How To Start A Blog
I started my blog 5 years ago on a whim. I was having a bad day at work and needed a place to vent. But here I am many years later still writing, and not only just writing, but also making money from my blog.
Last year, I made $15,000. So while it’s not my full-time job, this blog is definitely a successful side hustle.
But people always want to know how to do this. People want to know how to start a blog. And the truth is, yes, it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s not that complicated to get started.
I know, because I did it with zero tech experience.
These days, all you need to have is determination to freaking do it. Everything else can be learned by searching Google and watching Youtube.
So if you’ve been on the fence about starting a blog, here’s how to do it in 7 easy steps.
1. Decide On A Topic
When I first started blogging back int 2012, my blog was mainly focused around generational differences in the workplace. I wrote about Generation Y, more commonly known these days as millennials, and I shared real-life accounts of what I was going through at work. It was something that I was passionate about, and therefore something that I could write about easily. So if you’re going to start a blog, figure out what you need to say. What’s your “thing” going to be? Do you want to write about money? Marriage? Relationships? Healthy eating? Traveling? There are so many topics you could write about, but I think at the beginning it’s a good idea to just pick one of them.
There’s a big debate that’s constantly going on in the blogging world about whether or not bloggers should find and stick to a specific “niche.” AKA, whether or not bloggers should only write about one topic. I’m not going to make that decision for you, but it’s something you should definitely research. There are plenty of lifestyle bloggers out there who write about several topics. I, for one, write about pretty much anything a young adult would experience in their twenties. I focus on career advice, but I also write about everyday Adulting 101 kind of stuff. Traveling, productivity, how to keep your house clean when you’re a hot mess. But I do think that there’s also value in being known as an expert in a particular field. Regardless of what you decide, here’s the thing…you can always change your mind later.
So for now, try to pick the one thing that you’re most passionate about. Because when you get started, you need to do a LOT of writing. And if you choose a topic that you struggle to write about, well babe, that’s not gonna be fun.
Select Your Host + Install WordPress
In order to start your blog, it needs to live on a website, and the easiest way to do that is to sign up with Bluehost. So open up your browser, head on over to Bluehost, and I’m going to walk you through it. Step by step.
Fist things first, click on “Get Started Now.”
Then select your plan. I’m normally the cheapest person on earth, but in this case, for a couple dollars extra a month, it makes sense to go with the prime plan. The biggest reason is because I wouldn’t want you to run out of website space, but it’s totally up to you. You can 100% get started with the basic plan.
Then you’re going to select your domain. Your domain is your website URL. I’m pretty sure you can choose a URL later, so if you’re stuck on that, move on. But do have a few options in mind because the URL you want may already be taken. After you’ve typed in your domain, click “next.”
Then you’ll create your account. Enter all your basic account information and be sure to include a valid e-mail address where you’ll get all of your important info sent to.
Then you’ll select your package. When you’re initially taken to this page, the pricing will default to the 3 year price. When you purchase the first three years upfront, the monthly price is lower, but if you want to just give this a shot for one year, select the one year price and start with that.
Put in all your payment info, and hit submit.
Woohooo! You’ll be taken to a congratulations page with some intro offers. You can skip those for now if you’re not interested.
Then you’ll get a summary of your account and you’ll be prompted to change your password.
Now the fun part starts! You’ll be directed to the homepage inside your Bluehost account.
From here, navigate to the cPanel and write down your username. That’s your BLUEHOST username that you’ll use to access your internal Bluehost Admin account. Once you’ve written that down, click on Install WordPress.
Then you’ll be taken to a page that looks like this. You can click on “Get Started.”
Then you’ll enter the domain you’re installing WordPress for. This is your URL. So I’d enter www.lostgenygirl.com here. Once you’ve done that, hit “next.”
Now this is where you’re setting up your WordPress account info. Enter your site name -mine would be Gen Y Girl. Your admin information is what you’re going to use to actually enter WordPress later, so make sure to write this info down someplace safe. You’re going to need it in a few minutes. After that, hit “install.”
Okay, you’re officially installing WordPress!
Now have a legit dance party, because you’re seconds away from starting your blog! And after a couple minutes, BAM! Installation complete! Yea, baby!
Alright, that’s all we’re going to do with Bluehost for the moment. Now you’ll need to open up a new browser tab because we’re going to WordPress.
