Blogging is a great way to make money from home. But getting started can be a bit overwhelming because there is so much information out there, you don’t know where to start.
When I started blogging in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, my first site was a static site with Sitebuilder. I’m almost embarrassed to share this but, it’s all about sharing the experience, right? Well, I was so wet behind the ears that I was creating static pages as blog posts!
Now that I have the basics down, it’s my turn to help you, dear reader. If you’ve decided to become a blogger, use this step by step guide to start a blog so you can avoid the mistakes I made and have a better newbie experience than I did.
Step 1: Choosing A Niche
Just as you would do when starting a business, you should put the same thought when starting a blog.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I passionate about?
- What skills do I have and what kind of tips can I share with my visitors?
- Am I willing to go the distance?
- Do I have a support system to help me while I establish my blog?
After you’ve thought it over it’s time to choose a niche. Keeping your passions and skills in mind decide on a niche you are familiar with. For example, if you’re an awesome cook then a foodie blog will be the perfect niche for you.
Do some research by checking out blogs in the same niche. Take notes on how their blog is setup, what kind of products they’re promoting and which affiliate networks they’re working with.
Take a look at the types of blog posts they’re publishing and who they’re connecting with. You’ll want to connect with them as well once your blog is ready for the world to see.
Step 2: Choosing And Registering Your Domain Name
Now it’s time to choose a domain name and get it registered. When picking a name I recommend also writing it out in a URL format to make sure it reads well. Sometimes a URL can look kind of funky.
Let me give you an example: www.ititsybitsy.com. Notice something that’s spelled out when you type It Itsy Bitsy in URL format?
Here’s another tip for you. When registering your domain, register it outside your hosting provider. If you ever decide to transfer your domain to another hosting provider, it would make the process easier.
For domain registration, I recommend Namecheap. The have competitive prices and offer services like SSL certificates and Whois Guard privacy protection.
Step 3: Choosing A Hosting Provider
There is a misconception that paying for a hosting provider is expensive but it really isn’t. I’ve been using Hostgator for three years now and I haven’t had any issues with them plus their prices are very reasonable and they have great support that’s available 24/7.
And, installing your web development platform is as easy as a couple clicks with their quick install feature. Trust me when I say I was not techie at all and was so easy to setup.
Right now you can get web hosting for only $4.86 a month. The package includes:
- EASY Control Panel (Try Demo)
- 1-CLICK Script Installs
- $100 Google AdWords Offer
- $100 Yahoo!/Bing Credit
- 4,500 Free Website Templates
- 9% Uptime Guarantee
- 45 Day Money Back Guarantee
- 24/7/365 Technical Support
They also have a WordPress web hosting package for as little as $3.96 a month.
When it comes to choosing a hosting provider make sure to look at all your options and what kind of packages they have to offer.
Set 4: Choosing A Web Development Platform
There are plenty of web platforms to choose from for a blog. Bren of Virtual Bren even shared her favorites in her post called Choosing Your Blog Platform – the Basics.
If your goal is to monetize your blog, I recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog. Beside it being one of, if not the most widely used platform amongst bloggers, 60 million to be exact, you are in control of the design and management of your blog. That’s right. It’s your baby and no one can take it away from you.
- There is no limit to how you can monetize your blog, as long as it’s legal.
- You can install plugins to improve user experience.
- Upload themes and customize them to your preferences.
- It’s FREE and user-friendly.
The only thing about a self-hosted WordPress blog is you have to keep up with maintenance and pay for a hosting provider but remember hosting service is not expensive.
For a guide on how to set up your WordPress blog check out this exclusive “how to” checklist for a step by step setup and list of plugins you should install.
Step 5: Choosing A Theme
Here comes the fun part, choosing a theme. I tell you, you can get caught up with all the options there are to pick from.
I recommend using StudioPress Themes powered by the Genesis framework. They have beautiful, mobile-responsive child themes and now offer features like Genesis Design Palette Pro so you can customize your theme without touching the CSS.
Elegant Themes has 87 premium WordPress themes and right now you can get access to all their themes for the price of one!
Step 6: Setting Up Your Social Media Accounts
Now that you’ve got your blog set up, the next thing to do is to set up your social media accounts. Remember to install a social media plugin to display the social media follow and share icons to gain followers and get your posts shared.
Remember when designing your social media headers to use the same colors and logo as it is on your blog.
Other Things to Do
Remember to protect your website by having it copyrighted. Copyrighted.com is a free service and offers instant protection for your work.
Set up an email address with your domain name for a more professional appearance. Make sure this feature is included in your package when you choose a hosting provider.
That’s All She Wrote
Once you’ve taken these steps you are ready to start writing content and connecting with visitors and other bloggers!
I’m sure this is a lot of information to soak in so if you have any questions about starting a blog, please feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to help anyway I can.
If you’re not into the techie side of blogging and would rather have a web designer set up your blog, I hope you will check out my website and consider me. I would love to work with you!
I wish you all the best in your new blogging journey!
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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products that I personally use. I would not recommend or promote them if I didn’t think they would work for you as well or save you money, dear reader.