How To

Start Your Own Blog-Part 2

-Your Step-by-Step Guide

This post probably contains affiliate links.  You can read the full boring disclosure statement here.  But just know that I only promote products and services that I have used myself and love and believe that you will too!

So, you’ve decided you want to start your blog!  I’m so excited for you to join this crazy group of mompreneurs!  But, fair warning – you need to buckle up buttercup because this is NOT a get rich quick thing.  It is hard work and lots of hours and a few glasses of wine (if your like me). If you’re ready and not afraid of hard work then lets dig in…

If you have already read my Start Your Own Blog-Part 1, where I cover the first three steps to take when deciding to start your blog, you can skip ahead to Step 4.  If not or if you want a refresher then start right here…

Step 1: Figure Out Your Niche

The first thing you need to think about on how to start a blog is what you plan to write about. This can be a challenge for a lot of people. I struggle too. I say struggle as present tense because even now, I still struggle with honing in on one niche. My idea is that my main focus will be to write about blended families and the special stressors and struggles that come along with that; however my overall desire to help women, moms, daughters, sisters, follow their passion and on top of that earn a living will be a huge part of this blog as well.

I will also be completely transparent with everyone; this blog is NEW, I started it about six months ago but really I am just now making it my full time focus (as I am sure you read in the beginning of this post). What I do know is that if all those other wonderful blogs are making money/profit I (we) can too. We just have to put in the work!

Alright, back to Step 1…how do you find your niche?

First, what are you passionate about? What are your hobbies, interests, what are the things you love? What keeps you up at night? What is the one thing you do that your tribe says that you are the best at doing? Most importantly what gives you that fire in your gut?

Is there a need/demand for that? When you put that “thing” into Google or Pinterest or FaceBook, are there plenty of responses? That’s an easy way to tell the level of demand or the amount of people out there looking for what you have to give.

Next, can you monetize it? You will need to find a way to monetize your blog. For most it’s a combination of sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and ads. There are many blogs that also have training, e-books, how-to, subscriptions, there really is no limit to the ways you can monetize your blog. However, that is the part that takes some time. You have to build your audience/following and once they know you and trust you they will pay you for your services. You have to figure out what really resonates with your audience then you can expand into more avenues of monetizing.

Step 2: Choose a Blogging Platform

I know I sound like every other blogger out there but trust me (us) when we say this…and will shout it from the bow of the ship (yes Jack Dawson Titanic style)

WordPress is the BEST platform out there for serious bloggers.  Or simply put bloggers who are building a business treating their blog as their job.  There are a lot of blog platforms out there and many of them are perfect for hobby blogs but WordPress is simply the best for business bloggers because you will have more freedom and creativity with the self-hosted program through WordPress. 

First thing to learn about WordPress

There are two options with WordPress; one is self-hosted (the .org version) and one is not self-hosted (the .com version)

If you’re a serious blogger, I recommend just starting with the self-hosted.  It is the most versatile and you own your blog, meaning all the aspects of it are available to you to modify and mold and create whatever you want. 

Step 3: Choosing Your Domain Name

This part is so much fun but can also be very stressful for some people. It was easier for me just because of my niche, blended families and the number eight is what I knew I wanted to incorporate in my name. My husband and I were sitting on the couch watching TV, I don’t remember what it was but I am 100% sure it was HGTV! Anyway…it literally popped into my head and I said it out loud and we both looked at each other and said, YES! that is perfect!

So, yours may not be that easy, but what I will tell you is to keep it simple. Don’t spend days and days stressing about what you are going to call your blog. Look at some of your own favorite blogs, like Beautifully Blended Eight *wink* and some of my favorites like:

It is also a good idea to have a couple of different versions of the perfect name and then take it to the Google search bar and see if it is available. Also, I recommend a .com just because it is easier for people to remember and keep the spelling as normal as possible, you want it to make sense.

Step 4: Choosing Your Host

Next you have to pick a space to host your blog.  Being “self-hosted” with WordPress means you will need a space where your blog lives.  There are a lot of companies who already have servers set up and available all around the world so you are buying a space on one of those servers. 

I spent a lot of time confused in this process, so if you’re like me don’t get discouraged.  Don’t get frustrated because you don’t know or understand what a lot of this means because I was there (and still am there a lot of the time).  But do some research!  Look at lots and lots of bloggers and look to your favorite bloggers and see who they are using and why. 

