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Almost two years ago I began writing Sunshine and Rain. I had been following a number of other blogs for a while and loved the idea of having my own but it all seemed so complicated. Like me, you might be wondering how to start your own blog. The good news is, it’s actually very straight forward.
There are just three things you need to get you started. A small amount of money to purchase your domain and hosting. The time and patience for the initial set up. Most importantly, the passion to write. That might sound a little bit obvious, but you would be surprised to hear how easy it is to lose motivation with blogging when you don’t have a genuine love for what you’re writing.
Choose Your Niche
Before you do anything else, you need to choose your niche. Knowing what you want to write about is the foundation of every other aspect of your blog. Perhaps you have a passion for making and saving money and want to start a finance blog? Maybe you’re a new parent and want to write all about your experience. Sunshine and Rain is described as a lifestyle blog as I write about everything from home and garden, to weddings, to pregnancy. Lifestyle is the perfect niche for anyone who would like the freedom to focus on whatever they feel passionate about at that time.
Once you are comfortable with your niche you can make a start on everything else with confidence. From you blog name and brand, to the content you produce in your posts. Choosing something that is significant to you and that you are passionate about will help to keep motivated and ensure that the content ideas are always flowing.
Pick Your Domain
This was the step that baffled me when I first started my blog. I’m not very techy and the idea of buying a domain name sounded so complicated. Thankfully it’s not. There are many places you can purchase a domain name from , such as Siteground, GoDaddy, 123-reg and so on. You’ll normally find that the hosting service you choose (see below) will allow you to do this at the same time.
Give your domain some thought. My advice would be to keep it simple and catchy if you can. Having your blog name followed by .com would be the best option. The prices of the domains available might determine your choice in the end, but most sit around the £12-15 mark. You’ll see that Sunshine and Rain is a .info site. I hadn’t quite done all of my reading when I chose it!
Set Up Your Self-Hosting
Self hosting was the second step that terrified me. I didn’t even understand what it was at first never mind how to do it. Simply put, self-hosting is the act of being in charge of your own server instead of relying on a website provider to do it for you. It’s important because it gives you full control over your content. It also allows you the opportunity to monetise your blog, if this is something you aim to do.
The best thing about self hosting is that whoever you choose as your provider, they will have a guide to help you set up and most have a wonderful customer service team too. They will assist with everything from making payments to installing WordPress. Once your hosting is up and running, the hard part is over and you’re ready to begin writing.
Personally I use Siteground for my hosting. They have three plans available to suit websites of different sizes, perfecting for when you are starting out. They’re always available to talk whenever I need them and a big help when I have no clue how to do or fix something. I also bought my domain through them to keep things simple. I’d like to disclose that my link to the Siteground website is an affiliate and I will earn a small commission if you choose to use them, at no extra cost to you. I recommend them because I love them.
Do some research and find yourself the hosting that feels like the best fit for you.
Set Up Your Social Media Accounts
A large part of bringing traffic to your blog will involve being active on social media. It is therefore important that you have accounts set up on each platform with your blog’s name so that it is easy for people to find you. Whilst you don’t have to use every platform, it is a good idea to set up an account on each to prevent others from taking your name.
My recommendation would be to spend some time trying out each one. From there you’ll be able to figure out which platforms you enjoy using. Whilst some bloggers will be active everywhere on social media, most choose to focus on just a couple. Personally, Pinterest and Instagram are my favourites. I do also spend some time on Twitter, but it just doesn’t click as well for me and that’s OK. Yes, you want to share your blog and encourage people to read. No, you don’t want to burn yourself out trying to do it all!
Publish Your First Ten Blog Posts
This was a piece of advice that was given to me when I first started. Although publishing ten posts before you even launch may seem like a lot, it is so important. Not only does it make your blog look more professional and established when you do share it. The published posts will give any potential readers a great idea of what your blog is all about and whether or not they would like to return to read your blog again in the future.
Hopefully you have a number of blog post ideas ready to go after considering things like your niche and your name. If not don’t worry. The best thing to do is sit with a pen and paper and write down everything that comes to mind. You’ll soon realise that you have more to write about than you think. Alternatively, sign in to you WordPress account and begin typing away in drafts. Once there are a couple of words on that blank screen it all becomes easier.
Spend time making your blog posts look good is also important. There are a couple of things which you can do each time you write to encourage readers to return. First of all, use the SEO tool Yoast to ensure that the post is well written. You can find this in the plugins available on WordPress. Produce content with length as well as quality by aiming to have a minimum of 300 words per post. Finally, Create images on Canva which go with your topic and can be used to promote your post.
Interact with Other Bloggers
Now that you have your blog set up you’ll want to build your traffic. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for this step. Patience and consistent hard work are the answer. Social media will be the best way to do grow, but interacting with other bloggers is another brilliant way to improve your traffic too. Read other blogs, interact on social media and build up genuine relationships with others. You will find that over time some become readers of your own blog and share your posts with their audiences.
There are a lot of great groups on Facebook that are good for interacting too. Official UK Bloggers is one of my favourite groups, however there are so many more that focus on a specific niche topic or even a particular area of the country.
Making Money From Your Blog
One final point I would like to cover is your reason for starting a blog in the first place. Some of you reading this will be looking for a new hobby. Others will be looking for a way to document something important in life, such as a pregnancy as I am doing. Many of you will want to start a blog in the hope that it will be an income stream in the future. You will find that people will tell you not to start a blog to make money. I would disagree with that. You can start a blog for any reason that suits you. The key is to be genuine, whatever that reason is.
If you are looking to make money through your blog, you absolutely have to follow Emma Drew. She is the queen of money making and has a number of wonderful guides to help new bloggers. I’d recommend beginning with her six week free course to get you started. If you’re serious about making an income, her 90 Days to a Profitable Blog e-book is what you need. This is not an affiliate link, just a recommendation from someone who has used it and seen success.
Optimise Your Blog
Once you have made your blog and you’ve started created posts on a regular basis, you will need to start attracting visitors. One of the best ways that you can do this is through search engine optimization (SEO). There are many different facets to SEO, these include using keywords, link building, improving your page loading speeds, and optimising your website for use on smartphones and tablets.
Whilst SEO is an entire topic in itself, the best and easiest place to begin is with the Yoast Plugin. It’s free to use and will add a really helpful and super simple traffic light guide to your post writing page, with tips on how to improve at the bottom. Turn the light green and your post is in good shape. The rest, you can learn as you grow!
If you have any questions at all about anything that I have spoken about, please just ask them in the comments or get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. My hope is that I have given you the confidence to take that big leap into blogging. I’m so glad I did!