Have you ever thought about starting a blog? Do you have a story to share, a bunch of great recipes, tutorials, parenting ideas? Maybe you love to travel, or want to write about your faith. Whatever the reason, starting your blog is simple, and you can be writing in no time!
When I started blogging four years ago I kind of started on a whim. I saw a lot of blogs I loved, I loved what they were doing. I knew blogging was an avenue for sharing stories, encouraging others, and connecting. I also knew there was the possibility of making an income.
However I had no idea what I was doing. I also did zero research… not exactly the way to get off to a strong start. I kind of just jumped right in without much guidance.
While I have built a nice strong following since then, and I am super proud of my little blog here, I really think that I could have gotten to this point sooner if I’d have started stronger!
Over the last few years I’ve had several friends start a blog and they’ve come to me for advice. I love being able to help them, answer their questions, and get them started out the right way! I’ve often wished I had a resource to send them with step by step instructions!
So I decided to put this together, to share what I’ve learned, and help anyone starting a blog to get off on the right foot from the beginning!
#1- Decide on your topic (or topics) –
If you’ve already decided to start a blog you probably have an idea of what you want to write about. If you’re like me you might have a ton of ideas, you want to write about All. The. Things. or you might have a pretty narrow idea. When you decide on your subject you want to think about a couple of things. You want a topic you love! If you’re planning to blog for a long time you want to enjoy the writing! You also want to think about how much you can realistically write about your topic. Do you have a unique spin to put on things, a problem you can solve. Content is key in blogging so you want to make sure the topics you choose are interesting, enjoyable to write about, and something you are passionate about. If you’ve got several topics that can relate you can fall in the “Lifestyle” category, or maybe you’ll just cover a couple of topics. Write your topics down and think about which ones make you excited, how they relate , and how they’ll translate into a blog.
#2- Brainstorm Names and Web Addresses-
Once you’ve settled on your topic you want to come up with a name! You’ll want to find a name that is memorable and relates to your topic. When I picked Far From Normal I felt like it summed up my out of the box way of thinking and my not so normal life. I also thought it was catchy. If you’re a food blogger, or travel blogger, you want to pick a catchy name that gives an idea what your readers can expect. Once you’ve settled on a name you’ll need a web address to match! If you’re like me the exact name of your blog might not be available. Think of other variations, or try one of your other blog names and see if that address is available. Sometimes the solution is simply adding “blog” to the end, or choosing a .net instead of .com.
#3 – Choose your platform – There are two big platforms that mos bloggers use, blogger, and wordpress. Both offer a free option and a paid option. Depending on your blogging goals a free site may be just what you need. If you’re looking to keep just a personal diary or share with friends and family. If you’re looking to build a blog, eventually make an income, maybe launch a writing career… you’ll want to use a paid option. By paying you don’t have a site that is www.yoursitename.blogspot.com or .wordpress.org. I started on blogger and it was super easy to get set up and use, however if I had it to do over again I would have started on wordpress from the very beginning.
Why choose wordpress? First because by going with wordpress and paying for a hosting plan your blog and content are your own, you own it, it’s 100% yours. Blogger is owned by Google and by using their platform and hosting Google in essence owns your blog. Now I work really hard on my blog and want it to be MINE!
Secondly there a bazillion plugins for wordpress that can make your blogging life easier. Need to place ads, there is a plugin. Want to manage social media with a company like CoSchedule? They’ve got a plugin. There are so many choices that make it easier to blog.
You could start on Blogger and move eventually… but why not start out strong and make the best choice right off the bat! Start on wordpress… you’ll be happy you did.
#4- Set up your hosting – Since I convinced you to go ahead with a wordpress blog you’re going to need hosting. Here’s another place where I will give you the advice to make the best choice from day one!! I started out with one hosting company and while they were great for a little while eventually I found the service not so great, the customer service and support lacking and knew it was time for a change.
So I went looking. I asked other bloggers, I read reviews, and I decided on the company I now use and am thrilled with!! I strongly recommend SiteGround. They’re customer service and support are super helpful, really quick, and as a smaller company they really care about their customers! SiteGround is actually recommended by WordPress as one of the best wordpress hosts! Once again hindsight being 20/20 I would have gone with them at the beginning. But we live and learn right? Then pass along our lessons to others!
If you decided to go with SiteGround you’ll just need to hop over to their website and pick the plan that is right for you. If you’re just starting the StartUp package should be just fine. If you’re switching from another hosting you might need a bigger plan.
After you choose you’re plan it’s time to choose your domain. You can check availiblity here too and pick one that suits your new blog and is available. Siteground offers 1-yr free domain registration with their hosting packages so that is taken care of too! If you’re switching from another hosting company the transfer is free too, and let me tell you it is super speedy and smooth!
Now you’re ready to check out, just add in any extra features you’d like to include and then fill out your payment information!
There you have it, hosting ready to go!!
#5- Get started on WordPress– Since you were smart enough to get started with SiteGround they will be kind enough to install wordpress on your website for you! All you have to do is choose WordPress in your account set up. Once you’ve done that it will ask you to set your log-in details and then choose a theme. SiteGround has a lot of themes to choose from, they’ll install it at the same time as WordPress. If they don’t have one you like you can always switch to another free theme or choose one that is paid for. (I purchased mine through a company called Restored 316 they have a ton of beautiful ones!)
Once you’ve done all that you’re ready to go! You’ll log into your wordpress at www.yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin using the log-in details you set up.
Here you’ll be able to find plugins, tweak the appearance of your site, and of course get to blogging!!
#6 -Start Blogging!
Just click on “Posts” and select “New Post” and you’re ready to get writing! Just add in your title, and fill in the text! Congratulations you’re now officially a blogger!!
You’ve gotten started but there is still a lot to learn!
Getting your blog started is just the very tip of the ice burg! I want to encourage you as you start that learning about all things blogging is a marathon not a sprint! You’ll constantly learn about new tools, different plugins, email lists, social media… it goes on and on! It’s easy to get overwhelmed, its easy to try to learn everything all at once and feel like there are a million things to do and learn. Take a breath. Start with the writing, that is the heart of your blog, take your time getting to know wordpress and all it’s features. You’ll have plenty of time to learn all that there is to know about blogging so for now just be excited that you have a blog of your own set up and ready to go!!
Have you ever thought of starting a blog? What questions do you have?
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