1. decide what you want to blog about (your niche)
2. choose a name and make sure the domain is available (I strongly recommend a .com domain)
3. buy your domain (you can do this through Siteground when you sign up)
4. sign up with Siteground or another self-hosted managed WordPress hosting site
5. choose a theme
6. start writing!
How to Start a Blog:
1. Choose your niche
Choose something you are passionate about, that you can write about for a long time without getting bored/running out of content ideas.
Something that really helped me narrow my topic down was to create a massive list of blog topics/posts I had ideas for.
Write down 50-100 blog post ideas.If you are struggling to come up with 50, it may be a sign that you need to broaden your niche or choose a new one altogether.
When I first started blogging I wanted to write about everything I was interested in, because that's just my personality: I have a lot of interests and hobbies.
However, I immediately ran into problems.
I was overwhelmed and confused about how to organize my posts and categories, which I knew would mean that my readers would be even MORE confused than I was.
I knew my blog would be impossible to define and rank in algorithms if it wasn't clear what my blog was actually about.
The sooner Google and Pinterest figures out who and what you are, the sooner you will be ranked and noticed.
I didn't know if I could keep my readers engaged if I was writing about vastly different topics, no matter how much I cared about them.
Since then, I've done a ton of research and I've realized some crucial things:
People want consistency.
If you're going to have a blog about kitchen towels and you start talking about arts and crafts all of a sudden, they are going to find a better blog that just talks about kitchen towels.
Give the people what they want and don't confuse them.
You can broaden your niche and add more content and categories later on, but in the beginning you need to be focused on a small niche.
Also, don't forget that you can create as many blogs as you want! The world is your oyster.
Although I would caution you against starting more than one blog in the beginning when you are starting out and learning about this new online world, many people have several blogs that focus on different topics.
This allows them to keep their ideas and themes organized and be very specific with their targeted audience, what they write about, and the ads they use.
Once you get the hang of designing a blog, creating content, and using WordPress, you'll be an expert.
Make sure your niche isn't too small or specific.
Unless you are an expert in a very specific topic and you KNOW that there is a market of readers waiting to read about said very specific topic, broaden your niche.
I highly recommend the FREE online course Blog Simple Guide that does a superb job of breaking everything down in terms of finding the right topic/niche, creating an audience, and the different levels of readers that you will have at your site and how to help and welcome them to your site all at once.
This course helped me so much and I kind of can't believe it's free.
2. Choose a name
Choosing the right blog name can take a lot of time, focus, and brainstorming, but it's worth it to not rush through this step.
You want to choose a name that's
- easy to pronounce and spell
- pertinent to your topic
- something that can grow with your brand
This website like a thesaurus and was so helpful for me when I was brainstorming (and it's also useful for when you find yourself repeating words too often in blog posts and emails).
Research names of successful blogs that are in the same niche as you, and run name ideas by your family and friends.
Don't worry, you can always change your name later if you need to!
I had a completely different name and domain when I was at Bluehost; when I switched to Siteground, I rebranded my blog and all I had to do was buy a new domain, change the title on my homepage and about page, and update some links (which I had to do anyway when I switched from Bluehost to Siteground).
3. Buy your domain
Make sure when you are brainstorming blog names that you check to make sure they are available. You can google "domain name checker."
I highly recommend a .com domain.
If you have a blog that ends in .net or something other than .com, I guarantee people will forget and type it in as .com, which means you just missed out on a reader.
When you sign up with Siteground, you can get a domain for $17 a year.
Don't forget to renew your domain every year!
Without a domain, no one can visit your blog.
4. Choose a self-hosted WordPress site
Here's the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
WordPress.org is the software I use through my hosting site (Siteground).
When people refer to WordPress, 99% of the time they are talking about WordPress.org.
It is free to use, but you can't just go to WordPress.org and start a blog; you have to set up a hosting site that will allow your blog to be seen by the world.
