30 million US bloggers out there and yet here we are. How exciting! The odds are challenging; but, not impossible or I wouldn’t be here to help you along the way.
You can launch your blog today. And if you’re going to do this, you’ll have to be all in. Make blogging a top priority and watch your passion blossom into a self-sustaining career.
Get ready to dedicate a couple of hours a day, several on the weekend, over the next year. And if that statement scares you, stop and brush up with my post, “The 411 on Blogging” for the skinny on blogging. If you’re ready, buckle up and let’s get started.
There are so many articles published on how to launch a blog and it can get a little overwhelming. As a new blogger, I’ve been sponging up information like my life depends on it and have organized some very useful intel that I can personally attest to. I’ve come up with a “top 5 list” that breaks this process down into very easy steps, even if you don’t consider yourself tech friendly.
Blogging is no longer a hobby for many. It is a real business generating real income. Follow this five step guide one day at a time and you’ll have your own blog up and running in less than a week!
- Pick a niche
- Pick a domain name, blog platform and web host
- Design your page, logo and creatives
- Set up social media
- Launch it!
Let me begin by saying that “this post contains some affiliate links.” This means that I’ll be providing some recommendations that have made a big impact on setting up my blog. However, selecting those will not cost you a penny more, just helps fund my dreams.
Pick a niche – This is a common blogging term that can stump newbies. A “niche” = your thing, focus, passion. If you’re like me, maybe you could write about a couple of things is why I consider myself to be a “lifestyle” blogger. It’s a catch all for my passions: travel, writing, faith, family and everything in between. Take a moment to think about what inspires you. What do you love and could write about day and night? And don’t worry about an audience. Your life is interesting and worth writing about. But, you’re writing for yourself first. There will be plenty of people interested in your story so don’t shy away.
Pro tip: Leave a little bit of yourself along the way; your honesty and sincerity will draw people in.
Pick a domain name and register it – It’s time to select your business name, web address, your brand. It should let your readers know who you are and what you represent. Give this some good thought; but, don’t get lost in the weeds. Spend maybe a day or two, tops. Yes, you can change it down the road. Ideal? No. Possible? Absolutely. Give yourself a deadline if you’re conflicted and set up a calendar invite to keep you on track. Don’t get so wrapped up in the naming convention that it stalls the whole process.
Pro tip: Try this nifty tool for checking if your favorite name is available as a domain and if it is, don’t hesitate. Follow the easy steps to register it before someone else does.
FYI, make sure you select a .COM. It is the preferred way to go and the most recognized symbol of a business and commercial presence in the world. Steer clear of the .ORG, .BLOG and the like. If the .COM you want is registered to another person competing for use by registering with a .ORG or .BLOG for instance isn’t a good idea. Just move on and pick another name.
Pick a blog platform and web host – There are so many to choose from and so much foreign language, it can be very overwhelming. Take a deep breath, I’ll just talk about the ones I use: WordPress (platform) and Bluehost (host). Both are incredibly respected in the industry and so easy to use, a great first step for newbies. Luckily, one works with the other: Bluehost is the avenue to WordPress and for cheap!
Selecting the right web host is an important decision and is why I opted to use Bluehost. They host over 2 million websites and provide a slew of benefits for a modicum cost, as little as $3.95 per month.
Pro tip: Use my tracking link below to Bluehost and you’ll immediately get a great one stop shop that will offer you a free domain, free SSL, one-click WordPress installation and 24/7 support today! There is even a special intro offer and 30 day money-back guarantee! Choose the basic option.
When you install WordPress platform, you’ll be amazed by the infinite ways you’ll have to design the layout your blog with hundreds of thousands of themes (looks), plug ins, support and better yet – there are tons of free versions. There are more than 80 million active users of WordPress, so you get it – either way you go, it’s guaranteed to be amazing!
Design your page – You’ve survived the tech part and now it’s time for some fun! WordPress will make it crazy easy! Literally, as easy as thumbing through hundreds of themes and just clicking on the “select” button. WordPress will do it all for you. Sit back, relax and preview all those themes without paying a dime upfront. Just don’t get lost in the madness with all the options out there.
Pro tip: Don’t buy a theme or upgrade to a “pro” version right away. I use “Amadeus,” a regular, non-pro version and totally free theme. I have plenty of options that allow me to get creative. Premiums do come with a lot of bells and whistles; but, for now just keep it simple and go for the “free” stuff. You’ll be spending money down the road.
Design your logo and creatives – If you’re not the “creative type” or want a professional to weigh in, head over to my favorite Fiverr, a marketplace for great freelance work starting at just $5. These guys can do it all for you: logo, business cards, video animation and the like. I have used Fiverr many times and definitely recommend them. I’m considering creating a comic/bitmoji version of me, so I’ll go to them for that.
Pro tip: Sign up for a free account with Canva. I love these guys so much I quickly upgraded my account to premium for $12.95 a month. This is a good idea if you plan on posting via Pinterest where you will need tons and tons of creative content. I’m pretty artsy, so it made sense to amp up my game.
Set up social media – Make sure you have accounts with: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus to start with. Open email accounts with Google and your web host.
Pro tip: Set up parallel social accounts to your current personal. Open free business accounts and “promote” your posts, create ads. Leave your personal life in its own private space. Follow my lead:
- Instagram Business Account
- Facebook Blog Page with Business Manager (not a business page unless you are “store front” and going to sell stuff)
- Pinterest Business Account
- Twitter (brand as business option)
- YouTube (brand as business)
- Google Plus account (especially useful for opening your YouTube account)
- Gmail – as a good back-up account to use, I use it for my blog subscriptions
- Bluehost email account – free option via Bluehost; your business will sound more reputable if correspondence come from “email@example.com” versus “firstname.lastname@example.org.” I use the free Roundcube webmail option. Plain Jane and gets the job done.
- Constant Contact email marketing company. These guys help you create and grow your very important subscriber base. I’m using a very basic plan, around $13 a month and 100% worth it. They make it super easy to stay in touch with my subscribers by offering some standard options for automating emails, campaigns, etc.
- Tailwind – bring it all home with this bad boy. This is your personal assistant and truly “The Smartest Way to Schedule on Pinterest & Instagram.” They offer automatic posting. You literally schedule when to post on social media and Tailwind does the rest for you. I can’t tell you what a blessing this is to have – you’ll get personal time back to be able to write. Otherwise, plan on being on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook everyday all day commenting, uploading and sharing.
Launch your blog! – You did it! Celebrate with your first post. It’s time to put yourself out there. Don’t feel intimidated – you’ve got this! Go live and launch it! Tell your friends and family! Jump all over social media! Don’t be shy!
Pro tip: Start with your “About Me” page (click on the highlighted text for a personal example). Take a moment to put a face to your new brand. Write about 300 to 500 words, add a picture and just be real. Believe in you; believe in your dreams and you won’t disappoint. Check mine out and you’ll quickly get the gist of it.
Congratulations! You are all set! Welcome to the world of blogging!
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