Have you been reading blogs online and thinking "I could do that" or "I love that community, I want to be a part of it".
Blogging is great, as a hobby, as an outlet, as a way to make some extra money. I've been blogging in different places for the past 15 years and I love it. It's not just having the creative outlet to pour out your thoughts, it's having the community of people who think the same as you. Over the years I've made some great friends around the world, many of whom I've never actually met.
When I first started blogging it was as a book reviewer, I loved it. There was nobody in my day to day life who had the same passion for books that I did so having a chance to talk about them to people who were interested was amazing.
Over time though it became a lot of pressure, to keep the blog active I needed to be posting on a weekly basis, this meant I had to read a book a week, which just wasn't always possible. I also received a lot of books from publishers and it took all of my time to keep on top of those, which meant I wasn't getting to choose the books I was reading so I lost a lot of the pleasure.
When I closed that blog I took a break for a couple of years as life took over but I really missed it. Now I have this blog, a blog for my other business and I also microblog.
Blogging has changed over the past few years, it's become even more popular and is now an excellent way to make a living, with the right skill set and some patience. If you're willing to put the time and the effort in then there's no limit to what you can earn. Have a look at these income reports:
Fit Mom Journey = $8,167.15 working 10 hours a week
Femtrepreneur - $100k in 12 months
So, you want to start a blog but have no idea where to start.
You've come to the right place.
1. Decide on your niche
Before we get started on any technical aspect of starting a blog the most important thing is to decide what you're going to write about. The more you can narrow this down the better.
Have you heard the phrase "Jack of all trades master of none"? We don't want that to be you!
You need to narrow down your niche so that you can be seen as the authority on that subject.
This isn't as easy as you would first think. As I said before, I've blogged about a few things in the past and been pretty successful but none of them were sustainable long term.
You need to consider what you are passionate about and what experience you have.
When I started on this blog, I knew I wanted to reach out to other people in the same boat as me. Women who'd had a good career that they'd built up but then had children and realised that the 60 hour weeks weren't worth it and that getting to see your children was much more important.
Those women who'd become accustomed to a certain level of comfort and expenses each month and wanted to continue to live to their comfort levels without having to do the daily commute to a job that no longer gave them the satisfaction it once did.
My day job background is in IT, and although I was really passionate about it at one stage, over the years that passion has been stripped away. Although I have a lot of knowledge I could have shared I knew that I didn't enjoy it enough to be able to blog about it long term.
I'd used blogging previously to score free books and to promote Direct Sales products successfully so my next logical step was to build on this experience and to teach others how to do the same.
If you choose something that you are passionate about then that passion will show in your posts, in the way that you speak about your subject and in your ability to be able to come up with blog posts. If you're struggling to think of anything to say then rethink your niche.
2. Choose a blogging platform
Most blogs are run on wordpress.org this gives you the freedom to set up the blog as you like and to monetie it if you choose. It is self hosted which means that you'll need to pay for hosting, however this is really reasonable (I pay about £45 for a year).Don't be put off by this if you have no technical knowledge, it's really not needed.
There are other paid for options such as square space but as Wordpress is the most popular in the world, over 30% of the web is built on wordpress.org from Walt Disney to Channing Tatum.
There are also free versions that you could choose such as wordpress.com and blogger, neither of these give you the same freedom as wordpress.org, you cannot get the same themes, with wordpress.com you will have an ugly domain name, you cannot monetise your blog, there are other rules you will have to follow and most importantly - you will not own your site or it's content!
3. Choose a domain name
The domain name is the website address of your blog, what people will type into the search bar to bring it up. This should be a fun activity but for many this is where they get stuck and spend more time than is really necessary stressing over names. Don't over think your domain name, it doesn't matter anywhere near as much as you think it does. People will come to you for your content, not your blog name!
Some ideas to get you started:
- use your name
- what is your blog about, try to get that into the title
- keep it short
- make it catchy
- ensure it's easy to spell
Try to pull a list together of 5-8 possible names as there's a good chance that the first one you bhoose willhave already been taken.
4. choose a web host
I've got my blog hosted through GoDaddy and I would highly recommend them. What's so good about GoDaddy?
- the No 1 domain and hosting service in the world
- when you purchase their hosting you get your domain free
- Fast page loads
- Award winning security
- 99.9% up time guarantee
- 24/7 expert support
- reasonably priced
- one click wordpress install
The set up process with GoDaddy is really simple. When you first go to their home page you will see this screen
enter the domain name that you chose earlier and click search. It'll show you whether your domain is available or not.
.com are the most popular domain names but aren't a necessity, if you're really set on having a specific name then don't be afraid to go for .co or .net. Problogger was on .net for many years before switching to .com quite recently
Select the domain name that you want and add it to your cart and then select the continue to cart button. On the next page you'll be given the option to add wordpress and emails.
The basic wordpress package is £3.99 a month and will sustain your blog and upto 25,000 visitors a month. Although you may have dreams of more visitors than this, this package should be sufficient until you get established, at which point you can upgrade. Choose the package that you want to add to your cart.
Personally, I didn't like using GoDaddy's email and I get mine through Google, I find it a lot easier to work with and I can keep all of my blog documents together in my Google Drive.
I would also recommend paying for the security add on to keep your information private.
Once you are happy with with the items on your list you'll progress to the payments page where you can select how long in advance you are going to pay for everything (upto 5 years).
After completing the payment portion of the process you will be sent a confirmation email telling you to log into your account.
- Log into Godaddy
- Click Web Hosting.
- Next to the hosting account click Manage.
- Under Options & Settings in the Popular Apps section, click WordPress.
- Click the Install button.
- Complete the on-screen fields, and then click OK
- Domain — Select the domain on your account you want to use (the one you just purchased)
- Directory — Enter the directory after the domain name where you want to install WordPress. If you want the domain name itself to use WordPress, the directory field should be left blank.
- Enter an Administrator Name, Password (and its confirmation), an Email Address and the Blog Title. WordPress will be installed to your hosting account with the options you selected within 24 hours. When it’s complete, you’ll receive a confirmation email. I've never had it take the full 24 hours, usually it's available within 30 minutes.
Go and grab a cuppa while you wait, it'll stop you refreshing your screen impatiently for a few minutes.
5. Choose a theme
Now it's time to choose a theme, there are plenty of free ones that come with Wordpress. Have a nosey through them and see which catch your eye. Try not to fall down the rabbit hole and spend too long searching through them all. A couple of nice ones are:
As you get more established you will probably want to change up to a paid for theme which gives you more options to personalise to your brand. When you reach this point the best theme out there is divi, it's the most versatile and easy to use theme out there.
Once you have your theme installed, you're good to go.
Congratulation! You've just set up your blog!