Are you thinking about starting a blog? Are you unsure of what things you need to do before launching your blog? There are so many “how to start a blog” posts out there that it can be a bit daunting. I was in your shoes just a few short months ago, so I understand! I am writing this post in hopes to help you start out your blog on the right foot. There are certain things to do before launching your blog, but not everyone tells you about them. These tips on blogging for beginners will help you start your blogging journey confidently.
Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links. This just means that we make a little money if you buy something through one of our links. It does not cost you any more to purchase an item through our links. It just helps support this blog so we can continue to bring you more content like this.
This is part 1 of a series of blogging for beginners posts because after I started writing, I realized that I had way too much to say for just one post.
Check out part 2 here: Blogging for Beginners: 4 Blog Design Tips for WordPress
My Blogging Journey
Back in April, I finally decided that I wanted to start a blog, but I had no idea where to begin. I read HUNDREDS of articles that I found on Pinterest. Some of the articles had really good advice, but I also found a lot of contradicting opinions out there.
I want you to know that I am basing this post on my own opinions that I have formed based on my experiences so far. I only promote things that I have had good experiences with because I want you to be successful in your blog.
There are so many things that you can do before you start your blog, but don’t feel like you have to do everything in this list before you launch your blog. These are just the things that I did before sharing my blog with the world.
1. Decide if you are going to blog on your own or not
I’ve noticed that so many people go into blogging on their own with little to no support. Although solo blogging is totally fine, it can be so helpful to have someone there to work with and grow together.
When I decided I wanted to start a blog, I asked my mom if she would want to blog with me. This blog is a compilation of our ideas together. I may do all the social media and tech-y stuff, but my mom contributes to a lot of the content.
So when you’re deciding on the idea of blogging, think about whether or not there is someone that you could include in this journey.
2. Choose what you want your blog to be about
There are many differing opinions out there about whether or not you need to choose a niche for your blog. A niche is basically a topic or theme.
I am not going to say whether or not this is necessary because I honestly have no proof that a niche blog does better than another.
Our blog is kind of a niche blog, but in many ways it’s not. We just thought about what types of things we wanted to write about, and then we thought about how they connected to each other.
Our main theme is living a thrifty lifestyle, but sometimes certain blog posts fit in the category better than others. We try our best to connect our posts to that theme in some way. For example, we write travel reviews to help people know what places are worth spending their money on. Maybe a travel review isn’t a post necessarily about a thrifty lifestyle, but it does help people decide what to spend their money on.
3. Choose a name for your blog
After we decided on a theme for our blog, we started brainstorming names for our blog.
We wrote a list of synonyms that meant living thriftily. Our list included words like frugal, cheap, thrifty, etc.
I would suggest that you try to come up with at least 10 possible names for your blog because there’s a good chance that some of those names may already be taken.
When you decide on some names, you will need to check to see if they are available. You should try to get a website (domain) with .com at the end instead of .net or some other ending. It can be tempting to choose something other than .com when the .com domain name is already chosen by someone else, but don’t do it!
You can use the following Domain Name Checker to see if your website name is already used or not.
Once you find a domain that you like and is not taken already, you will want to check and see if different social media handles are available for that name.
It is best if you can use the same handle for all of your social media accounts.
We use @nowthatsthrifty for all of our accounts, so it is easy for people to find us.
Another good idea before settling on a name is to google your name and see what comes up. Sometimes what you have in mind for a name has different connotations for other people. It would be bad to choose a name that when searched on google brings up a lot of inappropriate links!
4. Choose a host
If you are starting a blog that will one day hopefully make money, then you will want to be self-hosted.
Being self-hosted means that you will own your blog, and you will be able to customize it exactly the way you want to.
A self-hosted blog has a website URL like .com, but a free blog might have a website URL that ends with wordpress.com or blogspot.com.
There is nothing wrong with having a free blog, but it limits what you can do with it.
When you are self-hosted, you purchase hosting from a web host. They help you set up your blog and can help with things like security for your site.
We chose to be self-hosted because we want to make money on this blog eventually.
If you are worried about money, it really is not that expensive to be self-hosted. We only paid a little over $90 for 3 years of hosting. Compared to other businesses you could start, this is a very low start-up cost.
Which host is best?
I did a lot of research about who to choose as a blog host before we launched our blog.
Depending on who you ask, you will hear different opinions on who the best host is.
I cannot tell you who the best host is, but I can tell you who we use for hosting.
We use Blue Host to host our website, and we have been very happy with them.
I have contacted their customer service three times, and every time they gave me good customer service.
One of the reasons we chose Blue Host is because of the price.
Like I said before, we didn’t pay that much to get hosting. I used another blogger’s affiliate link to purchase my hosting plan.
It came out to be $2.65 a month for 36 months. This included a free domain name, free SSL, and free domain privacy for a year.
SSL is what makes your website have the https in front of the URL instead of just http. The “s” tells Google that your site is secure, which means that your website will more likely show up in search results. Domain privacy is something that you should get. Basically, without domain privacy, the information you use to create your website (your address and other personal information) will be available publicly. When you have domain privacy, that information is not available for others to see.
I was able to get the free domain privacy because I clicked on a pop up on their site when I was signing up. If this deal doesn’t pop up for you, I recommend refreshing the page, turning off your ad blocker, or trying again at a later time because it saved us a lot of money.
If you would like to purchase hosting with Blue Host, we would love it if you used our link. This helps us out so much, and does not cost more for you!
5. Set up your site
If you are using WordPress for your site, there are several things that you will have to do to get your website ready.
If you are using Blue Host, then you will be using WordPress. Basically, WordPress is the platform that you use to design your blog and write your blog posts.
It can be a little intimidating when you first start out. This is why I recommend getting help from online tutorials.
I received a lot of help with setting up my site using Bree’s FREE WordPress course. She shows you step by step what to do, and she is there to help answer your questions.
I completely recommend taking Bree’s course because it was so helpful for me as a newbie blogger. She answered my questions and went above and beyond to help me out with an issue I was having with my site. There is no risk in taking this course because it is absolutely FREE!
You will learn everything you need to know about setting up your site, making sure your site is secure, and how to design it.
In the next post in this series, we will be discussing more about setting up your website, getting started with social media and an email newsletter, and more!
If you found this helpful, we would love if you shared this post with others. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! We will try our best to help you!
Check out our tools & resources page to see our favorite blogging tools!
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