When you set up your account through your hosting site, WordPress will automatically be installed and ready for you to use.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a way for people to build websites without using a hosting site like Siteground, but your freedom is limited when it comes to themes, plugins, and monetizing your blog.
Also, your blog will have a ".wordpress.com" at the end of the URL instead of just a .com, which looks less professional and independent.
For example, because I chose to use a self-hosted managed site (Siteground) my blog is www.loveandotherremedies.com instead of www.loveandotherremedies.wordpress.com. See the difference?
Ok let me tell you a little story about Bluehost:
When I was first starting out learning about blogging, many blogs who were making the kind of money and creating the kind of content that I dreamed about, recommended Bluehost.
I thought it was a no-brainer to go with them, as I heard such great reviews and their plans were so cheap.
Even before my site went live and I had any visitors potentially slowing down my page, I ran into problems.
Their support is nearly nonexistent, their loading times are SO. FREAKING. SLOW (even when you're just trying to edit your blog) and I have heard many horror stories of sites crashing during really important launches and sales, causing bloggers to miss out of tons of money and lose subscribers.
I didn't know if I was doomed to deal with 9 second page loading times in this new blogging world or if there was a better option, so I started researching.
I found a whole community of anti-Bluehost bloggers who had switched to Siteground and had rave reviews.
I hated Bluehost so much that I switched to Siteground when I still had another 6 months of Bluehost service paid for (over $200 because their starting offers disappear after the first year and go way up) and it was still SO WORTH IT.
In the very first week, I felt like weeping tears of joy because their support staff was so helpful.
As someone who is still a beginner to computer stuff, WordPress, and blogging, it's essential for me to have easy access to a real person who not only helps me with the basic stuff, but doesn't make me feel stupid for asking basic questions.
I highly highly recommend Siteground.
5. Choose a theme
I chose the Ingrid theme for $49.
Not only do they make really elegant, beautiful themes, but they are easy to install and their site has tons of useful tutorials on using WordPress and customizing your site how you want it.
I have their site bookmarked on my web browser because I use it so much. You can even email them with specific questions and they are so helpful.
You can pay extra to have them install the theme for you, but I recommend doing it yourself for an important reason:
the process of installing your theme will teach you so much about how to use WordPress.
You will learn how to troubleshoot and fix issues, change settings, set up plugins and widgets, and customize your site how you want it.
Plus, you save a little extra money!
You can also find themes on Etsy.
If you find a blog theme that you really like, usually the blogger will have that theme listed or linked somewhere for you to use.
I don't recommend that you try to design your site yourself, unless you are a professional web designer. It will take time and won't look as professional as a purchased theme.
If you want your blog to look nice, purchasing a theme is just one investment that will pay off in the long run.
6. Start writing
Return to your list of 50-100 blog post ideas and pick 5 that you are most excited/knowledgable about.
Set a deadline (2 weeks-1 month) and dedicate yourself to turning those into 5 completed blog posts by that date.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Although your posts don't have to be perfect, especially in the beginning, don't underestimate how long it may take to complete one post (writing, editing, designing, taking or finding photos, linking, researching, and learning how to use the WordPress software).
You will learn as you go.
Focus on creating quality content and finding your voice.
Take courses, join Facebook groups, and always be open to updating your strategy to fit the new information you learn.
You are about to set out on a grand adventure!
Happy blogging 🙂
Please reach out with any questions in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My Blogging Recommendations:
1. ASelfGuru Legal Bundle
I purchased the starter legal bundle from ASelfGuru.com to make sure that I was covered in all areas of my blog, legally speaking.
To be fully transparent, this is an affiliate link. If you purchase a product from this link, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services that I have used, that I like, and that I think would benefit my readers. Read my full disclaimer here.
The templates are super easy to use and customize, and you can go back and edit them as your blog grows. Best of all, they are made by an actual lawyer who knows what she is doing.
The bundle came with a bunch of templates that I don't need right now with my blog being so small but I know they will come in handy one day and buying them separately would be SO expensive.
