Before I get into the nitty gritty of How to Start a Blog, let me share some facts about me: I have run A Well Crafted Party for the better part of six years. In that time I’ve also began, designed, set-up, assisted with, and coached bloggers on starting and maintaining blogs. I run a local meet-up group and resource for bloggers where we have successfully hosted several different workshops for blogging skills. I have a free blog planner that I giveaway to help bloggers get to where they want to go. I’ve blogged and freelanced as a full-time gig and I’ve worked in Social Media and Marketing for a corporation that has eighteen sites in the United States in which I’m responsible for their social media platforms. I’ve spoken on panels and at state-wide conferences on Blogging and Social Media. I say all this not to brag. If I wanted to brag I’d share a whole different set of stats.
I say all this to explain why the question I receive most often is, “How do I start a blog?”
I also share it to say why I feel I am qualified to share the following steps. There are many, many ways to start a blog and while I’d love to go into them all, today I’ll share my favorite tips for new bloggers.
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The only absolute, you-can’t-start-a-blog-without tip that I have is simple…
I can’t stress this one enough. Planning the blog is great. Prepping content is awesome. But, at some point, you have to move from the planning and prepping to the actual doing. So, if you plan on starting a blog then make an investment upfront— whether that be purchasing hosting, buying your URL, or simply putting a big fat launch date out into the world so you have to stick with it— and get blogging! There are about a million ways to start a blog, but today I’m sharing how to start a self-hosted blog using BlueHost.com*.
Deciding on a name can be the hardest part of creating a blog! There are so many times when myself or someone I am working with have figured out an awesome name and finally went around to buy the URL and found that not only was the name taken, but there were several others using similar names.
You can absolutely purchase your domain name now… or you can hop to the next step because you get a free domain name while signing up for hosting with Bluehost.
There are a ton of hosting options out there and different blogging platforms to boot. Today I’m sharing the hosting platform I use for the majority of my websites, BlueHost.com. Signing up is easy. You simply need to select the big green button that says “get started now.”
This is where I feel like a lot of people get stumped. When you are just starting out then it is pretty easy to know that you don’t want to put in a huge investment upfront. That is when the basic plan fits best. It starts to get confusing (and important) when you blog begins to grow. The majority of my websites run all on one plan— the plus plan. When I was blogging full-time I had increased my plan to the prime plan. I easily changed my plan when I needed less. I also know that if/when my blog becomes more of a full-time gig again I also have the option to upgrade my hosting to pro with even more performance increases.
The coolest thing that I’ve found with BlueHost is that setting up WordPress was seriously ONE CLICK. That is all! I was able to have my site up and running in just a few minutes.
Planning out your blog post ideas is one of the biggest parts of creating regular, consistent content and utilizing your content calendar. This post is part of a blogging series utilizing the pages of the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner. Check out all my posts on blogging in my archives!
I went to college to be a writer. It was the PLAN. At some point in my journey an advisor asked me, “How do you plan to make money?” I said, “Writing.”
I thought he was completely forgetting the conversation we just had about me wanting to be a writer. GEEZ, man.
But, alas, he had not, “Well, that is fine and good, but how do you plan to MAKE MONEY.” He made it very clear that writing for a living was, well, hard. He also made it clear that it wasn’t impossible and that I simply needed a good plan.
That was when I decided to become a journalist. Working towards my journalism degree was fairly easy for me because one of my strengths was the ability to quickly think of story ideas. I have a LOT of weaknesses in writing which is why I find it challenging and fun, but my greatest strength has always been in my ability to come up with endless ideas for stories.
Blogging for me has been the most fun due to the fact that I get to develop my own ideas based on my readers and my whims to create stories.
Putting in the work for blog post ideas is key to creating content that is unique to your blog, but I promise, if you utilize a few of the following tips, the ideas will flow easily!
Now… get planning!
Use the Blog Post Ideas pages from the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner to help you layout your blog ideas. The Year of Ideas page has planning space for each month of the year. The Blog Post brainstorming pages let you flesh out your ideas! Sign up for my newsletter to access your free printable blog planner including the blogging planning pages as well as access to all of the subscriber only printables and posts.
Now that you have your ideas all planned out… make the move to really get your blog going with these steps on how to start a self-hosted blog!
The freshness of the new year is starting to wear off now that I seem to be able to remember to put 2016 on all my paperwork. While I am still feeling good about my resolutions and blogging goals for the new year, I’m not feeling the fire to accomplish my goals quite as intensely as I was around the 1st.
I often see bloggers (including myself) starting strong in the new year and then petering out as the year gets going. It is natural after all, but I am trying my best to not let that happen again this year by setting achievable focused goals.
I published the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner earlier this month and have just now started working out exactly how I want to put MY personal blog planner together using the sheets. In putting my book together I’ve decided to take some of the sheets that I use often and explain how I use them here on the blog.
Do I want 100,000 page views this month? Yes, of course. Is it really feasible when I’m currently averaging around 20,000 in a month? No, probably not. I am pretty sure the biggest downfall of New Year’s Resolutions is that often we set unachievable dreams as our goals for a year. Then, when things don’t really start to pan out as quickly as they need to so that we hit that dream, well, we give up. Do I want to be debt free? YES, that is the dream. Is it possible this year? Not unless I won the lottery, and well, that didn’t happen. Is it possible that I pay off a few credit cards so that I am well on my way to living the dream? Absolutely. When taking the time to sit down and write out my goals I do the following steps to help make sure that they are achievable:
What is the use of setting blogging goals and spending time assessing and planning out your dreams if you aren’t going to work at achieving them? Sure, blogging can be a lot like dieting and while you know what is good for you it is easy sometimes to let things go at times. Heck, life can simply get in the way (see my entire last year with the pregnancy and birth of my second child). A few ways I help myself KEEP my goals throughout the year:
One of my favorite pages from the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner is the Blogging Resolutions page. It has area for 5 big goals or “dreams” that you have for your blog, space to break those dreams into steps, and a place to mark a deadline for the goal. There is also a short description of how to make a S.M.A.R.T goal. Sign up for my newsletter to access your free printable blog planner including the blogging resolutions page as well as access to all of the subscriber only printables and posts.
Is starting a blog on your resolution list? Or perhaps moving to self-hosting is? Check out my post about starting a self-hosted blog for tips on how to move from planning to starting!