Everything You Need To Start Your Own Blog
How To Start Your Own Blog
So you want to start your own blog?! Setting up a blog is exciting, but I bet you’re probably overwhelmed with information and have a ton of questions:
- Should I go with self-hosted or fully hosted?
- What should I name my blog?
- What is SEO?
- Will anyone even read my blog?
- How do bloggers make money?
- How do I set up a website with next to no web design experience?!
Setting up a blog can seem like an overwhelming process, but I’ve got everything you need.
Here’s what we will cover:
This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission if you make a purchase through any of the links.
First things first -you’ll need blog hosting! Self-hosted is the way to go if you want to be in full control of your site and make money! You see, when you choose a fully-hosted site, like a free site through WordPress.com, you can’t use that site to make money through affiliate sales or ads, unless you upgrade to a premium or business plan.
But you can make money pretty much any way you please if you choose a self-hosted site! Bluehost has plans for just $3.95 (USD) or $5.25 (CAD) a month. That’s about $60 (CAD) a year, with so much potential to make money doing what you love!
Don’t be intimidated by self-hosting! I originally went with a fully-hosted site because I was worried self-hosting was for the more technically inclined. But, it was pretty much the exact same process. It is so much easier than I thought! The process is simple and you can have your blog up and running in under one hour! I did it with little web design experience. The process was straight-forward and their tech service was available within minutes of a phone call to help if I had any questions.
What Are You Waiting For?
If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, my advice is simple- Start now, because the learning curve is steep! And go with the self-hosted site! When I started my blog, I waited like 6 months because I wanted to learn all I could before I started. So instead of starting a blog, I read all the blogging stuff and took all of the blogging courses. I felt overwhelmed and I hadn’t even started my blog yet! And when I finally did, I went with a fully-hosted site. Those are my only regrets!
Nothing prepared me more, than actual blogging. No course or E-Book taught me as much as taking action. The learning curve is steep, and courses can only help you so much! You will learn more by doing!
Start A Self Hosted Blog
Step 1. Get hosted! Bluehost offers fast and reliable web hosting and best of all it’s super easy! And very affordable at just $3.95 a month! Self hosting your blog allows you to have access to so many themes, plugins and advertising opportunities that fully hosted sites do not, unless you pay big bucks! You own your site when you go self-hosted, which gives you security and power. I recommend Bluehost because it’s fast, easy and reliable. Plans include a domain name, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), unlimited disk storage, email addresses, access to free themes and plugins, and more! It’s incredibly easy to use and offers fast access to so many features.
There are several plan options. I chose the basic 36 month plan, at just $5.25 a month. I did not choose any package extras as I don’t think they’re necessary. My total for 3 years of blog hosting was just $189.30!
Step 2. Domain name. Once you get your Bluehost account set up, you can use an existing domain or register one through Bluehost! Your Bluehost plan includes a domain name of your choice! Choosing your domain name is a big decision. If you’re having trouble picking a name, I recommend reading this post – Blog Name Ideas
Step 3. Install WordPress. Bluehost comes with WordPress.org already and set up is easy peasy!
Step 4. Pick your theme. WordPress gives you access to tons of beautiful, free blog themes. If you’re new to blogging, you may want to stick with the default theme at first.
Themes make it easy to just add your content and set up a beautiful blog design in a few steps. A theme will help you set up your typography, layout, advertising areas and more.
If you want a real elegant and professional theme right from the start, I highly recommend Blossom Themes! That’s what I use for this site and I am so happy with it. I recommend them because they’re easy to use, responsive and the most beautiful themes I’ve seen (And I looked at a ton before choosing mine). I decided to upgrade to the pro version, because it has so many more options- like unlimited color choices, extended widgets and more advertising abilities! The free versions are great, but you’re limited as far as costumizing and branding.
To start customizing your WordPress theme, go to Appearance -> Themes. Choose the active theme and then click Customize. Now you can customize your site in real time. To the left you’ll see all of your options and on the right you can see a live preview of how your site will look.
Set up your site identity. Click on Site Identity and enter your sites title and tagline. Your tagline should include keywords, giving readers and Google an idea of what your site is about. This is good for SEO! Once you’re done be sure to click Save and Publish.
Add your blog logo. Upload your logo to your site media. Then, select Site Identity -> Select Logo. Select your logo and make sure it looks good in the live preview before you Save and Publish.