This legal bundle isn't free (I paid $167 during one of their sales) but in my opinion it's completely worth it to have peace of mind.
Plus, with your purchase you can join the Facebook group and email list, both of which are super helpful and Amira is really active on!
Amira is so dedicated to helping people, not only with the legal templates but also with blogging tips on how to make a ton of money and how to blog smarter.
You can even take a quiz to find out which bundle is right for your business.
2. Perfecting Blogging and Perfecting Pinterest Courses
Sophia is the first person who inspired me to start blogging when I watched this Youtube video which explains how she was able to make over $9,000 a month from blogging. Since that video 2 years ago, she has posted an updated video about how she makes over $75,000 per MONTH from blogging. It floored me, especially when I learned how young she is and that she's only been seriously blogging for a few years. I'll link it below:
The best thing is, Sophia is passionate about helping others learn how to blog at her level, and since 2020 she has come out with these two courses, Perfecting Blogging and Perfecting Pinterest which are FILLED TO THE BRIM with so much useful information.
The courses are so affordable too. I purchased the bundle during her sale for $171. The sale isn't going on anymore but if you sign up for her email list she will probably have another sale sometime in 2022.
Currently each course bought separately is $139 and the bundle is $249.
It is super worth it to buy both courses, in my opinion.
Sophia goes into so much detail about the basics of starting a blog, writing posts, keywords, photos, marketing, affiliate income, ads, her Pinterest strategy, Canva, organization, and so much more.
The course is updated whenever she changes her strategies, figures something new out, Pinterest or another program she uses comes out with an update that affects her strategies, or she just thought of something else that will help her students.
You get lifetime access when you purchase the courses, and I know I have already been circling back to certain sections to refresh my memory on how to do something or see if there is a new update.
Also, when you purchase one or both of her courses you can join the private Facebook group, which is the first place I go when I have a blogging question.
3. Thrive Architect
Thrive Architect is a front-end block editor that is included in the Thrive Suite package. This means you are editing your post while it looks exactly how it will once it's published, instead of editing on the backend and constantly switching to a preview to make sure it looks good.
There are also a ton of useful features like buttons, embedded videos, content boxes, and templates.
I've been using Thrive Architect for over a year now and there is still so much I haven't explored yet. Even if you buy it just to use the basic editing tools, it is worth the investment.
Paid annually, Thrive Suite is $19/month ($228/year).
Unfortunately you can't just buy Thrive Architect, you have to buy the entire Thrive Suite.
Even if you just use Thrive Architect and nothing else, the price is worth it.
But I strongly encourage you to check out the other tools in the bundle. I anticipate using more of them as my blog grows.
Thrive Suite is highly rated and used for a reason.
4. 17th Avenue Designs
Their themes are elegant, professional, and customizable. There are a ton of options to choose from.
The themes are affordable too, especially when you consider that you are paying $50 for a theme you can use for years and years and years.
Their website also has a ton of helpful tutorials about WordPress and specific themes. If I have a question or a problem about my site, I usually start on their support page before I look anywhere else.
I am not an affiliate (although I hope to be very soon!) I am just recommending them because I have had a very positive experience.
If you scroll up you can read about my negative experience with Bluehost.
Some bloggers have had fine experiences with Bluehost, but I switched from them because my site was so. freaking. slow and customer service was not helpful.
Whatever hosting company you choose, be sure that you do ample research. The key thing to be aware of is that Bluehost offers the best affiliate payout in the business, so if a blogger is pushing Bluehost, they might just be trying to make $$$.
Siteground really impressed me from day one with their fast and helpful live chat support.
You can easily get away with just using the free service. To be honest, I got roped into buying the pro version before I actually needed it. It's only $13/month when paid annually.
The three main benefits of Canva Pro are:
- access to pro stock photos
- a feature that lets you remove the background from an image
- more storage for your photos and designs
For someone like me who doesn't know how to use Photoshop or any other fancy graphic design software, Canva is a godsend. It is used by so many people because it is so user-friendly.