Hello fabulous friends! Hoping your week is off to a wonderful start! I do not know about you, but once Monday is done, the week seems to fly by! I am a middle school assistant principal, and I can honestly share that each day is different from the last. One of the many reasons I love, love, love my job! Blogging has become something I also really love! Sharing ideas and interacting with you, my readers and friends, brings me a lot of joy and daily inspiration. Many of you have asked if starting a blog is hard, and my answer to that is absolutely not! If I can start a blog, you can launch an even better one. Today I want to share with you how to start a blog- are you ready?!
Disclaimer: For your convenience, I have included affiliate links. This simply means if you click one of the links and buy something, I may receive a commission, but do not worry- you will not pay a dime more.
Why Start a Blog
I started my blog in May 2015. One afternoon I painted stripes on a wall in my family room, and thought it would be cool to share the project with others. I have been a Pinterest fan since 2011, so I had read and followed several home bloggers. Some of my favorite bloggers include The Tuscan Home, Adventures in Decorating, Thrifty and Chic , Remington Avenue, and Start a Mom Blog, to name a few! Monday-Friday are busy in my home, as an assistant principal with a husband and three children, and one of my favorite ways to decompress the week was catching up with these ladies’ blogs. Relaxing this way is something I still do, and now the list of bloggers I follow has grown!
I loved these blogs because they inspired me… the beautiful images, their sweet written words, the generous way they shared projects and ideas made me want to be a better mom, wife, and friend! And they made me feel I could do great things to make my home exactly how I always dreamed. Projects seemed doable, I could use my creativity and not be afraid I would ruin something.
Starting my blog was a way of breaking out of my comfort zone of “maybe someday I will try that”. Someday became now!
Step One to Start a Blog
The first step to starting your blog is to consider your niche. A niche is the narrowing down of a group of people that have a common interest. Essentially, your niche captures what your blog will be about. Your niche also represents those that will most likely read your blog. Some blogs represent a very specific niche, while others have a wide variety of topics covered. Let’s explore both.
Blog Niche is Narrow
Examples- finding the best skateboard, how to grow a cactus
Pros- Your readers will know what to expect every time they visit. It is likely you will provide very in depth coverage of your topic and this can have great appeal for your readers.
Cons- You may struggle to find things to write about, as your topic is so specific.
Blog Niche is Wide
Examples- lifestyle, travel
Pros- You have a lot of topics you can write about.
Cons- If your topics vary too much, your readers may feel confused. They may be less likely to return to your blog, as they are not sure what to expect and do not see your blog as a helpful resource.
As a blogger attracting new readers, you want people to feel comfortable in your blog space. Readers appreciate your honesty and expertise. Ideally, you want that one post to bring them in- and you want to entice them to look around a bit! If the topics are too varied, this may cause them to bounce quickly.
Consider a niche that interests you. One that you can easily come up with post ideas that will be enjoyable to write and serve a purpose for the reader. Blogging should be fun, and the information you provide should help your readers! If your niche is too narrow, you may run out of ideas for blog posts.
Step Two to Start a Blog
Next, you need to choose a blogging platform. In this new world, you may be wondering, “What in the world is she talking about?”! A blogging platform is a user friendly tool that enables you to actually place your content on the internet. I chose WordPress as my blog platform for several reasons, the most important of which include:
- It is free (who does not love that?!)
- Set up is relatively easy
- For the most part, it is very secure
- Offers a great variety of design themes that are easy to navigate
Step Three to Start a Blog
As you move forward with starting your blog, you will need to secure a domain name and a blog host. For a blogging newbie, I know- you are thinking, “What is this?”! I promise it is not complicated! Let’s take it one step at a time. (Think baby steps!)
A domain name is you blog’s address. Consider it your little haven in the internet world! You want your domain name to be something that flows easily, and is not complicated. Over time, you will find you are typing this domain name over and over- make it something memorable and easy! My domain name is homeonarborpointe. Registering your domain name ensures no one else can use it. No worries- registering your name is easy and inexpensive. And the cool thing is once you register it, it is yours!
I registered my domain name when I secured my blog host. How is that for one stop shopping? I did both with Bluehost, and I could not be happier with the service from Bluehost! As I mentioned, I started my blog in May 2015. I used the free WordPress version, and upgraded to a self-hosted site in June 2017 with the purpose of turning my blog into a business. Confession time: I am not very techy. Like, technologically challenged really! I love Bluehost because it had easy, one click installation for my WordPress blog. Amen to that, right?! Affordable and easy, at $3.95 per month- now you are speaking my language!
