If you’ve ever wanted to start your own blog, then today’s post will help guide you step-by-step through the entire process and will help answer any questions you have on how to start a blog!
How to Start a Blog: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide
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Hey everyone! Today’s post is the second installment of my All About Blogging series- a series full of helpful blogging tips and tricks. In today’s post I’m covering in full detail How to Start a Blog: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide.
When I first started a blog, I found certain aspects to be pretty confusing and I found myself having to piece together all the information just to make sense of it all. From choosing the right platform, selecting the best website host (I 100% recommend Siteground), and simply figuring out how to set everything up, I know how difficult starting a blog can be. That’s why I put together today’s post to help make it easy on those of you looking to create a blog and for those of you who might be looking to update your existing blog.
How to Start a Blog: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide
Choose Your Blog’s Focus
Before we get into any of the technical aspects of how to start a blog, the most important step is first determining what your blog’s focus will be.
A lot of people will tell you when you start a blog that you need to pick a niche, but I personally think it’s more important to hone in on choosing a specific audience and overall focus and mission, rather than worrying about staying inside one specific box.
For example, let’s say you want to be a Mommy Blogger. Well that’s great, but there are tons of mommy bloggers out there, and if you’re trying to speak to all the moms of the world on every subject, that’s entirely too broad of an audience.
Instead, narrow in on what specifically you want your blog to be about and who you want it to appeal to. (Check out my blog’s mission over here)
I’ve seen it happen way too many times to count where people will start a blog on a whim and have absolutely zero clue what they want to blog about or they’ll choose a topic that they’re only interested in at the moment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, blogging is hard work and you want to make sure that you put careful thought into why you want to blog before you ever hit publish on your first post.
Read Next: What Bloggers Do
When I first started my blog, I literally sat down with a piece of paper and pen and outlined the specific reasons I wanted to blog and what I wanted my focus to be. To help you along with the process, I’ve included some helpful questions to answer below.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself:
- What is my passion?- What do I love talking about? What subject do people constantly ask me for advice on?
- Who is my ideal reader? – Who is going to be most interested in the content I’m writing about? What are their demographics?
- What is the mission behind my blog? – What is my blogging purpose? What will people gain from visiting my site?
- Will I blog for hobby or business?
This step might be difficult at first, but it’s the most important step and shouldn’t be overlooked. Taking the time to determine your blog’s focus and being intentional with who you’re speaking to, will help you stay focused along your blogging journey and will help you avoid blogger burnout.
Choose the Right Blogging Platform
The next step in starting a blog is choosing the right blogging platform for you. There are a ton of platform options out there including WordPress, Blogger, Wix, and more, but choosing the right one for you is crucial. I’ll also add that although free options are enticing, free isn’t always the best option.
When I first looked into starting my blog, I found choosing a blogging platform to be a little confusing, so I’ll try to make it as easy to understand as possible.
Free blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress.com offer free domains and free self-hosting, so essentially you can have a blog without paying a dime. Although this sounds amazing, it really means that you will not own your website, you don’t have flexibility in customizing your website, and if issues arise you’re waiting around for someone else to fix it. Basically, these platforms maintain ownership of your site, meaning your website could ultimately disappear overnight at any given time. Scary, right?
On the other hand, WordPress.org (which is what I have and personally recommend) allows you to self-host your blog at an affordable price and gives you full ownership of your domain (website).
I personally recommend going with WordPress.org and here’s why:
- You own your website
- You can fully customize your blog
- You are able to maintain your blog yourself
Now, I know what some of you might be thinking here. “I might want to blog as a business later, but for now I’m just doing it as a hobby and I don’t want to spend a lot of money.” I hear ya. When I first started blogging, I wanted to spend as little as possible too.
But honestly a. it’s not that expensive to self-host and b. it gives you total security and peace of mind in knowing that your blog is 100% yours and you control it, not someone else. (See my hosting section below for details on why I recommend Siteground!)
Plus, I’ve personally heard so many other bloggers complain about what a pain it is to try to switch from a free platform such as blogger to wordpress.org and some have actually lost content in the transfer, which I don’t think any of us would want.
Pick A Name For Your Blog
After determining your blog’s focus and choosing a platform, now it’s time to figure out a name for your blog. When choosing a name you want to select something that fits in with your blog’s focus and theme, and choose something that is easy to remember.
