Friday, January 5, 2018

How To Start A Blog

Welcome to my new blogging series! I've been thinking about starting a blogging series for a while. My main inspiration is to track my journey as I grow my blog--I still consider myself a beginner. I also have several friends who have expressed interest in starting a blog this year and thought this may be helpful.

In this post, I'm focusing on the basics--how to start a blog. If you don't know much about blogging, this can seem daunting but I promise it's very do-able.

1. Decide On A Theme.
First and foremost: what will your blog be about? What topics will you write about? Who is your desired audience? When I started, I didn't consider any of this. I created my blog as an extension to my YouTube channel. My main goal was just to reach the same type of person who watched my videos but I didn't fully understand who that person was. I posted sporadically on my blog for months. Eventually I thought about the topics I want to cover--and believe me, I've changed my blog multiple times since then. To be clear, I still feel like my blog isn't narrow enough but I'm definitely happier with it now. It may take you a while to really find your niche, which it totally ok. All I suggest is have a brainstorming session before you decide on a name for your blog and get some general categories for blog posts.

2. Choose A Hosting Site. 
Once you have an idea, you need a physical website for your blog--this is called a hosting site. There are tons of sites out there for hosting websites--some are free, some are paid. The two most common free hosting sites are Blogger and Wordpress. I chose Blogger because it's incredibly easy to understand and user friendly.

3. Buy A Domain. 
If you're not sure what a domain is, essentially it's your URL. Mine is Your readers will type in your domain to access your blog. You don't necessarily need one immediately but I do think it's important to make your blog look professional [if that's what you're going for]. If you want to consider a few options, you could always wait on this step. Just know that your blog URL will look something like: until you purchase a domain. While this is a more serious step, you always have the option of purchasing another domain name and switching them out if you want to change it down the road--it isn't the most permanent step.
There are a number of websites that sell domains. I purchased mine from GoDaddy. They are very affordable and have great customer service whenever I have a question.

4. Pick A Template. 
There are free templates on some hosting sites--Blogger has several options. If you can code, you can create your own template. Otherwise, Etsy is your best bet. I've purchased all of mine from Etsy--if you're worried about installing the theme yourself, the designers usually offer an add-on option for installation.

5. Decide How Often You'll Post. 
This step is somewhat optional but it will help you stay consistent [key in the blogging world]. Try to create a schedule for yourself. My schedule is [roughly] Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I don't always get a post up on those days but that's my goal #progressnotperfection Also, if you can nail down a posting time, that would be beneficial. You may want to finish your posts the day before and schedule them to achieve this. When I can, I like my posts to go up at 8AM EST.

6. Grow Your E-mail List. 
Honestly, this is still something I'm working on but I know it's super important. Several people have mentioned how important an email list is--it's the one thing you truly own. If Instagram shuts down tomorrow or Facebook crashes and you lose your following, you will still have your e-mail list--this is your key audience. Eventually I want to put out a monthly newsletter but we're not quite there yet. Definitely I'll do a future post on growing your list and creating a newsletter!

7. Create An E-mail. 
Companies and readers need a place to reach you thus an blog-related e-mail is necessary. You can either create one with your blog [i.e.:] or create a free e-mail [i.e. actual blog e-mail]. Make sure to list your e-mail on your blog and all social media. It is imperative that people have a way to reach you, especially if you're interested in working with brands.

8. Start Your Blog! 
Last but not least: it's time to start your blog. Write some posts, add some photos/graphics, and share them.

What other blog-related posts would you like to see?


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