I have been at this blog gig for almost nine years, and a lot has changed since I started. Instagram didn’t exist, everyone was on Blogger, and blogging was a much different atmosphere. We used to share about our weekends, not care about photo quality, and post all the GIFs we could find. If you read my I Quit My Day Job blog post, I go over all of my story of how I started and how I got to where I am today.
Whether we like it or not, times have changed. Yes, our stories are important, but now it’s even harder to stand out. Bloggers need to get it “right” from the get go, but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s hard work, but an amazing journey.
Before you even buy your domain and hosting, you should ask yourself these questions. I decided it would even be fun to make a video for this portion of the post, in order to help you get motivated and on track for success!
Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Blog
1. What’s your WHY? Why do you want to start a blog? If the answer to this question is to make money, you probably should turn away now. I think it’s great to have that as a long-term goal, but think about if money were no object. Why would you be doing it? Is it to share with others? Build community? Create? You decide. When you ever feel like you’ve lost your motivation, always go back to that “why.”
2. What do you get a lot of questions about? You could also ask yourself, “What is something I love talking about with and teaching other people?” Do people always ask where you find your cute clothes? How you style your hair? Your home decor? Perhaps this is a direction you could be taking with your blog!
3. Who is your ideal audience? If you have no idea who this content you’ll be writing is for, you will probably have a continual writer’s block. Knowing your audience is key, and they will always help you drive your content. When I write, I think of a “girl” I have in mind. I even think of very specific things about that girl, including her age!
4. Do you have a niche? If the answer is no to this, that’s okay. However, it’s important to have yourself niched down to a few topics with a unique voice. Voice is absolutely important here. It makes you relatable and gives your reasons and followers to invest their time in you. My focus is beauty, family, and lifestyle from the angle of a busy mom. I always try to make sure my unique voice is funny, lighthearted, and real.
5. What is your unique voice? Your story, your voice, and how you tell it is what keeps people coming back over and over again. Your readers and followers want to know you.
If all of these questions confuse you and you don’t have any answers to these questions, perhaps you should take some time to really work through those before you start. I promise it will make your blogging career much easier!
How to Start a Blog – The Technical Steps
Now that you’ve really worked on those items, it’s time to get the technical side of it up and running for you.
I will say, you have to be willing to do some technical work if you can’t hire out. I am a firm believer that bloggers should have some technical knowledge because it helps you out any time you’re in a pickle. Not to mention, you can have full control and knowledge of how your site works. Take some time watching some YouTube videos and reading tutorials before you jump in head first!
I’m assuming you’ve decided a name and secured it on your social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest). Make sure your handle is something that can be cohesive across all platforms so you’re easier to find!
To get your website up and running, make sure you purchase a domain and run your site through WordPress. I’ve tried Blogger, Squarespace, and WordPress. By far, WordPress is the best. You have the most control over your content and it really has so many powerful features. The options are endless with WordPress!
Purchase your domain and hosting. Your domain is your URL, and your hosting is the space/server that your website lives on. I go through GoDaddy for everything! They have been great for all of my needs.
GoDaddy can even walk you through getting WordPress installed on your site and ready for you to start using. I highly recommend going this route, especially since this ensures your site is set up correctly from the get-go.
Install a theme. WordPress themes are beautiful, and you can definitely get lost trying to find the perfect one. My advice here is to stay simple, clean, and graphic. Make it easy for your content to stand out. Here are some of my favorite places to find themes:
Now you’re ready to go!
One last thing before I wrap this up – blogging is hard work. We make it all look super easy, but it truly is a lot of hard work and figuring out things you never thought you’d need to know. My best advice for you here is to immerse yourself in learning everything you can about blogging. Spend time on Pinterest and YouTube digging into all the tutorials you can get your hands on. The best entrepreneurs are the ones who never stop learning.
I taught myself Photoshop, WordPress, HTML/CSS, video editing, and I’ve even taken a photography course. I never want to stop learning. I’m always reading, always researching, and always doing.
Never expect someone to hold your hand and tell you how to do this.
Ultimately, you are the one that is going to determine your success. Nobody is going to do it for you!
I really hope you’ve found this helpful if you’re just starting out or thinking about starting a blog. I hope it gives you the inspiration and the drive to go for it!
I plan on writing another post where I plan to go over how to grow your blog and social media presence. Then maybe I’ll do another post on how to start monetizing your blog. I’m guessing I can make this a series for all of my readers and followers who are interested in starting.
Please let me know if you have any questions, in the meantime! Hopefully I can address them here in the comments or my next post! I do have some posts with blog tips on my site, so be sure to check those out, too!