You’ve wanted to start a blog for some time now, but you just weren’t sure where to start. Don’t worry; you’ve got this! It isn’t as scary as you may think, especially when you wonder what hosting is and what’s a domain? Not to mention how do you code?
I’ve been blogging for about 18 years now, and I’ve been through all the changes. Back when I started my first blog, I had to do all the coding myself. I’m not even sure if WordPress was around back then. If it was, it wasn’t well known. There wasn’t much of a social media platform. Back then it was Myspace. There were blogs on Angelfire, and they were all glittery and played music. Things have changed, and blogging got easier, to some extent.
How to Start A Blog
Where to start? Well, let’s first make it clear that although blogging can be fun and has its perks, it is A LOT of work. You have to have the content, the pictures, and the following to make it work. It all comes in time, and for some, it could take longer than others. If you are easily discouraged, you might want to start by being a contributor on another blog. Being a contributor will not only help you get started but will also help you understand the commitment you need to become successful.
To start a blog, you are going to need a few things. I’ll go into details of each item to help you get started.
- Name of Blog
Some may say that this should be step two and that you should find your niche first. However, I feel that by the time you have already decided to start a blog you already have a niche in mind. If this isn’t the case, then go ahead and find your niche first then come back to pick your blog name.
Deciding on a blog name can be fun, but it can also be very frustrating. Keep it simple and as close to your niche as possible. If you have a more broad niche covering many areas, like a lifestyle blog, then you can be more flexible. However, if you are focusing on mostly travel or food, then you want your name to fit the niche perfectly.
Narrow Down Your Niche
This step is only needed if your blog will focus on more than one area. If you are going to cover food or travel only, then you can skip this step. If you are going to be a lifestyle blog, then you want to narrow down what topics you want to cover. Don’t overdo it with a lot of topics, pick a few. You can be a lifestyle blogger and still include food, travel, tech, and crafts. But don’t go overboard and have 10-20 different topics you want to cover.
The domain you choose should coincide with your blog name. You don’t want a super long domain because people won’t want to type out a long URL to get to your site. Your domain name is how your followers will find you. Like here at Shawn Ann, our domain is https://www.shawnann.com. You want to do something similar. You don’t want to have your site name Shawn Ann but your URL to be something like http://livinginhawaii.com. It’ll just confuse your readers.
I would suggest going to nameckr when looking for your name, especially your domain. This site will allow you to put in the username you’d like and tell you if it is available not only as a domain but also for your social media accounts. It is best to have them all the same or as close to the same as possible. Once you settle on a blog name and the domain, you’ll want to grab your social media accounts to match ASAP!
Where do you get a domain name? I prefer getting mine from GoDaddy, but you can also get them from many hosting companies. I prefer to keep my domain registrar and hosting companies separately, but this is totally up to you. Some find it easier to have them from the same company.
Time for Hosting
You’ve decided on your blog name, and you have the domain. Now it is time to set up your hosting. Hosting is where your blog will sit, and your information will be stored. There are so many hosting companies out there today, and you could pay a small fortune if you don’t choose wisely. I would recommend starting off with low-cost hosting and then move to a more expensive one if needed in the future. Why pay more for something if you don’t need to?
I have tried a lot of different hosting companies over the years. Everyone always has their own opinion on each hosting company. Some may have had problems with ones that others love. For someone starting out, I recommend using Hostgator, DreamHost, Liquid Web, and A2 Hosting. You could go with a more advanced and expensive hosting company like WP Engine if you’d like to go with a company that specializes in WordPress hosting.
Your next step is to get the core of your blog set up. For this, you will want to use WordPress. WordPress is your entire system, this will help you from needing to worry about most coding, and it is the easiest platform for blogging. You will need to download and install this. One of the great things about the hosting companies I suggested is that there are options within your CPANEL that will install WordPress for you and get it all set up to the basic settings.
Theming your site is another fun part. You could spend a lot of money on getting a theme created for you. I recommend that you get a Genesis child theme for your website. They are easy to customize, and there are a ton of them out there. Genesis themes are pretty much all set up for those that want to sell products if you decide to go that route in the future. You can get Genesis themes from Restored 316, and directly from StudioPress.
I know, this all seems like a lot of work. Trust me; it is all worth it and not all that work. Now you can start blogging and even make money blogging!
If you don’t want to mess with the setup of your blog yourself, you can always hire me to do the job for you. I would require you to have already settled on your blog name ready as well as know what you want your domain to be (and it needs to be available). I can then work with you to purchase the domain, set up hosting, install WordPress, purchase, and install the theme of your choice, and get you ready to start blogging. Just email me at email@example.com, and we can work out all the details.