So you want to start a blog you don’t know where to begin? Well fear not my friend, I’m here to help! I created this post to guide you through the process of starting a new blog, step by step.
You’ll go from having no blog to being well on your way to having a professional blog in just a matter of hours! Ready to get started?
The Benefits of Blogging
First, let’s talk about the benefits of blogging. Here are some of the main reasons why the blogging community is so popular:
- You can share your passion and write about the things you love
- It's a great hobby and creative outlet
- You feel like you’re having a positive impact on others
- You can bring joy to yourself and your readers
- You can earn money from your own home
- It's an amazing resource for expanding your business
- You can build a following so you can launch a product or service
- Make friends and interact with people from all over the world
Think you could benefit from starting a blog of your own? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Find your niche
The first step to starting a blog is deciding what your going to blog about, you probably already have an idea of this, but it’s important to spend some time thinking about your niche and your target audience before you dive straight into creating the blog.
Your ‘niche’ is used as an overall term to describe the area you are choosing to focus on with your blog. This could be a particular topic or group of people you are trying to target. When choosing your blog niche, it’s important to find a topic you are passionate about. You’ll be spending a lot of time creating content about this topic so it needs to be something you enjoy or you'll quickly lose enthusiasm!
Here are some things to consider:
- What are your hobbies?
- What other types of blogs do you enjoy?
- What are your areas of knowledge?
- What information do you have to share that can help people?
- Who is going to read your blog?
- What do you want them to gain from your blog?
- What’s going to set you apart from other blog?
Still struggling to find a niche? We discuss this even further in my free email course, No Blog to Pro Blog.
Step 2: Choose Your Blogging Platform
The three main blogging platforms are Blogger, Self-hosted Wordpress and Squarespace. They all have different features and advantages, so I’ll give you an overview of each platform so you can decide which one will work best for you!
Blogger is a free platform and a great start up option if you really have no money to invest in your blog. There’s loads of free templates and themes out there, however unless you know a decent amount of html coding, there’s very limited customisation options and it can often give off a ‘novice blogger’ look.
Self-hosted Wordpress is the ideal platform if you're a techy whizz and you want complete control over your blog and website. There are a whole bunch of great templates and hundreds of plugins available, but you do have to host your own website. I wouldn’t suggest this platform for beginners, as there is no support team and you might have to hire a developer to fix any technical problems.
Squarespace is a great all-rounder. This is the platform I use for my blog and website and it is the platform I would personally recommend! They have a great selection of professional templates that are easily customisable and automatically optimised for all devices and screen sizes.The entire platform is easy to use, even if you have no past website experience and they have a great 24/7 support team if you ever have an issue. Check out my post '10 Reasons Why I use Squarespace' for more information!
Step 3: Name Your Blog
Your blog name is your main identity, so you want to make sure you think hard and choose the perfect name for you! Ideally it should be memorable, catchy, easy to spell, not too long and represent what your blog is about. Don’t forget to check if the domain name and matching social media handles are available before you decide for sure!
Here’s some things to consider:
- What is your blog about?
- What words represent this?
- Who is your ideal audience?
- What words would appeal to these people?
- Will it be a unique/trendy name?
- Will it be a spin on words?
- Will it include your name?
- Does it allow room for your blog to expand in the future?
Read my post on ‘How to Choose the Perfect Name For Your Blog or Business’ for more tips!
Step 4: Domain and Email and Hosting
Once you've decided on your blogging platform and name, it's time to set up the techy stuff!
Once you’ve chosen your blog name, you’re going to need to purchase a domain. This is a custom website URL for your blog. Custom domains aren’t expensive, I bought mine through GoDaddy and it only costs around $8 a year. GoDaddy is a great site to purchase domains, it’s easy to set up and they have great support line if you need help.
I would recommend choosing a ‘.com’ domain if it’s available, but don’t worry if you can’t get it, ‘.co’, ‘.net’ and ‘.biz’ are good options too. I have a ‘.co’ domain and it works great for me! Just avoid using a specific country domain ending like ‘.co.uk’ or ‘.com.au’, as your site won’t show as high in international search results and you could lose out on extra traffic!
Next you want to think about getting a custom email address. This looks something like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ as opposed to an ‘@gmail.com’ or ‘@hotmail.com’ email. Again, this helps your blog look a lot more professional, especially when dealing with brand inquiries and sponsorship opportunities.
I setup my custom email with G Suite. I love using G Suite for my email as I can still use my custom blog email within the Google Mail email service. G Suite also offers a free 30 day trial which allows you to test it out before you commit!
If you choose Blogger or Squarespace has your blogging platform you can skip this step as the hosting is included with the website. If you decided to go with Wordpress, keep on reading!
Wordpress is a self-hosted platform, meaning you have to source your own web host before you can publish your website to the internet. A website host is a business that provides server space to store your website files on the web. GoDaddy and BlueHost have some great web hosting options for under $10 a month.
Step 5: Design and Branding
Now your blog is set up, it’s time to make it pretty! The main aspects of branding your blog are your blog template, colour scheme and logo.
Choosing your blog template
Your blog template options will vary depending on what blogging platform you choose to go with. Each blogging platform has a variety of templates that you can install and use for free. If you’re using Squarespace, I’ve written a whole post here on choosing the perfect Squarespace template.
Here’s a few things to consider:
- A clean, simple layout will be more effective
- It should be easy to navigate around the site
- The template shouldn’t be too busy or distracting
- It should be optimised for mobile devices
Choosing a colour palette
Colour can really effect your emotions. Different colours have the potential to make you feel different ways when you see them, so try and pick colours that will spark a positive emotion for your audience.
I recommend you choose around 6 colours in total, but stick to about 3-4 main colours within your logo and graphics, as you don’t want it to look too busy or distracting.
Think about the following:
- How do I want people to feel about my blog?
- What do I want my audience to think of when they picture my blog?
- What colours would most appeal to my target audience?
- What do these colours represent?
I also have a more detailed post on choosing a colour palette for your blog, along with a colour psychology infographic, click here to check it out!
Designing the logo
Your logo is one of the first things your reader will see when they visit your blog, so it’s important that it reflects your brand style and looks well designed.
Here’s a few options to consider:
- Hire a designer. It’s more of an investment but you can work with a talented professional to make sure you get a completely unique design.
- Buy a pre-made logo. This is a great cheaper alternative if you’ve got a smaller budget. You can get a stylish pre-made logo on Etsy, but it won’t be unique to your brand.
- Create your own logo. If you’ve got a knack for design, creating your own logo is a great option too. Knowing how to use Adobe Illustrator would be an advantage, you can get some great fonts and graphics on Creative Market to help you out!
Want to learn more about starting a professional blog? Join 'No Blog to Pro Blog', my free 7-day email course!
By the end of the 7-day course, you’ll have created your new blog (the right way!), you’ll be clued up on the tips and tricks of successful bloggers and you’ll have a massive head start into the blogging game!
IN THIS COURSE YOU WILL LEARN:
- How to find your perfect blog niche
- How to create and set up your new blog the right way
- The steps to designing and branding your dream blog
- How to create killer content that your readers will value
- How to use social media to help get your content seen
- Overcoming fears and doubts about blogging
- Frequently asked blogging questions from fellow newbies