Are you thinking of starting your own blog but it seems like an impossible task to amount to? I’ve been there and I’m here to assure you that it is doable and it’s probably easier than ever to start a blog in 2017.
Forget all those in-depth posts that make it seem that you are never going to catch up with the big bloggers, focus on this overwhelm free 3 step process and you can have your own blog up and running in less than a week.
STEP 1 – Figure out the why, the what and the who
If you’re reading this, you are probably pretty adamant about starting your own blog. And I want to cheer you on because I think that’s truly amazing!
But before we get into the more technical aspects of how to do that I need you to grab a piece of paper and answer these three simple questions:
💎 WHY do you want to start a blog?
Are you just looking for a creative outlet? Do you want to inspire and connect with people that have the same interests as you? Do you want to make money from it or use it as a tool to draw more attention to your online store?
There is no right or wrong answer here! But you need to define the role of your blog the best you can. This will help with step two.
Example: I want to start a blog to share my expertise in knitting, grow a community around this topic I love and attract more people to my Etsy shop.
💎 WHAT do you want to blog about?
Before you start a blog, you need to figure out what topics you’re going to approach in your posts. This is also known as your blogging niche and it’s going to determine the entire concept of your blog, your online role and your blog title.
For me, this took a lot of experimentation as I didn’t know precisely what I wanted to blog about when starting out. Narrowing it down as you go along is 100% fine (if you’re not entirely sure, don’t pick a very specific blog name that won’t allow you to move away from a certain topic when you finally decide what to blog about. The She Approach allowed me to move from a lifestyle type blog to a blogging orientated one for example. “Knitting Girl” probably won’t allow you to do the same).
If you already know what you want to blog about, make a list of your main 3 to 5 topics (I wouldn’t recommend more unless they are related to each other).
Example: I want to blog about knitting and include DYI tutorials, money saving tips and supply organization tricks for knitting lovers.
💎 WHO do you want to blog for?
If you’re only planning to blog for yourself and you don’t care who reads it or who it helps, I would suggest saving your money, time and effort and putting it all in a diary.
If you actually want to reach out to people, build your brand or help someone face a problem that you previously solved, narrowing down who your dream audience is can be crucial. So think about it for a minute!
Example: I want my blog to be read by knitting lovers and beginners and by creative Etsy sellers that want to learn how to save money on supplies.
Writing the answers down on an actual piece of paper and thinking through them can bring clarity to your idea and help it come to live. But most importantly, they are going to speed along the process of starting your blog on the right path.
Need to give your blog idea more thought? Download my printable vision map template below and work out through everything you need to decide before you start your blog in 2017.
STEP 2 – Set up your blog the right way
So you know why you want to start a blog, what you want to blog about and who is your dream reader. You just completed the hardest part! Now all you have to do is set it up!
And before you get overwhelmed by the technical mambo jumbo, know this:
YOU CAN DO IT!
You don’t need to know how to code or have advanced tech skills. You don’t need to spend loads of money hiring someone to do it for you (unless you want to). You don’t need to worry about anything else that is to come after you set it up just yet.
Just follow this simple guide to setting up your blog and you should be good to go by the end of the week!
💎 BUY HOSTING
I assume (and correct me if I’m wrong) that if you want to start a blog and you’re ready to take on this exciting project you actually want to own what you create and you want to have freedom to express yourself in a unique way.
Well, free platforms such as WordPress.com or Blogger have so many limitations and they actually own all the content you create and store on your free blog there.
This is why, when starting your blog, you need to make a small investment (of under $4 a month!) and go self-hosted.
My absolute favorite hosting company and the only one that I can wholeheartedly recommend is BlueHost. They have safely and faithfully stored my website on their servers for almost a year now and I can see why so many big bloggers opt for it.
What convinced me when I decided to go self-hosted was the incredibly affordable price (that is such a low investment to make for a website that wows) and the fact that they offer your domain name free for the first year!
