In the last few years, I’ve had so many people ask me to go to coffee to ask me about blogging. How do I get started? What platform do you use? Do I need hosting? What do you recommend? I’m answering all of those questions (and more) here!
Choose Your Focus
What do you want to share with the world? Where you you have experience or expertise? What’s the one thing you just can’t shut up about? Pick a topic that you love – something you’re continually curious about.
Pick a Name
You want something that resonates with you and really feels right. It sounds crazy, and I hate to say it, but when you know, you know. If you’re not sure that you’ll be blogging about the same topic forever, make sure you don’t box yourself in – pick a name that can grow with you. As you find names you like, search them on social platforms to check for availability. Also make sure to check on domain and social media availability before you decide that anything’s for sure. You can use GoDaddy to check for the domain you want.
Set It All Up
The second I decided on my blog’s name + desired social handles, I purchased my domain name from Bluehost and reserved the social handles I wanted for facebook, instagram, twitter, Pinterest, youtube, etc… anything that you want to use in connection to your blog. I chose to use my name as the handles and reference the blog in each social profile. This is just my preference, in case I ever change my blog name or start a business that will take precedence over the blog. I definitely recommend self-hosting your blog. I can definitively say that pretty much all serious bloggers self host, so if you’d like this blog to someday be “a thing”, you’ll need to go ahead and purchase hosting. I’ve been using Bluehost for about three years and I love it. It has a 1-click install for WordPress, so once you’ve purchased your hosting, install WordPress and you’re ready to roll!
Pick a Theme
The beauty of WordPress is that your site is highly customizable. There are tons of free themes within WordPress, and some really cool ones you can purchase through other sites for under $100. The theme I use now is from Lindsay Humes. I really love her work and would highly recommend.
Create Your Site
Take some time to figure out how you want your site to look. Outline a navigation menu. What tabs do you want to have at the top of your site? It’s best practice to have an about page and a contact page. Make a list of the different features you want your site to have, and how they will be organized. Then go in and create this organization using menus (these are made up of pages, categories, and custom links). You’ll also want to play with widgets (these make up your side bars) and plug ins (which allow you to connect tools and apps to your site).
Establish a Brand
Create a logo. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Mine certainly isn’t. Have some photos taken that reflect the look and feel you want. You want your brand to be consistent across all platforms.
Decide how often you want to post. I recommend posting 3 times a week. Create an editorial calendar. On this calendar, you will plan out when your posts go live. You can use just a regular calendar print out, create a calendar on your phone, use a plug in… anything works. This is just to lay out the timing of your content.
This is big mistake a lot of people make when starting a blog. They tell everyone about it before they’ve really done any of the work. Before you start putting your blog URL out there, make sure you have a good content base. I recommend writing at least 2-3 posts for each category before you start pushing your content out on social media.
Congratulations! You’ve started a blog. You’ve put in the work – now tell people about it! Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to check out the finished product. Link to your blog posts accompanied by beautiful imagery and a catchy title to grab your audience’s attention.
My Biggest Piece of Advice to New Bloggers
There is no one way to make this work. There’s no one-size-fits-all secret to making it. Get started as soon as possible. Do the work. Don’t believe the lie that if you just do enough research, the ride will be much faster. The most helpful things you learn can only be understood from what you learn along the way.
I’ve left this comment thread open so you can ask questions and keep me updated on your progress – I can’t wait to hear all about it!