When I started blogging last year, January 2015, I had no idea where to start. All I knew is that I wanted to do something that made me happy. When I started, I did not have a focus, I thought my audience was mostly beauty based, so I started a Youtube Channel, but I was not an expert in the field, which made me feel like I was going in an uphill battle.
I decided to start a blog and did a countless amount of research, which started with a little something called "web hosting." I had no idea what I was doing and spent so much time learning how to set up my blog, which is why I decided to put together this guide on the first step to starting a blog.
When I first started writing I thought the people would come, so I filled my site with content that I loved, and spent countless hours spending all my time on my new baby. After months I realized I had lost so many opportunities, give I didn't know how to track my audience, so I had no idea if I even had any visitors on my site.
"knock knock, who's there? Logic."
I had no idea what I was doing wrong, so I started doing more homework and research determined to get better. There were plenty of days where I just didn't want to look at my site anymore.
As I did more and more research I started learning about SEO, affiliate marketing, web hostings, and influencer marketplaces and finally, I decided to apply everything I had learned to revamp my blog and brand.
My Instagram started growing on average with +1,110 followers a month (taken from socialblade.com, give that a try and see your stats!) and my blog page views and visits were growing rapidly.
Here are my 2016 stats for my previous blog:
Here are the stats for 2017:
Getting to that point wasn't easy, but it was one goal after another for me, and with dedication, you can see the results when you make the right moves. This is why it's vital to know what moves to make when you start at the very beginning of your blogging career. This will avoid any backtracking like what I had to go through!
This article will walk you through the process of finding your niche, choosing your domain name, web and domain hosting, and the look and feel of your blog. Here is the exact step by step processes on how to get started on a blog.
STEP 1. PICK A NICHE
If you haven't already read my guide on Instagram Hashtags which explains niches and how to find the right hashtags for your brand, the first thing you need to consider is what your passions are. This is also really important to define before you chose to name your blog because, essentially, it is your brand. Earlier I stated that when I started blogging I went on Youtube, an over-saturated market where I wasn't the expert. This caused me so much heartache that I gave up on youtube for quite a while and is what lead me to write.
When you start your blog, you should find your passion and expertise. Think about the things you are good at or the things you are known for. I used to refuse my claim to fame, I wanted to be known for being great at being Lees, but I had a whole fanbase that knew me as Miss Grand International and I wasn't using it to my advantage.
You don't have to pick one topic, you can pick a handful, and explore from there. Eventually, I found my passion on Youtube, which is product reviews and product photography. I linked that to my blog with written product reviews, and then expanded from there. Now my passion is helping others find their blogging voice and I continue to do reviews and write about more personal experiences, which connect me with my audience and fan base.
Chose the topic that scores the highest of what you know or what your interest is and focus your blog on that until you can expand to other topics. If you start with one niche first you can see where your audience interest lays as far as interest goes. Feel free to ask questions at the end of your post to engage your audience and find out more about them as well.
STEP 2. PICK A DOMAIN NAME
Your domain is your website URL, mine used to be www.glossygrape.com and I later rebranded to www.leesgarcia.com. Once you know what your niche is, you can start to play around with domain names that may relate to this and find your identity per say. You can be as creative or as simple as you want to be, but your URL is your home base, so make sure it's something that you're proud of and is easy to remember.
STEP 3. SET UP WEB AND DOMAIN HOSTING
After you know what your blog will be about and what you want to name it, the next step is to set up your web hosting. This is a service that stores your website content and allows your site to be seen on the internet. It is basically your website's "home." Domain hosting also allows you to register your domain name while you're at it, and I recommend Bluehost.
If you're ready to start, head on over to Bluehost and sign up. They are affordable, very fast and reliable, and if you ever need support, theirs is excellent.
You want to pick a host that has a great speed reputation because as your blog grows, you don't want to have a website that may be constantly crashing or lagging due to high traffic. Bluehost is customer friendly and easy to navigate, which is everything when you are starting out.
Here’s how to start your signup process:
A. Click here to go to Bluehost and click “Get Started Now.”
B. Select your plan.
I recommend that you start with the basic plan because it’s already quite good. Plus, you can choose to upgrade your plan anytime if you think you need more web capacity.
C. Register your domain.
You can either create a new domain name for yourself or register a new domain altogether. Bluehost will let you know of your name's availability.