Before you get started on your blog, you need to buy your hosting so you have a safe place to store all that amazing content you’re about to create. Here is how:
- Go to www.BlueHost.com and click on the Get Started Now button.
- Select your hosting plan as shown below
- Choose your free domain name (your blog title)
This is where you need to put your chosen blog title aka the URL you will type to get to your website. Keep it sweet and short (no numbers or hyphens and stick with .com), make sure it’s also available on the social media platforms you want to create an account on and that there aren’t similar titled blogs out there.
If you already purchased a domain name elsewhere (Name Cheap has great options for example), insert the full URL in the second box.
- Create an account
Connect with your Google account or create a new user and keep the details safe. You will need this in a bit to log into your Bluehost dashboard.
- Confirm your package and pay
This is where you get to decide if you want to pay upfront for 12, 24, 36 or 60 months. I decided to go with 36 months to mark my commitment to the blog and get the best price possible.
Make sure to also deselect the extras that you don’t need (some of them offer obvious benefits, but I find that I’m not missing much and I can backup my website in other ways for example) so you get the cheapest offer.
Insert your card details and voila! (Don’t worry, if you buy hosting for 36 months and decide to quit blogging or move to another host after 2 months, they give you the money back for the remaining 34 months. But I really hope you’re in this for good because it is so worth it!)
If you encounter any issues or if you’re moving from a free website and making the transition to self-hosted, they offer 24/7 live support. Just go to the Chat icon and someone will be there to walk you through any questions you might have.
After you finish configuring your account, watch out for an email from BlueHost and log in so you can proceed to step number two.
EXCLUSIVE BONUS: Before we get into how to set up your blog, now that you acquired hosting, I have a little surprise for you. If you decide to go with Bluehost and if you use my affiliate link, I am offering you a free email coaching session that consists of an email exchange of up to 30 emails in which I can guide you through setting up your blog and launching it with a bang! Simply email me proof at firstname.lastname@example.org and you got yourself a personal blogging coach!
💎 INSTALL WORDPRESS
Now that you have your hosting set up, all you need is a blogging platform that will allow you to change the appearance of your website as you wish and publish new posts.
An industry standard and my all time favorite is WordPress.org. To make it less confusing and discern it from the free version of WordPress, think of the blogging platform like an operational system.
In the past, when using a free blog, it was like you were borrowing someone’s laptop. Now, that you bought a new laptop for yourself (hosting) you can install Windows or Lynux and do with it as you please.
Ok, these type of metaphor always sounds better in my head. But do you get the picture?
All you’re doing is installing an easier system to operate your blog on. And Bluehost allows you to download WordPress with a single click. No tech background required, no complications.
All you need is a click and a new WordPress account. One you log into your Bluehost account, it will look something like this:
Simply scroll down until you reach the “Website” section and click on the “Install WordPress” icon. It’s that simple!
After the installation is complete, you can create a WordPress account and start blogging by going to www.YourDomainNameHere.com/wp-admin. Posting new articles, modifying the aspect and everything else that has to do with your blog can now be done via WordPress.
If you had a free WordPress blog in the past, chances are you already know how to navigate the dashboard. If not, look up some tutorials online. It shouldn’t take you more than a few days to get the hang of it.
💎 GET A THEME
So now you have a blog! Hooray! Who thought it was that simple?
Before you even go into details about growing your blog, creating awesome content and everything else that comes with the territory, you need to make your blog look like a blog.
All you need to do to make that happen is to get a theme! The best part of starting a blog in 2017 is that you don’t need to do any coding yourself. You can either hire someone to design a custom website for you or choose a pre-made theme.
The first thing you need to do is find one. WordPress offers a variety of free and premium themes that you can easily integrate with their platform, and while some of them are lovely, they are all too common in the blogging world.
If you want a theme that stands out, try searching for a theme template that will match your blog’s personality and purchase that separately.
Here are some of my favorite places to go theme hunting at:
- Theme Forest – Where I got my theme from. Endless choices and amazing customer service.
