Have you ever thought about starting a blog? Did you know it’s super easy? Just ask the one million plus people worldwide who have blogs! There are blogs on just about anything from kids to science to fashion to health. The beauty about blogging is that you can writing about anything because it’s your tiny little piece of the internet. Some people have private blogs where they journal about their days and personal thoughts and feelings and others blog publicly about sports, fashion, personal finance, travel and make thousands and if they are really good, millions of dollars a year. While most of us don’t make thousands or even a few pennies everyday, we do it because we love to write and share our stories with the world. And you can too with these easy 8 steps!
How to Start A Blog in 8 Easy Steps
1. Pick a topic
What do you want to blog about? Your life in general? Your awesome fashion sense that all your friends comment on? Your journey to get out of credit card debt? Maybe you love to travel like I do? Pick a topic or maybe a couple and focus your blog around those themes. If your long-term goal is to make money on your blog or turn it into a business then you should research your “niche” and focus your writing on topics within your niche. If you go too broad then sometimes it’s hard for your readers to connect with you and continue to follow you through your journey. To gather a solid readership, you need to become an expert in something. But, if blogging is just a passion, you have freedom to write what ever you want!
Step #1 Resources:
- How to Choose the Right Blog Topic
- 5 Tips to Choosing a Blog Topic
- How to Choose a Blog Niche (6 Tips)
2. Pick a name
Naming your blog might be the easiest or the hardest task that you have to do. Personally, I struggle with names. A good name, or brand, is especially important if you are trying to make money. You need a unique name to set you apart from others, but something that people can remember so they can find you amongst the 1 million blogs. Once you pick a name, make sure you “Google” it to ensure no one else is using that name elsewhere.
Step #2 Resources:
- The Guide to Choosing a Blog Name You Won’t Regret
- How to Brainstorm Blog Names Ideas You’ll Love
- Choosing a Blog Name: Two WordPressers Share Their Stories
3. Find a host
There are multiple options for free hosting. I highly recommend WordPress to start. WordPress.com is completely free and very easy to build a website even for the non-techie. Blogger is another free platform that you can use. I started my first blog with Blogger and after about a year I moved it to WordPress because I had more freedom to design my blog and add plugins. Once you feel the investment is worth it, you can move your WordPress.com site to a self-hosted WordPress.org site where you’ll have complete freedom to design your theme and layout as you would like. You’ll also be able to use about a million different plugins. If you are looking to turn your blog into a business and make money, I would recommend starting self-hosted from the get-go. It’s really not that expensive to self-host. My two blogs are currently hosted with SiteGround, which I absolutely adore! I’ve also used BlueHost and iPages. There are many more hosts that you can choose as well depending on your size, needs, and budget. I found iPages to be super cheap and had amazing technical support, however, they were way too slow for my needs (I have lots of photos on my site). BlueHost was good and I know a lot of bloggers use and recommend BlueHost. Find a host that best fits your needs.
Step #3 Resources:
- How to Choose the Best Platform for Your Blog
- How to Choose Your Blog Hosting Service
- Choosing the Best Blog Web Hosting Sites
4. Pick a domain name
If you are just starting a free WordPress website then your domain will be as follows: www.name.wordpress.com. However, you can purchase your own domain name that will removed the “wordpress” part for about $20 a year. I recommend doing this. It’s a small investment that will make you appear more professional and people will have an easier time remembering and typing in your website address. Domain name and blog name generally go hand-in-hand. There are no laws that your domain name and blog name have to match, but it is a lot easier to find and remember if they are the same. This is why it is extremely important to “Google” your potential blog name in step two. When you go to purchase your domain name, you will type it in and the website will know if it is taken or not. If it’s not then you can go ahead and purchase the domain name. Congratulations! However, if it is already taken, then time to go back to the drawing board. I recommend buying your domain name through your host. It is easier that way or else you’ll have to figure out how to point your domain name to your host or pay someone to do it for you. It gets very confusing fast if you’re not a techie person (and I am not!).
