7 Steps to Starting a Blog
As a coach, I’m asked a lot of questions. As someone that’s worked online for 6 years, I’m typically asked questions about pursuing various things online. Everything from consulting to handmade businesses. But the one the thing that never fails to be asked is this.
“How can I start a blog? It feels really overwhelming.”
I’m going to tell you a little secret. Everyone feels that way when they get started blogging. And truthfully, it really isn’t that scary. I pinky promise! In fact, the actual start up of a blog is the easiest. So today, we’re going to take the overwhelm and scariness of starting blog away and break it down into 7 easy and actionable steps.
Determine Your Niche.
If there’s one thing that will make a person crazy it’s starting a blog with no niche. AKA no direction. In order to start an effective blog right from the get go, you need to choose a niche.
Now your niche doesn’t have to be super specific; it can encompass a variety of topics. For an example, you could be a Parenting Lifestyle blogger and write about motherhood and parenting and kids activities, etc. Or you could be a DIY Lifestyle blogger and write about crafts and recipes.
But maybe you do have a specific niche you’d like to write about. Maybe it’s cooking or knitting. That works too! As long as you plan on sticking with that topic.
General rule of thumb, if you can come up with 20ish post ideas that are directly relevant to your intended niche, you’re good.
Pick a Name.
Are you experiencing cold sweats over this one? Please don’t! This part is fun and even though it can feel like a big decision, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Let’s go over a few simple guidelines for naming your blog.
- It should reflect your blog/business. In other words, if your website is about baking, you probably wouldn’t want to name your blog “Dump trucks and Dirt.”
- Names should be simple and memorable. Instead of it being “Susie’s Magical Soap Making Extravaganza and Blog,” considering something shorter like “Susie’s Soaps.” The reasoning here is that you want people to easily remember your name so they can share without having to really stretch their memories.
- It should be available. You can check to see if the name is taken by doing a quick google search.
Buy a Domain and Hosting.
So here’s the thing. You can totally start a blog for free. But those free blogger blogs? They’re a problem. And I could give a million reasons why you want to go self hosted with your own domain name from the get go but I’ll sum it up with this.
When you’re hosted on a free platform, you don’t own your content. Meaning it can be deleted whenever and without notice. It also will lower your chances of securing paid opportunities as most brands prefer to work with a self hosted blogger. So just start with a self hosted Wordpress and your life will be SO much easier.
This investment is worthwhile and will start you on the right foot. And you can do it pretty inexpensively. Let’s do this.
For beginners, I recommend a host like GoDaddy. There are a million different hosts out there so it's important to do your research to find out about "down time" and what customer service support is available in the event that something happens to your blog.
I've used GoDaddy for years, for both my hosting and for my domain registration. They're customer service is top notch and I have had nothing but good experiences with them. I'm not an affiliate, just a happy customer
Now some hosts offer managed Wordpress sites, where you can buy hosting with Wordpress already set up. If you opt to go with something that isn't "managed," you'll need to install Wordpress on your own
Luckily, most hosts have a tutorial available on how to set up Wordpress with their service so it's made super easy. If you can't find that, ask your customer rep and they should be able to direct you to a tutorial.
It's very simple!
Pick a Theme.
Once you’ve set up your Wordpress, you’ll be emailed the credentials to actually log into the Wordpress platform and this is when the fun starts. You get to customize your site!
You can use the themes already provided OR you can add your own themes. Here are places that I love for themes.
This part is super easy and super fun. You install the themes by going to the appearance tab on your Wordpress account.
All right. You’ve done all the set up. It’s time to add some content. The first thing you want to write is your about page. Click here to access a full post on creating an incredible about page.
After you do that, you’ll want to create some actual blog posts.
The most important thing about your blog posts is consistency. Pick a day or two per week (or however many days you feel you can post per week) and commit to having posts up on those days. By knowing when posts will go live, you can consistently work ahead.
Create a list of blog post ideas and get to writing and scheduling. It’s really that simple.
Some quicks rules of thumb?
- You want to have images in your posts to make them visually appealing.
- For SEO reasons, make sure your posts are at least 350 words.
- Always double proofread.
Go and Grow.
You’ve got the blog, you’ve got the content. Now it’s time to grow. Here are some fast tips for you to get started on the right foot.
Be sure to start social media pages for your new blog. You’ll want to share your blog posts on those social media pages as well as other content for your new readers.
Pin Pin Pin! Pinterest is an amazing tool so be sure to share those posts on Pinterest!
Join some Facebook groups specifically for bloggers! You’ll find encouragement and support as you venture down your blogging path.
Always be ready to learn something new. There are lessons everywhere.
Never compete, only collaborate. The blogging community is an amazing one. Just remember, the bloggers out there aren’t your competitors. They’re your colleagues.
Okay, my friend. Are you ready to start your blog? Do you have any questions? Leave me a comment; I’d love to hear from you!