We’ve all been there.
Then after a while, you get the itch. You think, ‘I could totally do that’ or ‘I want to do this for a living’
I can’t blame you for thinking that way, because that was totally me. Why not join this amazing community of mommy bloggers and start earning an income so that you can stay home with your family?
Of course, when I wanted to stay home I originally started what soon became a very successful and award-winning photography business, but even that took hours and hours away from my family (summer weddings & endless editing became the things of my nightmares).
So I made the decision to switch over to the world of blogging full time, and I am so excited for where it is taking me & my family. It allows me to stay home full-time and take care of my kids, leaving my summer days & weekends free to go on adventures, and my evenings free to volunteer or relax with my family instead of sitting in front of a computer screen until 2am.
Now, if you want to start a blog, I wrote this article to make it quick & easy because I’ve done this all before. I’ll help you get it all started and avoid making the mistakes I made.
Okay. Let’s start from the beginning.
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1. Find Your Voice
The first thing you need to think about when starting your blog is what you plan to write about. This can be a challenge for a lot of people, and I still struggle with it.
When I first started this blog, it was so I could move my popular DIY articles over from my photography site & monetize them. They are still my most popular posts, but I also love writing about my family’s adventures, our life as humanists, my journey with weight loss, and my passion for fashion & home decor. It’s hard because I know I should really focus on one thing, but I can’t, because my life isn’t just one thing.
So my first tip would be to not be like me. Pick your niche & stick with it – if you focus on one thing, it will grow your blog and followers quicker because they know what you’re about.
To find your niche, ask yourself: ‘What am I passionate about?’
Do you have any hobbies? Do you have experience or education in a certain area? Is there something people constantly ask you for help with? Or do you just want to share your love of your family with the world? If you are passionate about your subject, you’ll find that you’ll always have something to write about.
Once you nail down what you want to write about, do a little bit of research. Find other blogs that cover the same niche. Join Facebook groups to see what kind of questions people are asking, and check Pinterest for related pins & boards. These can all serve as a great sources of information & inspiration.
Now that you’ve found your voice, let’s move onto the technical stuff.
2. Find Your Platform
Some blogs are set up on a free blog platform such as Blogspot or WordPress (more on WordPress later). When you’re starting a blog, it might seem like a great idea to not have to pay a penny to get it up and running, but a free blog platform is not a good idea at all if you are looking to make your blog profitable. Let me explain why.
First, it looks really unprofessional: www.myblog.com is so much cleaner than www.myblog.blogspot.com
Also, the design options are typically limited to a few basic choices, and they aren’t pretty or unique.
Second, and probably most important if you are reading this post, your ability to run ads or monetize your blog at all is restricted.
On free platforms, they will run their own ads on your blog to make money off your content, because when you used these platforms, they also own your content.
Remember, nothing is really ‘free’.
The great thing about starting this blog from scratch was that I already knew how I was going to do it. I had already gone through the process of creating a blog when I made my photography studio’s website over 6 years ago, so I immediately knew what platform and hosting service I wanted to use. Personally, I use WordPress and Bluehost because I believe they have the best blogging platform & hosting partnership out there.
“Wait. I thought you said not to use WordPress because it was a free blogging platform?”
Yes and no.
WordPress.COM is a free blogging platform that allows you to use bits of the WordPress blogging software & hosts your blog for free – but they own the content, control ad space, etc.
WordPress.ORG allows you the ability to used their full, amazing blogging software, but you have to pay to host your blog – and you own the content, can monetize it, etc
Reasons why WordPress is Awesome for Beginners:
- It is so easy to use & no coding is required – although basic knowledge of html can come in handy
- Everything is customizable & there are tons of free themes and plugins, plus many more themes you can pay for
- It is the most popular blogging platform and has the most resources available for those just starting out
- You will own your blog and all of it’s content, meaning…
- You can monetize it
3. Find Your Name
This is REALLY important. You want to find a name that reflects you, your niche, and your voice, but is also memorable and unique.