Step Four to Start a Blog
Now that you have your platform, domain name, and host site, you are ready to select the theme for you blog! Your theme is your design, and there are so many gorgeous themes available to select. Some themes are free, others require a small payment to secure.
When choosing your theme, you want something aesthetically pleasing. Remember, your readers might click a link and land on your site, and you have seconds to convince them the information you provide is of value to them. How do you want to present yourself? What do you want your readers to think when they see your site for the first time? You might create amazing content, but if your site does not capture your visitors, they may never read your informative posts.
Things to consider when deciding on a theme include:
- Does it suit your personality? Does it suit the personality of your blog?
- Are the colors cohesive? Branding matters, colors matter.
- Will the theme allow you to create a site that is easy to navigate? Readers want to find good information quickly and easily. Make sure your theme will support your goal of easy site navigation.
- Is there a charge for the theme, and is the charge worth it?
While choosing a theme is super important, remember, it is not a permanent decision. You can change your theme after your blog is live. So, if you choose a theme that does not meet the needs of your readers, you can adjust.
Step Five to Start a Blog
You have an incredibly site up and almost ready to go! The next step is to create meaningful content for your readers. What information do you wish to share with them? What do you think they will find helpful? Consider topics that are informative and will draw interest from those that visit your site.
When I was preparing to launch my blog, I did a lot of research. I read a few blogs that recommend having, at minimum, ten + blog posts written prior to making your site live. Wow- ten or more posts BEFORE I launch my site? While I recognize the value in having a well-established site to entice consistent readership, this was my blog! And when creating your site, remember, it is YOUR blog- you launch when you ready, regardless of the number of posts you have created!
Creating awesome blog content is super important. In all honesty, when I review my blog, I have some great posts and some okay posts. Part of growing as a blogger includes learning how to better craft content. Take comfort in knowing that your skillset will develop over time, and no one starts a blog that is perfect!
Above everything else, your blog should serve a purpose for your readers. You want to provide a reason for people to come back to your blog, to harness learning they cannot get anywhere else. Remember, they cannot get it anywhere else because you are going to make it special!
Step Six to Start a Blog
So, now you are ready to LAUNCH your blog! This step is super exciting! You finally get to share with the world your ideas and topics that promote rich discussion. This is your opportunity to exercise your voice in this big world- how cool is this?!
One thing I would love to share is that you do not need your blog to be perfect before you launch. You certainly want it to be done well enough that it is something you are proud of, but making it perfect is not necessarily a requirement now. Know that as your blog grows, you grow. You become better at writing, editing, taking pictures, editing pictures, developing content that is engaging, etc! I have been blogging for almost two and a half years, and I am still learning.
Every now and then I go back and edit old blog posts. I enjoy reflecting on where I was at the time I wrote the original post, as well as seeing how my hard work blogging has changed me. I am a better mom, wife, friend, educator because of my experiences blogging! Does that sound corny?! It might- and that is okay! I hope you get the image that for me, blogging was stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new, like really new. None of my friends are bloggers and most of my family had no idea what it is! And yet I discovered this whole new world of blogging friends, people that support and coach me through the process. Before I would hit “publish” on a post I would worry about what people would think of me doing this. Blogging is a way of sharing and expressing and connecting. I love it!
Recap of the Six Steps
- Decide on your blog niche
- Determine your blogging platform
- Secure your domain name and hosting site
- Choose your theme
- Write meaningful content
So… Are YOU Ready to Start a Blog?!
My dear friend, know that this is not a question you have to answer today! You may be thinking about it, and that is okay. When the time is right, you will know! Even if you are just pondering the idea, continue to do that! You can take all the time you like and/or need to research before you jump in. I hope that you will continue to follow my blogging journey for advice and inspiration! Subscribe to my blog- all that is required is your email address- quick and painless, I promise!
If you are ready to start your blog, I wish you the absolute best on your journey! Be sure to leave a comment that includes your blogging address, so I can follow you and continue to connect! I mean it when I say blogging is an incredibly fun endeavor!
Be sure to check back next week as I share my tips that helped me reach 5,065 pageviews during my second month blogging. I will see you soon!