Wondering how to start a blog but don’t know where to begin? Could you use some easy step-by-step instructions to get you on your way? Well good thing you are here because I wrote this post just for you!
When my husband and I started our first blog in 1998, it was not as user friendly as today. We had to learn the original HTML language and build the entire site using it. Now that blogging has become more popular for both professionals and hobbyists; starting a blog is now easier than ever before! I am excited to share with you how to start a blog with these easy step-by-step instructions.
How to Start a Blog + Tips for Going Pro
- Decide whether you will blog for hobby or profit.
- Choose your topic.
- Choose a domain name.
- Buy a hosting package.
- Design and organize your website.
1. Decide whether you want to blog for hobby or profit.
Hobby bloggers are those who enjoy writing about a topic from time to time without a schedule or business plan. Even if you start out as a hobby blogger you can always make the necessary changes down the line to position yourself to blog for profit.
Professional bloggers are those who have a set schedule, blog with inentional planning, and are looking to make a living from their efforts. One this is certain: Learning how to start a blog is imperative to both hobby and professional bloggers.
In making your decision you need to consider the following:
- How much time do I have to dedicate to blogging? Consider your answer to this question very carefully. It is importnat that you are realistic with this. You can certainly work in blocks of time here and there and make it work. Just don’t become so obessed with your work that you neglect your family. You may want to read this article to see some of the challenges you may face with time management and family.
- Am I willing to do what it takes and work hard to build my blogging business? Please know that blogging is so much more than just writing and sharing content. There are lots of components to consider from technical work to writing to email marketing. And although you will likely start off doing these yourself, in the end it is best to outsource the things you aren’t as good at so you can focus on the things you are best at.
If you decide to blog for profit, I highly recommend investing in blogger education (more on that below) if you decide you want to go pro. The price you pay for the best blogging course is nothing compared to the time, energy, and emotions you will waste trying to “figure it out” on your own. There are amazing resources out there that will benefit you and worth every penny you invest in them!
2. Choose a topic to share and educate others about.
This part is also dependent upon whether or not you are going to blog for profit or hobby. If you are going to blog for profit you will really want to choose a topic that you are passionate about that can serve your audience and help others. It is always wise to have a main topic and then you can subdivide the main topic into smaller topics.
For hobby bloggers this step isn’t quite as important as you are not trying to capture and serve a specific audience. For those of us who blog professionally it is important that we have a more narrow focus so we can be certain to serve those we are talking to well.
3. Choose a domain name to match your topic.
This is actually something that you will want to give some thought to before choosing your domain name, especially if you are considering blogging professionally. I encourage you to think of a name that you won’t grow out of.
For example: If you want to blog about child rearing and currently have an infant – it is wise to look beyond the infancy stage when naming your blog. It would be more beneficial to name it something that is more suited to child-rearing for the long haul than just the baby stage. While you can write on topics for the stage of parenting you are in, you’d be wise not to stick yourself with a name that doesn’t go beyond infancy (unless of course that is all you ever plan to write about).
FYI – if you purchase your hosting package through Bluehost in step #4 below, you will get a free domain name.
4. Buy a hosting package + Install WordPress.
As someone just starting a new blog, you will want to start off with the right hosting company. I highly recommend starting off with Bluehost. Bluehost was where we were the first three years of professional blogging and it was a great fit for us. Once our traffic hit a certain threshold, we did move to a hosting company that could give us more support with higher traffic and more solutions for a growing business.
5. Design and organize your blog.
Both design and organization of your blog will seperate your site from all of the others out there. These are two things that many bloggers don’t take into consideration. These days there is so much “noise” in the blogosphere that it is imperative you take the time to design and organize your website in a way that will attract and keep new readers.
One of my favorite things about starting a blog was designing it! And guess what? You don’t have to be a competent coder or have a degree in digital design to have a beautiful website these days.
Thanks to theme builders like Restored 316 and StudioPress, you can purchase ready-to-customize themes based upon the goal of your blog. There are a plethora of beautiful, mobile-responsive themes to choose from to suit any niche or taste.
Take this quiz to see which Restored 316 theme is best for your site.
Organizing your blog is important to keep your readers interested and to package the information you are compiling in a way that it doesn’t get buried. You want to be sure that your navigation bar is clear and concise so that when your visitors arrive they know exactly what to expect from your site. Organizing your blog allows for your true “fans” to find you and easily find, share, and access your information.
Tips for Going Pro
Now that you know how to start a blog, let’s dig a little deeper for those who actually want to make a living from their blogs. There are a few things you need to do as you begin your journey from ameteur to professional blogger. Below I’ve outlined three things to start you off in the right direction when it comes to turning your blog into a business.
Invest in blogger education.
This is the single most important step in going pro. You will waste years trying to compile information and test it only to find out that the market has changed (yet again). Leave that to the pros. Let those who are proven in their field keep up with the trends so you can spend your time and energy scaling your business.
Some people get “sticker shock” when they see some of the prices for online blogging courses. I can understand to an extent — but you have to think well beyond the initial investment to see that you are paying NOTHING compared to the tuition you’d pay to take business classes at a university. My husband and I both financed our undergraduate education (and prices have increased since we graduated back in 2000) and the most expensive blogging course we’ve taken was only equivelent to half of a semester’s tuition. And we attended the university for 8 semesters.
And the truth is, you will earn your investment back from any course 100x over if you actually apply what the experts are teaching. We have earned far more revenue than we have spent in our business. It’s pretty cut and dry that if you want to become a professional and grow your small business, you need to invest in blogger education. You can see some of my top recommendations here.
Invest in tools to help your business grow.
This may be one of the best decisions any blogger can make once they start earning revenue. There are so many amazing tools out there that can help you manage your social media, grow your email list, help you create Pinterest-worthy images, and more. This will save you time (and essentially money) doing tasks and give you the ability to focus on other areas of your business.
Network with other bloggers in your niche.
Networking is an essential component to building your business. When I first started blogging I was living overseas (in Germany) and was not able to go to any in-person blogging events for those in my niche. I was still able to find some great online blogging groups on Facebook and connect with some amazing people whom I still keep in touch with to this day. And the best part? Many of my blogging friends are now my real life friends!
Having a support system of bloggers is imperative to your success. And you’ll find that you will enjoy supporting your fellow bloggers much more than you will be looking for them to support you. You know the saying: It’s better to give than receive. And this is true in the blogging world, too!
I wish you the very best on your blogging journey! Want to sign up to receive tips and tricks and valuable educational offers from time-to-time? Sign up for our blogging email list by entering your email below.