I’m sure you’ve already read at least a thousand other ‘How To Start a Blog’ posts and are wondering why you should bother with reading mine? Let me tell you a little secret, I’ve been blogging for nearly seven years and know a thing or three about this subject. Plus I’ll tell it how it really is.
Where to start?
If you are looking to start a blog to earn money or review cool new things then I’ve got something to tell you. This isn’t the reason to start a blog. Do you have a passion for writing, have a burning desire to share your knowledge about a subject or have a story to share, then this post is for you.
Blogging is an overpopulated area. Yes, there is space for more but it makes the whole process of starting a blog that bit harder. When I started in 2010 you could simply write like it was an online journal, you are more likely to find this sort of post on Instagram or Facebook today. Instead, you need to find your niche.
Finding a Niche
Is there something you care deeply about?
Have you studied a subject in enough detail you could teach someone else?
Are you passionate about a certain issue or topic that you could help someone else with?
Do you have a hobby you love?
All of these are great niches for you to start your blog. I have blogged as a mummy blogger sharing articles, reviews, information and tips for families. I ran a business blog aimed at mum’s looking to earn money from home. Slowly Lived is a lifestyle blog I write on now, aimed at sustainable, ethical, slow living where I share articles with both an informative and personal approach.
This site is aimed at anyone who loves to write. Here I share information, tips and reviews to help other writers in their writing journey wherever that may take them. From blogging to publication.
Right, you’ve sorted out your niche the next thing you need is a name for your site and buy a domain.
The name needs to be catchy and memorable. One that lets people know what to expect when they see it in search results. Think about the key areas you want to write about. List out the main words associated with your topic and see if any of them are suitable for your site. If they are, now check and see if there is a domain name available for that name.
Think about the key areas you want to write about. List out the main words associated with your topic and see if any of them are suitable for your site. Now check and see if there is a domain name available for that name.
You could also have a look at other blogs in your niche or that cover your topic. I chose Word Play as I didn’t want to narrow down the site to just blogging or writing. With Slowly Lived, it’s the lifestyle I aspire to, living slowly and enjoying the small moments.
Taglines are also something you may want to think about here but these can be changed along the way as you voice grows and your natural writing style and direction of your blog progresses. This is a short sentence that sells your site, including keyword if possible. What is your site about in ten words?
What is your site about in ten words?
What’s a domain?
A domain is your web address and you really need it to be the same as your blog name. Now, saying this, you may notice that the domain name for this site is kizzybass.com and the blog’s title is Word Play. That’s because I wanted to create a blog that people could find without having to know my name. I could have bought another domain but then I would have had two sites talking about words and writing and what’s the point in that?
There are many places you can buy domains from, I always buy mine from the same place as I buy hosting TSO Host. They may not be the cheapest but it saves having to get the domain redirected to your hosting from another company.
Now you know what a domain is, what one should you buy?
There are so many to choose from and I have always gone for .com but my other site is a .co.uk as I felt it was appropriate as the majority of the articles are aimed at UK readers. That said, I do get a lot of international readers too.
If you want to make sure no one else will use the same name as you, you can buy both a .com and .co.uk or the new .uk domain to make doubly sure no one else can create a site using the same name.
Creating your space
Alongside buying your domain name you should also buy hosting. Hosting is where your domain sits and gives you the space on the internet to create your own site. I have used TSO Host for the past five years and have never had any issues with them. Their customer service is amazing and their staff are exceptionally helpful. I’m not tech minded, I can do the minimal so whenever I need to do something beyond that scope, TSO always has advice or they will implement the changes for me.
The price of their packages is exceptionally reasonable and on some packages, they even offer a free domain name.
Once you have all of that setup, you will want to create your site. I have again always favoured WordPress over other platforms as it gives me the freedom and ease of use I need. TSO Host has a great package that is designed for WordPress sites.
This is my favourite part of starting a blog.
Finding a template that fits with what I have in my head.
Now, be warned, this can take some time as there are so many great templates available. Free or paid for, there will be one perfect for your vision of your site.
Word Play and Slowly Lived both use the Wellness template which runs on the Genesis. Genesis is from StudioPress who also creates StudioPress Themes for WordPress. These boost your site and you can then buy child themes that link into the main framework. Many top bloggers use this framework as it helps with SEO (we’ll discuss this in another post.)
You can start by using one of the free templates to get a feel for how WordPress works and how to make each theme fit into your design.
There is another option where you can get a designer to create a custom site for you. This a big investment especially if it’s your first site and you may not even want to continue on after six months.
What about content?
Where do you start writing?
This is a big area and something I think deserves its own post, so, for now, I would grab a notepad and think about what you want to write about. List some titles for posts or topics you want to cover and keep adding to it.
Do you want the truth about blogging?
Blogging is time-consuming, costly and can be soul destroying. It is also rewarding, inspiring and gives you the opportunity to make friends with people you would never normally have met.
Do not go into this thinking you’ll be making a full-time income in six months. It does happen occasionally but more often than not, it can take a couple of years of working full-time for little return.
Why do I do it then?
Because I love writing.
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