I presume because you clicked through you are interested in How to Start a Blog, how exciting! I love writing my blog and so pleased and proud of what The Organised Housewife has become today, with over 1 million page views each month and close to half a million in our facebook community. I write about my passion, organising, cleaning and cooking. Through my blog I have been able to inspire and motivate others and even change lives. I can’t tell you how this makes me feel, I truly love being a blogger and throughly enjoying this journey.
I have put together a list of information, sharing with you How to start a Blog and lessons I have learnt along the way. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I learnt how to start a blog from the ‘blogging for dummies’ book. I was not tech savvy and had no idea about coding (I still don’t, there are days it drives me crazy, but with my good friend google I find the answers). I hope my tips help you create a successful blog.
How to Start a Blog
Please note this post contains affiliate links, I will earn a commission if you purchase products using the link I provide (which I will be very grateful for).
1. Decide on a Domain Name
Determine your blog topic/niche – The list of different blog ideas can be endless… fashion, food, beauty, your kids, crafts. It’s best to write about something you are passionate about. This will make your content writing so much easier and your readers will see your genuine love for the topic.
Blog/domain name – Once you have determined your blog niche brainstorm different ideas for your blog name, you want a name that is sharable and sounds trustworthy, along with some of these tips:
- Make your domain name easy to say and spell
- Don’t add hyphens to your URL, such as traceys-craft-tips.com.au as these can easily become confusing especially when telling someone your domain name you have to say ‘traceys hyphen craft hyphen tips.com.au’. Make it simple, traceyscrafttips.com.au.
Check availability – Check that the domain is available. I find it easier when setting up a blog for the first time to purchase the domain name through your web host company, see recommendation in hosting below.
- It’s important to purchase a variety of extensions to protect your blog branding. You may not believe it now in the early stages of starting your blog, however your blog could become a huge success and you want to protect your future business from the very beginning. Purchase a variety of your domain name, such as:
- .com.au, .com, .net. etc.
- variations on international spellings, eg organised with an s and organized with a z etc.
- dropping words or including words in variations, such as The or A etc in front of your domain name.
Where to purchase domain names – Below I recommend 2 different webhosts where you can purchase domains, however bluehost do not offer .com.au extention domians, you will need to purchase this through another provider such as GoDaddy. You can then point your .com.au to bluehost after purchase, follow these instructions and you can contact their 24/7 support (I like the live chat option, they will help you with any problems you have).
2. Determine a blogging platform
You don’t need to download a blog platform now, you will do this in step 3.
I suggest using wordpress.org as your blog platform, another option could be blogger. You have two options, you can start by using the free wordpress.com which provides free hosting, however it has many restrictions:
- limited theme choices
- limited plugin options
- limited to what you can customise in the sidebar
- The terms of service restrict how you can monetize your site. ie. place ad’s into the sidebar
- you need to self-host your website
- they have a huge amount of free themes available or you can purchase some pretty ones, see more below
- unlimited amount of plugin options
- you can customise your website, the sidebar, footer etc
- you can monetize your blog on the wordpress.org platform
I started my blog on the free wordpress platform as I didn’t create my site to monetize in the early stages. However I wanted to add pretty icons and links into the sidebar, change theme colours and found it was very limiting, so I moved over to wordpress.org. If I could do it again, I’d start with wordpress.org from the start, as it broke many links moving from one site to the other.
3. Choose a web host
A web host is a service that provides space on the internet for websites, this is where your blog lives. To publish a blog you need a host.
Over the years I have used a few different hosting companies. I use GoDaddy for my blog and have set up a site recently for a friend using bluehost. The process is very easy on both, and the support was amazing with bluehost, they reply to messages very quickly and are efficient with helping when something goes wrong. Both are user friendly, especially for beginners and inexpensive, plus they give you one domain name free!
Click on one fo the host images below to start the process of creating your blog, then follow the steps I have outlined below.
Visit preferred web host – Both setups are reasonably the same.
- click on ‘Get Started Now’/’Web Hosting Buy Now’ to setup your hosting and purchase your domains.
- when asked about your package information they will give you some optional extras, such as domain privacy protection, site backup etc, I have never purchased any optional extras or upgrades.
- Once you have setup your bluehost account you will receive a welcome email with your control panel login info, keep this information for future reference.
- Login to your bluehost/godaddy account, enter your cpanel login info.
- Click on ‘Website builders’.
- Click on ‘WordPress’, then ‘start’, bluehost and godaddy will install wordpress onto your new blog.
- On the screen to select your domain, ensure you leave the /directory section blank.
- They will then take you through some very simple step by step instructions, type in your site name, username and create a password for your blog, then click ‘Install Now’.
