How To Start A Blog

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Are you a blog “stalker”? You have your favorite blogs that you read daily, and even follow those same bloggers on all social media outlets.

I still AM a blog stalker!  I have a few favorites that I kind of can’t live without, It’s pretty sad and pathetic, but you know what?  They’re my novels.  My magazines. My “time away”.  Nap time is my time to get away and read my favorite writers.  It’s what got me started blogging.

I stalked a few blogs back then, April Kennedy, I Heart Naptime, and The Bloggess.  They’re my favorite reads to this day.  They inspired me to get my thoughts down, to inspire others to craft and bake and skip their housework for days on end.  My blog stalking is what got me started blogging.  When I first started, I just sort of figured it out.  I would Google topics like, how to start a blog, and things you need to start a blog, and mostly got nothing that made any sense to me.  I just had to figure it all out myself.

Time to fix that for any of you out there who think blogging might be for you, but you just don’t know where to start. How To Start A Blog should be an easier topic of conversation!

Enter MELANIE on a white horse, here to save you! {too much Once Upon a Time viewing for me!}how to start a blog

Here are 5 things to consider when starting a blog for yourself!

 

1. Decide on content / niche

There are a lot of general bloggers out there.  Crafters who also cook and bake.  Bakers who craft and cook.  If you want to have the best chance at doing well and getting your words heard, you’ll want to figure out your “niche”.  What makes you stand out from other bloggers?  For me, I share easy crafts and recipes that you can complete in a naptime.  Skip your housework a little longer, and craft and bake fast, y’all. If you are an amazing baker, showcase your talents in a food blog such as Shugary Sweets, Kleinworth & Co. or Pint Sized Baker.  If you are the kind of girl who picks up yard sale pieces and gives them new life, you should put your talents out there for others to see, such as Lolly Jane, DIY Inspired, or Roadkill Rescue.  If you whip up printables like it’s nothing, you MUST get in on the party and join bloggers like Thirty Handmade Days and Key Lime Digital Designs.  There are so many different ways to showcase your talent, so stalk other blogs and then get your talents down for others to see!
2. Decide where to publish your blog Blogger vs. WordPress

SO, you’ve decided to blog, but where to start?  A majority of bloggers use either Blogger or WordPress.  There are a few other platforms that bloggers use, but I’m familiar with WordPress and Blogger, so that’s what I’ll share with you today.  Here are some pros and cons of both {from Shanice Cameron}

Blogger Pros

  • Free
  • Reliable (unlikely to be hacked, virtually no downtime)
  • Easy-to-use for beginners

Blogger and WordPress.Com Cons

  • Limited features (especially comments and the post editor)
  • You can easily lose your template customizations.
  • There aren’t a ton of great templates, so your blog will look really blank and boring.
  • If you ever decide to earn money with your blog, you are unable to do it on a free blog. They don’t allow you to do that.

Self-Hosted WordPress.org Pros

  • WordPress software is free.
  • Full of features to make your blog pretty and have fun add ons.
  • Highly customizable (especially with web design/development knowledge)
  • Easy-to-use without coding knowledge
  • Wide-variety of free and premium themes
  • Can use premium frameworks like Genesis
  • You own your content. No fine print.

WordPress Cons

  • Requires paid web hosting and a domain name
  • Theme customization can be difficult for beginners.
  • Can be easier to hack than Blogspot blogs

Basically, in my opinion, if you can afford to start out on WordPress, it will save you a lot of time in the long run.  Switching from Blogger to WordPress one year after you have posted is going to drive you crazy, so avoid that if you can!  If you’re unable to start on WordPress, Blogger is a great starting platform that’s simple to write posts in and simple to apply new themes.  There are tons of great free Blogger templates as well as a bajillion cute Etsy templates that are under $25.  You’ll read more about those later.

 

3.Domain Name {the URL of your site}

You can create a free blog on a blogger.com but it’s not actually free.

You are not able to get your OWN domain. You will get a sub-domain. So instead of  myblogrocks.com you’ll get myblogrocks.blogspot.com.

These things being said… if you can afford a domain and hosting, PLEASE just start out with your own domain.

How much will this cost?  A domain will cost around $10 a year and a hosting (service that connects your blog to the internet) is around $5-$6 a month. You’re looking at around $50 – $100 a year to HOST your site and own  your domain name.
4. Hosting

There are many hosting companies out there who are willing to take your money.  The decision, for you, comes down to customer service and reliable speed.  If visitors can’t view your blog then there isn’t much point in visiting again. Additionally, if the speed in accessing your blog is too slow because your blog host’s server has exceeded its capacity, visitors will become frustrated and click away from your blog.  There are many hosting companies I’ve worked with and used for clients over the years, and I can highly recommend Web Hosting Hub, BlueHost, and RFE Hosting.

 

 

All three have different pricing structures and different features and benefits.  Do what’s right for your budget, but keep in mind that over time, you’ll want reliable service that you can count on.  You ARE running a business, after all!  When you are ready to purchase a domain name and hosting, I highly recommend you do it all with the same company.   Just trust me on that, it makes it easier for everyone if it’s all in the same place!
5. Design your site

When your site is up and running {use the one click install through Web Hosting Hub and you’ll have a site up in less than 15 minutes!} you’ll want to get a design!  There are some amazing blog designers out there for both Blogger and WordPress.  I’d check out Pretty Darn Cute Designs, The Pixelista, or  Etsy {search Blogger Premade Templates or WordPress Premade Themes}.

