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So you’ve decided to take the leap to start a blog! Congratulations and welcome!
I’ve been blogging on and off for the last 8 years. I blogged on the same Blogspot website for nearly 4 years and then took a much-needed hiatus from blogging. Since then, I have been a starter but not really one who follows through with much. It took me several years to figure out that I was simply not focusing on the right things for me.
You see, everyone has their own reasons for blogging. For me, I want to celebrate all the amazing things that in this world! I can’t just talk about a single subject but instead embracing the complexity and creativity that exists on this Earth.
Before you start a blog, you need to think through your personal reasons for blogging. Maybe it is because you have something to say or you want to have a platform to share things that you have learned or are important to you. Whatever your reason, you need understand your “Why”.
Know Your Why
Through the process of creating your blog, you will have to discover your “Why” for many different things. This “Why” isn’t about what you will be writing. But instead, Why did you choose a blog as your medium of choice?
Consider these questions:
- Why is a blog the best way to say what you want to say?
- Do you like to write?
- Why are you drawn to a blog?
- What are your preconceived ideas of what this will look like? (aka, what are you expecting?)
- What are you hoping to get out of your blog? (customers, clients, income, grow an audience, therapy, nothing, etc…)
Your “Why” will help you recognize what kind of blog you want to start.
If you are wanting nothing out and your blog and simply want to write into the abyss, you may want to consider a FREE blogging option such as Blogger or WordPress.com (*** WordPress.com is NOT the same as WordPress. It is a free, basic version of WordPress that doesn’t require outside hosting or a domain.)
However, if you have any inkling that you may want something out of your blog in the future, I would recommend a self-hosted website. This does require a small investment upfront, but in the long-run, the creative freedom is so worth it!
I would choose creative freedom over free-but-basic, any day!
What do you want to blog about?
If you have done any research about starting a blog prior to landing here, you may know a bit about the niche controversy. Some people believe you HAVE to have a niche to be a successful blogger. And while this is partially true, I don’t think you need to feel limited or overwhelmed by the idea of a niche. You need to have a focus, but that doesn’t mean you need to be stuck with only writing about one thing.
This is where your second “why” comes into play. By now, you know why you chose to blog, but now you have to know what you want to blog about and why.
Consider these questions:
- What is really important to you in your everyday life?
- What are you truly passionate about?
- Why do I feel this is important for others?
- What have I struggled through that I can help other’s deal with?
- Is this something I could see myself writing about for more than a couple months?
- What are things in my life that I value? (authenticity, honesty, open-mindedness, faith, etc…)
- What do I search for frequently online? (aka, how I am spending my time online?)
If this all seems a little overwhelming to you, don’t stress just yet! You don’t have to know EVERYTHING about your focus just yet. But having an idea of what you want to write about will help you in the process of establishing and starting your blog.
I also need to tell you, and this is important, it is completely okay for you to change your mind and shift what you write about later. If you are feeling stressed out with finding your focus, just start. Over the last 7 years, I have had to learn that it is better to start than to just sit and wait for inspiration. Just start and you can always change your mind.
Naming Your Blog
So now you know a little bit more about what you want to write. You have now begun the road trip to the starting a blog. You may be picturing how you want it to look, thinking through blog post ideas, and maybe even over researching things. But before any of those dreams can become a reality, you have to get this blog up and running and to do that, you have to name your blog.
If you’re anything like me, this is what will be the biggest snag for you. I am absolutely TERRIBLE at creating blog names. Actually, I’m just terrible with names in general. In many of my stories, I will just not name characters because I draw a blank. I will know their biggest fears, the grandmother’s sister’s job, all the details of their home, but their name…. nothing.
I honestly think it has to do with how final a name is. When you name something, that is it. It now has its own identity. And I start to doubt everything. What if I hate writing about this, and I don’t like the name is 2 months? Or if other people hate my name and never come to my blog?
Take a deep breath.
A name actually isn’t the most important part. Many people don’t really care what your blog is named. They come for your content, not your name. If you create good content for your audience, they won’t care. I promise.
