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I have been blogging for over 8 years, but only taking it seriously for a little over 2. I’ve given it a very part-time effort, but have still been able to grow it into a business that helps to supplement my income, all while giving me an amazing creative outlet. I have seen monetary growth on my blog every year, and am excited to see that continue!
I get asked pretty frequently “How can I start a blog?” “How do you make money blogging?” and “Can you help me get started?” It has gotten pretty time-consuming pointing everyone in the right direction, so I decided it was time to make a post with all of my best advice, links to my favorite tools, and links places you can get answers to all of your blogging questions. Whether you want to earn money blogging, or are just looking for a creative outlet, I encourage you to take the leap!
How To Start A Blog
Step One: Read Up
I am a look-before-you-leap type of person, but to save yourself a lot of headache and wasted time, I strongly recommend that you do some research into blogging before you actually start one.
How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup is hands down the most complete and best guide to blogging for profit I have ever read. Even if you are already a blogger, this is a must-read. She details everything from social media strategy to affiliates.
Join a few Facebook blogging groups. Not all of them will allow you to join without already having an active blog, but many will and this is a GREAT way to make connections with other bloggers and learn from their past questions and mistakes. If you type “blog” into the Facebook search bar, several groups should pop up.
Step Two: Choose a host.
If you aren’t at all familiar with blogging, this is where this post may start to sound like I am speaking in another language. There are two different blogging platforms to choose from – free options like Blogspot and WordPress.com, or self-hosted. I absolutely recommend self-hosting right from the beginning because its the only way that you have 100% control over your site, and you can monetize immediately. Start by choosing your hosting company. There are countless ones to choose from like GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc. I have used Bluehost in the past and they were fine, and make it very easy to set up a WordPress.org blog with their hosting. If you already have a WordPress.com blog, Bluehost will be FAR be the easiest transition into self-hosted.
If you are starting from scratch or already self-hosted and looking to switch, I can’t recommend A Small Orange enough. This is the hosting company that I currently use, and their customer service has been above and beyond the best I have experienced. I have had ONE instance of about an hour of downtime on my site since I switched to them well over a year ago, which is almost unheard of! They are having a sale this week that makes their hosting too good to pass up. August 8-11 enjoy 65% off of their hosting packages with the code Medal65. That makes hosting less than $5 a month for new blogs!
Step Three: Choose a Domain
Your domain name is you www.whatever.com. It should definitely coordinate with the name with your blog title. Check GoDaddy or NameCheap and see which one has the better deal for your domain name. If you want to do as LITTLE technical work as possible, just buy your domain name through your host. It will likely be more expensive, but less technical work on the backend. If at all possible stick with a .com vs. a .net or another extension.
Step Four: Get to Writing!
At the end of the day, a blog is about your written word! I love to write, but the pressure of NEEDING to write can give me serious writer’s block. Sit down and write as much as you can. The more you write, the easier it gets, and the less likely you are to have a major block.
I recently purchased a blue tooth keyboard and phone case that allows my phone to stand on it’s side so I can do more writing when I am out and about. I saw this idea on an essential oils business page, and it is genius! This has dramatically increased my productivity because I can write on breaks at work, or even in a waiting room.
There is a lot more behind-the-scenes to running a blog, which I will get into in a later post, but these are some great first steps!