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So you want to start a blog but not sure where to begin? I’ve put together a list of 18 steps so you can get your blog started today.
Step 1: Choose a niche
This is probably the hardest step. If you are planning to turn your blog into a business, it is important to remember that you don’t want to write all about you. Your readers want to know how you can help them. Is there a special talent you have or service you can offer? What are you passionate about? Below is a list of the top niches that make money:
- Making Money
- Health and Fitness
- Fashion and Beauty
Step 2: Research
Once you’ve brainstormed some ideas for your niche, research, research and research some more. I have to be honest that I have been “researching” for the last year. Feel free to check out other bloggers to see what they’re doing and what makes their readers coming back.
Step 3: Create a plan and set a launch date
This has to be one of the most important steps and where I made the mistake. I didn’t give myself a deadline to work towards and ended up “researching” for what seems like forever. Setting up a schedule and a launch date will push you and keep you motivated. Finding the time when to do all this is a real-life struggle, especially if you have a full-time job, kids and a husband. I found that getting up around 4:00 am is my most productive time and more then likely the kids are still asleep.
Step 4: Choose a domain name
Your domain name… some people have it and some people don’t. That is, coming up with catchy names. I am addicted to fonts, patterns, pretty girly designs and anything graphics related which is why I chose Simply Made Designs.
See if your domain is available by typing it in below. Take your time choosing a domain name.
Step 5: Setup your logo
Yay! The fun part. I originally purchased a premade logo bundle from Creative Market like the one below. You can also create a logo using Canva which is an easy drag and drop graphic design website and mobile app. There are many free templates to use but there may be some creative thinking needed to make them your own.
Step 6: Choose hosting and install WordPress
Ah, this is another area where I struggled. In the beginning, I had no clue where to start and made SEVERAL mistakes that cost me time and money.
When I was getting started with my blog I made the mistake of creating an account on WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org. At the time, I didn’t understand the whole self-hosted vs. hosted. WordPress.com is the host and they have several restrictions, whether you have the free or paid plan. WordPress.org is self-hosted which means you own all your website content and can use ads on your site.
Before switching to WordPress.org, I signed up for Wix. Because again, I still didn’t get it. I had some experience with Wix and felt it would a bit more user-friendly in the sense that everything drag and drop. Well…. it didn’t take long for me to run into a couple of issues. I realized that there wasn’t an option to have a responsive website. Meaning, every time a change is made to the site, I had to update the mobile viewer as well. Can you imagine how annoying it would be to get your website all set up then have to edit the mobile viewer? No one has the time for that.
After fiddling with Wix for a couple of months, I switched to Hello You Designs. I chose Hello You Designs because of their beautiful themes and opted to have professional installation and hosting. They set up an account with WordPress.org and did everything. All I had to do was change some of the photos, set up my site pages and write my blog posts.
I am looking into switching to Bluehost early 2019, due to the incredibility reasonable cost and 24/7 customer support. Bluehost is super so easy to set up, you can be up and running in a few hours. This could have saved me so much time, ugh. I recommend you looking into Bluehost for their reliability and reputation.
Step 7: Choose a responsive WordPress theme
So many decisions… There are so many themes to choose from simple, elegant, feminine, modern and the list goes on. When choosing a theme, be sure it is a responsive one. Meaning any edits you make are automatically updated on the mobile view. This is really important as you can see in my last step where I made the mistake of using Wix.com as my host. You live and learn I guess? There are several places you can purchase themes I do recommend purchasing a theme instead of using a free one. A little investment goes a long way. Below are a couple of websites with beautiful feminine themes.
Step 8: Navigate WordPress dashboard
When I first started using WordPress, I had no clue where to begin and was a bit intimidated. Since I’ve gotten used to the layout and it’s actually not so bad. I would highly recommend finding a Youtube channel for tutorials.
Step 9: Setup Google Analytics
Google Analytics is completely free. It allows you to measure your advertising as well as track your traffic to your website. Something you’ll need so you can see where you rank on the web.
Step 10: Install WordPress plugins
I wish I’d have researched this more so I didn’t waste so much time trying to figure out how all the other bloggers have their blogs set up so professional. Below are a couple of plugins you should download.
Step 11: Setup your site pages
Step 12: Setup email opt-in
You want to get your email subscribers from the start of your blog launch. Doing so will allow you to develop a relationship with your readers and keep them updated with anything new happening on your blog. So far, I’ve been using Convertkit which I recommend for its ease of use and features. You can set up email sequences with ease and include triggers. Sign up for a 30-day free trial here.
Step 13: Create blog posts
I highly recommend that you have at least 5-10 blog posts created before your blog is live. This will give your readers more to read and keep them on your site longer. The longer your readers are on your page the better the bounce rate.
When creating blog posts, be consistent with your post feature photo or image. You can create all those beautiful blog post images you see by using Canva. Canva is a free graphic design website and mobile app that is easy to use.
Step 14: SEO your blog
This may be intimidating at first, but after getting into SEO it actually isn’t that hard. Of course, with the help of Yoast, it makes it a lot easier to ensure your post is SEO optimized.
Step 15: Setup social media accounts
Once you’ve got your blog setup you’ll want to connect your social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Step 16: Promote your content
If you want to grow your audience you need to promote your content. There are several ways you can promote your content; however, one of the easiest ways is using Pinterest. If you have an existing Pinterest account, you will want to switch it to a business account.
I’m sure you’re wondering if you’ll need to manually pin all your content, right? Nope, there is a better way. Tailwind my friend! Tailwind is a program that will not only automate both your Pinterest and Instagram pins and posts, but it will also provide you will the most optimal days and times to schedule your pins allowing you to reach your audience when they are most likely engaged.
Step 17: Monetize your blog
Now we’re talking. Let’s face it we’re all trying to look for ways to earn extra money or better yet replace our income so we can be a stay-at-home mom.
There are so many affiliate programs whether they are private (i.e. direct with a merchant) or an affiliate network offering access to thousands of merchants. Below a few top affiliate networks, you can join. I’m currently using Share A Sale and Amazon and love them both.
Step 18: Launch
The final step… Before launching be sure to go through your site to check content and links. If you can, have a friend look it over to provide feedback. Most importantly, have fun!
- How to Setup a Blog in 10 Minutes on Bluehost
- 10 Side Hustles to Start Earning Extra Money in 2019
- Blog Tips for Beginners | 15 Blog Resources
- My First Month Blogging | Income and Expenses