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I have been blogging for 4.5 years. I’ve learned so many about how to do it all seamlessly, and not so seamlessly. I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently on how to start a blog or tips on growing your blog so I decided to put some of my knowledge out there to help some of you figure it all out. Using these 3 steps, you can get your blog up and running in no time.
While it may be only 3 steps, keep in mind there is so much more to running a successful blog. These are just the basic things you need to get started. Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing on many other topics that have to do with blogging in the future.
How To Start A Blog In 3 Steps
Step 1: The Back End
What some people don’t understand is that you can’t just get a domain and bam you have a website. There is more to it than just that, which my boyfriend recently figured out with his new website for his skateboarding company. Yes, you need a domain and that is one of the most important parts, but it’s just the first step.
A domain is whatever you want after the www. and before the .com to put it simply. Mine is www.sweetteal.com. You can check to see if the domain you want is available on sites like GoDaddy or InstantDomainSearch.
Platform is like the space in which you will be writing your posts from. I use WordPress and it’s all I know. I love how easy it is to figure out and how organized the layout is. Other platforms include Blogger, Squarespace, and Wix. I actually have tried Wix and found it limiting.
As for hosting, there are many different options out there. While some people like BlueHost, I just couldn’t figure it out and did not like it myself. I started with it and shortly after starting I switched to GoDaddy. I used the Managed WordPress hosting through GoDaddy. It is a great choice for beginners and the customer service is great, unless you have to call. I’ve had experience where GoDaddy wasn’t updating my WordPress to the most current version and I called to figure out why and kept getting transferred and put on hold. The whole call was about 2.5 hours long all for them to tell me that they are aware of the problem and working on it.
So, I’ve recently switched to SiteGround. The reason I switched is because I’ve heard great things about them, they had a plan with a price that I liked, and I could host multiple sites within it.
If you want more features like free email addresses, free SSLs certifications, and access to cPanel (which can be important in certain cases and GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting doesn’t offer) then get Siteground. Pay for the year upfront and it’s cheaper too!
Step 2: Customization
You have a domain and hosting and are ready to get blogging, the only problem is that your site needs a great design to capture your audiences’ attention.
A theme can make or break your blog. I find myself quickly clicking off of websites that have overwhelming or poorly designed themes.
You want a clean theme that is easy to navigate.
You don’t want too many color combinations, multiple fonts, and distracting backgrounds.
The best places to look for themes, in my opinion, are on Etsy and Creative Market. You can also find fonts and graphics on those sites as well. Over the years, I have been through many different themes. My favorite places to get themes from are as follows.
Hello You Designs – currently have, very customizable
MaiLoveParis – affordable and simple
Angie Makes – great graphics for designing logos
Pipdig – simple but with more customization
Logo + Branding
Creating a logo is my favorite part! Picmonkey is my go-to and it has been worth it for me to get the paid subscription, you get so many more features! It’s also how I make all of my pins for Pinterest (more on that in another post). Picmonkey is user friendly and perfect for beginners.
Logos come in use when you want to make business cards, add to your signature on your email, or wherever else you can think of putting it. Maybe a custom notebook or planner? It’s all part of your brand and can be very fun to create.
Which leads me to branding. In everything you do, you want to have a cohesive theme in your branding. By this I mean stick to a color scheme on Instagram, create boards that go together on Pinterest, use the same fonts throughout social media and your blog, and make sure people can recognize you on whatever platform. If you’re all about vintage and tropical things, incorporate that into everything. Use polaroid backgrounds on your Insta Stories (the app Unfold is great for this), mention it when you reach out to brands, and so on.
*Don’t forget to setup an email newsletter to get people to start signing up from the beginning. An email list can be gold for bloggers when you are trying to get more traffic to your page or wanting to sell products. I use Mailerlite and really like it.
Step 3: Content
You have all of the backbones of your new blog worked out and can now actually start to put content on it! Start writing and taking photographs, get creative. For writing, I’ve found that it’s best to just start writing!
Just sit down and type until you can’t type anymore. Reread what you write and make multiple changes. Have someone else proof read it to see if it makes sense to others and then preview the post on your site to see how it will look once published. Write about topics you are passionate about and it will come easy.
Photographs are a VERY important part of blogging. You want to have great quality images that will make people come back for more. They should always be well lit, in focus, and never over edited.
For photography gear, I currenlty use the Sony a7. I use it mainly with an 85mm or 50mm but I’ll talk more about that all in another post.
Before the Sony, I used the Nikon D5200 with a 35mm lens. I love the Nikon because of the flip out screen. It’s great for recording videos because you can flip the screen around and see yourself in it. It’s also ideal for DIY photography because you can get it to certain angles.
As for editing, you need to learn how to edit correctly. I started with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and paid a monthly fee of about $8 total for both through the Adobe Creative Cloud. I’ve since upgraded to the student plan for all the adobe apps for $20 a month which included Premiere Pro, what I use to edit videos.
Lightroom works wonders and my photos have improved tremendously since I started using it. If you are new to Lightroom and want to edit quickly, try investing in some presets. I offer some that you can find in my shop here. While presets make photo editing very easy, you still need to learn Lightroom yourself.
Take time watching YouTube tutorials and reading up on different settings. It pays off to know what each feature does! Then you can start to make your very own presets to quickly edit photos exactly how you like.
I am still learning Photoshop but I have been finding myself using it a lot more recently. I mainly use it to make my DIY “supplies” photos. It easily allows you to get rid of the background for a certain piece in a photo. For example, if I take a picture of my sewing machine and want it to look like it is the only thing in a photograph with a completely white background, the lasso tool in Photoshop allows me to do it. It just makes life easier.
So maybeeee that wasn’t exactly 3 steps but blogging isn’t a one and done kind of thing. A lot of work goes into running one which is something you’ll find out.
All in all, starting a blog is an exciting venture and definitely worth the time you put into it. It is not only a hobby for me, but a passion and even a paying job seeing as I’m doing it full-time now!
To start a blog can be very rewarding by allowing you to work with brands and make connections.
If you have been wanting to start a blog, just do it! Don’t wait until “everything is ready” because the truth is, it never really is. With blogging, things evolve, you evolve, and you have to make changes as you go. You can’t start to grow unless you start.
I’ll be sharing more posts that go in depth on all aspects of blogging to help share my knowledge the best that I can. For now, work on launching your blog.
If you want to know the best tools to invest in, I do have a post on that here. Some other topics will cover editing in detail, how to utilize and grow with social media, plugins for WordPress to make blogging easier, working with brands, and of course, making money. Stay tuned!