Blogging is a fun hobby and a great way to make extra income. Anyone in need of a creative outlet should definitely consider starting a blog. But learning how to start a blog can be overwhelming for some. Lucky for you, I've created a list of the 10 steps to starting a blog from scratch!
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buy domain name & hosting package
Depending on the purpose of your blog, you may want to consider starting big from the very beginning. Instead of using a free content delivery system (like WordPress.com or Blogger), opt for a self-hosted WordPress.org site. Self-hosting give you the most freedom to design and monetize your site. To create a WordPress.org site, you'll need to purchase a domain name (unique URL) and a hosting package. So, don't be fooled by cheap hosting packages. Instead, go with a trusted hosting source like SiteGround for all your hosting and domain name needs.
Now that you've got your domain name and hosting package, you'll need to install WordPress.org. The process is slightly different for each hosting service. One of the main reasons I trust SiteGround hosting services is for the excellent support and ease of use. SiteGround makes it super easy to install WordPress.org using their 1-click installing tool. And their 24/7 chat service is always available to help troubleshoot for those of us less tech-savvy individuals.
Choosing a WordPress.org theme can be both fun and frustrating. And with so many beautiful themes available, it's hard to know which one is right for you and your brand new blog. After all, you may not know what you need from a theme right now. That's why I only recommend the Beaver Builder theme. Not only is Beaver Builder super easy-to-use, but the flexible drag & drop system allows you to change features in the future as your blog develops over time. Beaver Builder puts you in control of every aspect of your site, giving you the freedom you need to get creative.
design your blog
Once you've installed your theme, it's time to create your blog. Designing, my friends, is the fun part. But some new bloggers may find it overwhelming. Knowing what add and where to put it can be tricky. The most important thing to remember is that you're designing a site for readers, not for yourself. Always look at your site design from a user perspective. For more guidance, check out my post on how to design a reader-friendly blog!
One of the best things about using WordPress.org is the amazing (and often FREE) tools available to optimize and customize your site. These tools, also called plugins, can help with just about every function of blogging, from design to marketing. It's super easy to install plugins from the WordPress.org dashboard, but figuring out which ones are the most reliable and helpful isn't always as easy. Use this list of the best (and most trustworthy) plugins for all new bloggers to get started!
secure social media handles
Social media is a huge part of blogging now. So, it makes sense that you'll want to secure your social media handles once you've purchased a domain name. The major social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn) can be competitive, so don't wait to create your social media accounts. And, remember, just because you create an account doesn't mean you have to use it. Beginner bloggers need to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes time to create a social media following. Use this guide to help you figure out which social media channels to focus on in the beginning!
Monitoring your blog's growth is so much easier when you've got reliable data to review. And, in the world of blogging, there's no more reliable resource than Google. Installing Google Analytics from the very beginning gives you access to helpful information about your blog, plus you'll be building a baseline from which to build. Follow the steps in the Google Analytics tutorials to link your analytics account to your blog.
integrate an email service provider RSS feed
Email is easy to overlook in the beginning, but new bloggers should never underestimate the power of email marketing. While you may not have time to create an email marketing strategy right now, you should still create an email list. First, you'll need a reliable email service provider. Next, connect your RSS feed for automatic email updates. As you grow, you'll be better positioned to start creating custom email content to keep subscribers engaged. But, for now, an RSS update is more than sufficient.
create a content calendar
Of all the 10 steps to starting a blog, creating a content calendar may be the most fun. After all, most new bloggers are super psyched about their blog and have tons of ideas for content. It's important, though, to develop a content strategy from the very beginning. Consistency is king when it comes to building a loyal blog audience. Planning and organizing your content helps you keep a steady pace of content creation, plus you'll be able to keep readers engaged with hints of what's to come. Creating a content calendar can be as simple as brainstorming content ideas and selecting a date for publishing on a timetable. I use Google Calendar for my content calendar and Evernote for my content management system.
publish and promote a post
All that's left now is to publish a post! But wait! There's more to blogging than you may have thought. Learning how to structure a blog post for maximum SEO benefit is something new bloggers should learn from the beginning! Take the time now to understand post structure and SEO better. If you don't, you'll end up like me: always editing!
Need more help?
Well, there you have it folks. I hope you found my post on the 10 steps to starting a blog from scratch helpful. If you need more blogging tips, be sure to check out the related posts below or any of my content archives. Or you can sign up for the Spark Squad to receive weekly emails filled with helpful tools, tips and tricks to grow your blog audience and stand out in the crowd of bloggers.
Remember, success begins with a single spark!
xoxo, Carlie Dayle