Step #4 Resources:
- How to Register Your Own Domain Name
- How to Buy Domain Names Like a Pro: 10 Tips From the Founder of PhoneTag.com
5. Pick your theme
This is the fun part! You get to design your blog. WordPress.com offers free themes that you can customize a little bit like color and font, but not much. If you want something fancy then you will want to purchase a theme. For full customization and design you will need to purchase a theme and have a self-hosted Wordpress.org website. I don’t know a lot about Blogger, but I know there is limited customized as well. If web design isn’t your thing then you can do what I did and hire an expert to design your site. Mandie Sanders of Rambling Mandie did an awesome job on my site redesign for a reasonable price.
Step #5 Resources:
- Selecting the Perfect Theme for WordPress
- How to Pick the Best WordPress Themes for Your Business
- How to Select the Perfect WordPress Theme for Your Blog
6. Start writing
Now for the real fun. I love writing and sharing my stories. It’s fun for me, but blogging is a lot of work. I spend a lot of time writing informative and personal posts that tell a story. Some bloggers just ramble on about what they are wearing and what they ate that day. It’s your piece of the internet so you can write what you want. Just please edit your posts before hitting the “publish” button. I always read through my posts several times before I hit publish and I try my darndest to not have grammatical errors and typos, but it does happen (please correct me if you see any!). No one wants to read a post full of errors and misspellings. Also, beware what you say. If your blog is public, you never know who might be reading your site. SEO is a huge topic for another day. It’s important, but not as important as quality content.
Step #6 Resources:
- How to Write a Blog Post: A Simple Formula + 5 Free Blog Post Templates
- How to Write Great Blog Content
- The 12 Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Blog
7. Share on social media
Want people to read what you write? You need to share it on your social media accounts! Most bloggers share their new posts via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts to increase their visibility and readership. It takes a long time to build a solid readership. Don’t be caught up in your statistics. Write great content, share it, and eventually they will come. And you can automate your social media posts through programs like Hootsuite and Buffer!
Step #7 Resources:
- 71 Ways to Write a Social Media Updates
- A Scientific Guide to Writing Great Headlines on Twitter, Facebook, and Your Blog
- 50 Tweetable Twitter Tips You Wish You Knew Years Ago
8. Monetize your blog
This step is completely optional depending on your goals. Most bloggers would probably love to make a few bucks on their blogs because they put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it. I know I do. There are different ways to go about monetizing your blog. A lot of bloggers with sign up with Ad networks and have sidebar and banner ads. They tend to make money per clicks, also known as click-through rates (CTR). Banner ads are most effective if you have high traffic because the CTR is generally very low. Some ad networks include, AdSense, BlogHer, and Kontera. Personally, you will never see ad networks on my site. I think they are annoying and spammy. Another method is through affiliate sales, which you will see on my sidebar for companies that I truly believe in and use myself. Many companies offer affiliate partnerships so its worth reaching out to your favorite companies that work in your blog niche to see if you can form a mutual partnership. Blog Marketing Academy has a great article on Top 10 Blog Monetization Strategies that is worth checking out.
Step #8 Resources:
- 30 Ways to Monetize Your Blog & Make Money Blogging!
- 26 Expert Bloggers Share Their Favorite Blog Monetization Strategies
- 4 Ways to Monetize Your Blog Intelligently
Other great blog posts from a few of my favorite professional traveler bloggers:
- 11 Secrets to Becoming a Professional Travel Blogger from the Expert Vagabond
- 7 Potent Tips for Creating a Travel Blog Unlike the Rest from Nomadic Matt (guest post on CopyBlogger)
- The Biggest Mistakes New Bloggers Make from Adventurous Kate
Now, for my shameless plug. Travel Blog Success is an online travel blogging course with loads of information. Even if you are a veteran blogger you will find some of the information new and useful. I absolutely LOVE the private member-only Facebook group where I learn new things everyday and connect with much larger bloggers that I admire. And it is currently on sale for 30% off! I waited a long time to purchase this because I thought it was expensive. However, I bought it during the Fall Sale last year and have already made my money back through opportunities I found on the Opportunity Board and networking through the group. If you are serious about travel blogging then I highly recommend that you join the group! The discounted price of $242.90 is only available through midnight on Friday, April 17, 2015! There is also a new videography course that is not part of the regular sale, but is currently 10% off. But you can buy both courses with the travel blogger course at the 30% discount! Alex in Wanderland just posted a great review of the videography course. (Note: I am an affiliate of the Travel Blog Success course. At no cost to you, I will make a few dollars if you use my link to help pay my bills around here. It’s much appreciated!)