Starting a blog isn’t the hardest thing to do but when you arrive in blogland with no prior knowledge it can be completely overwhelming. It’s really useful to read a hell of a lot of posts by other bloggers on the topic.
When I got started I had NO idea where to go and how to start and it was quite a lot like fumbling around in the dark. I didn’t know what a self-hosted account was or how to choose a blogging platform. Worst of all, it seems like there are millions of very successful blogs and yours will never get anywhere. So it’s important to remember that at some point, everyone started at the bottom.
Fast forward down the line and I’m putting together a post on how to get started. All that really matters though is that you know why you’re blogging because it helps you to set goals and objectives for your blog.
How to get started with your blog
1. Decide on your topic or nicheThe first thing to do is choose your niche! #Startablog Click To Tweet
Basically what your blog is going to be about.
You could always just have a general blog where you blog about whatever you’re thinking about on the day but it helps to have a focus if you’re trying to build a reader base. People are less likely to want to read a blog post about what you ate for breakfast one day and how you aren’t sure if you should adopt another cat the next day. People might however want to read your ideas for a nutritious breakfast if you posted breakfast ideas regularly. Likewise, they might want to know about how your life has changed with regular updates since adopting the one-eyed cat called Snuffles. See what I mean?
Now, I don’t know how easy it would be for you to focus on either of those topics but I would suggest looking at the things that interest you and blogging about one of those.
Ask yourself what you’re really passionate about and what you could talk about for days.
Could that be a blog topic? Try and come up with a number of questions around the topic to give yourself an idea of how useful that particular topic is.
When deciding on a niche, try to come up with general categories you could use as well.
If your niche is food blogging, then your categories could be based on various food groups or types of cakes etc. It doesn’t have to be too narrow but it might be easier to focus on desserts rather than specialised dishes. It depends on where you want to go with your blog though.
2. Choose a name for your blog
Okay so now you know what you want to blog about but what are you going to call your blog?
Your name will usually be what you register your blog as just for simplicity sake. So if you want to name your blog The Glitzy Blogger then your site would likely be www.theglitzyblogger.com so check if that name is available.
You want the name to be flexible incase you change the niche of your blog.
Naming your blog “The Cupcake Queen” might limit you to only blogging about cupcakes and if you decide to include other topics at a later date, you might regret the limiting name. Make sure you check the availability of the domain before you settle on a name.
Don’t use something with numbers in it or anything too complicated to remember or explain.
Check that all your social media options are available. If you have a blog called jonelle.com make sure @jonelle is also available on twitter and other social media platforms. It helps with building a brand. I recommend immediately reserving these at Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
3. Choose a blogging platform
There are various platforms out there but the main ones are Blogger and WordPress.
I use WordPress because I find it to be more professional and more flexible with plugins (app type things that make your website do specific things) that make it easily customisable.
Either sign up with WordPress.org (if you’re buying your domain) or WordPress.com if you’re going to use a free site. A free site would mean having a webpage name like www.jonelle.wordpress.com whereas your self hosted (if you own your domain) site would be something like www.jonelle.com for example.
Click this link for more on wordpress.com vs wordpress.org.
You can always start on a free account and then move over at a later date if you don’t want to immediately purchase a domain.
4. Register your domain name
If you’re going the paid route then you will need to register your chosen domain name.
I would suggest buying a domain through GoDaddy (there are other hosts but this is the one I use and they are a very big hosting company – I’ve had no major issues with them so far) if you’re planning on blogging seriously. BlueHost is also a very popular option but I have no personal experience with them. Once you’ve purchased your domain name, you will need to install your WordPress account into your domain host.
5. Choose a theme
Once you’ve got your blog name and domain you will need a theme.
There are many free themes available on WordPress. You will probably go through hundreds of them before you find one you love. If you buy your domain and want a more flexible theme, you can also purchase a premium theme. I don’t think it’s necessary to do that when you first get started but as you learn you will eventually see that it’s quite limiting using a free theme and you will probably want something more customisable.
6. Brand yourself
You will need to upload headers and logos.
You can either design these yourself in photoshop if you know how to do that or use websites like Picmonkey or Canva. I use Canva because it’s much easier to make graphics with but my actual logos were made by a graphic designer. Pick a logo that really reflects your personality and your brand and make sure that your theme is consistent with the image of your blog.
It’s also pretty useful to have a catchphrase for your blog.
A single phrase or a few words that encompass the niche and point of your blog. “Be Unapologetically You” says a lot about my blog without me having to explain it in great detail.
“Not having a recognised brand & trying to stand out in the market is like going to the market without any goods.” ― Onyi Anyado”
Bonus advice for beginner bloggers
- Decide WHY you’re blogging and how much time and effort you want to put in to it.
- Be consistent in when you post.
- The hardest part is getting started. My advice for you is to just start. Start now, you’ll iron out the kinks later. No blogger ever started off with a perfect blog. Even the blogs that have millions of readers right now probably started with only their mum reading their blog posts on a daily basis so have a little faith in yourself and your ability and just start.
- There are a tonne of plugins (like apps for blogs) that can make your blog do really awesome things. it helps to play around and find ones you like and ones that work for you.
- Join Bloglovin and other local and international blogger networks and Facebook groups. These are great for getting support from other bloggers.
- Read other blogs and look for how they make things works and visually what they do that works for you.
- Here are two of my Pinterest boards with links to a number of articles that might help
- I would suggest going onto The Blogcademy and watching the free intro video they have. It’s a blog school run by my two of my favourite bloggers Gala Darling and Rock n Roll Bride and their friend Shauna. You have to sign in for access to Homeschool but the first module is free. I’m sure the others are also really worth paying for.
- Sarah (another blogger I love) is amazing for tips on blogging and it might be worth looking around her page XOSarah
And you’re good to go! Now start getting those posts out into the world!
Let me know what other useful tips you would include for newbie bloggers…
If you need help deciding on your own blog niche get in touch and let’s chat!