Be creative, but avoid long or cutesy names that might be difficult for readers to understand or remember and choose something that will be timeless as your blog’s readership grows.
An example of this would be 20somethingblonde or momof4toddlers. Although they might work great right now while you’re in your twenties or while you’re a mother of 4 toddlers, what happens when you turn 30 or your toddlers get older? Remember, a great blog name will stick with your readers and doesn’t have an expiration date.
This is another area where a good brainstorming session will come in handy, so grab a piece of paper and write down a list of 3-5 potential names. Next, you’ll want to check to see if the names you’ve chosen have available domains available.
My personal favorite is Namechk which not only checks to see if a domain is available, but also cross checks to see if social usernames are available as well.
Choose Hosting For Your Blog
As mentioned in the blogging platform section above, if you’re going to go with WordPress.org then you must choose a host for your blog. Again, there are several options out there, but the two main ones that most bloggers use are Siteground or Bluehost.
At the end of the day there are 3 important qualities you want to look for in a host, including:
- Speed- How fast pages load and how traffic is handled
- Security- How safe your site is
- Support- How quickly you can get technical support for any questions or issues that arise
I personally recommend and stand by Siteground 110% and I’ll tell you why. When I first started blogging I went with Bluehost, because from all the information I researched at the time it was the best option and had really affordable pricing.
And for a long time, it was fine and I didn’t have any issues. Unfortunately though, as time went on I began having issues with my site going down unexpectedly, unannounced maintenance updates, and my site speed was horrible, even after fixing every other possible issue it could have been slowing down my site.
In the end, I figured out all those issues had to do with my host, and I decided enough was enough.
Upon in-depth research on the best website host I discovered Siteground and I instantly took the plunge to switch. Not only do they work diligently to ensure your website has fast speed and remains secure to potential security threats, but their support team is like no other.
I seriously can’t thank the amazing support team enough for what an awesome job they did in helping me ensure a seamless switch and even when one of my posts magically disappeared, they were able to recover it quickly and have always responded super fast anytime I’ve had questions or concerns.
You can get started with Siteground over here for as low as $3.95/month and the installation process is so easy with their support team!
Install WordPress On Your Blog
Next you need to install WordPress on your website. For manual installation you’ll need to download the WordPress installation package and upload the WordPress files on your server. After that you will create a database for WordPress to use and go through the steps by prompt to complete your installation.
If you decided to host with Siteground, their support team offers free, hassle-free installation of WordPress on your blog, which is awesome- especially if you’re not super tech savvy.
Choose Your Blog’s Design
Lastly, it’s time to choose your blog’s design! First you’ll want to choose a parent theme for your blog. If you’re confused about parent themes vs. child themes, the best way to explain it is parent themes are the basic structure of your blog, while child themes are customized designs for your blog. Basically, the child themes are what make your blog look pretty and make it your own, while the parent themes are the framework of your blog.
Again there are lots of choices available for your theme including both free and paid themes, but the difference comes down to the amount of flexibility you’ll have when it comes to customizing your theme.
When I first started blogging I chose a free theme, but quickly realized the disadvantages of not being able to customize my site to my exact liking. Sure I could change the colors and fonts, but major customizations were extremely limited. Besides that, I didn’t really enjoy having the exact same theme as 500 other bloggers out there, so those are just a few things to keep in mind.
Eventually, I upgraded and bought the Genesis Framework, which is a clean-design, fast, and professional-looking. The possibilities are also endless with customizing the Genesis Theme, and there are literally thousands of child theme designs you can choose to make your blog look pretty.
Here are just a couple of my favorite websites for finding beautiful, professional-looking themes for your blog:
- Restored316 Designs (This is where I bought my current theme that I love!)
- Studio Press
- Creative Market
After choosing a theme, simply upload it to your website and have fun customizing your new blog!
So that about wraps up today’s post on How to Start a Blog. Whether you’re a beginner or a current blogger who’s looking to improve your blog, I hope you found today’s post extremely helpful.
In case you missed it, check out my previous post on What Bloggers Do and How to Support Them, where I share what it’s really like to blog full-time.
Have other questions on blogging? Leave me a comment below and I’d be more than happy to answer it!
Thanks for stopping by! – Cara
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