How Do I Start My First Blog?
July 15, 2018
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How do I start my first blog? This is a question I had only three short months ago. First, you find a niche. Secondly, you want to come up with a name for your blog. Next, you want to register your blog with WordPress. Think about your domain name at this time. Then, you get your hosting. Keep in mind if you self-host, you can skip initially registering with WordPress. I’ll get into that more further down. Pick out a design for your blog and start writing!
Find a niche
If you’re reading this now, you may have an idea of what you want to talk about or you may have several ideas. My suggestion is to narrow down your niche to give your blog a focus. Think about what you love and are passionate about that you can write about week after week.
If you’re not passionate about what you’re talking about it, this may show in your writing and be challenging to come up with content ideas every week. Maybe, your goal is to talk about something you don’t know much about, but are very interested in learning about said niche and plan on doing the research to produce something great. I think that is perfectly okay.
You may hear things like don’t write about savings, recipes, or workouts because of the competition with those categories. Yes, there is A LOT of competition. I DON’T agree with this approach though and I think you have to decide for yourself the path you want to take regardless of the competition.
Name your blog
It helps to have your niche figured out to start naming process. However, you don’t have to have some clever name or fancy domain for your blog. It can just be your own name. It’s not uncommon for bloggers to use their name. This is a mistake I made from the beginning.
I just wanted a clever name for my savings blog and then I ended up broadening my scope. If you think there are other topics you want to talk about in the future, will you start a second blog or will you expand your current blog? Those are things to think about from a future perspective.
Your design, content, writing style, and tone will set you apart from the other blogs out there so be yourself and do what speaks to you.
Register with WordPress
I started on both WordPress and Blogger. I remember that there was no app for my smartphone when I started using Blogger. That was a deal breaker for me because I wanted something easily accessible. I started writing in April, got on a plane in May, and was floored that I could use the WordPress app to write and save my work while on a plane with no internet (in Airplane mode of course). WordPress functionality sealed the deal for me.
I can follow directions when it comes to learning how to create a website and I had an idea of what I wanted, but the coding with WordPress does not come naturally to me. Thank goodness for the support WordPress provides. With the Business plan, you receive 24/7 chat support which was important to me. It also includes more free plugins that aren’t available in other plans. If you opt for the Business plan, this includes your hosting.
WordPress offers three plans to choose from along with a a free version. Look at all three options and choose one that is best for you. If you’re just getting started, I do recommend starting out with the free version.
Get your hosting
First, what is hosting? Think of hosting as a physical address to store your data. You’ve probably heard of data servers. Hosting is storage and support for your website and the content within it. If you do not opt for the paid WordPress plan with hosting included, then you’ll need to self-host.
What does it mean to self-host? You designate a hosting company outside of WordPress. You may find certain hosting companies that connect seamlessly with WordPress. I have tried a few already and I have to say I like Bluehost the best. It connects with WordPress. You can sign into WordPress directly from Bluehost. It’s not surprising that WordPress recommends this hosting company if you do choose to be self-hosted.
It is important that you pick the right hosting from the beginning. Why is it so important? Your hosting can alter your overall design of your blog so if you spend all this time designing your blog through one company, you may have to start all over if you change your hosting to another company. This is my second mistake when blogging is not having the hosting I liked from the beginning.
The reason I changed hosting companies is because I wasn’t getting the support I needed starting out and the design did not integrating well with WordPress. While a company may have a great website builder including drag and drop features that make it easy to put your design into place, it was important for me to have good support accessible through chat and for the hosting to integrate well with WordPress.
If your goal is to monetize your blog, than having a WordPress paid plan with hosting may not be your best option. I was curious when I heard other bloggers advise of this, but the reason for this is that certain affiliate marketing companies will not work with you if you are not self-hosted.
I will not mention the company, but received my first denial letter this week because I am not self-hosted on my other blog. I have to mention it is the first denial I have received like this in multiple applications I have submitted. So take it with a grain of salt.
Pick out a design
WordPress has lot of themes to choose from (even more if you go for the paid version). If you use the free version of WordPress and self-host with Bluehost, you will have lots of theme options as well.
One thing I like about Bluehost is that I was able to filter themes by all the features I wanted for my blog. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, then I suggest selecting lots of options/features when filtering themes, and you’ll have less design layouts to choose from which helps. 😉
Another mistake I made with my other blog was not having the design finalized. Look at blogs you like, get some inspiration from their layouts, and know exactly what you want before you load it with content.
If you don’t have your design worked out initially, you could be starting over when you change themes. Luckily, WordPress does have a backup feature and I recommend you use that if you need to switch themes after building out your website and loading it with content.
My first post was intimidating. I started talking about my journey blogging and not what I initially set out to talk about which is savings. After four weeks in, I created my first savings post and I was very happy with it. Clicking the “Publish” button was also frightening.
One thing to not get hung up on is getting WordPress follows or likes. I think about how many blogs I read. I don’t know that I have “liked” another blog. As far as me following blogs on WordPress, they are few and far between.
I enjoy reading other blogs and find the information very helpful, but I usually start out reading from Pinterest, and not through WordPress. That like and follow functionality is easier to locate on WordPress since it is in the same spot for all bloggers, whereas, Pinterest directs you to the blogger’s website and that functionality could be anywhere if it is even visible.
Readers aren’t always thinking about “liking” when they are reading your content, but shares are always good to see so I recommend setting up share buttons as soon as you can.
Good luck on your blog, remember to have fun, and also take breaks! Continue to follow me here for my best blogging tips.