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Welcome future bloggers! I’m glad you could join us:)
So you’re thinking of starting a blog? Well, I think that’s a really great idea. Blogging can be such an amazing way to express yourself, such a great creative outlet. It has given me confidence and validation in my role as a stay at home mom, it’s the perfect “me time”, and the perfect side hustle.
But, even though I think it’s a really great idea, I also think you’re probably ridiculously overwhelmed.
I know I was.
I watched probably thirty YouTube videos and read just about every blog post I could find explaining the ins and outs of starting one. Lucky for you, I’ve already done the hard part. My hours and hours of research and reading, are your gain:)
There are some really great resources out there. Some very knowledgable vets of the blogging world have taken the time to write some amazingly helpful articles. But, for someone completely green and brand new, many of them can be a little lengthy and a tad bit overwhelming. I love the detail they go into, the step by step break downs, the super helpful explanations, but they can make for a very long read. So, after a surprising amount of interest and curiosity from friends and family, about how exactly I got started, I’ve decided to write one of my own.
I’m going to make it as simple as I can. Starting a blog for dummies, if you will:)
Now I am by no means an expert, I’ve only been at this the better part of 4 months, which in the blogging world, is next to nothing. I literally learn something new every single day, and YouTube videos, are still my best friend.
That being said, there are a few things I know for sure, and one of those, is that there are really only a few steps to actually starting your blog.
- Decide what you want to blog about
- Decide on a blogging platform
- Choose a hosting service
- Pick a domain name
- Just go for it. Seriously.
That’s it. 5 simple steps to make your blog a reality.
Now, that’s just the beginning of course. There is way more than I realized that goes into designing a blog, finding the right plugins, and constantly maintaining it.
But we will get to all of that later.
This post will cover only the most basic steps of blog startup.
Ok, let’s jump in…
1. Decide what to blog about.
This one is self explanatory, what are you passionate about? If you’ve considered starting a blog, you probably already have an idea of what you want it to be, how you want it to feel, and the audience you want to target. If not, sit down and brainstorm.
They say, the more you can narrow down your niche, the better. The more targeted your audience is, the better. I struggle a little with that, if I’m being honest. I obviously fall in the parenting niche more than anything, but I also love cooking, and gardening, and pets of all shapes, and just talking about life in general, with all of its ups and downs. For now, it works for me. I may try to zone in on one thing more than the other in the future, but right now, I’m going to roll with it.
My best advice is, whatever you choose to write about, make sure it’s something you love, something you won’t easily tire of. Whether that be one very specific topic or several topics you feel strongly about.
2. Choose a blogging platform.
I knew right from the start that my blog would be, not only a source of relaxation and an outlet for creativity, but also a possible source of income. If you think you may want to monetize your blog in the future, and honestly even if you don’t, I highly recommend a self-hosted wordpress.org website. Self-hosted sites will give you the most freedom and control over your blog.
Free blogging sites can be great and TONS of amazing bloggers use them, but they also place strict limitations on your ability to make money off of your blog. They will technically “own” your blog, which from my research, is not ideal.
I read tons of stories of bloggers having to pay to switch to a self-hosted platform, after they already had their blog up and established. It sounded like one big headache I never wanted to deal with. For me, the small cost was more than worth it.
And plus, wordpress has THOUSANDS of beautiful free themes to make designing your blog a little easier. And it is a very well known platform so the helpful resources out there are abundant!
3. Choose a hosting service.
This is where it can sometimes get a little confusing. What the heck is a hosting service? Essentially, your host site is where your blog will “live”. After setting up your hosting service, you will download WordPress on their site and start building your blog.
When doing my research I focused my decision mainly on three big factors. Pricing, customer service, and site speed. I needed something affordable, stay at home mom doesn’t pay all that great;) I needed all the help I could get, as I had literally ZERO experience in website building. And nothing bugs me more than when a website won’t load and gives me the spinning wheel of death.
This is probably where I spent the bulk of my time researching. There are several GREAT options out there. But, after comparing and contrasting for days on end, I decided to go with SiteGround
The comparisons out there can be a little over my head… Ok, a lot over my head, let’s be honest here. All the techy talk and lingo is not my strong suit by any means. I know very little about servers and anti-virus bots.
But what I did find and understand was that SiteGround came out ahead in almost every speed test, important once you start adding plugins and more content. No one wants a slow website. That their “uptime” is 99.99%, meaning essentially, your site will never be down. Something no other service has accomplished. And that their customer service is incredible, which I can now personally vouch for, having used their online chat help several times.
There are 3 plans to choose from depending on what you’re looking for.
Starting at only $3.95 a month:)
Now, you do pay for the year upfront so be prepared to put a little into the start up of your blog. I chose the Grow Big plan, which is their middle option, giving me some of the premium features and the ability to have more than one website if I choose to do so in the future. That and my domain, which we will talk about next, cost me just over $80 combined. Not too shabby for starting a brand new hobby from scratch, especially one that is making me an income:)
Probably the most commonly used plan among novice bloggers is the Start Up plan. It is the most basic, which is more than good enough for the blogger just starting out. I just like to be extra sometimes, what can I say;)
4. Pick a domain name.
This one is a big deal. Not that the others aren’t, but this is the one your readers will notice before anything else. This is your brand.
Your domain is your website, your dot com, your first impression.
This is also another pro to having a self-hosted wordpress website… a pretty domain name. When using a free site your url can began looking long and hard to remember…
See what I mean?
Make it something easy but worth remembering, something that will stick with people. It also helps if it hints at what your blog is actually about, so people will be tempted to go there.
Each domain name you choose to purchase through SiteGround will cost you $15, not bad for your own self-hosted website.
5. Just got for it. Seriously.
This. I went back and forth for months about starting my blog. Now I look back and think, if only I had started it when I first had the idea, think of how much further I would be in my journey.
It is such a learning curve and a few months can make a world of difference. So don’t wait. If you want to be a blogger, be a blogger. What are you waiting for?
It has given me so much confidence, it has kept me sane, and it has given me an identity other than just mom. I am a mom, a wife, and a blogger, and I couldn’t be loving it more.
The Beautifully Mediocre Blogger