- Pretty Darn Cute Designs – Sleek and girly designs for the ultimate female orientated blog.
- Restore 316 – The ultimate vault for beautiful WordPress themes.
Looking for more ideas? Check out my post on 10 WordPress Themes For Female Bloggers & Entrepreneurs to find my absolute favorite themes for bloggers.
Your job is to pick a template that you can envision on your own blog, purchase it and install it to WordPress. It’s simpler than it sounds.
After you purchased the theme you will have access to a file that you need to download. To upload it on your blog, simply go to your WordPress dashboard > the “Appearance” tab > “Themes” section > “Add New” button > “Upload Theme” > Install it after it uploads. It should look something like this:
Once installed, most themes have demos that you can start working on to make your website look just as the preview of the theme you saw when you purchased it.
This will be different for every theme, but you can easily customize your website to stand out even more from your WordPress dashboard.
And if you’re starting to get a bit overwhelmed by all this, take a break! You don’t need to do it all in one day (although it’s very easy to do so), and most theme shops offer a complete video tutorial on how to customize the theme you just bought.
Everything is already setting you up for your blogging success! Which brings me to:
STEP 3: Learn as you go and take your time
One of the biggest blogging advice I can give to new bloggers is to do it and figure out the nitty-gritty details and the intricate work that goes on behind building a blog later.
Just start! Just remain excited and willing to learn and you will figure it all out in time!
You don’t need to know how to do everything before you start your own blog, because otherwise, let’s face it, you might never start one…
So before you learn anymore, before you get overwhelmed with any more information, go back and complete the first two steps. (I’m serious. A big part of this blog post is about leaving you with a sense of excitement for what’s about to come because starting my own blog is the best decision I ever made and I cannot wait to see what opportunities it opens for you! But I almost let myself drown in overwhelm and I don’t want to let that happen to you.)
Set up your blog, learn to walk before you run and you’re ready to make some magic happen, come back here for some of my best resources and blogging tips.
Want a list of all the amazing tools and resources I use to make my life easier as a blogger? I have them all listed in my resource library.
And if you’re looking for tips on how to take your blog off the ground and start building a loyal readership, check out my ebook on the topic that contains 100 pages pn in-depth strategies, tips and examples that can help you launch your blog with a bang!
Looking for some more blogging wisdom? Check out some of my most popular blogging related posts:
- 7 things I wish I knew before I started blogging
- How to brand your blog for 10 dollars or less
- Three lessons you need to learn as a beginner in blogging
- Why bloggers need an email list
- How I made my first $100 blogging
- How I made my first affiliate sale in 2017
Let me be the first to admit that blogging, although rewarding, it’s not easy. You need to be a master at everything and it might take months or years to learn all you need to learn to become a successful blogger. But others before you paved the way. So why not invest in a blogging e-course and take a shortcut to success?
For beginners, I recommend Abby’s course, Building A Framework, because it includes everything you can possibly need to know about blogging and it’s delivered in such a clear, easy to understand way. A copy of her ebook (and one of my favorite blogging books out there) is also included in the deal, and I simply can’t praise it enough!
Once you have your blog up and running, my email challenge will give you the chance to rectify any mistakes that might turn visitors away and bring in new traffic! Sign up here!
I know all this can be overwhelming, but I would like to invite you to adopt one of my most useful mindsets in life: the say YES now and figure it out later approach. Because it truly is easier than ever to start a blog in 2017!
So take a deep breath or have a 5-minute dance party. Whatever you need to shake off that feeling of overwhelming. And come back and follow the next three steps so you can start your own blog by the end of the week:
- Set up your hosting with Bluehost
- Find a gorgeous theme
- Figure out the rest as you go
The world is dying to see what you have to offer! Don’t hold back because you are afraid you won’t be able to tackle the technical issues! All you need to do is start!
💎 Take Action Now: Check to see if your dream blog name is available below and secure your URL today!
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