If you have a name in mind that you love, make sure that the domain name is available & register it ASAP before someone else does. You can check here:
When picking a domain name:
- Keep it short. Makes it easier for people to type & remember
- Domains in .com are always preferable
- Try to avoid using numbers, hyphens, slang, or words with multiple spellings (there, they’re, their)
Once you have found your name, write it down and save it for this next step, because if you do, you can register your domain name FOR FREE!
4. Find Hosting
So now that you’ve decided to go with WordPress (great choice!) and have picked out and registered a domain name, and now it’s time to get set up with a hosting partner.
If you’re anything like me, you want to start a blog for cheap, but you also want something reliable and easy-to-use. Bluehost comes highly recommended from a large number of lifestyle bloggers, such as myself, as well as WordPress themselves. They have a great relationship & work together seamlessly.
Also, you can’t beat their customer support & 24/7 live chat. When you have any issues or questions (and believe me, you will), their knowledgeable staff will fix your problem in under 5 minutes.
Benefits of using Bluehost:
- Free domain name
- 24/7 customer support including live chat, email, and phone
- Free WordPress installation
- Fast loading times
Visit Bluehost, click “get started now” and then select the plan that works best for you. I would recommend going with the “Basic” plan, which is really all you need to start a lifestyle blog. You can sign up for the “Plus” and “Prime” plans if you feel like you will need the extra space, but you can always upgrade later if you aren’t sure.
After you choose a hosting plan, you will enter the domain name that you want to use for your blog. Bluehost will check to make sure the domain is available. If the domain you wanted is already in use, Bluehost will suggest a few options of similar names – but make sure you try to stick with .com!
Now you’re ready to complete the sign-up by entering in your account and payment info. Before you hit submit, make sure you review the package information.
Under Account Plan drop-down, you’ll notice different pricing options that vary depending on how many months you want to pay for upfront – the longer you sign up & pay for up-front, the lower the monthly cost. The 36 month and 60-month plans are $3.95 per month or $47.90 per year, which works out to be the best value.
If you’re not ready to make that kind of commitment or you can’t afford it right now, you might want to sign up for the 24-month or 12-month plan, which is slightly more expensive per month but less of an upfront cost. With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, in few months time your blog will be paying for itself and more.
The only extra I would highly recommend selecting is the $0.99 per month for Domain Privacy Protection, which ensures your contact information stays private – a warning will come up if you do not select this option.
SECRET TIP: Sometimes, and I can’t guarantee that it will always do it, if you hesitate on the sign-up page, a pop-up will come up offering you the basic package for $2.65/month if you sign up for 60 months, and they’ll include &
Once you complete this step, Bluehost will send you an email confirmation letting you know that your domain and hosting are all set up!
Installing WordPress on Bluehost
Bluehost gives you all the tools you need to set up a WordPress blog for free. I’m going to explain the process to you step-by-step.
- Check your email that you used to sign up with for your welcome email. Your sign-in information will be in there.
- Sign into your Bluehost account & create your password
- Once you are on the dashboard, scroll down to the Website section and click on “Install WordPress”:
- Type in the domain where you want to install WordPress. Make sure to use the domain that you created when you signed up for Bluehost. Leave the Directory field blank and click ‘Next‘
- On this page, you need to create your ‘Admin Information‘. This info will be used to log into your WordPress dashboard.
- Choose your Site Name – for example, my site name is Humanist Home and my domain name is www.humanisthome.com
- Enter the email you would like WordPress to contact you at – this should be the email that you use and check most often and probably the same one you used when signing up with Bluehost
- Come up with a WordPress username and password. Make sure you write them down in a safe place & not a random scrap of paper you’ll accidentally throw out.
- Click ‘Next‘. Wait while Bluehost sets up WordPress for you.
- Once the installation is complete, you will receive an email with your WordPress login details.
Congratulations! You just set up your blog.
What do I do now?