How to start a blog: Top tips I wish I knew before I started
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So you want to start a blog? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Before I get started I wanted to tell you that this post is going to be real. Like I’m not sugar coating anything. I’m giving you the real inside scoop as if it were just you and me at a coffee shop sipping coffee. Since you’re my friend I have no choice, but to be honest because I want the best for you.
Before you go designing your logo, and choosing a blog name figure out your why.
Why do you want to start a blog in the first place? This is important because there will be times throughout your blogging journey when you’re going to want to give up. I know you may not see it now because you’re in a happy place, the excitement you have for getting started is blocking you from seeing the dark moments ahead.
When no one is subscribing, or your big blog post doesn’t get too many views it can be easy to throw in the towel. On these days, I want you to remember why you started in the first place. What is your mission? This mission will help you when times get rough.
Is it to help teach people? Is it to become Internet famous? To make money? Be honest with yourself.
Choose the topics that you’re passionate about
I know, I know you’re probably tired of hearing the word passion. Passion is being thrown around like it’s a new slang word, but it’s important that you’re choosing topics that you’re passionate about. Choose topics that you are knowledgeable in and won’t get tired of writing about. I would start off with 3-4 topics in the beginning.
“Do the thing you’re good at. Not many people are lucky enough to be so good at something.” ― John Green,
What problem are you solving?
Hello, why didn’t anyone tell me to ask myself this question?! When I first started YYW I was just winging it. I had no plan or sense of direction. One day I would write about relationships, the next day I’d write about gel manicures lol. I didn’t know who my audience was (more on audience later). I didn’t have a plan on what problems that my blog was going to be solving.
Pat Flynn says to ask yourself what disease is your blog helping to cure? So pretend your blog is the cure for some disease. What is this disease that you’re curing? It’s helpful to keep this question in mind even when you’re writing your blog posts because your blog isn’t about you, it’s about helping other people. Let me repeat your blog isn’t about you, it’s about helping other people solve a problem.
Can you actually make money from your blog?
I used to think that blogging was a business. I would read lots of articles on how people were making a living just from their blogs. I didn’t understand how this was even possible.
I put Google adsense on my blog, it wasn’t making me very much money so I took the ads off (With Google Adsense you only start making real money when you get 30,000 + monthly views). I was writing new blog posts each week, sharing them on social media, still no money. It was time really do research on what posts were bringing me the most traffic and engagement.
It was also time for me to give my blog a more consistent and professional design so that people would start to take me seriously.
One post I wrote called, “If you aren’t investing you’re losing” was getting a ton of views. People were even emailing me questions on how to start investing. I thought hmmm I don’t know everything there is to know about investing, but I know more than some people. I can teach the basics, why don’t I package up my knowledge and sell an e-book to teach people.
Interested in learning how to invest this year? Click here.
Your blog is supposed to be used as a content marketing tool. It’s supposed to drive people to your products and services. However, if you aren’t offering any products or services it’s easy to get burned out and feel as though all your efforts are going to waste.
You may find yourself thinking “I enjoy blogging, but often wonder why I do it if there’s no way I can make money at it.” So it’s really important to understand what your goals are with your website. Is it just a hobby or are you a business?
“I’m not a blogger I’m a business woman who blogs.” Courtney Saunders
If you choose to be a business, you’re not a business until you start making money. You’re not a business until you’re solving a problem that people are willing to pay you for in exchange for a solution.
There has to be a mindset shift. I now realize that when people make a living from their blog a huge percentage comes from their own products, services, affiliates, sponsored posts, courses, coaching and ads.
Lot’s of people are struggling with increasing visitors, increasing subscribers, and writing engaging posts that bring readers back.
However, if your goal is to make money and you don’t have any services or products that you’re offering, what’s the point?
Behind every blog post, every social media post there needs to be a strategy behind it. Where are you sending people? What do you want them to do once they get there? Do you even have products and services to offer people?
Don’t have time to read the full post? I used Bluehost to start a blog with WordPress, come back later to read the instructions on how to set it up.