What I looked for were bloggers who talked about customer service, if the host was secure, and the load time.  You will also want to consider these few things, how big your blog is, how much traffic you get, what sort of functionalities you have in place, your technical know-how, before making your decision.  Then, after you have read my opinions and those of many others and considered all these issues, make your decision. 

Who I chose and why:

I read blog after blog about this and there are so many wonderful hosting programs out there.  I spent days even weeks frozen because I didn’t want to make the wrong choice.  My husband actually ended up calling me out on this process, encouraging me to take the step and what he said really hit me, I had paralysis by analysis.  He was 100% right!  So, please don’t let that happen to you! 

After he pushed me I choose SiteGround, for many reasons. 

First, being new to blogging, I knew I wanted excellent customer service and support and they have been there for me from the beginning. 

Second, it was very affordable and I knew I could grow with them. 

Click this link to purchase blog hosting with SiteGround, it will open a new window and you can follow along with me here as well.  The images below are for demonstration only and are not links.

I am going to break this step down into three sections because again if you are a complete new-bee like I was it will help! 

Hosting Step1: Choose Your Hosting Plan

SiteGround has three plans and one can sign for any of them with a great discount with any of the links on this page. 

  • The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting out and perfect for new blogs.  It includes 1 website, 10GB of web space and aprox 10,000 visits monthly.  It also comes with simple one click WordPress install that is so easy!  Free daily backup (although you do have to pay to have your site restored).  That free daily back up is uber important and most hosts make you pay for that.  The regular price for the StartUp plan is $11.95/month; but get your great discount ($3.95/month) through this link!
  • The GrowBig plan is a great value!  It offers everything in the StartUp plan and more.  You get free site transfer, 20GB of web space and approx. 25,000 unique visitors monthly, and you have the ability to host unlimited websites (or domains) in one account.  The regular price for the GrowBig plan is $19.95/month (or get your 70% discount here).
  • The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with more established blogs with consistent traffic even some who also offer e-commerce.  It includes all the features as the StartUp and GrowBig plus it includes over 30GB of web space.  The GoGeek plan is $34.95/month or again with my amazing discount offer of just $11.95/month.

Now ya’ll I’ve been honest with you from the beginning, I am still at the Start-Up plan but I follow a lot of blogs that are at the Go Geek plan and I know I will get there too.  So I am sticking with SiteGuard and I will let you know as I grow.   

Hosting Step 2. Registering Your Domain Name

I am assuming you have already done Step2: Choosing Your Domain name!  But this is where you can actually purchase it of if you have already purchase it you should actually go with the GrowBig and GoGeek because the transfer is free with those plans.  Either way, just follow along with the prompts from SiteGuard, I promise it is super simple!

Hosting Step 3. Review and Complete

Unlike many other hosting providers SiteGuard’s advertised discount applies to any of the initial periods chosen during the sign up process allowing you to get the low price for the one year.  With other hosts you have to commit to three years to get the low rate, which means you actually have to put out far more money when you are first starting.  Another reason SiteGuard is the best option if you are just starting your blog. 

* I highly recommend you pay the extra $12 for domain privacy.  This prevents people from finding the personal information you entered when registering for your website.  In other words your name/address/phone will not be searchable in the whois data base!

Step 5: Setting up WordPress

There are two ways to do this; yourself or with support form SiteGround

Yourself:

This isn’t hard, it is actually how I set mine up.  However, there are quite a few steps so I am creating a separate complete guide for this process. You can find that here: Start Your Own Blog-Part 2 – Setting up WordPress

Support:

Remember how I said SiteGround has some of the best customer support on the market?  Well, I meant it!  You can contact customer support and they will guide you through the entire set up process. 

Step 6:  Getting Comfortable

Yep, that’s it.  Log into your dashboard on WordPress (www.yourdomainname.com/admin this will take you to your login page) and start to get comfortable. 

This is where you will live, spend 90% of your time writing and editing and creating.  This is where your passion will come to life and inspire others, which is after all the reason behind all of us starting our blogs in the first place. 

Buckel up – the fun has just begun. 

Keep checking back because I as you are reading this I am working on the next set of How-To details of taking our blogs to the next level; including How to Start Your Own Blog – Step 3 which you can read HERE!

I want to hear from you!  Leave me a comment, put in your link if you already have one and send me an email.  This entire blogging thing is an online COMMUNITY and you get out of it what you put into it!

Just My Opinion:

The above statements are just my opinion based off my personal experience.  I am not trained as a counselor or advisor in any way.   

Please connect with me.  Leave a comment or follow me on Pinterest or Facebook and our Instagram is at the bottom of the page!

XOXO

Melissa

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