Here’s how to get there. www.yourdomainurl.com/wp-admin
So mine, for example, is www.lostgenygirl.com/wp-admin
Replace my domain with yours and you should see a screen that looks like this:
Here you’ll enter your WordPress username and password which I told you to write down a few steps earlier. Then, LOGIN!
Welcome to WordPress!
From here you can start playing around with the aesthetics of your blog, but I wouldn’t get too caught up on this. Navigate to the Appearances menu on the left and select your theme.
You can choose a free WordPress theme, or you can invest a little to make your blog look nicer. If you’re not about the free themes, I suggest looking into these.
And that, my friends. is all I’m going to cover right now about installing WordPress. On to the most important part!
You can have the prettiest looking website, but if there’s no content, you don’t have a blog. So I recommend you lock yourself in a room for a few (hundred) hours and start writing! I know, us writers have a love/hate relationship with writing, but you gotta do it! Otherwise, I have no idea why you’ve even gotten this far.
When it comes to writing blog posts, I recommend writing them in Microsoft Word or Google Docs before actually putting them in WordPress. I’ve had a few instances where I’ve drafted blog posts in the system and then lost all my writing because of some stupid technical glitch. Yo- that’s the worst! So save yourself the headache and save your work somewhere else first.
Need some inspiration? Don’t know what to write about?
Install Google Analytics + Submit Your Sitemap
Once you’ve started creating content, you’ll want to install Google Analytics pretty early on to make sure you’re keeping tabs on your website traffic. There’s a whole bunch of good information you can gather from Google Analytics, plus- later on once you’re monitoring your site, some companies that you’ll work with will want to see screenshots of your Google Analytics data. Here’s a really great video that explains the whole process.
Set Up All Your Social Media Accounts
The next thing I recommend you do is start working on your social media accounts. You need to be everywhere if you want people to find your content, so make sure to set up branded Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts. If there’s a particular channel that you absolutely hate, that’s fine, but the more places where you can build an audience, the better.
Create Graphics For All Your Content
When you create a new blog post, in addition to the actual words that you write, you need to be creating graphics that accompany them. Reality is, we live in a visual world and when you start sharing your content, you need graphics that make people want to read your posts. I absolutely LOVE using Canva and the best part about it is that it’s free. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to create some really pretty blog graphics.
Share The Heck Out Of Your Content
Dude, at this point, if all you’ve done is installed WordPress, you’ve put in a lot of effort! So why create content and then not share it with the whole damn world? You can’t expect people to magically appear on your blog. It doesn’t happen that way. So if you want to get noticed and you want to build traffic, you need to share your blog posts anywhere you can. That’s why having a strong social media presence is important. So once you write a blog post, don’t be shy! Share it with your friends, share it with your family, share it with your freaking cat-lady next door neighbor. Anyone and everyone who will read it! It’s up to you (especially in the beginning) to get your name out there. No one’s gonna do it for you.
Alright you guys, that should help you get started!
But in case you need a little more help, here are some of my favorite blogging articles that I’ve written over the past five years!
BLOGGING ARTICLES TO READ:
- 5 Key Blogging Tips I Wish I Had Known Sooner
- Must-Have Blogging Tools + Resources For Successful Bloggers
- Essential Lessons I Learned From Online Trolls
- 7 Reasons Why I Love Blogging
- How To Use Facebook Live As A Blogger
- Why Blogging Is Important
- My Blog Media Kit And How It’s Helped Me So Far
- How To Take Your Instagram To The Next Level
- Why I’m Actually Happy My Page Views Dropped
- Taxes For Bloggers
- How To Get Out Of A Creative Rut
- Why I Started A Free Facebook Group For My Audience
- How To Maintain A Profitable Blog While Having A Full-Time Job
- Following Your Passion While Having A Day Job
- 13 Things That Happen When You Date A Blogger
- Blogging Books To Help You Be A Kick-Ass Blogger
- Free Blogger Printables For A Little Inspiration
- Gifts For Bloggers
- Transforming My Home Office With Staples
Want to know how I make money off this blog? Check out my Income Reports!
- 2016 Year End
- Q2 2016
- Q1 2016
- December 2015
- October/November 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- My Very First Income Report