The 2 Biggest mistakes I’ve made since starting a blog
Who are you writing for?
It’s important that you know who you want to talk to because you want your writing, tone, and your name to be relatable to your audience. Figure out exactly who you’re writing for. How old are they? Are they still in school? What do they do for work? Do they have children? What are their goals? What is keeping them up late at night? Really dig deep and picture that person you are writing for.
Struggling to choose the perfect blog name? This video is for you
Somethings to keep in mind when choosing your blog name:
• Make sure that you Google the name that you want to use to make sure it’s not already taken.
• Research social media handles.
• Choose a name that’s catchy, easy to remember, easy to spell, not too long, and memorable.
• Some people say to choose a name that has what you’re writing about in the title. Others say don’t do this because you would be boxing yourself in. For example, if you wanted to create a blog about beauty so you chose a name with beauty in it, what happens if one day you want to branch off into other things outside of beauty?
Setting up your blog
Now that you have your blog name it’s time to purchase your hosting and domain. If you want to enter the blog game like a pro you’d better not even think about starting a blog with blogger or the free version of WordPress. You need the self-hosted version of WordPress.org. This is important because which one sounds better? Candiceisawesome.com or Candiceisawesome.wordpress.com. Trust me, you don’t want to play yourself. Plus there are a lot of features that you need that you won’t be able to have full control over if you’re using the free version of WordPress.
Registering your domain name with Bluehost
There are many places you can go to register your domain name, and to choose your hosting. I decided to go with Bluehost. Now I admit when I first put in my credit card information I wasn’t aware that they were going to be charging me for the entire year at once. Which was a little scary, but I gave them a call and was able to switch to only being billed $4.95 a month for one year. Bluehost was super helpful and made the change right away.
Once you get to Bluehost.com this is what you will see. Click on the get started now button.
Step 2. Select a plan. All you really need is the basic plan also, this is the cheapest option (Please keep in mind that prices are subject to change)
Step 3. Now type in your domain name, or if you already have a domain name type that in and hit next.
Step 4. Assuming you don’t have a domain name already you will enter in your information. In the drop down menu for the account plan you see that the $3.95/mo price is only available if you’re paying for 36 months upfront. Which can be a lot of money especially if you’re just starting out. It’s cool I chose the 12-month option, which is $5.95/mo. Uncheck everything that you don’t need. The only other check mark I would check is the Domain Privacy Protection which is an extra .99 cents per month.
Once you enter in your credit card information your card will be billed the annual amount (the full 12 months) brace yourselves. The 12-month plan is the cheapest option. I know if you’re anything like me you want to save money. Plus if your not happy you can get a full refund anytime. If you don’t feel like Bluehost is for you that’s fine, do what’s best for you and what’s going to help you reach your goals this year. I just found it super easy going through Bluehost for my website.
Now that you have your hosting and your domain, it’s time to install WordPress so that you get your blog poppin. Yes, I said poppin no g. Bluehost makes it super easy for you to install WordPress.
Once you are logged into Bluehost. You will now be in your cpanel. From here click on “install WordPress“ in the website section button, (Close out of the welcome box first)
Select the domain that you would like to install.
Choose your WordPress login and password and you are finished. Remember your password because you will need it to log in to your website.
Designing your WordPress blog.
Here comes the fun part. Now that you are all set in order to log in to your WordPress blog you must type in /wp-admin to the end of your domain name. For example, if my website is candiceisawesome.com I would type in candiceisawesome.com/wp-admin into my browser. Once you log in there are hundreds of free themes that you can use for your website.
There are also more official themes that you can Google if you’re not happy with the one’s that you see on WordPress. There are also themes that you can pay for. I’ve purchased themes from themeforest.net/ in the past. The paid themes make you really look like a Pro. Each theme that you install will have different functionalities and different ways that you can customize it.
If any of this seems like too much and you just want to hire me to do it for you can hire me here. If you enjoyed this post please be sure to comment or share with your friends. If this is a popular topic I will be writing more blogging posts, so stay tuned.
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