ;)
P.S. Already have a blog on Blogger that you want to move over to WordPress? I have a guide for that here.
Photo via Death to the Stock Photo
(Disclosure: I am a BlueHost affiliate and may make a commission when you sign up to use their services. I recommend BlueHost because it’s what I use, and I’ve been really pleased with it!)