People come for your content, not your name!
Consider these questions:
- What am I going to write about?
- What are 10 words that describe what I am writing about?
- Who am I trying to reach?
- What things are important to me? (dates, times, locations, animals, etc…)
- Is this name available? (check social media, google, websites, and more!)
- If it’s not available, can I create a variation that is?
If this process takes you a while, take some time to write down those blog post ideas you have. Maybe even write the actual posts on a document to copy into wordpress later.
But the number one thing. Don’t stress. Seriously.
Buy Your Hosting
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You have now decided Why you are blogging, What you are blogging about, and What you will call your blog. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of starting a blog, the technical details. Now, you need Hosting. Let’s define a few terms I will be using before we go any further.
Hosting is where your website files are located online. A company will host all your website files for you so that it can all be seen online for a fee. It is also where you attach your domain to your website.
A domain is the actual website name (or URL) that you type into the browser
(such as https://www.twelvefiftyfour.com). You can choose your domain.
So where should you host your website? You are welcome to do a basic google search for yourself, but I have had a bit of trial and error and want to share with you what I recommend. My first web hosting was through DreamHost. It was definitely NOT a dream. The minute my site got hacked for the first time, we lost all access to the website files and our hosting company was not even remotely helpful. It took over a week to get our site back online and even longer to access our files. It was TERRIBLE! After that, I did extensive research on web hosting. I didn’t want to be in that position ever again!
That is when I decided on Bluehost. Bluehost is one of the most widely used web hosting sites and you can see why. They are very helpful and easy to work with. I have been using Bluehost for nearly 3 years now I have never had any problems. Anytime I had an issue they walked me through all the steps or even fixed things for me. I currently have no complaints about their customer service. I’ve been really impressed!
Signing up is extremely easy. Simply click on the image above or HERE and click sign up. Want to know an awesome part? You get 1 year of a domain for FREE, included with signing up. So you know that Blog title you decided on? Now you get to turn it into your domain!
Set Up WordPress
Once you have signed up for BlueHost, you can now use the one-click wordpress install (So awesome!!). So setting up wordpress for a site is super easy.
- Log in to your Bluehost account.
- On the Menu, click WordPress Tools
- On the left side, click New Install
- Under Domains Make sure the drop-down is your new domain name
- Leave Path Empty
- Site Title = Your blog name
- Admin Username = The name you will login as AND the name of the person who will publish all your posts. It’s very hard to change this, so I recommend making sure it is something you are good with.
- Admin Password = Your password to log into your website’s wordpress account. You can change this later.
- Admin Email = your main email where all your emails will go to. You can change this later.
- Click Install WordPress
- Go to: http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/wp-admin/ (Now, I don’t actually mean type in yourdomain.com, you have to put the domain that you just created there.)
- login using the username and password you just created.
- WordPress will walk you through customizing and getting everything set up.
That’s it! Now WordPress is set up on your website!!!! Guess freaking what? You now have a blog!
Create Great Content
Now you have the platform for your blog, it’s time to start creating the amazing content that you have within you! Here are a few thoughts to help you along your way.
- Don’t be afraid to keep it short. It’s totally okay to have a post that isn’t super long. Don’t make something long that can be said in a couple paragraphs.
- Don’t be afraid to be long-winded. I also want you to know that it is totally cool to write really long posts as well! This is especially true when the content requires a lot of explaining or you feel especially passionate about it.
- Accompany your posts with high-quality images. We live in an exceedingly visual world. When using images, make sure that they are good quality. Don’t be afraid to use stock images from websites such as Pexels.
- Share your posts on social media. But don’t spam it. People love to hear what you are passionate about, but if you are only ever posting about it, people can be put off. You can make beautiful graphics on Canva.
- Write down ideas while they are fresh. It is so easy to come up with a fantastic post idea and then forget it before you start writing it. Keep a document or page in a journal with post ideas that you have as they come to you.
Congratulations on starting your blog and welcome to the blogging community! I am so excited to have you here with us.
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