The number one question I get asked most often is “How did you start blogging?”. Which to me seems like a strange question. Because all I did was snap a few photos of me standing in the middle of my street then sit down on my computer and upload them to the internet. Not very exciting huh? (ps. If you are curious about why I started blogging, I wrote a whole blog post about it here!)
Starting a blog is not nearly as hard as it sounds. All it takes is a little bit of technical know-how and enough confidence to put yourself out there. Today, I’m sharing exactly how you can start your own blog in 6 simple steps.
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 6 EASY STEPS
Step 1: Find your why
The first step in starting your blog is figuring out your why. What is it that you want to share with the world and why do you want to share it? Do you want to tell stories that make people laugh? Do you want to help others and give advice? Do you want to share photos that inspire people?
In order to create a blog that people will want to read, you need to know what your why is. Without a solid “why” any blog you start will be lacking purpose and there will be no reason for an audience to want to follow along. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish with your blog will also help you decide upon your niche.
Choosing a niche in the blogging world is very important if you want to grow your blog or eventually work with brands. The more specific you are with your niche the easier it is to connect with your ideal audience and become known as an expect in your digital space. Instead of competing with the thousands of lifestyle bloggers on the internet you can be the go-to person for “petite fashion in Chicago” or for “natural beauty products for fair skin”.
Without a knowing your why, it becomes easy to give up or get discouraged when things get tough. Like everything else in life, blogging has its ups and downs. People can leave hurtful comments, friends might unfollow you on social media or you can get rejected by brands you’d love to work with. As amazing as blogging is, it can be also be hard, so knowing your why is essential to getting through the tough spots and finding the confidence to share your story online.
Step 2: Create some content
Once you know your why and have decided upon a niche you need to start creating content. While it may be tempting to start designing your perfect website or deciding upon a name for your blog, developing content should be your number one goal.
My advice would be to create at least 3-4 posts before you publish anything or even begin designing a website.
The first reason for this, is that as you start creating content you may find the types of photos and articles you enjoy sharing or are natural skilled at creating about might be different than you originally thought. There is no point in creating a brand when the type of content you are sharing is still changing and growing. Also, it’s worth taking photos and writing some blog posts to figure out if you even like blogging! There is no point in spending hours designing a website then deciding you don’t have anything you feel comfortable sharing.
Secondly, when you are starting a blog consistency is important. It’s smart to always have finished posts ready to share in case you don’t have time to write a new article one week or aren’t feeling particularly inspired.
When writing blog posts, it is important to create stories that can provide value to others. This goes back to your “why”. Do you want to make your readers laugh, or perhaps educate them on an particular issue? No matter what type of blog posts you want to write, it needs to be something people would want to read, or else you are better off just writing your thoughts in your personal diary. It is so important to create content that is worthy of sharing if you ever want to generate any real traffic to your website.
Step 3: Give yourself a name!
Now that you’ve created some content it’s time to give your blog a name. When choosing a name you will want to find something that can grow with you and a name you can feel comfortable saying out loud.
Using your own personal name is of course a natural option that many bloggers choose. If your blog is solely centred upon your personal life, using your name might be a great option. It makes you easily recognizable as the face of the brand however, it could potentially limit your opportunities for growth in the future. If you ever want to sell your business, you could potentially lose the rights to use your name on future projects. Also, if you are single you might also consider the possibility of deciding to take on your future partner’s last name.
My advice for choosing a name is to brainstorm a giant list with every possible name idea that comes to mind. Write absolutely everything down – no idea is to crazy when you are brainstorming! Feel free to ask close friends for ideas too while you are at it. Once you have a solid list, start narrowing your ideas down and checking if the names have already been taken by other businesses.
Once you decide on a name you will need to check if the domain name is available. I think it is extremely important to choose a name that has a .com available. Not only is it the most widely known domain designator but there is also some SEO (search engine optimization) value to having a .com website address. When I started my blog, I only purchased prettylittledetails.ca and years later I ended having to pay nearly a thousand dollars to purchase the .com domain from the greedy previous owner.
When checking for domain availability, you will also need to check that the associated social media handles are not taken. Even if you don’t think you will use a certain social media platform, it’s important to secure your brand name just in case. Also, make sure to use the same name on all your platforms so that you will be easy to find!
Step 4: Design your brand
With your name picked out, it’s time to create your brand. This means choosing all those little details like your blog’s logo and the colours and fonts you want to use on your website. If you are a naturally creative person, this process can be tons of fun, but you can always choose to hire a designer to create your brand for you.
If you choose to DIY I recommend creating a Pinterest moodboard for inspiration. Pin photos of colours, text and textures that inspire you and represent what you want your blog to stand for. Think about who your target audience is and what they might like. Decided on a vibe and think about how you want people to feel when they visit your website.
From your inspiration board choose a main colour along with one or two complimentary shades to use on your website. You should also choose 2-3 fonts that you love. A basic text font that’s easy to read for your blog posts as well as a more styled text option for headers and other small details. Once you have your colours and fonts chosen you are ready to make yourself a website.
Step 5: Get yourself a website!
Creating a website is the most technical part of starting a blog. While you can hire a web developer, creating a blog from scratch is a very achievable task. All you need to do is choose a blogging platform then install a template to give your blog the look you want. There are many free templates available if you don’t want to spend money, but you can also buy a pre-made template to give your blog a unique look.
But before you design the look of your website you must first choose a platform from which to run your blog. The two most common options, (and the two that I recommend!) are Blogger and WordPress.
I personally used Blogger as a platform for Pretty Little Details for years and believe it is a great cost-effective option. Blogger allows you to use your own domain name, hosts your blog on Google’s servers and is absolutely free! The only downside to Blogger is that it is a platform outside of your control. If Google ever decided to discontinue its blogger platform, or decided to shut down your account your blog would be completely at their mercy.
WordPress.org is the platform of choice for most professional bloggers and it is the platform I currently use for Pretty Little Details.
If you decide to run your blog on WordPress you will need to purchase hosting in addition to your domain name. Hosting is a monthly fee that you pay a company so that the files contained within your website have somewhere to be stored. With Blogger, Google automatically hosts your website on their servers. But with WordPress you can choose from hundreds of different companies to host your website.
I personally host my website with Siteground and am extremely happy with them. Several times I’ve had to make emergency calls to tech support and I have always been able to talk to a human within a few minutes (not a robot who tells you there are 542 customers ahead of you!). I’ve even had to call them at 2am on a Sunday, when was sure I would only get an answering machine but got help with my problem right away. With customer services like that, I’m happy to give them my business!
One quick note: WordPress also has a free option but I would strongly advise against using it. The main reason is that it does not allow you to use your own domain name on your blog (meaning your website address would be “yourblogname.wordpress.com” instead of “yourblogname.com”).
Step 6: Debut your blog!
This step is potentially the most difficult step in starting a blog (it certainly was for me!). You’ve worked hard to create something and sharing it with the world might be intimidating. But you have to be proud of what you created! Hit publish on your first blog post and share the link to your blog with everyone you know. In fact, shout it from the rooftops!
If you are just starting out, you might only see the imperfections in what you have created. But if you keep waiting until everything is absolutely perfect before you debut your blog, you may never actually share it! Don’t expect your content to look just as good as the content of someone who has been blogging for years. You will learn as you grow!
I hope today’s post was helpful for you all! If you are interested in learning more about blogging, make sure to check back next Friday to read the next segment in my blogging series!