 

Hopefully, when you decide it’s time to start a blog, these 5 steps will have you on your way to inspiring others!  I’d love to hear from you.  Are you on the verge of starting a blog?  Are you a newbie blogger just going through the steps?  Are you a veteran blogger and have some opinions to share?  I’d love to spark a conversation with your favorite / least favorite parts of starting a blog!


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Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    I have been reading so much about starting a blog and I am very torn about what to do. I really want to write a blog while I am attending grad school in Italy for the next year. I figured I would just do it for free but what if I really like it? I just am not sure about spending money on it because I may not continue to do it once I get back or I may not like doing it at all. Since I am interested in doing it for while I am away, is it really a bad thing to do it for free?? If I do love it, I know that I have read it is a pain to do but it is possible, right?

  2. says

    Thank you! I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog to hopefully generate more traffic into my shop, but had no idea where to start. A lot of other articles were skimming over wordpress and blogger. Now I have a better idea of where I’m starting!

  3. candice says

    Hey there :)
    I’ve been wanting to start a blog for years now and finally feel it’s the time to buckle down and just dive in. And yes, I’m clueless. 😉 Thank you for making this a little easier to understand! Love all the basic (not so basic for me, ha) steps!

  4. Iselle says

    That was really helpful!
    I have a website hosted by Wix. I want to add a blog to my website, but their blog format is not user friendly at all. Is it possible to start the blog on blogger but connect it to my website ?

    Thanks,

    Iselle

  5. Ana Brawls says

    Hi Melanie,

    Thank you so much for there useful tips.

    I have been planing on starting a blog for quiet a while, and have lots of content that I would like to write about. I read some other tips and information o starting a blog, but you made it more to the point.

    My boy doesn’t long nap anymore, but I can do it at night time :)

    Thanks you once again
    Ana

  6. Jennifer Stephens says

    I am toying with the idea of starting a blog. I would like the option of eventually doing it for profit. I have been reading some about godaddy.com and they seem to have great pricing. Do you know anything about them? I worry about making the wrong decision on who to get my domain and hosting with.

    • says

      go daddy is fine for start up blogs. There’s also Bluehost and Web Hosting Hub (link here in this post) they all provide start up packages that are just fine!

  7. Jodie says

    Great information! I really wish it was less expensive to start out, cause I hate to pay the money and then not continue to post. I have hand crafted items I would like to sell but not sure I have the time to invest in actually blogging daily.

    • says

      just start out with a google blog. You’ll have a your name.blogspot.com address but it’s free. That’s a great place to start! I started there 4 years ago!

  8. Ashley says

    This makes things easier. Do you know of any sites\people that can do all of the beginning stages for you? Pretty much so you’re just ready to start posting? Thanks!

  9. Graci B says

    Hi! Thank you for the quick breakdown. I’m thinking of starting a blog but I’m guessing a gossip blog? I’m on the internet everyday and I read everything! I mean EVERYTHING!! I am a sucker for gossip, I can’t lie. I try to investigate and see if the story has some truth to it or not. I’m a little nervous on what I should blog about or which route I should go. I really need to make some extra income as well since I am a stay at home mom, surprise! Can you give me any advice or pointers? I would gladly appreciate it. :-) Thanks!

    • says

      I think a blog with someone who reads all of that stuff is great…. just focus on a great writing style and make your personality pop – and people will definitely follow!

  10. K.R.Buchanan says

    I’ve seriously been trying to dabble into writing.. I want to start a blog to sort of relate to my readers and to work up a following. I HAVE NOT EVEN THE SLIGHTEST CLUE ON HOW TO BEGIN A BLOG!! Your article makes it seem less daunting!!

  11. Heidi says

    This post is what made me take a leap of faith to finally start my blog. I’m literally just starting out. I purchased my domain name and hosting last night via Bluehost and I also picked a theme for my web page. I’m getting some help from Mojo because the one thing I am not is tech savy. Having said all that, I’m nervous about navigating my way around my site once it’s up. Where can I find a tutorial on navigating my WordPress page?
    Thank you!

    • says

      That makes me smile Heidi! So glad! Ask away if you have any questions! Or put a message out on my FB page and I’ll have my followers add advice for ya! You Go Girl!

      • Anonymous says

        Thanks Melanie! One of my questions is around website set up. For someone who is not tech savy is it worth paying a group like Mojo Marketplace to set it up for you? It’s pricey but I’m wondering if it is worth a try. From your experience is WP set up difficult for newbie?
        Can you send me a link to your FB page? I’ve search and can’t locate it :(
        Thank you!!

  12. Molly says

    Thanks for the great information! We have been renovating our house and I have been thinking of starting a blog to pass along my experiences. Now if only I could get the guts to start it!

  13. Alex Miller says

    I’ve recently become obsessed with blogs, bloggers, bloggings, etc. I love to write and share about all things life. I would really like to start a blog of my own but I can’t exactly pin point my niche. I have a passion for travel, fashion, and interior design/home decor. I don’t know how to pick or what I could do to use a little dash of it all. Do you have any suggestions?

  14. Sami says

    Awesome information! I am trying to decide who to go with for a hosting service and the more I read the more the terminology seems to confuse me. I appreciated your breakdown of the information :) what I’m most curious about and equally stumped with is how to choose a name…I’m currently pregnant with our first and want to do an adventures into mommyhood/DIYer type blog but can’t think of a name…and what if I choose and in 6 months or a year want to change it. Can a domain name be changed? So many things to learn! *Sami

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