D. Fill out your account information.
This process should take less than a minute because they keep their forms short and user-friendly. You can choose to back up your website in case you ever want to restore it to its previous structure. Additionally, you can also choose to get Sitelock. Sitelock is ideal for those who will be dealing with customer service. It ensures that your website is secure and spam-free for consumers, Sitelock is not a must for blogger sites.
Bluehost also charges for the first 36 months upfront. That’s how they’re able to keep their prices so incredibly low compared to other hosting sites. I’ve only had great experiences with Bluehost and WordPress, you also want to pay it up front so you can have that "set it and forget it mindset." When it comes to your blog, treat it as you would a business and understand that to have something solid, a small investment is required in the beginning.
E. Enter your payment info on their secure form.
F. Create your secure password.
G. Congratulations! You're all set up!
H. Pick a clean and gorgeous theme that works for you.
I change my theme every year, this is the most fun part because all of Bluehost’s responsive templates are beautiful and perfectly optimized for mobile and desktop! Pick a theme that really expresses your future "you as a blogger" vision.
I. Now ready to add content to your website.
J. You’re in! Now you can decide if you want a business account or a personal account.
This can be changed anytime, I started as a personal account and then set it up as business after two years!
K. Edit your website!
You’re now free to work on your website however you choose! While you’re editing your template and writing your first blog post, your live website will show a professional “coming soon” watermark.
L. Launch your website!!!
Once you’re ready to launch your website, all of your edits and optimizations will go live! Even though it feels like a lot is at stake at this point, don’t dwell too much on the “what ifs.” You will NEVER be 100% satisfied with your website; a great blogger always leaves room for improvement. So, once you feel like it’s ready enough, launch your site and share your ideas with the world!
M. Log in and out whenever you please.
To access your dashboard, all you have to do is go to wordpress.com/login and you’ll get to edit your website at your leisure. That’s it!
STEP 4. PROMOTE YOUR WEBSITE
Some people will suggest you have an established website before promoting it, but I would suggest otherwise. Even if you have just one entry, as long as your site looks professional, you should promote your entry!
Marketing is essential to your websites traffic, capacity to monetize, and growth. If your blog is the best blog on the internet but there is no marketing behind it, no one will find your site!
Here are some effective marketing tools I use to promote my blog:
- Social Referrals – If you have any social presence at all, even if it’s less than a thousand followers, refer them over to your blog by:
o Share your posts on all of your social media outlets, and make sure your shares are tailored to fit each platform appropriately.
o Include your blog link at the end of your signature
o Leaving your blog URL in your bio for all social media platforms.
More than half of my traffic comes from social referrals.
- Optimize Your SEO – SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization, is just another way to say, “Make your website search-friendly for Google and other search engines.” There are countless ways to optimize your SEO, but the basic rules of thumb are to:
o keywords, keywords, keywords! Just like Instagram hashtags, these keywords or tags will give your article strength and help you be seen on the internet through outlets such as Google.com
o Guest post on other blogs so they can link back to you. These back-links give your site strength and give it a higher score and ranking within Google. It's basically like a job referral.
o Improve your website loading speed by minimizing your amount of plugins, redirects, and large, high-def photos
- Comment on Other Blogs – By commenting on other blogs, you will be:
o Improving your SEO by leaving a backlink on their website, make sure to write thoughtful comments and include your blogsite where it prompts you to fill out!
o Expanding your network of bloggers in your niche
o Increasing your chances of being discovered by new visitors
- Guest Post – It’s difficult to get your guest posts accepted into reputable websites, but the effort pays off because:
o Guest posting helps with your SEO if you link to your website in the article or in your author bio
o You’ll be expanding your audience reach
o You’re positioning yourself as a thought leader
o Your guest posts can be leveraged as a testimonial of your credibility in your field.
- Conduct Interviews – Another fun way to market your website is to actually conduct interviews with influential figures who are relevant to your niche. By interviewing these folks, you will:
o Boost your search rankings because users who search for these folks might stumble upon your page
o Increase your credibility as an established blogger
o Create valuable relationships with knowledgeable people
If you loved my step by step tutorial on How to Start Your Blog, feel free to share in on social media to help others gain more knowledge!
This is not a sponsored post, but any links clicked through may be affiliate links.