Choose your fonts and colours. Select your brand colours or play around with different font and colour options until you’re happy with the results. Then hit the save and publish.
Add Categories. Click Posts -> Categories and Add New Category. Your categories break up your content into sections. Your posts are published into a category. If your site is about food, your categories coulde be: Breakfast recipes, Lunch recipes, Dinner recipes, Dessert recipes, etc. Or if your site is like mine, I have categories: Health and wellness, Beauty, Blogging, etc. Your posts are published into the relevant category. This helps your readers and Google better understand your content and navigate through your site.
Step 5. Upload your content and go live! I recommend starting your blog with a well-written about page and at least 5 cornerstone posts. Add posts through your Admin Dashboard -> Posts -> Add New. Write your post title, and add your text in to the blocks. Then hit publish when you’re finished.
Don’t Forget Your About Page. Click Page -> Add New in your admin dashboard. Add your title and a few paragraphs about yourself and your blog.
Start With Your Blog Story
A great blog always starts with one thing – a story! Your blog story. Use your story to shape your logo, graphics, blog design and the future of your blog.
The key to developing your blog brand story:
Determine Your Blog’s Purpose!
Understand Your Audience
Read my blog post on how to brand your blog here – https://stephsocial.com/2019/07/23/brand-development-for-bloggers/
Check out how and why I re-named my blog here – https://stephsocial.com/2019/02/11/blog-name-ideas-come-up-with-the-best-blog-names/
Beautiful Responsive WordPress Themes
If you want to take blogging more seriously, having beautiful blog layout can make a huge difference. If you want to grow your audience, subscribers and colab deals, you’ll need a professional blog theme.These BEAUTIFUL, RESPONSIVE WordPress themes make blog design so easy! You can switch your blog theme and try one of these for free or upgrade to a fully customizable theme. Create a beautiful new blog design in minutes! I can’t tell you how happy I am I upgraded my theme and my stats blew up after I updated my site! Get your very own Blossom Theme!
Beautiful Fonts For Your Blog
Not to overwhelm you any more, but there are a zillion fonts to choose from. Picking the right fonts can make your blog stand out and help with your branding process! I suggest using a simple font and a script and sticking with this combo throughout your social media.
Check out my favourite beautiful fonts here – https://stephsocial.com/2019/09/17/beautiful-fonts/
This is one area that scares a lot of beginner bloggers. But, it really helps to focus on SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION right from the beginning. But, if you’ve already started blogging, you can definitely go back and optimize your old blog posts. In fact, it helps boost your rankings to go back and update old posts.
One tool that has REALLY helped me find specific long-tail keywords I can rank for is Keysearch.co.
You can read all about my favourite here – Keyword Competition Checker.
SEO results won’t happen overnight. Once you learn the steps and use them properly, it usually takes months to start seeing some oragnic flow. So hang in there!
Long Tail Keywords | Use Them To Rank
A great blog that ranks well in search engines usually doesn’t just happen by chance. It takes knowledge. After you’ve nailed the simple SEO, you can begin using long tail keywords to your advantage.
Long tail keywords are easier for newbie bloggers to rank for, but if you’re not using the right ones or you’re not using them properly you’re wasting your time. The top 10 Google search results for popular keywords are usually secured by sites with a domain authority of at least 50. But, I have been able to land in the top 10 search engine results for several long tail keyword search terms with a Domain Authority of 12. And you can too with the right tool! I was able to easily pick out low-competition, high-volume keywords AND rank for them just one month after publishing a post!
I don’t have to wonder if I’m using the right keywords! I can see the keywords I’m ranking for currently, and find more keywords to target!
These two posts landed in the top 10 Search Engine Results, for high search volume terms like ‘Mother Daughter Halloween Costumes’ and ‘Starbucks Christmas Drinks’.
It’s about $16 a month, but is SO worth it for the results I have been getting. I no longer have to wonder if I’m aiming for the wrong keywords! I highly receommend Keysearch.co. Use code KSDISC to save 20 per cent!
Identify low competition-high volume keywords in order to dominate the search engines and out-rank your competitors.
Setting up a blog can be overwhelming, but the first step to start your own blog is to actually start! Do it now! Bookmark and pin me for future reference, and remember I’m just an email away if you have any questions.
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