- Once installation is complete note down your login URL, username and password to access your new blog! My blog planner has a page where you can note down all passwords, keep them together in one place.
4. Find a blog design
Now for the fun part!! Once you have logged into your blog you will see you dashboard. Via the appearances tab you will find a variety of free themes, I have never been satisfied with these and wanted to create my own unique look. When I started blogging I spent hours jazzing up the blog, designing was so much fun. I have had several different looks over the years, I go through stages of wanting a change.
Bluchic offer some really pretty themes, which are all very easy to use, beautiful and eye-catching. I truly believe it’s a good investment to create a page that looks professional. Click here to visit Bluchic.
How to install your theme
After you have purchased your theme you will be supplied with a ZIP file. Sometimes the zip file may have instructions on how to install the theme and design options you have available. You can unzip the file to check. Then it may have the zipped theme file again in that folder (don’t unzip the theme file).
- Login to your wordpress admin.
- Hover your mouse over ‘Appearance’ > ‘Themes’ > click on ‘add new’.
- Upload the theme ZIP file.
- Once the theme is uploaded you can activate it and start customising.
Important elements in blog design:
- display your logo in the header to brand your blog and easy identification.
- use colours that you enjoy looking at and make you happy.
- use an easy to read font.
- place social media icons at the top of your sidebar so your readers can easily find you.
- don’t waste the space at the bottom of your footer, this is a good area to place snippets of your social media feed or to promote a product.
- place category labels in your sidebar so readers can find the content they are looking for easily.
- make searching the blog easy, have a search bar in your menu bar or top of the sidebar.
5. Set up extras
Configure your wordpress dashboard settings – The dashboard is where you manage everything to do with the blog.
- In your wordpress dashboard click on ‘Settings’ > ‘permalinks’ change the common settings to post name. This will give you a clean URL for all future blog posts. It’s important not to change this after you have started blogging as it will change all past blog post URL’s.
- Edit your user details to display your name properly, this name will be displayed when replying to comments on your blog.
- View all other setting options and add in details where necessary, such as your timezone, site title and description etc.
Social Media – Once you have your blog set up there are additional extras you can add such as social media accounts, newsletters etc that can be an addition to our blog. These help bring in traffic to read your content and help you connect to your readers. I have set up all the accounts below, but concentrate my efforts mainly on facebook, instagram and a newsletter to connect with my readers.
- create a facebook page
- create a pinterest account
- create an instagram account
- create a google + account, optional
- create a twitter account, optional
- set up a newsletter. I use Active Campaign, I find it really easy to use and design newsletter templates.
Backups – With all the hard work put into your design and content it’s important to regularly back up your site. You can do this using the WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin.
6. Start creating content
Start planning blog post ideas. Plan out some key topics you want to discuss and start creating a plan for some blog posts. Use The Organised Housewife Blog Planner to help you create all your blogging goals, content ideas, editorial calendar and so much more.
7. Continue learning
There is so much to learn when it comes to blogging, from design improvements, SEO to content creation. There are always new skills to learn, programs to improve productivity etc, all which will help you move your blog to the next level. Here are a few additional resources that you may enjoy once you have your blog up and running.
Content Cookbook – Your Recipe Book for Blog + Social Content that Your Audience Relishes!
Secret Bloggers Business – 12-month-long, beginner blogger coaching program. Because getting a blog up and running takes time, and there are so many things you need to master to make it successful, we have broken it all down into bite-sized, doable chunks delivered as you need them. Click here to learn more.
Guide to your First Week of Blogging – It can be overwhelming when starting a blog. You’ve got a lot of decisions to make, niche selection, audience targeting, content planning, social media and promotions, post ideas, and more.
31 Days to build a better blog – Have big dreams for your blog? Got a list of improvements sitting in the ‘one day’ basket? Visitor numbers a little embarrassing? You’re not alone. This is a downloadable ebook designed to help you revitalize your blog. One step at a time, it will transform your blog into the page view powerhouse you’ve always dreamed of. Click here to learn more.
A guide to blogging for your business – As a business owner you don’t have the time to take the trial and error approach, you need help from someone who’s done it all before and can show you how to build a successful blog for your business, right from the start. Click here to learn more.
The Social Spread – Have you ever struggled with creating content to share on your Facebook page? Do you lack the time and energy it takes to create updates that engage and bring results from social media? Are you feeling frustrated with keeping up with all the social networking sites that seem to be popping up overnight? If you answered “yes” to any then you’ll love the social spread. Click here to learn more.
If you have any questions I would love to help, please leave them in the comments below and most importantly, I’d love for you to share your blog after you have created it so I can follow along!