This post on How To Start A Blog has been updated in July 2020. I have been blogging consistently for four years so I needed to update this post and the advice in it. If you’re looking for help on how to start blogging this is my advice based on my experience.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
I’ve recently received requests for advice from people who have just started blogging, or who want to start blogging. This has been humbling as there are so many more seasoned and experienced bloggers than me. After the 3rd or 4th person, I realised that my knowledge had been gained the hard way, and if people want to learn from my experience then that is fine with me!
So you want to know how to start a blog …
Before we go any further let me just say that there is no magic formula to become a huge blogger overnight unless you pay for followers. Even then there’s no guarantee that this will translate into a successful blog. Blogs are more than just a social media following. Ultimately blogging is about driving people to your website. So, in short, never buy social media followers. It will ruin any credibility you may have ever had, so don’t do that!
Always remember this saying, if you’ve not heard it before:
Content Is King!
People start blogging for lots of different reasons. I started blogging as a hobby, for the sole purpose of regaining my sanity once both my girls were settled into a school routine. Some people start blogs for the sole purpose of making money. If you’re looking for how to go straight to that then this is not the post for you. This post is for people who want to start a blog providing information, sharing their experiences, promoting travel posts, or reviewing products. I’m not going to cover how to make money using affiliate marketing for bloggers.
With those two positions made, I will aim to give you a relatively simple way to start your blog based on my personal experience and the lessons I have learnt along the way. However, there is a lot to take into consideration so make that cup of coffee before we get started!
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Okay, let’s get started! I will try my best to keep this simple.
What Do You Want To Blog About?
Please know that it is perfectly acceptable to be a little torn and undecided. You don’t have to pick one topic, but just know that you are uncertain. However, if you do know what you want to blog about exclusively, or as they call it in the industry if you know your blog niche, then that’s good.
Research the various blog platforms available and decide how much you want to spend. There are quite a few to choose from such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Wix, and many more. They will all offer various packages ranging from the basic free plans to the more professional premium cost plans.
*Tip – if you are trying blogging out for the first time, the basic free plans are really great! You can always upgrade later on when you want to. There is no need to spend too much money initially.
However, if you do know that this is definitely something you want to do, then I would recommend you buy a domain with that name and start on a self hosted plan straight away.
Choose A Name For Your Blog
Decide on a name for your blog. If you aren’t sure what you will be blogging about, or if you have a couple of different ideas, I’d recommend choosing a name that doesn’t define only one of those markets – as you can see, my name aligns me clearly as a “mommy blogger”. I do write about other stuff now too, so sometimes I find my blog’s name doesn’t fit the topic. That’s what I mean. Don’t make that mistake.
Once you have a name in mind, go on Google and check that it isn’t already taken, or that it isn’t too similar to someone else’s as you’ll end up with a lot of competition that way. Do a bit of research. You may need to tweak your idea here and there.
Other places to check your blog name availability
You’ll want to make sure that your chosen name is available across the various social media platforms as well. Social media is widely used to promote your blog. You don’t want to have different names on each platform. As a minimum go and check the following:
- Domain Name availability (ie. goDaddy, 123-reg etc – there are loads to search and choose from).
- Email address (I would always recommend you set up a Gmail account – you will most likely get a free email with your domain registration, but you will need a Gmail account too.)
There are many others too, but those are the most widely used.
A lot of you may think this is not necessary, but trust me. IF you discover that you love blogging, and writing and the whole blogosphere world, then you will regret not claiming these at the beginning. Truly! It’s so important. Just do it. Even if you never use them, at least they are yours!
If you are looking for a good self-hosted provider, I use SiteGround and am very happy with them. By going through them they can help you buy the domain too.
Register Your Domain
Okay, this is the super exciting part! Once you know your name, you’re ready to register! First, you need to register your email address (because you will need that to register your name on all the other platforms). Then go to the blog host of your choice, and register your name with your preferred blogging platform (i.e. WordPress).
And voila! You have a blog!
Now you need to go about reserving your blog/brand name across the various social media platforms as listed above – all of them!
Top Tip: Write down your username and password for each one as you go. Some have different requirements when choosing a password/username etc so it is easy to get confused.
Like it or not, your name is your brand so when you decide to start your blog, make sure you like it.
The next thing to do is to create a logo that suits your name and blog objective, and try to define a look that will make your blog easily recognizable and uniform across the various social media platforms. Don’t worry too much, you can always change this later down the line. The key is to keep your brand image uniform at all times.
There are many awesome designers out there who can help you with this if it’s not your forte’, all for a reasonable fee. Remember, you get what you pay for.
That said, there are also a huge number of free online resources you can use to create your own logo including sourcing free pictures. My personal favourites are Canva (for all blog post headers and images including tweaking your Instagram images with a few words, and then Pixabay who offer a huge range of free images to chosse from when you don’t want to take your own mediocre photos (assuming you’re not a photographer of course!). It all depends on your personal level of creativity, and of course, your budget.
This might be the hardest part, or the easiest part, depending on you. It’s time to write. Time to show us what you have to say! Go on. Write!
And remember, if you think everything you want to write about has already been written, your ideal audience won’t have read it from your perspective. Just start.
In time you will need to learn things like SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and how to make sure Google knows what you’re writing about. If you need more help with this, please get in touch. But when you’re initially just starting out and researching how to start a blog, this can wait.
Promote … Yes, Promote!
After you have created your first post, you need to share it. Share your posts across the various platforms you already reserved above. Many of these you can link to your blog using the publicize function and share all at once with the click of one button. Sometimes it’s a case of copy & pasting.
You do need to make use of the top 3 though: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
One of the best places to promote your website is on Pinterest. I have recently written an ebook all about how to get started with Pinterest and how to use Pinterest as a blogger.
Always remember, you might be the most amazing writer with the most innovative and engaging ideas, thoughts and perspective. But if you don’t share them, no one will ever know.
Engage with your audience. Reply to comments on your posts, follow a few blogs that you like to read. Read other people’s stuff. Follow people whose pictures inspire you. Share other people’s work on your social media platforms. This show s that you are actively engaging in the community you want to be a part of.By doing this, you will grow your following.
If you don’t engage with people in the online community you won’t get engagement back. Simple as that. Whilst self-promotion might make you cringe at first, remember that if you don’t make sure other people ‘hear’ what you have to say, you may as well be quiet.
Online Etiquette and Manners
Lastly, but equally as importantly as the other steps above, remember to ‘mind your manners’! Yes, Yes, I’m a mom!
Say what you want to say, far be it from me to censor anyone. However, even the most opinionated blogger out there needs to remember to mind their manners. My advice would be to not say something online that you wouldn’t be willing to say in person. Let that be your filter.
Other than that I’ve written a couple of posts about this very subject that have been very warmly received ‘out there’ that I would urge you to read:
And that’s it … the rest is up to you.
I could go on and on about the various ins and outs of the different platforms, such as the use of hashtags, linkys, groups, etc., but… if you don’t start just writing, all of the above is pointless.
You need to take your own thoughts, words and ideas, and craft them into something intelligible, then share them with the world! The quality of your work will come, the quality of your images will come, and your knowledge of the social media minefield will come, all in good time, all through trial, error and experience.
Clear as mud!
Let me know if this post helped you. If any other more experienced bloggers have anything they’d like to add, please let me know. Also, if you want any further advice or assistance, please feel free to get in touch.
I love helping people to help themselves! I hope this post helps you if you are considering jumping into the awesome blogosphere. If so, How To Start A Blog was written to help you. Please share if you think it is useful.