How To Start A Blog

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!


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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>