I know what you’re thinking…
Yes, yes I do.
But since I started this blog almost seven years ago, I’ve learned (often the hard way) a few things about blogging.
I’ve learned how to grow my blog traffic with simple methods that can be used again and again.
I’ve learned how to keep my own voice in sponsored content.
And I’ve learned how to earn a decent full-time income – from a blog that very rarely talks about how to make money blogging!
And since I’m a teacher at heart, I thought I’d share with you how to start a blog of your own. You know, just in case you’ve ever considered it.
SIDE NOTE: If you’re here and you’ve read one of those “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” articles about blogging being dead and you’re afraid to even learn how to start a blog – RELAX! I think blogging and blogs are definitely evolving. And I think social media is super important and another avenue to explore for fun and income for sure.
But I believe that everyone – even social media influencers – need to have a home base. Somewhere to show off skills and talents. An online space that you actually OWN.
Because you can build a huge following on social media, but you have no control over what happens to that following.
You own your blog. So it doesn’t matter what Facebook does to its algorithms or who Pinterest decides to show your photos to. Your blog is your blog is your blog.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way…
How to Start a Blog the Right Way – In 5 Simple Steps!
When I was just starting out blogging, like so many bloggers I didn’t really think too hard about a name.
Blogging was new-ish, and no one really thought about where it would be in 2, 3, 5 years.
Or how long we’d be stuck with a name.
Sometimes I wish I chose differently. But I’m glad I chose something that was at least generic enough to go with the flow of changes in this business of mine (and hubby’s) that centers around the blog.
Some people are now choosing their own names as domain names, which is fine. For me that doesn’t work, because I actually have at least one kid that wants to work with AKA Design when they’re older. But maybe that would work for you.
Also consider if the .com is available. At this writing .com is still the best option for website names. I wish I’d waited and found a name that could have had a .com ending. But alas it wasn’t meant to be.
SO, think about your blog’s domain name. Choose carefully. You can always rebrand down the road, but it’s better to come up with a great name now!
Tip: You can register a domain name for free at Bluehost (if you use their hosting – see next step). You can also register your domain name at Namespro, which is where I register all our domain names.
A hosting company is basically the space on which your blog will live. When you’re first starting – before you have any real traffic – you can go with pretty much anyone.
Bluehost is really popular for first-timers because it’s easy and very inexpensive. It’s a good starting point.
But as you grow, you’ll want a host with a better capacity to handle additional traffic and security.
I used Namespro.ca for ages, for the simple fact that that’s what I stumbled upon when I started AKA Design. But when they started telling me the only way to handle my blog’s increased traffic and site speed issues was to reduce picture quantity and size in my posts it was time to jump ship!
After all, what is a design and DIY blog without the pretty pictures?
Thankfully a blogging friend recommended Hosting.eh and I made the switch almost three years ago.
Andrew and his team handle my needs with professionalism and quick response times. And our website is always very well looked after!
Seriously this change was huge for AKA Design’s growth – and my overall peace of mind.
Tip: Your hosting company will be able to walk you through getting your domain name pointing to the right place.
This is another one of those big impact choices that’s just best done right from the very beginning.
Sure there are free options for starting a website like WordPress.com, Squarespace and Blogger.
But if your intention is to build and grow a business with your blog as home base, then you need to use WordPress.org (also called self-hosted Worpress) right from the start.
Self-hosted WordPress itself is actually free. But you will have to pay for hosting your blog. (See Step 3, above.)
WordPress.org gives you so many more options for looks and control over your site. You can run a store, manage a community and more.
Basically it comes down to this:
WordPress.com = Limited Control
WordPress.org = Full Control
Tip: If you choose a great hosting company like Hosting Eh! they can point your domain name to the right place and install Wordpress for you!
When it comes to themes, there are many more options now than when I started AKA Design. So many that are beautiful and unbelievably functional no matter what you want to blog about.
You can even find free themes if you really want to bootstrap your blog start-up.
BUT I am telling you that you should only choose a theme that runs on the Genesis Framework – also called a Genesis Child Theme.
I wrote about why here, so I won’t explain it all again. The gist is that WordPress is like the engine of your car, Genesis is like the build of that car and the Child Theme is how the car looks. (Of course I’m talking about your blog and not an actual car.)
By using Genesis and a child theme you can change the theme – or the looks of your site – without affecting the underlying workings of your blog. For me this takes a lot of the pressure off of choosing the perfect theme or look of my blog because I know I can easily change it if I grow unhappy with it. Honestly for me this happens about once a year or so!
So choose Genesis and a Child Theme to get the most bang for your buck. You can also see our ultimate list of feminine WordPress blog themes here for more theme ideas.
Tip: This is where a good hosting company can make your life even easier. Have them install your theme for you too!
Now that you’ve got your Domain Name, Hosting, the correct WordPress and a Theme – all you have to do is create great content.
Start putting together a few posts. Publish them. Aim to have at least 10 articles published before you start directing people to your brand new, shiny blog.
Tip: Write like you talk and learn to take great photos.
Follow these steps for how to start a blog and before you know it you’ll have a bona fide blog full of great content and you’ll barely even remember a time when you didn’t know what you were doing!
(*Post contains affiliate links)
If you want a more step-by-step, in depth, walk-through for how to start a blog, I recommend my friend Abby’s ebook/course called Building a Framework.
In Framework Abby talks technical advice for setting up your blog, how to write engaging content, relationship building, social media strategies, blog monetization and email marketing.
It’s like the biggest course/book about blogging there is!
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