This post may contain affiliate links.
I know why you’re here: you’ve been thinking about starting a blog and don’t know where to begin; the entire process can seem overwhelming without the right guidance and advice. I’ve been in that spot too, so I’m going to tell you how to start your dream blog in six easy steps!
Since starting my blog back in September, I’ve had so many people ask “how?” How do I start a blog? How do I make money from blogging?
The reality is, it’s hard to give short and simple answers to those questions without actually sitting down and talking it through. In short, starting a blog is hard work and takes more time than anything else.
I started considering blogging a few years ago and took the time to look into it. This was shortly before I had my second child, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with it after adding a new one into the picture. So I let it go and didn’t think about it again until this year; this time I was truly curious about it and determined to start.
What I didn’t realize was how much information was out there about blogging! From what I should blog about, what company to start with, to the best WordPress theme. In short, I felt overwhelmed and discouraged. And from speaking with other bloggers, I now know that I’m not the only one who has experienced this!
So here are six simple steps to prevent blog overwhelm and start your dream blog!
Pick Your Niche
Before starting your blog, you have to decide on what you want to write about. This is known as your niche and is the main theme/idea/topic your blog revolves around. For example, my website, Purposeful Mothering, is in the parenting & lifestyle niche.
When you have a niche, you target a select audience and that audience only. This audience can relate to the things you write about and will want to read what you have to say. You can be as general or unique with your niche as you want, but you don’t want it to be too broad or specific; if you do this your audience will either be too widespread or greatly limited.
Take the time to think about what you want to write about. Do you have a specific hobby or interest? What do you live for in life? Try to pick something that you won’t get bored with and are willing to learn more about. If you’re having trouble, you can join this Facebook group and make a post about it with the hashtag #pickmyniche. There are so many other bloggers out there willing to help and give input.
Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is essentially the name of your website; it’s what everyone sees in the URL bar at the top of a page. This should relate directly to what your blog niche is and make visitors immediately aware of what you write about. The more unique, the better.
I knew I wanted to write about parenting and motherhood, so I wanted to have a website name that related to this. My first idea wasn’t Purposeful Motherhood; it was actually something with the word “peach” in it because our friends would call us the Peach family instead of the Pech family. Sometimes it takes a few tries before you have one that clicks.
I’ve included a handy little domain name tool below to see if the one you want is available! I suggest writing a list of about five to ten names you’d like, in case your favorite is already taken.
You generally have to purchase a domain name, but if you use Bluehost, your domain name is free (I’ll explain this below).
Decide on a Website Host
Here’s the thing with blogging: you can either use a third-party to start your blog or get self-hosted. An example of a third-party would be sites such as Blogger and Tumblr. You can go this route if you choose (it’s free) but if you are serious about blogging and want to turn it into a money-making business, you need to get self-hosted.
Self-hosted means you have another company host your website for a small fee. This gives you access to so much more with your website and allows for monetizing what you do. You have more options for customization, look professional, and have the security of a high-end company. In the end, you will be able to do more with a self-hosted blog and generate loads more traffic.
I use Bluehost for my website and know that many professional bloggers do as well. I’ve had nothing but a great experience with them so far. Here are some awesome reasons to choose Bluehost:
- 24/7 customer support
- low monthly cost
- free domain
- easy WordPress integration
If you’re interested in starting with Bluehost, you can find out how by clicking here!
Get Started with WordPress
WordPress is the writing platform with which you do everything on your website. If you’re using Bluehost, getting WordPress is very easy (easy as clicking a button actually). You can download WordPress right here.
There is a slight learning curve to navigating the platform and figuring out how to use everything (and write your first blog post) but once you get the hang of it, it’s very simple. The great thing about WordPress is the number of people who use it; you can find how-to information from others on Youtube and Google.
Once you download WordPress and get it set up, your website will still be empty because you need a theme.
Choose a WordPress Theme
A theme is a template that makes your blog look a certain way and gives it life. There are two types of themes: those that are free and those which cost money. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, as long as you remember that you can change it later on if you need/want to.
Before I started making any money, I went with a free theme called Blaskan. The reason it drew me in is because of how minimalist and full of white space it is. A lot of bloggers recommend themes that have more white space than not because it doesn’t distract the reader and looks clean. The great thing about Blaskan is the ability to customize the majority of the template to your liking.
The theme I’m currently using is called Astra. It comes with both the free and premium version, so if you aren’t ready to buy one just yet, you can stick with the freebie. I love this theme because of its professional, modern look and the ability to customize so much.
Take a look on WordPress and see which theme fits your style and niche- there is a lot to choose from!
*Note* Take my advice on this: if you are going to choose a paid theme for starting out, do not spend a lot of money on it. The reason for this is because you will more than likely change it in the future and might not like it initially after purchasing it! There will come a time later on down the road when you’ll be making consistent money each month from blogging and can afford a nice, premium theme. Trust me on this one!
Design a Logo
Your logo is important to building your brand and helps others to recognize you on both the internet and social media platforms. On most blogs, it’s that large picture icon that sits at the top of the page.
There are different ways to go about creating one. If you are just starting out and don’t want to spend anything, Canva is the best program to use. Even though my current logo wasn’t made using Canva, my first one was. I actually use Canva now for all of my graphic design needs (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, blog posts, etc).
If you’ll be creating your logo on Canva, the ideal size is 600 px x 300 px. There are multiple pre-built templates to choose from, but you can set your own dimensions using the button on the top right of the page.
The second option is to use a service called Fiverr. It’s essentially a website where a bunch of freelance and professional people provides their services for a fee. Logos on their site range anywhere from $5 to $500. My current logo ended up costing me only $20 and is a million times better than my old logo; it fits my blog niche and gives readers a clear insight into what I write about.
The only catch with Fiverr is that the level of quality varies depending on who you pick! That’s why it’s important to research and find a good designer. If you want to know who designed mine, feel free to ask!
If you are wanting to spend the money, do not go with a logo that costs $5. It will most likely end up looking like a toddler drew it and won’t be worth it. Spending around $20 to $30 will get you a great logo if you choose the right person.
My Best Advice
Out of everything I have written, my greatest advice is this: just do it. No matter how much you read and Google, you’ll always find reasons to talk yourself out of doing this. In the end, I realized that simply doing it is the best way to start. You’ve got this!
Take the leap and start your blog today!